Falling by Keith Kitchen

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SUMMARY: Dave Morris has fallen off a cliff and his falling toward the ground...or is he? Something is very, very wrong.

There was a flash and everything went dark for just a second. It was just a second and Dave wondered what had happened. Then, it was gone. Whatever it had been was gone and he was standing outside. Looking around, he saw familiar faces, friends of his.

Something was wrong, Dave just couldn't put a finger on it. None of this looked right, but it had to be, right? The sky was a beautiful shade of blue, no clouds were in sight and the temperature was perfect, probably seventy-two degrees. There were trees in the distance but in the immediate area there weren't any, just the rocks all around him and the cliff which was about four hundred yards beyond.

He knew he wasn't supposed to go near the cliff, none of them were, but if they were careful, nobody'd get hurt, right? He started walking towards the edge, motioning to his friends.

"Come on, you guys! There's no danger in just looking, he called as he walked closer to the cliff.

"No way, Dave," her heard Mary Shumaker say. "I'd be scared stiff just looking over the edge and I just know I'd fall and I'm too young to die." She turned her head and looked at her friend, Kara Moore and giggled. "He's such a ghee!" She hadn't intended for Dave to hear but it came through clear as a bell.

"You won't fall, I swear it!" Dave sneered. Mary shook her head. "Oh, well. Any other takers? Anybody want to take a gander over the cliff?"

Bill Ackerman stood up and stretched. "No way, man. We're staying here. How about just hangin' out and maybe we'll get a football game or something going."

"Naw," Dave said with a wan smile. "I've been up here hundreds of times and I've never taken a good look over the cliff. Today, I'm gonna look." He shrugged as he started walking off, leaving the three couples behind him. He was the spare tire, the odd man out and he knew it. "Anyways, it looks as if you all got something in mind to do, anyway."

Sam Waters called out, "He, Morris, it's not our fault you didn't bring a date. We told you to bring one."

Dave stopped and turned around. "I can't help it nobody'll go out with me. How would you like it if every girl you asked out told you to take a hike? Well? How would you feel?"

Dave resisted the impulse to start walking home. He wasn't expecting any of them to answer him, so he turned back towards the cliff and started walking again. It wasn't fair, he thought. He knew he was the one who should have been able to get any girl he wanted, yet even the few who were still interested in him were forbidden to go near him.

Far in the back of his mind, he knew something wasn't right. For some reason, he felt nothing around him was right. He looked around and saw everything seemed right. It was a beautiful day, but still he had that nagging feeling. A feeling of dread that coursed through him, gnawing at him like an oversized rat chomping on a cat in a dark alley late at night...Dave shook his head. Where had that thought come from?

Dave Morris was a good-looking guy, the type you see on a college campus around the country with girls hanging all over them.

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