All Stories, Horror

Parachutes at Night by Tim Frank

Let me tell you the procedure.  We will never meet. Everything is anonymous. We are The Parachute Art Installation Company against Deformity and Disfigurement. You won’t find us on any search engine, but we span the globe. We invade flats, skyscrapers, parks, beaches, motorways, stadiums, places of worship and pounce on unsuspecting Victims who we have painstakingly monitored. We strike against individuals from all strata of society that are deemed physically repugnant.

An average case might focus on someone with jagged scars stretching from their cheek to their eyelid, inflicted by a near-fatal knife fight. Another example – an amputee marine who is a victim of a landmine explosion in the arid fields of Afghanistan.

The process begins when what we call an Adversary, nominates one of these disfigured Victims and in all due diligence we carry out punishment in a manner we consider artistic.

The Victims are bussed to a plane hangar then they are decked out in jumpsuits and gagged. Parachutes are strapped to their backs and the Victims are shown how to use them. They are ushered onto the aircraft – a real motley crew of the damaged and the damned.

Other cases we abhor are the obese with their rolls of flab from their double chins down to the blubbery thighs. We fight the deformed, the dismembered and the maimed by pushing them into the ocean from a great height at night. Honestly, these people have no place in society and there’s no need for sympathy.

Now, have a look at your friends and family. Honestly, what do you see? Maybe you know someone with a club foot, a lazy eye or a more subtle disability such as a bent nose or protruding ears.

Your case is particularly interesting. You say in the Disfigurement Questionnaire the target has a perfect hourglass figure, high set cheekbones, beautifully aligned eyebrows with a natural, golden mane of hair – in other words an exquisite specimen. But you go on to say your chosen Victim’s mind is foul. A sociopathic monster – someone who compulsively steals jewellery and vintage handbags from her mother, spreads HIV as she lures countless men to sleep with her without protection, and manipulates friends with unsubstantiated gossip, turning them against their partners and their very own children. You say she is poison and should be punished accordingly. Well, your goals are morally commendable, of course, but it’s just not how we do business. It’s not our aesthetic. 

The plane ascends until it reaches 38,000 feet, rattling over the Atlantic Ocean dissecting the air like a surgeon’s knife. Representatives of the Company prepare the Victims for their fate. The tumult of the plane’s turbine engines causes Victims’ oversized boobs and bellies to tremble like they are jogging on uneven pavement. The anorexics’ spines chafe against their parachutes and their tailbones jab into their seats.

Each Victim to be pushed into the water has recorded a message in response to their Adversaries, so they have one last chance to justify their existence before impact, though this is really just a method to enhance the artistic nature of the project.

Now, your Victim’s time has come. She is drop dead gorgeous. But we will have to let this slide this time, because we have discovered, you, her Adversary, is not just any old flunky. You are the boss of the Company. So, who are we, mere middle men, to get in your way?

Her gag is extracted and it is soaked with phlegm. She is pushed and tumbles from the plane. She howls into the wind as a flare, lodged in the small of her back, explodes and colours the night sky, reflecting off the surface of the waves and making her parachute glow like a Chinese lantern.

She descends and her message is broadcast.

You might be listening in your dressing gown reclining in your leather-bound chair, gently stirring a cube of sugar into your coffee cup, or maybe you are eating a bloody Argentinian steak with dabs of English mustard.

The Victim will survive the impact against the surface of the ocean but she will freeze to death in the hours that follow, as she struggles to breathe in the undulating water.

“I have just been told my fate,” goes the message, “and that you are an insider of a secret collective that makes art out of the suffering of the deformed and the ugly. Well, I am a great beauty and I have paid my dues to achieve it. I have been through untold facial surgeries, not to mention the multiple breast and butt augmentations. I am perfect but I have made many enemies and you are one of them. I hope you’re aware you were completely inadequate in bed and a desperate, needy lover. I have no regrets about the way I treated you.

Listen to me, I will destroy all your lofty goals and everything you stand for and do you know how? People want to punish the hideous. So, when they find out what happened to me there will be outrage, even from the very grotesque people your Company targets. Everyone strives for the ideal. Beautiful people being abducted and abused is always unforgivable. You will suffer for your crime.”

You, the great beauty’s Adversary, the CEO of the Parachute Art Company, makes a call.

“Find her, I don’t care how, slash her face and her breasts and break her nose. Go wild. Bring her back alive. Strap her to another parachute, forget the flares, fill it with bombs and ammunition. I want to see blood breaking on the shores, cartilage wrapped in seaweed, teeth dredged up by fishing nets. Total destruction. Let’s muster all our forces to bring the world to its knees. This is our new creation.”

Tim Frank

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6 thoughts on “Parachutes at Night by Tim Frank”

  1. Well look at me: All the way through my eyes were alight and I kept mouthing “Yeah and then and then?…Tell me more, tell me more…” Personal personality issues aside, the twist and deeper meaning pushed out the plane, I find a rather pleasing and even cathartic nastiness in this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tim,
    Well this is nasty!
    But I love it!!
    It does explore the nonsense that is modern art.
    It is also a look at tolerance and the beautiful people in relation to their character.
    Basically, there can be an ugliness in everyone, so to have a story that takes that and makes it into art whilst questioning character and I suppose the idea for anyone to ‘nominate’ surely makes them ugly within.
    But that bit of ugliness wherever or whatever it is, is what makes us all individuals and human.
    Quite thought provoking – Using the parachutes as Chinese lanterns was inspired!

    Liked by 2 people

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