Jump

25 04 2012

Yet another challenge from the master penmonkey, Chuck Wendig at Terribleminds.

Travel.
Travel — a journey of some sort — must figure into your story.
Moving from one place to another.
Point A to Point B.
Any genre.
Up to 1000 words.

This one is short, and probably more positive/fun than what I usually write. I might still be science fiction, but not in the obvious way. 653 words, according to Scrivener. Comments/critique is welcome too. Enjoy!

 

Jump

She stood at the edge of the cliff, looking down and down and down. Kneeling for a moment, she picked up a fist-sized rock and threw it down into the chasm below, watching it drop until she lost sight of it in the distance. Long way down, she thought with a wild grin and stepped back from the edge.

There were two ways down that cliff (well, three, but hitching a ride back down was a cop-out). You either climbed down, which was the long and hard way and the way gluttons for punishment did it. Or you jumped, and let gravity do the rest.

Seven or eight paces back she stopped and turned, took a couple of deep breaths and then, before she could change her mind, ran as fast as she could and leapt off the edge, into the abyss.

For a brief moment which felt like eternity it was like she just hung there, suspended in weightlessness, as if time had stopped and she was frozen in this one glorious instant, although somewhere at the back of her mind she couldn’t help thinking of Wile E. Coyote, making her want to laugh hysterically.

Time resumed and she dropped, the adrenaline surging through her body, making it seem like her heart had leapt into her throat to prevent her from screaming out her fear, joy and thrill, leaving her mind to do the work that her voice refused to do.

For long seconds she fell, head down with arms held close to her body and her legs kept tightly together, presenting as little resistance to the air as possible, heightening the sensation of speed better than any kind of powered flight could achieve.

Off to her left – so close it seemed she could just reach out and touch it – the red rock wall of the cliff added to that sensation of speed, outcroppings, handholds and all detail blurring together when she tried to focus on it and reminding her that any contact with that wall would spell disaster. Which, of course, only added to the exhilaration of the headlong drop.

A warning sound beeped in her earpiece, telling her that it was about time to think about deploying the wingsuit, at first just a friendly little pulse of sound, then as she pushed the envelope and kept her slim shape with arms and legs held back, the sound rose in volume and shrillness, until she couldn’t bear it – or ignore it – any longer.

Spreading out arms and legs the brightly coloured fabric of the wingsuit snapped out and caught an updraught, slowing her descent and levelling it out so she glided now instead of falling, replacing the sensation of speed and motion with that of flying like a sea bird.

The seconds stretched into infinity as she caught current after current until, at last, the pesky alert sounded in her ear, a warning that told her that the trip was coming to an end, that it was time to pull the cord for the parachute. By now, she could just about see individual rocks on the rusty ground and listened as the alarm sounded louder and louder, and it wasn’t until it had reached a shrill screech that she pulled the cord and floated gently the last few feet of her journey, her heart still pounding in her chest with the pure joy of it.

* * *

A voice spoke to her, saying her name.

“Hmm?” she muttered with a blink and was back in her office, her colleague sitting across from her with an amused look on his face.

“You were a million miles away,” he told her, lifting a questioning eyebrow.

“Yeah… I was,” she nodded with a slow smile, leaning back in her chair, a content sigh escaping her lips as she glanced at the drawer where the ticket to adventure lay waiting for the day to end.

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2 responses

25 04 2012
louisesor

I didn’t know where this story was going. Full of suspense. Good one! : )

25 04 2012
C. Rasmussen

Thank you! Good to hear that the suspense carried over as I’ve never even tried anything remotely like jumping off a cliff. 🙂

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