All Stories, Historical

Icarus by Tobias Haglund


”Another one, Mickey.” Mickey raised his eyebrows. “Yea I’m sure. Throw on another one. It needs to support the weight and account for winds, so throw on another one.”

“I’ll never get the speed high enough to take flight.”

“Sure you will. You’ve been practicing?”

“Yes. I’m fast. How are your motors coming along?”

“Don’t worry about them. You just keep focusing on staying on track at that velocity.”

Althea walked out from the cabin, kissed James on the cheek and placed a tray on the table. “How are you boys doing?”

“Fine darling.”

James nodded to Mickey who took a sandwich. Althea cleaned dirt from the table.

“I hear them Wright brothers are at the last stages-”

“Woman, that’s not nice talk. You’re putting demons in Mickey’s head.”

She opened a cabinet, counted glasses and vases. “I just hope you boys don’t injure yourself.”

“Have a little faith.”

“I have faith. If the Lord wanted us to fly he would have given us wings like the birds or the angels.”

“I’ve heard this before… AND the Icarus myth.”

Althea placed a red tablecloth and centered it. “What’s the-”

James banged the table. She jumped, but quickly made sure her dress was in order. James sighed. “Okay then… What’s for dinner?”

“Honey, I just gave you dinner.”

“Two dry sandwiches?”

“How do you expect me to cook without groceries?”

“Yes okay. Just go read a bible or pray.”

“I will and I do. I do pray for you.”

Althea kissed him again, brushed her hand through his hair and left. Mickey and James ate their sandwiches in silence.

“James, I’ve been thinking. The Wright brothers are coming close. Did you know the government is giving higher and higher grants to the Wright brothers? I heard it just last week. When was the last time you received a grant?”

“Mickey, damn it…” James pressed lightly on his eyelids. “Do not echo the words of Althea. Let me worry about financing. When exactly did you hear it? It doesn’t matter. Coming close is not succeeding. It’s a warning. It’s a cough in times of plague. We are in a race towards the moon. Can’t you feel it? You have the chance to be the first person in the history of mankind to feel the breath of God keeping you soaring through the sky.”

Mickey scratched his head, stretched his fingers a couple of times to see how his mobility was and did the same with his toes. “What happens if I fail?”

“You’re not going to. You just focus on your part. I could show you the graph again-”

“No sir. I don’t understand it but I trust you do. There is a velocity I must reach to take flight. What if the motors close down mid-air?”

“You will sail the horizon into safety. There are a lot of misconceptions about this. You will not fall immediately like a stone. That’s not how it would be. And not that the motors will fail, but if they do – which they won’t – the wings will guide you slowly to safety. Here let me illustrate.”

James folded a piece of paper while keeping eye contact with Mickey and threw the paper in the air. “See. See how it glides and cuts through the atmosphere.”

Mickey pointed at it. “But then it dies! I’m gonna die.”

“No. First of all it never died. It’s a piece of paper. You can pick it up and throw it again. Second of all and most importantly; the reason it floated towards the ground was that the velocity which it received when I threw it in the air, was rapidly diminishing. If the paper could sustain the velocity it would have flown forever.”

“Yea? You sure talk nice…” Mickey’s right knee cracked when he stretched his leg. “But I’m not so convinced.”

James’ chair fell to the ground. “Mickey, for the love of God! Just listen to me. I’ve explained this a thousand times. The force my arm gave the piece of paper – the force from throwing the god damn paper – is equivalent to the force the aero-carriage receives from the motors and also your skill managing them. However, unlike the piece of paper, the motors stay on the aero-carriage which means: you will not fall to the ground! Do you get it? Have you fallen so many times your head hurts from thinking as well?”

“Sir, if I fall to the ground. It’s not just an insult to me but also an insult to-”

“Alright. Yes. I get it. I’m sorry. But while you were incapacitated I used my entire life savings and improved the motors beyond previously imaginable. You will float like a ship in the ocean. This is exactly who we are. We are modern-age Columbus discovering new territories. Don’t you want to leave a legacy? We cannot fail. In fact I look forward to the sad faces of the Wright brothers when I fly over their heads.”

“Okay. If you say so. If something happens-”

“Yes. Albie and Patricia will be provided for. Let’s just go before it darkens.”

Mickey and James walked to the barn and wheeled the aero-carriage to the runway.

“Further right?”

“No. Here is perfect.”

“But the cliff?”

“See it as a leap of faith. You are a religious man, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good man. If the aero-carriage hasn’t lifted you by the end of the runway the grace of God will.”

Mickey climbed aboard, checked the rotors and placed his hands on the steering wheel. He stretched his fingers before clenching on again. “What was the Icarus myth again?”

“He flew too close to the sun. His waxed wings melted.”

“What happens if I-”

“Fly to close to the sun? Your wings will not melt but you will keep flying and hear the secret whispers of the angels. Go now. I will not miss our moment of greatness. Future generations will look back. Even as our bodies have long faded, our names will still prosper. And they will echo with the meaning of the fathers of flight.”

The engines roared. The aero-carriage boomed down the runway towards the cliff.

“…history will know my name and the Wright brothers will fall into oblivion!”


Tobias Haglund

10 thoughts on “Icarus by Tobias Haglund”

  1. Hi Tobias. I hope this was meant to be humorous? Nicely sketched out. I hope he’s still flying and his wings are ok. Des


    1. My thought was that he (Mickey) fell towards disaster. Since nobody have heard of the persons I invented in the story, although the MC hoped no one would know the Wright Brothers name, I figured the ending would be fatal and disastrous. Thanks for commenting, Des!
      ATVB my friend


  2. This enjoyable little story was meant to be written sooner or later, and you’ve given it flight! A wonderful read, Tobias! You have honored every inventor because the souls of both the success and the failure are made of the same cloth. June

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thank you for the comment and the pun. I really like the era of inventions, whatever that means, but when scientists were heroes. A lot of them used their own bodies for experiment. So this is my homage to them. Thank you, June.
      ATVB my friend


    1. Thanks, Nik. That era fascinates me. I’m sure I will write another story set in that era. ATVB my friend


  3. Hi Tobias, I think June’s comment regarding inventors was spot on. This had your usual skill and the story had more substance and knowledge than is normally told within this subject matter.
    I thought this was entertaining and you hit on the rivalry superbly well.
    All the very best my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Hugh. This one was a fun one to research. Like I’ve said in the other comments, the era fascinates me. It was full of discoveries. As for the flight, a lot of scientists understood how they would do it, but they just couldn’t do it. The first flight was more because the great flying skills of the Wright brothers than the capabilities of the airplane. The combination of being a scientist and having the great skill it took to make it is really interesting to me. Anyway, thanks, Hugh!
      ATVB my friend


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