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Escape Velocity

Swept Up

By Stephanie J. BradberryPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2023
Escape Velocity
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

First comes the searing shock of mind-numbing agony from flesh-to-flesh contact. Barely clothed bone against barely protected muscle. Anything impacted with enough force can go flying. Vaseline, hair, blood, sweat, fragments of skin, mouth piece, shoes. Everything is fair game.

E equals MC squared. Even if you didn’t learn this mathematical equation in school, I’m sure you’ve heard of it or seen it somewhere. Maybe a graphic tee with a crazy looking White man with equally crazy shocks of hair emanating from his head. Kinda reminds me of those cartoons where a character sticks his finger in an electrical socket and bolts of electricity course through his being terminating at Side Show Bob spikes of hair.

For me, E no longer stands for just kinetic Energy. M no longer stands solely for Mass. C no longer stands for Celerity constant. Squared is now beyond all these Raised To The Second.

E now also equals Elevation. M now also equals Motivation. C now also equals Commitment. Squared is now Cubed. The ante is upped for all.

Every action has an equal but opposite reaction. I’m living that now. Just like I’ve lived it almost every day for the past three years. Either I defy gravity or my opponent will.

The speed of light can be swift and quick. But often that is only for a moment. Reality warps and ripples the space-time continuum once you’re hit. “Lightening fast” and “traveling faster than the speed of light” take on a novel meaning. Facts like 186,000 miles per hour or 299,792 kilometers per second become myths.

Second comes the limelight or blackout. Here’s one thing that does remain a fact about the speed of light. Once those ceiling lights hit your retina, you know you have taken flight. You are at the mercy of how quickly your brain can reorient itself after self-sabotage against your skull. The real effect of radiant incandescent lights is the long-lasting bewilderment from heavily trying to blink away thousands of tiny after images.

Cartoons have it slightly wrong. When your brain is hit senseless, you don’t really see stars. Instead, you get flashy little orbs masquerading as angels. That cute halo of stellar essence dancing around your head that you shake off into fairy dust is a joke. The true scene is a crown of black holes studded with chrome butcher knives that you dare not agitate.

When you land the sweeping upper cut, you enjoy the limelight. Additional lighting is welcome to shine a spotlight on your achievement. The flashes you see are not fake angelic beings. They are spotlights of glory. When you receive the stiff upper cut, you enjoy the blackout. That’s exactly what I’m reveling in right now.

Third comes stillness. Even though the crowd roars louder than a lion and cameras click harder than high heels on marble, all goes silent for me. There is a weird combination of perfect peace and questioning existence.

Wow, it’s so quiet, where did everyone go? It must be nighttime in a quaint countryside cottage. Just how many feet did I travel this time? I can always determine that later, when I watch the highlight reels. Am I about to meet my maker? Hopefully not. I want to live more life, finish the round, fight another bout.

Currently I can’t even contemplate the here-and-now or the hereafter. I am wrapped in a roped off zero gravity tank. Next will be the foggy count up to ten. I’m thinking too far again. Focus. E=MC3. Elevation = Motivation x Commitment Raised To The Third.

Remember, remember, remember. When I hit that sparsely padded stretched canvas, everything rides on E=MC3. Remember…

About This Story

This is an entry for a Vocal+ Challenge. The prompt: Write a story that takes place entirely in flight.


About the Creator

Stephanie J. Bradberry

I have a passion for literature and anime. And I love everything involving academia, health, metaphysics and entrepreneurship.

For products and services, visit: stephaniebradberry.com

For online courses, visit: bradberryacademy.com

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (32)

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  • Leslie Writesabout a year ago

    What a knock out story! Congrats on achieving top story with it as well <3

  • Ahna Lewisabout a year ago

    Loved the creative take on this challenge! Your descriptions are captivating in this piece!

  • Kayla Lindleyabout a year ago

    Very good imagery here. Well done

  • Shams Ul Qammarabout a year ago

    Keep up the great work in crafting powerful stories that capture the reader's imagination.

  • Shaun V.about a year ago

    This was perfectly accurate representation for the knock-out which is something I ve experienced far too many times in my life for an embarrassing amount of reasons. The first was as a very young boy swimming at a secret beach my mom used to love taking us to. My brother and I would swim and play while she peacefully watched from her beach towel through glances over whatever new book she had just bought. I was too clumsy once and swam too close and too deep to a bottlenecked current between rocks and hit my head while being pulled out by the undertow to the deep sea. "Ceiling lights" as you put it so-well mirrors the view of sunlight beaming from the ocean surface from thirty or forty feet underwater when I came-to. I've always been a fighter myself.

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    That was incredibly well done. TS material for sure.

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    Awesome, creative story! Congratulations on TS! 😍

  • Samuel Oforiabout a year ago

    That was awesome

  • Olivia Davisabout a year ago


  • Hamza Shafiqabout a year ago

    very nice

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Great, creative take on the challenge. Very well done. Congrats on the TS.

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a year ago

    A very unique take on the prompt. I loved the infusion of science in this. It made for a great effect while reading. Congrats!!!

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Great innovated take on the prompt! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Kristen Balyeatabout a year ago

    This was absolutely phenomenal! Love your brilliant twist on the challenge! So creative! Way 👏🏽 to👏🏽go👏🏽Stephanie!! Congrats on top story!!

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    This is amazing! I started reading this like, “Unbalanced? Stephanie is really out here fighting people!” I was ready to ask for video. Then I realized it was for the challenge! Brilliant.

  • Sonia Heidi Unruhabout a year ago

    You so creatively and insightfully inhabit that moment, that ethos of the ring. A knockout of a story!

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a year ago

    Oh shit. This was absolutely incredible. Wow Congratulations ♥️♥️♥️

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story!!!

  • JBazabout a year ago

    Congratulations, your take is brilliant

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    And yay! congrats! 😁😁

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago


  • The Invisible Writerabout a year ago

    Oh wow I loved this so much what an amazing take on this challenge! Such a good story. I am so impressed with this story.

  • Ahhh, I like this interpretation of flight. Very creative! I loved it!

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