· Choose two random facts from the book ‘BLABLABLA - Something to talk about when you don’t have anything to talk about: 600 completely pointless facts’.
· Write a short story in thirty minutes incorporating both facts.
"The highest waterfall is
'Angel Falls' in Venezuela. It is 979 metres high."
"A chicken can't swallow upside down."
(I wasn't happy with the original one, so I edited it as I typed it up, and corrected the way the fall was described once I knew what it was really like! Originally it was very touristy, but there is no way tourists can get that near to it. I also couldn't be bothered to type up the first version, so I'm only posting draft 2. This was written in 30 minutes first time, however)
I decided that if I was going to commit suicide, it would have to be grand. I needed to go out in style somehow. The idea of drowning struck me as a good way to do it, although I’m not sure why. My death needed to be poetic, however, but I was unsure just how to go about making drowning ‘poetic’.
After several weeks of general pondering, I felt that leaping from a waterfall was the perfect way to do it. The next task was the harder one. Which waterfall? Another few days passed and I researched online and in libraries until I had chosen. The highest waterfall was in Venezuela, and was named Angel Falls. It was 979 metres high. I felt it would be appropriate in two ways; for one, the name seemed to fit with what I was going to do, as I would be falling gracefully like an angel, and secondly, it would be as though as I flying to my death as it was so high. I would have time to enjoy it as surely dropping from such a height would take some time.
The next thing to plan was when I would be able to go ahead with this. I needed to book the flight, which would no doubt be expensive. I had no need to worry about money, as I worked hard and earned enough for me to afford a holiday twice over. Secondly, I had to book the time off from work. I felt bitter at the fact that no one was likely to notice if I just upped and left and never came back, which was essentially what I was planning to do, but with permission from my boss.
He barely looked at me as I walked into his office and talked to him about going. I imagined most people would ask about the holiday, where was I going and what for, but nothing. He just scribbled down the date I was to leave on a post-it note and sent me away again. I sighed as I sat back down in my cubicle.
I was beginning to get worried about how exactly I was going to go about leaping from the waterfall, but decided that panicking about that would have to happen once I got there and saw the area in person rather than relying on images from books and web pages.
The flight was uneventful, which for reasons not fully understood by me, I found upsetting. I kept expecting people to know of my intentions and to look at me in fear, perhaps awe and certainly people to try and talk me out of it. No one did. No one even looked at me twice.
The stewardess shimmied up and down the aisle asking other fliers if they wanted a refreshment of any sort. Twice she went up and down and both times she missed me out completely. I knew it was unintentional. I was invisible to most. Inside, I was deeply hurt, but I never showed it. My determination to pass over the top of Angel Falls grew. This was why my death had to be poetic. It had to be beautiful. Nothing in my life would ever be either, and it never had been. Why not end it that way, and achieve something?
There was a couple sitting behind me, having the most obscene of conversations. They only made me feel worse.
“Well, what if it were hanging upside down?” One of the two asked.
“Chickens can’t swallow when they’re hanging upside down.” Retorted the other, angrily. I felt a little part of me die inside. Why did people feel the need to say things such as this out loud?
“How would you even know a thing like that?” These were the very sort of people who made me want to die. Constantly wittering on and on about nothing, paying no attention to anyone or anything around them. Blundering through life, never appreciating just how good they had it.
Their conversation continued, and their voices rose and rose until everyone one on the plane could most likely hear their stupid conversation. As hard as it was, I managed to block this terrible waste of words from entering my mind and dreamed of how it would feel to fly.
I stood at the top of the falls. It had been a long and laborious trek out here, but I had made it nonetheless. I had been trekking up and down the river’s edge, unable to find anywhere suitable to leap from. The terrain was tricky, and tears of anger and frustration were forming on my cheeks. I had to do this. I had to do something right in my life. Something that was beautiful.
After hours of this pacing, and self loathing, I decided. I would simply let the current of the river take me over with it. If anything that was nicer than jumping. I shrugged off my bag and clothes, and plunged in.
The cold hit me and all senses left me then returned again. I could not tell which way was up or down, or left or right. I was sucked under in a white flurry of angry foam. The cold was unbearable and my lungs craved for something that was not there. I knew I was getting closer to the edge of the waterfall, but I was still stuck underwater, writhing, flailing, limbs a tangle as I was dragged and tossed against rock after rock. Why hadn’t I thought this through? How could I not have seen this coming? This is stupid. A sudden moment of clarity and then the chaos was upon me again. I could hear a terrible rage about to engulf me fully. I was going to die, and nothing had ever happened in my life that had gone as I had planned. Not even my own death.
There was nothing. I could not see, or hear, feel, smell or taste anything. I’d died and I had never experienced the flying. The last moment of bliss, of liberty before I got what I wanted. Then came the pain. It felt as though I had landed on a pavement having fallen from the empire state building, but after hitting the floor, I continued through it somehow; pitiful, pathetic, broken. I realised that the concrete that I had fallen through was the bottom of the waterfall.
I hadn’t flown at all. I had simply... happened at the bottom, I realised sadly and slipped from consciousness.
I opened my eyes and wished I hadn’t. Doing so just hurt. All I could see was white. I had done it. At last, I was dead.
A figure stepped towards me.
“He’s awake.” The voice said. It sounded familiar. Was it an angel? My vision began to clear. All around me was white, but it was not what I was expecting. The walls were whitewashed, and the rows of beds were dressed in white. The figure above me wore a white coat and a frown. I felt my stomach contract and fought the urge to vomit.
Not only had I failed my task, but I knew why the voice was so familiar. I heard the conversation in my head again. Chickens can’t swallow when they hang upside down.
“It’s a miracle you’re alive.” The voice said.