Friday 22 June 2012

Dark Fiction - Jump

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

As part of #fridayflash

‘Okay mate you’re ready to go!’
Lewis felt the slap on his shoulder run through his body, passing through his stomach and severely aggravating the butterflies already rustling inside him.
For the last couple of minutes, he had been staring at the tips of his shoes, trying not to look down past them, and concentrating on balancing while the straps and harness were swivelled and clicked into place. He felt trussed up and safe, until he glanced down beyond his feet and the small metal platform.
Bringing to mind something he had read in some self help book, he tried to look at the big picture one piece at a time, so as not to overwhelm his mind. He started with the river. His breath caught in his throat, pressing down on his gullet uncomfortably. The river looked like a muddy trickle of brown, running through the deep gorge with a meandering path, the section under him wide and strewn with large boulders from the steep walls around it.
His eye travelled to one bank, up the scree and over the dead trees laying lazily on their sides, and onto the sheer face carved from some kind of grey stained stone. His head slowly lifted as his view came to eye level, the same height as the suspension bridge he stood on. His mind began to rebel, the urge to step back and walk away making the skin of his forearms itch. He allowed his gaze to carry on up to the sky and the metal structure above him. Sunny blue azure and painted olive green metal, not the best combination. The slight breeze managed to whistle as it passed through the bolted structure, howling quietly through some hole without its rivet. The sun vanished behind the one cloud on the horizon and Lewis felt a chill.
‘When you’re ready!’ the organiser gave him another pat on the shoulder, then gestured with his head to the queue of about a dozen people all waiting for their turn. A solitary car droned past on the deserted road.
‘I’m all connected?’ his voice cracked as he spoke.
‘Yeah, and that bungee chord is strong enough to support a thousand pound in weight. You’ll be fine, everyone feels scared just before they do it. Then they do it and can’t stop smiling after!’
Lewis managed a wry smile, noticing the sensation across his lips. A voice in the back of his head shouted Murder but it was too late. Lewis spread his arms out wide, closed his eyes and fell slowly forwards, pushing away with his toes to make his feet clear the edge.
The wind smashed him in the face and filled his ears like static, a feeling like pins and needles, but ramped up, more like nails and knives. His eyes were ripped open, the lids fluttering and flapping like an old flag in a hurricane. Time slowed, seeming to hang and float just as he did. He opened his mouth, his every muscle straining.
Get out!’ he shouted, the sound barely leaving the line of his overbite.
You need me. Where would you be without me! You’ll regret this! the internal voice whispered.
No! You made me...cheat on the girl I loved! You...made me spend hours and...hours over petty 
things, thinking...they were all that mattered. You mind!
You think you can get rid of me that easily. You think this plan will work? All I did for you was meant to make you strong, wake you up and stop you being such a damned pussy!
Lewis concocted a strangulated laugh.
And look at me now! A pussy wouldn’t be doing this!’ have improved in some ways I’ll admit, but you are still done for.
The ground loomed nearer now, the white tips and ripples of the white water clearly visible further up stream. Lewis closed his mouth in concentration, he had to think.
Ah here we go...the plan! Last chance to go back Lewis...last chance.
Lewis brought to mind his passenger, the sickening stranger he had met in a dream one night, the festering old man who had somehow managed to seep into his mind and stay with him upon waking. There he was, Lewis could almost smell his body odour of old newspapers and faeces.
Very good! Quite accurate. Don’t forget the smell of blood too!
Lewis ignored the interruption and carried on with his task, imagining and visualizing to the best of his ability, which was very difficult with the ground rushing up to greet him.
You’ll be sorry!
Lewis’ vision flashed white and he suddenly found himself back in the dream, the crusty man leering at him with anticipation.
Out!’ Lewis screamed and hurled himself towards him. Their hands locked and they spun around and around, the old man laughing with giddy glee.
Get out now!’
Damn you!’
Lewis felt a pressure tugging hard at his ankles, his internal organs feeling as if they were trying to crawl out from his mouth, his eyes bulging from their sockets. He blacked out.

Are you alright?’
Lewis opened his eyes with a flicker and saw the concerned face of the organiser hovering a few inches from his. He squinted as he slowly sat up, his head spinning.
What happened?’
You fainted I think. You shouted all the way down but when the rope kicked you back you went quiet. We pulled you up and you were sparko.’
How long was I out?’
Not long, a minute or two maybe. Look at my finger.’
Lewis watched as the digit moved left and right.
I’m cold.’
You might be in a bit of shock. Go and get a burger or something, that will help, trust me.’ 
Lewis felt a hand under his arm pull him upright. He swayed groggily for a moment.

Thank you. Don’t think I’ll do that again though.’
Some people only do it once and it’s enough, nothing to be ashamed of.’
Lewis nodded and slowly walked down past the queue, a scream coming from behind him as another punter launched themselves into the void. He tried not to meet the eyes of the people patiently waiting their turn, but soon saw that they were engrossed in their own fear and butterflies. Near the end, he passed a pretty woman in a tight pair of jeans. His hand shot out and slapped her backside. She turned and stared at him angrily, a largish man turning and eyeing Lewis with a threatening expression. Lewis smiled at the man.
What? You got something you want to say to me you pussy?’