Vertigo

I stood at the top of the tower, my toes curled around the edge of the board. Below me the deep green depths of the rainforest stretched out in all directions, reaching well beyond the hazy skyline and the dim outlines of the blue mountains beyond. A warm breeze tickled my face, blowing errant strands of hair into my mouth. I tossed them aside, keeping my eyes fixed straight ahead rather than look down.

"Perhaps this wasn't such a bright idea after all." I muttered, chewing the end of my thumb.

From the bottom everything had seemed fine. Standing on a table and craning my neck to see the top of the diving board, its elegant metallic grace arching over the very tops of the canopy. It had all seemed very strong and safe then, but now the thick elastic cord around my legs no longer felt quite so strong, nor the board I stood on quite so wide. In fact, it felt as if the whole structure was shaking underneath my quaking knees. I laughed, a high nervous sound that mirrored the squaking of the cockatoos in the branches nearby.

"Ready?" called a voice. I didn't dare turn to see who it was. If I turned back now, I knew I'd lose my nerve. Instead I just nodded, fixing my eyes on the horizon again, and raising my hands, ready to dive into the unknown.

"Don't worry, it's not as far as it looks." called the voice again. "On the count of three, kay?"

I nodded again, swallowing drily. Now I realised why all the other visitors had screamed when they leapt off the board. I had laughed at them then, as they plunged into the deep green pool below the jumping station, shrieking like mad hyenas. Well, the joke was on me now.

"One."

My heartbeat sped up. I felt as if a litre of liquid adrenaline had been shot into my system. Everything seemed to be going so fast, I could almost feel time whipping past my ears.

"Two."

Fear siezed my chest, its greasy coils wrapping themselves around my heart. I thought of myself crashing to earth at the speed of a bullet, smeared across the ground like a ketchup stain on a carpet. I didn't want to do this, this was a bad idea, I should turn back-

"THREE!"

Everything stopped. Time stood still. I could hear the word ringing in my ears, but it seemed as if I was hearing it from the end of a long twisty tunnel. I swallowed and took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the sweet, heavy scent of the Australian air. I raised my arms like a diver, my gaze never once leaving the craggy mountain outlines on the horizon.

Then, I sprang from the board and plummeted towards the ground below.

The End

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