The Falling Sun

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


The rising sun shines on the newlyweds...until the fall.

Submitted: November 30, 2017

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Submitted: November 30, 2017

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"Come on!" I called to Will. I could hardly believe we had been married for a full year. Now we were back at the hiking trail where he had proposed. After the long hike, including a bridge crossing and several deer sightings, we had stood at the summit only a moment before Will took a knee.

Smiling away memories, I slung my pack onto my shoulder and flicked on my flashlight. The sun still had an hour before it would appear.

Will laughed at my enthusiasm but quickly followed me onto the dirt trail.

"I guess we're off!" he shouted. I tried to avoid tripping over rocks while we chatted back and forth. As the first rays of light peaked over the horizon, I took a drink from my Camelback. Together, Will and I watched the sun rise. I watched his face as much as I watched the sky. I loved the stubble across his face, darker than his dirty blond hair. I loved the light refracting in his hazel eyes. I loved the wonder and appreciation spilling from his features.

"Let's keep going," I whispered after ten minutes of awed silence. Will sighed and I understood his sentiment. I wanted this golden moment to last forever.

He took the lead this time. There was still a lot of ground to cover to reach the peak and the hardest parts were yet to come. The newly risen sun soon beat hot upon my back; I was grateful for the occasional cover of pine, the air infused with the smell of the trees. Splashes of purple and white wildflowers lined the trail.

Three hours later and I was eager to reach the summit.

"How much longer do you think?" I asked Will as we stopped for another drink break.

He swallowed and cast a sideways glance toward me. "I'd say about half an hour. We still have to cross the bridge, remember?"

I had forgotten. If there was one thing in this world that I could not stomach, it was bridges. I wasn't scared of heights, necessarily, but I could never stop thinking about the bridge collapsing beneath me and my body falling powerlessly through the air.

"Hey, you okay?" Will's eyes were concerned. I forced a smile and nodded. I didn't trust myself to speak. "Okay...we'll be at the top before you know it!" He gave me a tight hug, then turned back to walking.

The next thirty minutes passed far too quickly. In the blink of an eye, we were standing before the bridge. My stomach filled with dread. It looked even more rickety than the last time we had crossed it. The boards were old and appeared to be nearly falling apart. The supporting braces didn't seem like they were supporting very much.

"Hey," Will said, taking me by the shoulders and looking me in the eyes. "You're going to be okay. We are going to cross this bridge and reach the summit and have a nice lunch. I packed Cheetos." The mention of my favorite food did little to lighten my mood. "I'll go across first, to test it out, then you can follow me. I'm heavier than you are. That's to our advantage."

"What if you don't make it across?" I whispered, feeling more nauseous by the second.

"I will," Will declared. "I will." Then he let go of my arms and carefully stepped onto the planks. They groaned slightly underneath his feet and I flinched. He turned back with a reassuring grin, then took another step. Then another. And another and another and another, each one slow and cautious. Then he stepped off the other side. I let out a breath I didn't realize I had been holding.

"Your turn," he called across the divide. "You can do it. Slow and steady, okay honey?" Fighting the vomit that hovered at the back of my throat and the tears that hovered behind my eyes, I placed my first hiking boot on the bridge. I tried not to look down, but did anyway. The valley floor seemed so far down. I could see myself tumbling end over end into the rocks below. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment and took a deep breath.

"I'm fine," I murmured. "I'm fine and my husband is waiting for me." My second step was more confident. The third was quicker. Soon, I was running across the wooden planks.

"Slow down!" Will shouted.

It was too late. The added pressure from my pounding feet shifted the supports just enough.

The bridge collapsed.

I fell.


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