The height intoxicated him. He felt the world spinning around him like a black-blue daze, the entire universe in a perfect spin that was solely intended to make him give up his lunch. The rock was cold beneath his feet as he inched forward another baby step. His hammering heart shuttered in his chest as it saw the drop below, and the moon on the lake like a maniacal grin that he knew he would never be able to wipe from his memory. Sean clenched his fists together until he could feel his short nails biting into the skin of his palms. Don’t think, he reminded himself, just do it.

“Whaddya afraid of, Maluene? Afraid of a little fall?” one of the other boys goaded him.

“Shut up, Jayne!” a girl hissed. The voices were whispered in the back of his mind, haunting of his memory. Even as words were spoken, they were lost, victims to his paralyzing fear. A wind rushed between the trees, and the leaves trembled the same way his lungs did with every short breath he inhaled. He took another step forward. He could hear the boys already in the water teasing him, goading him on. He was surrounded. The calls came from every direction, and they pushed him unwillingly toward the dark abyss.

Sean took one great big breath and plunged into the empty air.
He felt nothing but the bite of the wind. The voice were gone behind him. The wind roared in his ears and scratched his skin. It was his enemy as it tugged at his gangly limbs, pulling them in directions they should never go in as he tried to squeeze them together tight. But the common sense in him knew that the wind was his friend, and it would cushion his fall.

The funny thing about falling, Sean decided as he fell, was that it was not too bad. The only sound was the roaring wind, and it had no expectations. It wasn’t the fall he was afraid of. It was the landing. Even if it was a lake, Sean knew that Reaper’s Rock had gained its name for a reason. Etched in the stone were the cried to the boys who fell the wrong way, who didn’t jump far enough and landed on the jagged rocks by the cliff’s edge. He found himself holding his breath as he imagine what it would be like to fall on land from so high up, to have a rock pierce right through your body like you were nothing more than mud.

He opened his eyes. He wasn’t listening to the wind anymore. He definitely wasn’t looking forward to the cool water. He was only aware of the rocks at the bottom.

The world trembled. He heard a shriek from atop Reaper’s Rock. The waves foamed beneath him and pebbles broke off the cliff’s side as it inched away from him, like a puppy unwilling to play. Sean’s breath came in short uneven gasps as his energy drained in a green glow from his finger tips. The last of the world disappeared out of the corner of his eyes as the cold black water embraced his unconscious body.

.

Word: Goad. || Time: 15 minutes. || Character: Sean Maluene.

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

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