Feel The Fear

Entry by: percypop

4th August 2017

The flag at the top of the ladder seems just a small beacon very far away. As he climbs, his feet seem to curl round each rung as if clinging to it.

“Don’t look down.” He reminds himself at every step, as instinct urges him to glance away from the flag fluttering at the top board. The ladder moves a little in the wind and the rungs are damp from the mist.

As he reaches the platform, he stands for a few moments to regain his balance and to breathe deeply, as he had been taught.

‘Slow, deep breaths. One; two; three. Lift your arms. Give the signal.’
The little pool is a faint round shape below. There goes the flame rippling across the surface. Now it burns bright as a cauldron.

‘Look up; step forward; breathe deeply and fall.’

For a millisecond he is free. All strain and anxiety lifted from his brain and weight from his body. Just that instant of joy, then a terrible urgency floods back and he turns a somersault to land on his back in the shallow water.
The crowd roar as usual and he quickly swims to the edge. Standing at the poolside swathed in his sequinned robe he waves triumphantly to the crowd.
The tight smile on his face masks the grimace underneath. Just the eyes betray the terror within.