Inspired by: 5 Words #59
Jakuu looked back at the parachutes of black oil billowing from his fly pack. He could already feel the heat building, making his back sweat through two layers of dispersal cloth.
That’s when the coupling blew.
Jakuu put an arm over the back of his head as one of the thrust canisters flailed about wildly. His body fluttered and whipped in the air as the canister fought to free itself. He was losing altitude.
Straining against the stuttering inertia, Jakuu took a long grapple from his waist and fished over his shoulder for the canister.
Jakuu pulled the grapple rope through a ring clasp on his belt and wrenched the thrust canister back into place.
Then the other coupling broke.
The rope burned through Jakuu’s gloves as the canister sped away, still attached to the grapple. It hit the end of the rope and jolted Jakuu sideways at the hip where the rope was anchored. Struggling against the rush of air, he reached down and punched the rope release.
The rope went slack. He punched it twice more, still nothing. Jakuu pulled a knife from his belt. The canister hit the end of the rope again. He was jerked in a new direction, whipping his arm backward. As the knife rolled out of his hand, he reflexively clenched his fingers catching the small wrist strap.
Jakuu cut himself free of the errant rocket and began to tumble. The remaining canister on his back, destabilized, was pushing him into an odd spin.
Jakuu killed the power to his fly pack and went into freefall. With arms and legs spread wide, he gradually righted himself. The ground sped upward at a sickening pace.
Slowly, Jakuu pumped a lever on the side of his fly pack. Only one shot. He had to time it just right.
Five seconds to impact.
Jakuu slammed the lever down. The thrust canister whirred, flared, and shot its guts out in one magnificent blast. The G-force nearly knocked him unconscious, but it was enough to give him some forward momentum. Jakuu hit the snow, rolled, bounced, and skidded to a stop.
For a moment, the whole world was still, cold, and quiet.
Jakuu rolled onto his back and sat up in the snow. His hands were shaking as he peeled the scorched rubidium cell free from the shattered fly pack. He turned the scarlet-colored device over in his hand, took a deep breath, and looked up at the sky.
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