‘Four seconds. It’s quick, man. Four seconds and you bleed out. All over.’
But he doesn’t think about that, doesn’t think about anything. An empty head, and being the right amount of psyched. No rope, just a bag of chalk. His only thought: the next move of foot or hand. He’s traversing into a parallel crack system across a flat exposed plane when his foot slips, his fingers clutch and for a moment he hangs. And then he’s in the void, arms spread to greet the trees two thousand feet below.
‘Four seconds, man. It’s a lifetime.’
This is a 100-word flash fiction story inspired by the picture above (this week supplied by Marie Gail Stafford). Click here to read pieces by other writers, and here to join in. I did quite a bit of research on climbing free solo and Alex Honnold for this piece. Frightening stuff. I’m definitely not a climber.
If any readers happen to be in Hong Kong this weekend, I’ll be at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival on Saturday 11th November at 1pm, speaking about Swimming Lessons. It would be great to see you there.