by Emerian Rich
Jason said it was safe, so I went ahead and jumped. What harm could a pile of leaves do, right? He said he’d done it before. Loads of times.
I had on my big orange ski coat ‘cause the cold had come early and Mom hadn’t had a chance to get me a new jacket. With that ski coat on, I felt like a wrestler. One of those huge guys with big muscles. Nothin’ could hurt me. Maybe I was more like The Hulk. Yeah. The Hulk in rage mode. Indestructible. Not even Thanos could hurt me.
I zipped up and pulled the hood over my ears. The pile of leaves was a big, orange-brown-red cushion, waiting for me to plow into it and land on the other side. If only I had a mini-trampoline to jump in from higher like I did on the diving board to make a bigger splash.
I ran and jumped as high as I could. Just before I sunk in—expecting the crinkle and crunch of smashed leaves—a deep, dark hole opened up. Mid-air there was nothing I could do. I fell into the damp hole, leaves clinging to my legs and face, forcing me deeper into the mass of foliage.
Now, I’m a part of the pile. I can’t move. The leaves have me tied down in my big orange coat. My legs feel like they’ve been bound by vines, but I can’t move to look down and see. My vision is blurred orange as if I’m behind a stained glass window. It’s hard to breathe and I can’t speak. Leaves have covered my mouth with their thick, earthy stench.
People see my orange ski coat as they walk by, but they just dismiss it for leaves. Even Mom didn’t recognize it when she walked by, calling out my name in a panicked yell.
Soon it will be dark and they’ll give up the search. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to survive, but I feel warm living fur behind me. I just wonder…will it save me? Or eat me?