My writing group's writing game this week had the following writing challenge: 20 minutes to come up with a story that includes the following 4 words: -
Moccasin, Footing, IQ-Test, Monosyllable.
We then added a fifth random food item to the mix, and the one I got was Coconut.
Here's the story that I came up with.
In an instant
It's not the falling that’s the problem. It's the hitting the ground at the end of it. That thought flashes through my mind as I lose my grip on the cliff face. The sudden tug of gravity that pulls me inexorably to my doom doesn't care whether I lost my footing, or whether my brain decided subconsciously to miss the handhold in the rock on purpose.
The result is the same. Three point five seconds of whooshing followed by what I assume will be a crunching, horrifying mess of a death. At least I don't feel afraid, although I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the reassuring full moon lighting my descent, or the calming ambience of the silent desert landscape.
Crunch. I think it's crunch anyway. I didn't feel anything, just a sudden suspension, and then blackness. And now warmth, as if a hundred different hands are holding me steady, a warm pair of moccasins for the soul almost. If you'd asked me before now whether I believed in an afterlife, I'd have grunted some sort of monosyllable retort, a profanity unfitting certainly of my current predicament, and to be honest, I'd probably have scoffed at you and demanded you take an IQ-test, but they only seem to be good at gauging how good people are at taking IQ-tests than actual intelligence, so what do I know?
It's this sort of rambling thought process that makes me stop and pay attention to where I am, to truly consider whether I'm a shattered sack of meat and bones at the base of the cliff, or whether I can truly say there's more to life than I thought.
Perhaps I'm still falling. Perhaps this is just my brain working through everything before the end. Perhaps that's why I can smell coconut all of a sudden. I thought it was burnt toast that you smelled during a stroke, so maybe it's coconut for when you accidentally fling yourself off a cliff.
Perhaps what that smell is, is a clue, an inkling to decide in this split-second before impact, my own Schrodinger’s Cliff Test if you will, to ask the question that I guess we all should ask of ourselves every day as we go about our business. Have I fallen off the cliff, or have I pushed? Am I alive, or am I dead?
© Craig Romans 2015.
So, give it a go yourselves with those 5 words: Moccasin, Footing, IQ-Test, Monosyllable, Coconut. See what you come up with in 20 minutes.