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Fiction #372
(published March 6, 2008)
And Still We Fell
by Nathan Tyree
We climbed as high as we could, fighting against the wind that threatened to rip us from our footings and hurl us down the lonely deep chasm that looked as though it went forever. We feared that if we lost our bearings we would never reach the peak; never plant that ragged flag at the high point that men dreamed of. We fought on. On the fifth day of the climb Roberto laid his foot askew and his left ankle gave a sound that echoed like a gunshot through the snow bouncing a reverberating in waves around us. We made camp far from our destination.

We held each other in the night as a matter of survival. The frigid air wanted our lives. It pulled at our heat sapping it and leaving our skin chapped. Had it not been for fear, Roberto would never have let me wrap my body around his. The very thought of another man against him created a tide of revulsion that he felt compelled to iterate and reiterate and exclaim most of the night. The cold made him hold me as tightly as I held him.

Roberto could go no farther. His ankle had grown to twice its healthy size and taken on a purple hue that made my skin snake over my body. During the day we hoped for rescue and at night we held one another and talked.

When the hunger grew too strong and dreams of searchers faded we made our plan. Without knowing why, I kissed Roberto as deeply as I could. He was past any need to pretend. He opened his mouth to me and pulled my form closer to his. Drawn together like that, more a single being than two separate men we moved to the edge of the chasm and let the wind do its work.

Roberto and I fell. We spiraled and spun and sank with the wind rushing over us making it feel like we were flying instead of falling. Our fall widened and loosened and we vibrated as our body heat vanished and darkness washed in. And still we fell.

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