A Long Way Down
Age Rating: 10 +
“Watch your step,” the guide warned, “the moss is very slippery up here and we don’t want anyone falling off the edge.”
This was the most exciting day in Daybriel’s life- she was going to parachute off Angle Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world. She had jumped from airplanes, buildings, and bridges, but nothing could compare to this. The pure rapture of terror; not knowing if this would be the last thing she ever did. But the more enduring the terror, the more she pushed foreword to get that rush, a rush of pure ecstasy, the point between life and death, the ultimate extreme.
Yes, this was life to young, 19 year old Daybriel Owens. She had only been out of high school 9 months, but unlike most the young adults at her high school, Daybriel did not choose to head right into 4-6 years of more schooling, no she wanted to see the world, before she settled down, she wanted to see it all. The worst, the best and her favorite-the terrifying.
This is the point you will be jumping from,” the guide said, “Please try to remember all the safety procedures…” Blah, blah, blah.
The excitement was getting to Daybriel. They had gone over the procedures a thousand times. She just wanted to jump, and this guide was taking forever.
“Please, everyone stay with the group. We don’t want any accidents all right? One at a time you may begin jumping. When it is your turn you will see a blue flair, that’s your signal to jump.”
“Oh, hell,” thought Daybriel, this was going to take forever. She was at the very end of the line and she could very well be there all day.
That’s when it came to her, there was only one guide watching. She could sneak off and jump just a little ways from the designated site. No harm in getting things to move a bit faster- after all, she had done this sort of thing before. What could possibly go wrong?
She walked carefully along, as to not slip on the moss.
“Be careful,” she heard a small voice whisper.
“Who said that?,” she whispered back.
“It’s a long way down,” the voice whispered again.
“What’s going on? Who are you?” The distress was starting to show in Daybriel’s voice.
“The moss is slippery.”
This time she had no time to react; her feet flew out from underneath her. She was falling. The last sound she heard before she hit the water was cackling-horrid, evil cackling.
Boom, boom, boom. Daybriel woke with a start,
“What’s that noise?” She wondered.
It didn’t take her long to realize it was her own head.
“What happened?” she thought out loud, “Where am I?”
Angle Falls, it hit her like a ton of bricks-but this wasn’t Angel falls, it didn’t even resemble a rain forest. No this was something altogether different, and yet strangely the same. And shouldn’t the fall have killed her, maybe it had and she was in heaven, but the pounding of her head suggested otherwise.
“Ha, ha, ha. Did you have a nice trip? Ha, ha, ha. Well, I though t it was funny.”
“Who is it? Who’s there?” Daybriel was starting to panic; this was the same voice and the same horrid cackling she’d heard, just before she fell.
“What is it? What do you want from me?”
“You Americans, quite the jumpy lot aren’t you?”
Daybriel couldn’t respond, the hairs on her arms were sticking straight up, her voice seemed to have vanished.
“Oh, come on, you can’t be afraid of me can you? A daring young lady such as yourself, willing to risk your life, just to find the ultimate jump. I rather thought you enjoyed fear.”
“Where are you? Show yourself,” she demanded.
“So, Daybriel. Do you like to be scared?”
“This isn’t funny, show yourself, you coward!”
“Oh, yes. I’m going to enjoy this very much, very much indeed.”
“Enjoy what? You sick…” That’s all she got out before the ground started spinning.
As the spinning got faster and faster the laughter got louder and louder. The whole world seemed to be turning every which way but straight, what was there would disappear and reappear-nights, days, suns, moons, all seemed to flash before her eyes and yet it was gone in an instant. She felt sick, and before everything could stop, she was spilling her guts on the still-spinning floor. Then just as suddenly as it began, it stopped.
After she was done being sick, she got up and looked around. She wasn’t any place she recognized. She doubted she was on the same continent. Her parachuting gear was beginning to feel heavy but she held on to it, just in case.
“Now what do I do?” she thought.
“Very good question.”
“I’ve had just about enough of this! What do you want!?” She shrieked.
“Why, to give you the ultimate thrill, of course. Isn’t that what you wan? Isn’t that what you’ve been searching for?”
“What are you talking about? I don’t understand. Why are you doing this to me?”
“Stop crying girl, you don’t want the natives to discover you. They’re a bit cannibalistic, I’m afraid.”
“Where am I? What do you want me to do?”
“ So many questions, but I’ll answer a few of them for you, if you stop blubbering of course.” Daybriel shut up and waited patiently for the voice to continue.
“You, dear girl, you are at Angle Falls as I think it should be.”
“But, there’s no water here, all I see is an impossibly high cliff.”
“Are you going to let me explain, or do I have to put up with these infuriating interruptions the entire time!”
“Sorry,” Daybriel murmured.
“As I said before this is how I think Angle falls should be. And since I have the power for it to be so it is. I can make anything I want anywhere, and in any frame of time. I can do this because; I am Hemotra, the God of Insanity. And I, Hemotra want you to climb to the top of the cliff and jump. Only then will you find the ultimate extreme, and only then may you return to your so-called reality.”
“And if I choose not to jump?”
“Make no mistake, I am very patient. You will jump or you will die here. Away from your family, away from everything you’ve ever known, and you will die alone.”
“Which way do I go?,” Daybriel asked defeated.
“Head toward the base of the cliff, follow it east until you reach a small pass. If you travel hard up the pass you may be able to reach the top in two weeks.”
The voice cackled a little and disappeared before Daybriel could ask more questions. She had like a million of them, but he would probably refuse to answer them any way. What really bugged her was the familiarity of Hemotra’s voice, who did he sound like?
She decided not to worry about it, so she picked up her things and headed for the base of the cliff. It was much bigger than she’d thought, and it continued to get bigger the closer she got. She wondered how she was going to breath when she got up there, it was almost as big as Mt. Everest, she guessed.
She walked for what seemed to be hours before she got to the base of the cliff.
“Now which way did he tell me to go? Was it east or west? Hmmmmmm….It must be west,” Daybriel concluded, “ya, that sounds about right.”
So she went west, and in almost no time at all she found what must have been the pass. But it didn’t seem foreboding at all, so she assumed that Hemotra was a little over dramatic. The pass was almost pleasant, but she still didn’t trust it. Her father always told her things aren’t always what they seem, that particular phrase seemed to go hand and hand with this scenario.
She continued up the pass for the rest of the day, the top got closer and closer. It shouldn’t be this easy should it, she thought? There was little light left, so Daybriel decided to find a place to sleep. Night was coming on fast; she didn’t want to be caught out in the open, especially when she didn’t know where and when she was.
It took about a half hour to find a cave to set up in. She collected firewood in the dark, but soon realized she didn’t have anything to start a fire with. It was getting chilly too, so she threw the wood on the ground and hurried back to the cave. She sat and wondered what to do about the cold, and then it came to her. Her parachute, she could use that. After all she knew how to pack her own ‘chute, she could easily put it back together for the jump. With that figured out she wrapped herself in the ‘chute and fell in to a heavy dreamless sleep.
A few hours later Daybriel awoke to a rustling sound. It was a really awkward sound, so she peeked out from under her ‘chute to attempt an investigation. There, on the other side of the cave was something she didn’t want to see. Two men sat staring at her. What if they were the cannibals Hemotra spoke of? Lordy, lord she was in trouble.
One of the men walked over to her a shook her. Daybriel shot up, only to realize she was cornered. They looked sad to see her. The other man hugged her as a tear went down his face.
“We are the lost ones,” the first man informed her, “ you will be a lost one too. All we can do is lessen your journey I’m afraid. Your doom is only a burden you can bear.”
“What are you talking about,” Daybriel asked still wary.
“Follow me,” the second man demanded pulling her by the arm. They pushed her through a passage in the wall. Neither one spoke to her after that. Daybriel felt truly frightened. What was going to happen to her? They stopped at the top of the passage.
“We leave you here,” the first man said and walked away.
“Oh, god the second man said hugging her again, “why one so young.” He ran down the passage in tears. Daybriel didn’t know quiet what to think, so she went through the passage door and found herself at the top of the mountain.
“How the hell…,” she didn’t get to finish her question.
“I am not, I did exactly what you said, and now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to jump so I can go home.”
Now you are a liar too, I see. I told you to go east, you went west, which is by far an easier route. I intended you to have some hardships before you got up here, but no matter, you will not jump, not once you look over the edge. That’s one of my rules, you must look over the edge.”
She thought about it; she wasn’t afraid of heights, so it wouldn’t be half bad at all.
“Go on, take a look.”
She went to the edge and looked down; she pulled back horrified. It was much to high, she could see oceans and continents, it was unreal. It couldn’t be, it was impossible, the climb was too easy, she could still breath, something wasn’t right. She couldn’t jump from this high it was impossible, she would die.
“Ha, ha. I thought you might reconsider.”
“Damn you,” she screamed, “ If I’m to stay here forever, can I at least see who the hell put me here.
“Oh, yes child.”
Then she saw him; it was the tour guide. He had a robe on, he looked so different, but undoubtedly the same. She felt her breath fall heavier and heavier as he got nearer and nearer. He was 10 feet, 1 foot, 10 inches, 2 inches, his mouth was right next to her ear.
“You’re mine forever.”
Then he grabbed her and sliced her arm.
She jerked back with a scream, “Noooooo!”
Things aren’t always what they seem, she ran for the edge. “It’s a long way down,” the voice cackled.
“So it is,” she agreed and then jumped.
-Beep, Beep, Beep. Daybriel jerked out of bed. It was 7 a.m., time to get ready for school. It was just a dream, she told herself, just a dream. She was only 15; she hated heights and would never jump off anything. But it had been so real. And the cut- she felt up her arm. It was scabbed over, but it was there.
“But it was just a dream!” she screamed.
-Then she heard it, that evil, vile cackling. Now she understood the men, she was going to join them there forever. They had been welcoming her to their sad existence. They must have been like her too. She broke into sobs, this couldn’t be happening.
“You didn’t think I’d really let you go, did you?”