The Matticus Kingdom just keeps finding a gauntlet to throw. Here is the latest.
Gently rubbing throbbing temples provided the illusion of relief without actually carrying through with the promise. Another futile second and the hands dropped, defeated, and eyes flared open again. Angry red lines coursed away from pools of deep blue that framed anguished black pupils. Creases above eyebrows and worry lines appeared in the recently vacated spaces.
Neighbors cast furtive glances, some of concern, some of blame, and some of boredom, and they were all ignored. There was no time or energy to deal with their intrigue, there was only pain. Constant. Intense. It burrowed further in, disrupting the normal flow of tissues and synapses. Eyes closed once more for balance but the bursts of light cascading in synchronized waves against eyelids required hands to go fumbling in search of something solid to cling to.
Balance restored, slowly. Achingly slowly. The throbbing headache remained.
Dark thoughts, twisted and writhing with mischief, found a way to surface when no others would or could: quick ways to end the suffering, names of those at fault for the current agony and how best to serve a fitting revenge, and the long road to recovery hidden in shadows and chains. The abused heart lurched haltingly as it became wrapped in despair. Knees grew weak. Eyes, still hidden protectively behind their lids, rolled upwards. Gravity did the rest and cooling air rushed passed falling limbs…
Now for my part:
Hours, or only an instant, passed by in a blur. Eyelids opened to the blue and white foam fast approaching. Time crystallized and stopped. Birds mid-flight, their wings stretched to full span, seemed frozen on the wind, like a stop-action photo. Trees stood still, holding their breath, while the waters of the fall below ceased their downward plunge, the roar deadened into deafening silence. It seemed to last an eternity, until the seconds began ticking again, first in slow succession like hours, then quickening their pace into minutes, then screaming past until – SNAP!
The taut bungee cord wrenched Dave’s body back up towards the old railway bridge. The pain was gone now, for the moment. He knew it would return once the rush was over. Adrenaline provided the only relief he could find these days for the pounding behind his eyeballs. He began to perceive the shouts of his fellow thrill-seekers, but he could truly hear the disapproving silence of the other onlookers.
Too far below to read the signs the disgruntled protestors still carried, he didn’t need to see them to know their message. The town had been in an uproar all winter over the decision to open the historic bridge to a local company intent on using it as a launch site for bungee jumpers. Dave was all for it – his now-empty savings account attested to his determination to find any way possible to rid himself of the relentless pain he now suffered.
Flinging his arms wide as if he planned to embrace the rocks before him, he let out a shout of delight as the cord released him downwards once more. This time there was no familiar SNAP of a rebound. Instead there was a tearing sound as the cord unraveled and broke into two ragged pieces.
Dave had time for one thought as he rushed towards the rocky waterfall below: “Well, at least the headaches will be over,” and he smiled in anticipation of that end.