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 writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype and is forthcoming from The Laurel Review. A piece of flash fiction is forthcoming from Cold Creek Review. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published online at Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files.” Richard is also Downlink Lead for HiRISE at the University of Arizona.