I lost my grip on the wheel, the car spun out of control and slid along the ice toward the thin, wooden railing. I closed my eyes, the wooden rail broke, and the car teetered over the edge. I waited for the inevitable fall, holding my breath, afraid a single exhalation would send me plummeting to the icy depths below. A minute passed. My face reddened and my cheeks puffed until I was forced to exhale, gasping for another breath.
I didn’t die.
In the rearview mirror, I saw the relative safety of the road rise and fall as the car swayed with each gust of wind. My heart pounded, the wind fought me as I eased the door open and leaned out, but the abyss yawned below. I steeled myself. I could make it–the cliff’s edge was a mere foot away. I took a breath. I could–would–make it. I took another breath…one last, deep, sweet breath before taking the biggest leap of my life.
As the icy lake rose to meet me, growing larger with each passing second, a strange calm settled on me. Was this what it felt like to fly? I had lost all control, and there was an odd freedom in that. Your life supposedly slows down just before you die, and I can’t deny that in those few seconds, as the wind laughed and my reflection grew against the shimmering ice, I had time to realize I wanted to see the stars one last time. Buffeted as I was by the mocking wind, I spread my arms wide. An inch above the ice, a fraction of a second before meeting my icy doom, my body suddenly tingled with renewed energy; I felt myself swoop upwards, my arms glittering as I soared toward the stars.
The heavens had never looked so beautiful, but what caught my attention even more, even past my disbelief, my relief, my shivering as I gazed at the cold winter beauty, were the silver sparkles falling from the reindeer that flew a few feet below me. I realized I was coated in tiny silver dots that shimmered against my dark blue cardigan like stars against a cotton sky. I descended slowly into the flying sleigh; its white-haired driver looked me up and down, then told me, “Merry Christmas.”
When my car fell into the darkness below, the explosion lit the heavens like a thousand angels’ wings. Then, without a word, my mysterious benefactor turned the sleigh towards my home.
**inspired by a text prompt at the six minute story site on December 20th, 2015.