This week's 300-word flash fiction prompt is:
Here's my entry:
Rabbit in the Sky
The rabbit was given a fifteen minute head start. The rules were simple: bring the rabbit down and win the prize. The prize was simple, too: not having to be the rabbit for a year. Everyone else’s name would go back in the hat for next year. There was also the money. Not prize money, per se, but the winner was entitled to ten percent of all the wagers placed on the other competitors, including the rabbit. Oh, yeah, the rabbit could win, too. Just cross the county line while still off the ground.
Justin applied a blast of flame from his propane burner, relishing the heat on the back of his neck and the whine of the burner set every dog within hearing range into a frenzy of barking. The heated air sent his balloon higher in the sky, as Justin searched for the wind current that would take him westward where the closest county line lay.
He glanced over his shoulder at his pursuers glimpsing a flash from the closest balloon. Justin knew, through many years’ experience, that the dart gun, the only weapon allowed in the competition, would fall short. But, as he watched, he realize his mistake. The wind current at this altitude wasn’t carrying him westward. In fact, he was almost stationary.
With no other options, Justin pulled the lanyard on the burner’s valve, opening it fully. The balloon shot straight up. There is no rushing wind in a balloon. You and the balloon are moving along with the wind, not through it. Justin kept his eyes on the ground and his hand on the lanyard until he saw the trees and fields and houses start rushing back toward the east. He had found it. The blessed wind was a highway sweeping him westward.