by L. J. Bosela
One misstep and she’d tumble, down the far embankment and into the river, to her death. She hated heights; they made her stomach feel like a parfait that’s just gotten pulsed in a blender. But she always found herself climbing things, going to stand on the edge. Just to prove that fear was not her master.
Her toes curled at the edges of the crumbling rock as pebbles and clumps of dirt cascaded down and splashed unseen and unheard in the foaming rapids below her feet.
“Kahlia!” her brother’s voice screamed over the tumult of the water below them. “Get back from the edge! I told Dad I’d keep you safe!”
“Don’t make promises for me. You might not be able to keep them. Especially not promises to a dead man,” she said, willing herself not to vomit at the realization that the river was some eighty feet beneath her feet.
“Is that your magic word?”
“Please, please, come back.” He shouted again, this time, somewhat nearer to her.
“Don’t you ever wonder, Misha, about jumping? About how for a brief moment, one might not fall, but fly instead? Have you ever thought about riding the back of the wind, of changing the fall into a flight, and finally escaping from the bonds of normalcy?”
“You’d only fall and get hurt if you jump,” he was reaching for her, and couldn’t come close enough to take hold of her hood or arm. “You’re just human, Kal, and gravity’ll kill you.”
“But for one moment, that glorious one moment of flight, I would be free. I’d be a fairy thing. I could know what it really means to be free.” She leaned forward slightly and sent another shower of pebbles down into the turbulence. “And now I stand in the balance – between the world of the fall and the dream of the flight.”
“Come back before you lose your balance then, Kahlia.”
His voice was plaintive and she knew he hadn’t listened at all to anything she’d said. Not that he ever listened to her. All she ever got was either cajoling to be sensible and serious or that look of amused condescension when little Kal was being whimsical and childish.
But she wanted to fly.
He came a few steps closer; she could hear his breath ripping raggedly from his chest. She closed her eyes and filled her mind with the musky smell of the damp forest behind her and the tang of the wet rocks below.
“Fly with me, Misha,” she whispered. The birds flapped in some nearby thicket, taunting her with the knowledge of flight and wildness. But she had no wings; she was just an earthbound child with a fairy-soul and a heart that only wanted to be free.
“Kahlia,” she felt his hand on her shoulder for the split instant before the stone beneath finally gave way completely.
She flailed her arms, grabbing onto his sleeve, and then she toppled and her stomach churned.
The water would claim her soon, but for that moment, she knew her wish was fulfilled. Time slowed and she smiled to the wind.
I am flying. I am free. And her heart and soul, for that moment, turned falling into flying and she was truly, finally, free.
About the Author: L.J. Bosela
L.J. Bosela was raised in Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula. She writes mostly fiction, with a special interest in fantasy in the style of Tolkien, Lewis, and McKillip. Outside of writing, she also enjoys reading, drinking tea, listening to classical and folk music, and spending time walking through woods, bookstores, and antique shops.