Pascal's Tale (Edited, not for contest #17)

Submitted into Contest #17 in response to: Write a story about a family dinner that involves some kind of reconciliation.... view prompt

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General

Pascal stood on the overhang. He was ready. He had prepared for 10 years, and he was finally ready. Water rushed around his huge rock protruding from the waterfall, he had mapped and called home. He hadn’t mapped anything after around half a mile up the waterfall. After that, he had fallen. And nobody wants to map after they fall half a mile. He was alone, for the most part, but for me and the occasional visit from Celestio the bird. Their short conversations were on deviant topics and filled Pascal’s mind with the wonders of the forest on top of the falls. Years and years of hearing Celestio’s grandiose adventures led Pascal to believe that the forest was some kind of crazy magical wonderland. I kept telling him it was dangerous up there. I had even died! His auto response was always that “you were a river frog. But I’m not, I’m bigger and MUCH stronger!” he always puffed out his chest when he said that. I already know all this, because I live with him. And there wasn’t any stopping him then, because he thought he was ready. It was my fault that it happened. Otherwise, he would never have cared. Out of sight, out of mind. But not for Pascal. The forest was only ever out of sight. For all he knew, there might not be a forest up there. But stubborn he was, and strong he is.  

*** 

 Pascal quietly hummed as he steeled his nerves. Both him and I realized this could be our last time together. I wasn’t going anywhere, but if he died and landed down on the Carapace Hill, which was at the bottom of the falls, we wouldn’t be together unless I too, landed up there, which wasn’t going to happen soon, because trust me, even if Pascal was down there, I wouldn’t go back down for all the flies in the whole world. He slowly advanced up the cliff, grunting and wheezing and slowly hacking away at the huge face of rock behind the cascading mass of gushing water. Pascal wasn’t going anywhere but up, and this time he wouldn’t let the water distract him.  

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*** 

If there was an animal singer, the first animal to come to mind wouldn’t be a bullfrog. My uncle was both, and he taught me to sing. As I hummed a tune about the Lord and Death and Mercy, Pascal was still climbing and leaping about. He had a grappling hook, and he seemed to be using it to it’s fullest extent. He hated to talk while doing almost anything but for talking. Knowing this know, he tried to make conversation with me simply to test himself. Uhhhhhhhh.. Hummmm. So how was your d-d-day? He mumbled through gritted teeth, straining to keep up with me, as I floated alongside. He took a little hop and landed up on a decrepit ridge. As he caught his breath, I thought about my time in the wood before I died. Was it that long? At least I had thought it so at the time. What had killed me? It hadn’t taken long. Maybe I was crushed? But what by? Would I find out? I sighed. Questions, questions. Calm down and we might get to answer them, grasshopper. I snapped out of my daydream just in time to see the ledge under Pascal crumble. “Gah!” I yelled in panic, but Pascal was ready. He quickly snatched up his homemade hook and heaved it into a tiny crack higher than I thought he could throw. As the bit that held up the edge on the rock caved in, he resourcefully hooked the other end into another crack closer to him and started climbing it as easily as any other stretch of monkey bars. When he reached the top, the regular climbing resumed. The reason (or at least I thought) that he was so good at climbing was because a chameleon’s hands have little sticky crystals which are good against almost anything. And Pascal was a Chameleon. He climbed his way up, slowly but surely. And when he reached the top, we cheered, and mapped the whole thing. But now it was time for him to enter the woods. I know I had told him not to, but I was with him now. But as we took the first steps in, I remembered what had killed me. 

 

 

November 28, 2019 21:35

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