Mark had to admit the view from this spot was great. He could see the entire valley below him: all the little creases and wrinkles carved out by ice and water and time. There was a nice little breeze as well that kept the summer air from being too stifling for comfort.
Of course, after nine hours stuck halfway up a mountain, with night coming on quickly, it was starting to lose its appeal.
Another gust brushed past him, giving his clothes teasing tugs as it went.
The ledge supporting him wasn’t getting any narrower, he knew that on an intellectual level. On a purely emotional level he was absolutely certain that it was half as wide as it had been in the beginning, and reducing every moment he stood balanced on it.
Mark pulled his cell phone out and glanced at the screen again.
The battery was going dead.
Worse, there was no reception. No bars. Not even a blip.
“What the hell is blocking the signal?” he muttered, “I’m on the side of a damn mountain, for God’s sake!”
He shoved the worthless thing back in his pocket and zipped it closed.
His eyes tracked upward, searching out the small indention he’d seen almost nine hours ago.
The perfect handhold.
The answer to his problems.
Too far away to reach.
His stomach shivered and he was kind of glad he’d already gotten rid of the small breakfast he’d eaten that morning.
“OK, choices. What are my choices?”
He looked down. “No, definitely not.” The urge to close his eyes was strong, but he was pretty sure a long drop would follow giving in to that urge, with an abrupt stop at the end.
He’d already ruled out going to either side. The rock was completely smooth in both directions with no handholds, no footholds, no port in the very quiet storm he’d put himself in.
That was the only way, and it was out of reach.
Mark leaned back against the stone and watched the sun sink behind the rolling hills on the other side of the valley. Any other time he’d have appreciated the brilliant red and orange glow cast on the clouds skipping overhead, but his preoccupation with gravity was monopolizing his attention.
Moving carefully, he turned to face the wall that had been cradling him all day.
“One good jump, that’s all I need. One good jump.”
He crouched as much as he could and measured the distance in his mind. His muscles, stiff from so many hours of standing virtually immobile, protested. He’d really only get one chance; if he missed, he’d be keeping that date with gravity.
“Right.” He took a deep breath and steadied himself.
This is my response to a prompt from Tipsy Lit – the prompt was to write a story about taking a big risk. As a person who is terribly afraid of heights, and yet has gone climbing, nothing is riskier to me than making that leap for a handhold that’s just out of reach. Let me know what you think in the comments, and be sure to follow the link below to read the other responses!