Nightmare on Vine Street
James "Jimmy" Dashiell
James Morton Dashiell was born in Battle Creek, Michigan into a loving family— his mother Rachel and his father Howard had four children. James was the third (he has an older brother, Howard Jr.; an older sister, Melanie; a younger brother, Charles, came along later). It was in his late school years that Jimmy learned to fly.
Jimmy and Henry have been friends for a long time, and though Jimmy’s girl Annie has come between them just a bit, they’ve been partners for a couple years now—Jimmy’s the flyboy, and Henry’s the maintenance man.
However… what goes up must come down.
August 8, 1924
Things were just wonderful. The basket had new weights, the fuel tank was full, the envelope had swelled to full height in no time at all— liftoff had been effortless. The patch near the bottom was holding just fine— his assistant was capable, and the Dacron patch didn’t even pull when he’d hit the burner to take off.
The flame burned brighter, roaring as the basket left the ground— they were rising smoothly. Thirty, forty, fifty feet… eighty, ninety… one hundred and twenty… much higher.
Henry leveled Seeker off, cutting the burner down to minimum so she’d hover. That taken care of, he helped Jimmy shrug on his primary chute, then his secondary. Seeker drifted a little, but stayed steady; now came the show.
Jimmy, using a carefully rigged system of ropes, hung himself off the edge of the basket by his knees. Henry watched the crowd below, noting their anxious movement with a grin. He looked at Jimmy, who looked back at him, and grinned. With that, he straightened his legs and fell, flipping backward out of her basket. Today’s stunt was a simple chute drop, so when he’d fallen a safe distance from the basket, he pulled his primary chute. It unfolded beautifully, crimson against the sky.
Jimmy had seconds to contemplate just why his chute hadn’t unfolded all the way. As he fell further, he tugged at the release cord, only to have it snap off in his hand- and Jimmy was free-falling toward Oakwood Park’s unforgiving ground.
I remember, and I don’t want to. I shouldn’t be here. Where’s Henry? This is all his fault.