Free Fall (Flash Fiction)

Once again another flash fiction Friday! This story is meant to motivate those who write to keep writing, even when faced with some unsupportive people. As always, this piece hovers around 500 words!

I’ve always liked the word ‘cascade.’

What’s not to like? It sounds just like a waterfall. The ‘ca-’ is the water launching itself over the edge of the cliff, a sound interrupted as it’s flung into nothingness.

The ‘-s-’ is the hiss of the water as it falls. Some stray drops falling away from the mass of water plummeting to uncertainness might even evaporate with that same ‘-s-’ sound in the heat.

‘-cade’ is the best part. It’s the sound of the water crashing into the rocks below. It’s violent and potentially life-ending; and yet the water moves on, unperturbed. If only I could adopt that mindset. Even if I’m launched into nothingness and fall, only to crash into something hard, that I could just carry on. Shake off the unexpected shift in my journey and keep going.

“What are you thinking?”

I look up at my sister-in-law, who is staring at me. “Just a word.”

She groans. “We specifically took you hiking so that you’d stop obsessing about words. You know, we all think you’re writing too much. It’s an obsession.”

The waterfall in front of us continues to rush; moving forward to pour itself over the edge. The water has no idea that at the bottom of the terrifying fall there is a calm pool that eventually becomes a river. It doesn’t know, and still, it launches itself over the edge. ‘Ca-’.

“Hey!” Fingers are snapping in front of my face and I turn to glare at her. Why did Tim marry this shrew?

“What?”

“What word are you thinking about?”

“Cascade.”

She wrinkles her nose. “What?”

“You know, like a cascading waterfall. Or a wedding dress could cascade down a bride.” Images of fine white satin rippling down a woman’s form spring to my mind. I close my eyes and remember how my Becca looked on our wedding day. She wore a thick lace choker, it concealed most of her neck, resembling a turtleneck sweater. She’d loved it. Turtlenecks were always her favorite.

Her death had launched me into nothingness. In the free fall, I had turned to writing, and here I was crashing into my family members, who apparently thought I was obsessive and weird.

“Will.”

At the sound of my name, I open my eyes. “Hmm?”

“We’re supposed to be hiking. Not thinking about writing or words or Becca.” Her voice is exasperated. “Come on, Tim’s done setting up the food.”

I look up the trail to where my brother is waving at us from the picnic table that has been set up for hikers to eat and enjoy the sight of the waterfall.

“I’ll be right there.”

I hear the angry huff but don’t look around. Instead, I stare at the waterfall. The cascading waterfall. Something clicks. That’s it. That’s what my work needs. I pull out my phone and open notes, frantically trying to write down the words. The perfect key to unlock my memoir.

“WILL!” I ignore the shrill shriek and keep writing.

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