Fall Tree

[Our first fiction writing assignment due November 07, 2013 in ENGL 215 required exploring psychic distance (how close point of view is to the narrator in the story) across five short 50-word descriptions of the same event. Mine is a little autobiographical – I did fall out of a tree in high school – but I didn’t die. Or really get hurt. Fiction!]

1. The Science Club president fell to his death last week during a field trip when the branch he was standing on broke. His parents have pressed charges against the club advisor, Mr. Chemistry Teacher, who allegedly failed to obtain a signed parental permission form from the president.

2. The branch under his feet gave way. He plummeted more than ten feet and when his stomach pressed on the forest floor, he laughed. He did not stop laughing even when he stood up and started running around trying to shake off the ridiculous pain.

3. He is falling and the wind is a vertical force pressing his face into a smile. When he lands by the saw, his body stutters. There are words to be said but they would come out the same. So he laughs instead, having carried the smile this far anyway.

4. I’m tall inside this tall tree before I am translated, a slow math student at work, his slipping rotation calculation. He picks his nose. He leaves me horizontal, flat, stacked on the earth, and my quick pain is his newly solved crush on the disgusted girl sitting next to him.

5. Surprise is the ground under my face where just moments before was bark scratching my eyes with dark texture. Down here the feeling is soft, green, cool, wet, scratching, crawling, waiting; no one has reacted yet, not even me, not this surprised. I’m alive, is my first movement.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), his Micro.blog (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).