The first few moments had been a rush - a release in the knowledge that soon, everything was going to be over. I'd come on this trip with one goal in mind, one focus that had led me past my fears. I'd always been afraid of heights, so it seemed almost appropriate that this was how it would end.
I was also smart enough to know how refuse to pull my parachute. Licensed sky diving instructors might have frowned upon it - so, I made sure to go through some shady channels. With enough money, it wasn't hard to convince someone to take you up in a plane and let you jump by yourself.
I didn't know how hard it would be to take off my parachute, and I didn't want to bring anyone else down with me in the process - I was simply going to make a decision to not pull the release cord. After all, the ground would be there in a few minutes, and then there would be nothing...
And then I would finally be able to rest.
It wasn't that my life was terrible - I had a job, I had a place to live. I was just tired. Tired of the state of the world and the people in it. Tired of the fact that everyone seemed more inclined to resort to cruelty than to try a peaceful solution. I was tired of waking up every day and knowing that nothing had changed, and nothing that I could do would change anything.
I couldn't change the world, and I couldn't change me enough to thrive and exist in it... so I was going to change the one thing that I could - I was going to change the fact that I was in the world at all.
So, I'd jumped out of the plane with my stomach twisting in knots, not over the fact that I was going to kill myself, but that I was facing my fear of heights... and I'd never pulled the cord to my parachute...
For a moment, it seemed like the ground was coming closer - I could see it approaching, I could feel the whip of air around my face... and then I hit a low bank of clouds... and I'd never gotten out of them. The wind continued to whip - my stomach continued to flip in anxiety at the fact that I'd jumped out of a plane, and I could feel my downward momentum making my insides flutter.
But nothing happened.
I felt like a cliche when I turned my watch up - I'd jumped at exactly noon. It was twelve thirty... and I was still in the clouds. I'd wondered then if my watch was malfunctioning - or, if I'd fainted when I'd jumped out of the plane after all.
But I didn't feel like I'd fainted, and the passage of time was obvious - spinning in the clouds, whipping around in the air... I could feel it as minutes trickled by and turned into hours.
At some point, I'd screamed for help - I'd shouted, wondering if this was some sick trick that was being played on me... but there was no point on the earth that they could have dropped me from that would have had me falling for so long. My screams were answered by no one - my shouts falling instead to the whipping, screaming wind around me.
Four hours had passed, and my hand came to the cord on my parachute - I frowned. Whatever was happening, it wasn't natural - whatever was happening, it was like a dream. Maybe that was what it was? I was simply dreaming about what I was about to do, my body trying to talk me out of it. I knew, in dreams, the best thing to do was to jolt yourself out of it.
I yanked on the cord, intent on ending this nonsense...
And nothing happened.
I yanked again, and nothing.
I yanked one more time, and the cord snapped off. My hands scrambled to the backpack strapped to my shoulders, but it wasn't there anymore.
I was still falling, and only after I'd tried to save my only life did I finally fall through the clouds.
Beneath me wasn't the Earth - it was fire, and liquid, and cold, and icy mountains all at once. I could hear screaming - I could see all of it laid out before me. A thousand different people, trying to kill themselves in a thousand different ways. Some with rope, with guns, with knives or water. Some with pills - and they all seemed to be trapped in the most terrifying moment of that experience.
My eyes widened, and my heart thundered for the first time. Real fear shot through me - this wasn't a dream. It hit me hard, and it stole the air from my lungs that would have been used to scream again.
This wasn't a dream, and I wasn't alive. But I wasn't dead, either. I was here - stuck in this limbo... falling forever, experiencing my choice forever...
And I didn't know if there was ever a way that I was going to get out.