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Moments Pass Like These

Owen’s flight brings a mysterious visitor.

David Gane
David Gane
3 min read
Moments Pass Like These
Photo by David

☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.

Owen was above the Rockies when his brother passed away.

It was unexpected. Adam had been barbecuing when he felt the pain in his chest. Before he could call out, he toppled over the railing and his kids, playing in the pool nearby, hadn't even noticed.

In fact, it wasn't until his wife came out with the macaroni salad ten minutes later that she saw the steaks burning and sensed that something was wrong. She found him facedown in the grass, but by the time she called the ambulance, it was too late.

Strangely, these unnoticed passings were not new for Owen and Adam's family. They'd had happened before.

Their father was found the next day after working a night shift in the rail yards, crushed between two-grain cars. Their grandmother's body had been discovered in a ditch after she'd fallen from her horse a week before. And it wasn't until their great grandfather washed up a mile downstream from his cabin that his neighbours had even realized he hadn't been around for almost a month.

Throughout the history of their family, these moments had passed like clouds in the sky. Always there, but never noticed.

Except, they had.

When their father died, his sister had woken with a pain in her chest, but dismissed the feeling and only realized what it meant the next day when she received the phone call. All three siblings of their grandmother had suffered chills the entire week of their sister's passing. And their great grandfather might've been located sooner if his brother, who lived a thousand kilometres away, hadn't ignored the voice calling out to him for help the day was working in his fields.

Yet, neither brother had ever heard these stories.

So, when Adam saw the glint of something out the airplane window by the wing, he didn't pay attention. He thought it was a flare of sunlight, a reflection of a cloud on the glass. But when he looked again, he saw it clearly—the faintest wisp gliding alongside the engine.

Hoping to confirm what he saw, Owen turned to the roughneck seated beside him, but the man was fast asleep. Glancing around, he realized that none of the other passengers were noticing it either.

At this moment, it was just him and the spectre alone.

Yet, he also immediately realized the truth: it was here for him. And only one thing—one person—would be here for him like this.

As soon as Owen realized this, he relaxed because he knew there was nothing he could do. He gazed out the window and watched it hover above the wing and guide him home. It stayed there until the plane's descent, and when they passed through the clouds, it disappeared. He scanned the horizon but found no trace. It was gone.

When the plane landed in Vancouver, he disembarked and texted his sister-in-law. She called him in tears and he told her he would book a ticket to Winnipeg.

Indeed, he was going so that he was there for his brother's family, but he also did it for a selfish reason. He hoped he'd see his brother's spirit one last time.

Of course, he didn't, and this didn't surprise him, but it stayed with him for a long time, because he never had such an experience again. And that moment he shared with his brother on the place—he kept it to himself and never told anyone through the rest of his very long life.

Writing Notes

Today has been a very long day of travel. Driving five hours and then flying and airports for another five-ish hour. I wasn't quite sure what I was writing but I surprisingly handwrote this story on my iPad while on the plane.

Once it was written, I converted it to text and then did an edit, before running it through two revisions.

So that is the adventure of this story.

Fast Fiction

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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