Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Acrophobia #AtoZchallenge












“Don’t look down,” Sarah says helpfully. But of course I do.
The sheer drop was a surprise: an easy walk, the National Trust leaflet assured us. The cliff has weathered during the harsh winter; perhaps they don’t know how lethal it is now.
Don’t look down, I tell myself. But, even so, I shuffle a little closer to the edge, step after step. The anticipation of the ground disappearing is concentrated. I hold my breath; I feel a little sick.
Like a siren, it draws me closer, pulls me forward. Just a step, just one step. I see the sea swirling and bashing against the rocks.
What would it be like to stand with one foot in the air, to lean forward with my arms held out? How would it feel to hover over the edge? I could be completely weightless. Maybe I would fly. My heart races, adrenalin surges; I am impervious to gravity, to death. I am invincible.
But now I don’t want to fly. I want to plummet. I want to feel the wind rushing through my hair as I’m sucked towards the ground. I want to see what will happen in that instant before I reach the rocks.
Staring down, moving closer and closer to the edge. What will happen if just take one more step? The waves swell beneath me, contrasting with the static cliff path; I am disorientated. My body sways back and forth, mirroring the tide.
The ground isn’t solid any more, it’s undulating; the sky is falling in on top of me. Clouds rushing past. I need to jump; I need to fall.
“Don’t look down,” Sarah reminds me, pulling gently on my arm.


Don't forget to check out the other challengers!

64 comments:

  1. Hi Annalisa - the thought of doing that horrifies me - we see it here all the time where the cliffs have been crumbling away ... and really worries me - yes I have Acrophobia to an extent! Cheers Hilary

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    1. It happened to me on the cliffs near Polperro once. A very scary, yet compelling feeling.

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  2. Wow, Annalisa, what an intriguing story! Great way to kick off the A to Z Challenge!

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  3. Yikes, I'm so afraid of heights. If I stand too close to the edge, my body sways just as you describe.

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    1. I don't even like watching other people near the edge.

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  4. I would be way back from the edge! The whole story makes me feel dizzy just reading it - great us of words.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  5. Hurrah for Sarah!
    Miriam (A-to-Zing on writing historical fiction)

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    1. Yes, it's always good to have a friend in those situations.

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  6. How frightening your post! It is so real, I could feel the fear! Happy posting!

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  7. I love how this short was so gripping. I wanted to fly too! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Wonderful writing, I really felt what the character was feeling!

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    1. So many people think that acrophobia is about feeling dizzy/nervous/scared of being so high, but a lot of suffers say it's actually about the loss of control and temptation to see what would happen if they stepped closer.

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  9. See??? This was great. No need to worry!

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  10. Eek! I always say I'm not afraid of heights, it's the falling!

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  11. You made my stomach turn (in a good way!) and put me right there in the moment. Great!

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  12. Great job! I agree with the others - I felt what the character was feeling.

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  13. What a frightening story it is Annalisa.. I was totally thrilled at the same time.. All the best for the month..

    Cheers

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  14. I love heights and thoughts like those enter my mind when I am on the edge of someplace high.

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  15. I felt nervous for the character standing at the edge of the cliff. I'm afraid of heights, but I saw the ocean and the drop. Great job, Annalisa.

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  16. So many people have acrophobia. I am pretty afraid of heights myself. I got chills while reading this.

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    1. I love making people shudder with my writing :-)

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  17. excellent start to A to Z. Love this vignette - made me a tad dizzy.

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  18. I'm afraid of heights and could totally imagine being on this cliff - creepy! I know I'm going to love your daily stories.

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  19. Good thing Sarah was there!!! Excellent. You always use the best imagery. I had that feeling in my gut, like when you come down the drop on a coaster.

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    1. I'm scared of heights, Elizabeth, I'd never be in a roller coaster!!!

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  20. I cannot look down from a height without that same compulsion. Keep me at sea level! Great story. Pulled me right in.

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    1. Yes, I prefer being at sea level, but the views from cliffs are amazing.

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    1. That's reassuring Alex. Solid ground is much better than trying to fly ;-)

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  22. Gods! That was scary. I hate edges - my father used to stand on clifftops with me in his arms and pretend ... he didn't mean any harm but he didn't realise what harm he did,
    Good luck with the A-Z - I'm on it too!

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    1. Oh gosh! I think lots of people (dads mostly) used to do that - I guess they knew we were safe because they wouldn't harm us, but it was scary nonetheless.

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  23. Yikes! You did a lot in a few words. Good work.

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  24. Wow! That was an awesome description of how I feel when I'm faced with a cliff. At Whistler this week, I get to ski on some cat tracks that take me past black diamond runs that my legs can't handle this year . . . and although I've skied those slopes before I've discovered that being on the edge next to them feels way different.

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  25. Awesome! Amazing emotion and imagery.

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  26. For you to even have a character that thinks such thoughts...if we ever meet in RL and go hiking near cliffs I'm holding your shirt.

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    1. I'd probably need you to. That was quite an accurate description of how people who are afraid of heights feel!

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  27. brave undertaking and creative perspective - great job and happy a day!

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  28. Very intense, Annalisa. Great job!

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  29. I never seem to get to the actual "want" part. I always back away. I feel so out of control on a ledge.

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    1. It's a challenging feeling to overcome, Lisa, but important :-)

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  30. That's an intense description and just a bit creepy.

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    1. That's what I was aiming for, thank you :-)

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  31. Acrophobia is paralyzing. When I was younger, I really thought people were fakers...until I experienced it. I was able to move past it in that paralyzing moment, but it gave me huge perspective. Also, my mother describes this exact sensation when it comes to cliffs.

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    1. I suppose it can be hard to understand if you haven't experienced it, Rena. Although often, the ones who are suffering most, are the completely silent, ashen faced people.

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  32. I worry about myself when I'm on an edge somewhere, I just don't know if I'm going to jump or not. Great description here, I could feel the sensations just sitting at my desk.

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    1. It's a lot more complex than just being scared of the drop, isn't it, Heather?

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