LNH/HCC: System Corruptors #29

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Sat May 18 15:19:04 PDT 2013

     [Cover shows the silhouette of a young woman
outlined in the lights of a suspension bridge].

     System Corruptors #29

      "Before The Fall"

      By Rob Rogers

     She was almost over the railing when she heard the car
grind to a stop at the edge of the embankment, and she paused
for a moment -- one leg on one side, one on the other -- to
see who it was.  She was disappointed to see that it was
Eric, though she was not surprised.

     "What are you doing?" he asked, which struck her as a
perfectly stupid thing to say.  Anybody who had seen her
straddling the bridge would have known why she was there.

     He stood there in the sodium lights, fat and foolish
and fumbling with the little plastic tips on the strings
of his magenta sweatshirt.  Then he tried again.

     "Is this about your parents?" he asked, and Jenny

     "It is NOT about my *&@#$%^&ing parents!" she said,
nearly losing her grip on the rail.  "Believe it or not,
not everything in the world has to do with the Professor
and what HE wants and what my @#$%^& mother wants!"

     "Okay," he said, his big, kind, stupid eyes blinking
at her from the roadway.  "Did... did something happen?"

     "God," she said, putting the rail between them, keeping
her hands wrapped around the cold iron.  "Is that what you
think?  Something has to happen for me to be completely
miserable?  I can't just be alone, and feel empty, and not
want to have to deal with all of this..."

     "You aren't alone, Jenny," he said, coming forward.

     "You DON'T KNOW me, Eric!" she began.  Then her foot
slipped, and she shrieked, and reached forward to grasp
at something that suddenly wasn't there.

     She saw Eric and the bridge pulling away as she
dropped, saw him fumbling for the rail -- what did he
think he was doing? -- felt the wind tearing at her
feet, though she couldn't bring herself to look...

     And then he was falling toward her, coming closer
-- though that was impossible; she had done Galileo's
experiment with the Professor, and knew that however heavy
he might be, there was no way Eric or any other object
dropped from the bridge could catch up to her, let alone
fall faster than her.

     Yet there he was.

     He was screaming something she couldn't hear.  She felt
herself go limp as he wrapped her in his arms

     and they spun in the air for a moment like a
falling seed, the bridge lights and the shadows of the
quarry below and the night sky spinning around the two
of them and then, with a horrible smacking sound

     it was over.  She rolled away from the warmth of his
chest, eyes closed, gasping for breath, clawing at the
slippery rocks beneath her fingers, not wanting to see
what the fall had left of Eric.

     When she finally opened her eyes, he was there.


     "That was fun," he said, his voice low and
dark and nothing at all like Eric's voice had been.

     "Let's do it again."


     Plummet created by Rob Rogers.

     "Arthur realized as he fell, giddily and sickeningly,
that if he was going to hang around in the sky believing
everything that the Italians had to say about physics
when they couldn't even keep a simple tower straight,
that they were in dead trouble, and he damn well did
fall faster than Fenchurch."
   --Douglas Adams, _So Long And Thanks For All The Fish_


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