Monday, February 1, 2016

A Forgotten Tower


A special writing project by:
Hubert Clark Crowell



A Forgotten Tower

Short Story – Fiction
Lying on its side in the woods was a strange looking iron frame, with ivy consuming its shape and rust covering its body. The young man puzzled over what it was doing here as he read the marker. ‘In 1970, tightrope walker, Karl Wallenda, used this tower to walk across the gorge. He walked from this overlook to the tower on the South Rim. During his walk, he did two head stands.’ Was the tower knocked down to prevent climbers from climbing it? Or did it become weak from rust and fall? Why would anyone want to walk across the gorge on a wire? In 1883, tightrope walker Professor Bachman crossed the gorge as part of a publicity stunt for one hotel.
Dreams of becoming the third person to walk across the gorge began to fill his head, as he walked out to the edge of the gorge and stood on the concrete foundation of the tower. He could picture himself walking the wire with a long pole to help balance himself. Matthew could not hear his mother calling him over the wind coming up from the bottom of the gorge as he stepped out onto the wire, the crowd filled both sides of the gorge and a news helicopter flew overhead. A camera mounted on his head gave the audience a large view of what it was like on large screens positioned in the audience.
The first step caused a ripple in the wire that he could feel under his soft shoe, he could already feel a cramp in his leg from the pressure of the wire as he waited for the wire to settle down.
“You won’t make it!” Came a shout from the audience just as he raised his left foot for his second step.
His mother. “Matthew, where are you, time to go.” He only heard his name, thinking it was the crowd.
The next few steps placed him over the lip of the gorge, swaying side to side as the river below, flowing with white foam, awaited his expected fall. A slight breeze was pushing against his side causing him to lean to the right. Stopping, he looked down as the audience gasped at the view of his leg shaking, the cramping becoming worse. He stood on his one stable leg and shook the cramping leg out to the side in an effort to ease the cramp.
“Give it up, come on back!” Shouted the audience.
“Matthew, what are you doing?” His mother shouted as she starred at him standing on one leg at the edge of the concrete tower foundation. Matthew snapped out of his dream and jumped down, and continued down the trail with his parents. The dream clear and real in his mind, he could easily slip back into it.
The ride home was quiet and the image of the gorge kept coming back, he was now several yards out on the wire, when a hawk almost landed on the end of his balance pole.
“Head stand! Head stand!” Shouts came from the audience.
He bent over and placed the pole on the wire, almost losing his balance, no longer depending on the pole for balance, fear sweep over him and he quickly raised the pole again to regain his stance. The remaining distance across the gorge seemed so far now and the wire was beginning to sag under his weight, would he be able to walk up hill on the wire? An emergency vehicle passed them with the siren so loud it woke Matthew up from his trance. He pulled out his video game to keep his mind off the high wire.
At home that night the nightmare continued as his cramp returned, his leg beginning to shake and the wire vibrating. His foot slipped, dropping the pole, it hit the wire causing it to bounce. He franticly grabbed for the wire, laying down on it and holding it tight. As he tried to turn around, he spun around and was hanging under the wire with his legs locked over it. The wave created by the pole had now traveled to the end of the wire at the far side and was moving back toward him. He could see it coming building in height as it got closer and closer, Matthew gripped the wire tighter as he was flipped into the air, losing his grip. The rocks below came up fast as his life passed before his eyes.
The small branch was inches away as he reached out and grabbed it, breaking his decent and swinging into the cliff on his side, knocking the wind out of his lungs, with dirt falling down on his face. Hanging on for dear life, he looked up to see a row of heads peering over the edge looking down at him. “Hold on! We’re going to throw you a rope.”

As Matthew pulled on the rope, the blinds came crashing down on him, waking him up, he had falling out of bed and was lying on the floor with the blinds piled on top.
 

The Trout Pond is now on Audible.com: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Trout-Pond-Audiobook/B06WLMRTH3/

By: Hubert C. Crowell
Jim makes a find in a pond that tears a small Kentucky coal mining town apart. Ron, a stranger in town carrying a secret of the largest crime of the century becomes snared in the Union wars of the 1950’s.