On the Bounce (part 1)

This story takes place in Morpheus's Twisted Universe.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

I sat in the shade, my legs sprawled out, in a vain attempt to catch more air. What with it being over a hundred degrees in the shade it didn't help much. A few years ago I would have been on the equipment with my cousin Suzie. I don't know how she did it, how I used to do it. Still living in Washington state I just wasn't used to Arizona Weather. Back home one hundred degrees was a heatwave, here it was a Tuesday.

Oblivious to the heat, Suzie was doing handsprings from one end of the play area to the other. Then she'd jump, do a half twist and start again in the other direction. Already several younger girls were joining in, or at least doing cartwheels in line with her. I sighed and pulled out my phone, refreshing my Facebook feed, still nothing since the PM from Amanda.

"honestly, Lee, you think you could put that phone down for one minute," mom said from the other side of the picnic table. Aunt Grace nodded in sympathy. "Suzie's been begging her father for a phone, since Christmas."

Good luck with that Suzie, I thought. My uncle Todd was a positive dinosaur, despite being Dad's younger brother. Old fashioned as it gets, it was a miracle that he let Suzie out of the house in anything other than a floor length skirt, though she still had to wear them any time they went to church, and stuff.

Mom picked up the last of the cucumber sandwiches, we'd had for lunch. The family at the next table had burgers from the kiosk. Thick, and glistening with cheese and bacon so crunchy I could hear it cracking from here. But no, we had to have healthy food, what with Suzie being in training for a gymnastics meet. I pushed away from the picnic table, still holding my phone, "I'll take a few photos."

"hay squirt," I said to Suzie as I passed. She was done with flips and was balancing above the horizontal bar in a perfect splits position. She looked over at me and blew a raspberry;.

"Say cheese short stuff," I said snapping a photo of her.

"Hay, you better delete that. I wasn't ready for my close up" she called after me.

The play area was covered by sails of shade cloth, arranged in vast triangles, high overhead. Beyond that, a hiking trail wended past. Somewhere to the left it switched back and headed down towards the canyon floor. A five thousand foot descent. I'd seen several groups start down earlier in the morning. Still, the edge would make a great place for a selfie. Well if not for the great big honking safety barrier that had to be at least five feet tall. Just because some people were idiots the rest of us didn't get to enjoy the view.

I leant against the barrier, and flipped the phone over, trying to angle it so it looked like I was living on the edge. but no matter what I did, I couldn't get the barrier out of the shot, it looked lame. Maybe I should have gone with dad to the city. At least the hotel had air conditioning and a pool. Dad was delivering his paper today; Evidence of Neolithic Hot Air Ballooning among the Plains Indians. It was interesting stuff even if Dad's delivery wasn't all that exciting.

Mum and aunt grace had shifted over talking to the woman at the next table over, and Suzie was now doing a handstand. Not on the ground, but still balanced on the bar, while a gaggle of other girls watched in amazement. If I got a bit higher, I thought, maybe I could get a photo without the dumb barrier blocking half of it.

Getting up to the handrail was no trouble at all, what whit the cross bars in the barrier. I squatted there for a moment, getting my balance. I scooted up as far as I dared, arching my back over the top of the barrier, this was going to be an epic selfie.

The phone played its shutter sound. Then the pain started. at first, it felt like pins and needles running down my back and arms. making my muscles spasm, so much so that I dropped the phone. Then lightning started to play across my skin, arcing into the wire mesh I was leaning against.

"Lee!" mom screamed from the far side of the playground.

The heavy wire of the barrier was glowing a dull red, and then it bent under my hand, the whole section I was leaning against tearing away. I was falling, blue sky filled my vision for a moment and tumbled away again. I saw the rock face before i crashed into it chest first, with a loud grunt.

The impact knocked the breath out of my lungs. I flailed my hands out trying to grab onto something, but I was already rebounding away into the open air. My body went head over tail, and I saw the floor of the grand canyon rushing up to meet me. I was twisting, that had to be it. The quantum lightning made my muscles spasm again and my vision dimmed around the edges. then I passed out.



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This story is 896 words long.