Flight by Susan Vittitow Mark

Response to Writing Prompt Ninety-Seven: A kayak, a tent, an endless horizon and yet...


A kayak, a tent, an endless horizon, and yet the tall towers of the city shimmered before Laura's eyes where there should have only been the endless waves of the Pacific. Whispering pines were drowned out by honking taxicabs and the shouts of street vendors. The sand under her feet grew hard and hot like the asphalt of summer. She spat out the taste of diesel fumes, sour garbage, and stale urine. The scent clung to her hair.

She blinked and it all vanished. The forest lay unbroken behind her. A cool breeze blew from the sea. Waves lapped gently over her feet where she'd stripped off her boots and dug her toes into the welcoming sand.

If she had to remember the city, better to remember it as it was when it was alive rather than how she left it. Better not to remember the screams of the dying, the stench of corpses. 

A seagull landed near her, cocked one eye. She laughed. “Got nothin' for you.” Her stores were little enough for the long days of paddling and not enough to share with a garbage eating bird.

Dinosaurs. Birds were damn dinosaurs, or what was left of them. Scientists had looked at the DNA or something and discovered T-Rex's great-grandbabies were in the fried chicken buckets at the company picnic. They ruled the world once. So did humans. Once. What will be left of us? she thought.

“You heading up north, too?” The seagull turned its head. “If you are, can you take a message to Chris for me? Tell him to stay safe, stay put. I'll get there somehow.”

The black eye stared at her as if some ancient intelligence lurked there. The bird flapped its wings twice, took off and soared straight north. Look for the cabin, she thought, as if her mind could reach the bird's. It's along the Oregon coast. He's there. Tell him to stay there. Tell him he shouldn't try to find me.

She watched as the seagull became a tiny dot and then vanished. I must be cracking up, talking to birds. She sighed, stretched her aching arms. At that moment she would have killed for an ibuprofen, a cup of coffee, and a roll of toilet paper. Those things would all be in the past now. Maybe she and Chris would tell their grandchildren how it once was. If she could find him. If he hadn't gotten it into his fool head to come find her in the burning city.

Laura sat and laced her boots. She broke down the tent, stashed it in the kayak with the last of the food and the water purifier. She pushed off from shore and willed tired arms to paddle. She turned north and followed the seagull.


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Susan Vittitow Mark co-blogs Writing Wyoming with Lynn G. Carlson.


It's been awfully quiet on the blog and for good reason - I've been on vacation!

I took a road trip from Torrington to the west coast and have been touring my home towns for the last two weeks in the Pacific Northwest.

Posts are to follow, but in the mean time here is a sneak peek at the life I've been living these last few weeks. Want to see more? Follow me on Instagram!

Hitting the road - dog hair everywhere! 
All moved into my new place - now time to unpack!

Laramie has incredible murals all over the place.

Anyone want to go fishing?

Where are we going, mama? On an adventure darling.

Our Boise, Idaho sunset.

Izzie is a road warrior, but it sure can be exhausting.

Nothing says "happy roadtrip" like your Jeep towing a trailer breaking down on the Sunday before July 4th six hours away from our destination!

Lunch outside in Pendleton, Oregon

Keeping traditions going strong in Boardman, Oregon

Saying "see you later" to us and "hello" to our futures - Portland, Oregon

I found this crazy family in Dry Falls, Washington

Mama time - Brewster, Washington

Eating special cherries that are grown in Washington, but only sold in China.

Testing the waters of Lake Chelan, Washington

Road tripping down to Central Oregon to visit my dad - we spent the day lake hopping. Cultus Lake, Oregon.

Hey there Daddio - Cultus Lake, Oregon.

Devil's Lake, Oregon.

Spent the night at a farm in Beavercreek, Oregon

Hit the coast with my "wife" - Lincoln City, Oregon

Said "wife."

Dined in Newport Bay, Oregon

Played on the beach at night - Newport, Oregon.

Stayed in an amazing hotel (blog to follow) - Sylvia Beach Hotel, Oregon

Went antiquing up the coast - Lincoln City, Oregon

Stopped in Tillamook to visit an old friend.

Road a steam engine up the Oregon Coast a few miles - Garibaldi, Oregon

Visited with the engineer while riding in the cab (blog post to follow) - I've known him since we were five!

Drove up the coast to get my dosage of ocean air - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Dried my toes in the sand - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Saw what was keeping "Portland Weird" with my longest best friend - Portland, Oregon

Experienced the beauty of "Cartlandia" (blog post to follow) - Portland, Oregon

Witnessed my favorite thing about downtown, Street Music - Portland, Oregon

Went to the top of Multnomah Falls for the first time since I was a kid - Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Hiked Badger Mountain in Richland, Wasington

Then returned to the land of apples for a few days before setting off again - Brewster, Washington

And I'm still going! Next stop on our list is a road trip from Washington to Wyoming with a little bit of Yellowstone in the middle. Happy summer everyone!

Tell me, where have you traveled lately?

- Road Warrior -

She rests quietly
With each long passing mile
Love's warm reminder.

- Diner -

Cooks behind counters,
Calamity of voices:
Breakfast is served, dear.