The Empty Chair – Laura Pearson

Nobody thought he’d be stupid enough to actually jump. It was just a game. A dare. Kennedy came up with it, and we all laughed and jostled each other, encouraging. Only Jones looked a bit worried. But since when did anyone care what Jones thought?

All we ever wanted was for something to happen. So we told him we were all doing it, that we’d done it before, that it felt like flying, like being high. Better than sex. None of us had had sex. Not back then.

In the queue for the ride, our loud voices created a hum of energy. It kept us warm as the wind whipped at our faces. And then we were taking our places on those chairs with their flimsy chains, shouting and twisting ourselves around until the red-faced guy running the ride threatened to throw us off.

‘On three,’ Kennedy called, just before we were lifted off the ground. My breath caught and, for a moment, I felt like I’d left it all behind. Kennedy, Jones, him. The way we pushed and bruised him, made every day a kind of hell.

‘One, two…’ I thought about doing it. We unbuckled our seatbelts, like we’d planned. I looked over at him. I tried to tell him with my eyes. But even then, I didn’t think he’d actually jump. Nobody did.

‘Three!’ I watched him fall through the air, his limbs flung wide. I hoped it was like flying, or being high, or having sex. I hoped he felt wonderful for a moment, before he came down.

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LAURA PEARSON lives in Leicestershire, where she blogs and writes novels and flash fiction.

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Image: Free-Photos 

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