I gave a quick look at my shoulder again. We were 50 feet in the air, assuredly would die on the other side if we jumped off or fell off. A stiff wind pushed into my face, rocking the platform back and forth.
“Okay…okay,” I calmly agreed with Jesse.
I took off. Ran past Jesse before he could react. Flew down the stairs, pulled Jameson with me.
I heard Jesse scream behind me. Felt the entire platform sway violently, almost throwing us off of the stairs.
We made it about halfway down before Jesse caught up to us. He dove at us like a linebacker going for a highlight reel tackle. I ducked down and pulled Jameson with me. Jesse soared over us, arms stretched out and flew past our bodies and over the stair rail.
The platform groaned again and almost fell completely over. I grabbed Jameson’s hand again and we flew down the stairs until we reached the last flight.
The platform finally had enough just before we were off of it. It tipped to one side and finally seemed it was just going to tip over.
I jumped down the last flight of stairs and felt Jameson flying in the air next to me. I closed my eyes before we hit the ground.
I heard a familiar horrified scream before I opened my eyes. It was unmistakable. It was my mother’s.
I opened my eyes and found myself lying in the front yard of my parents’ house. I looked to my left and saw three people in a panicked tangle over by the front door of my parents’ house – it was Jeremy with one arm and a knife around Jameson and the other arm and a knife around my mom.
“She’s a slut Michael. Who do you think she was cheating on your dad with?” Jeremy mocked me.
Jeremy’s insult burned my insides. I instantly remembered that moment in my parents’ driveway where my mom was whispering on the phone with what had to be a lover. Was it Jeremy?
I froze for a few moments. A rare anger boiled over in my stomach. I stomped across the grass and towards the front door stoop where Jeremy stood with my mom and my girlfriend.
I gave my watch a quick look. I was down to three minutes. My heart raced and my muscles ached. I was just about five feet away from Jeremy at this point.
“You can only save one Michael,” Jeremy announced when I walked up. “That’s the compromise I’ll give you. Which slut do you want to save?”
I flinched, fully absorbed the presence of the knives and their proximity to the two women in my life’s throats. I stopped in my tracks and thought about something. The chances that was actually my mom were pretty low. For here to be there, it meant she either died in the time since I left with Jesse or she was snorkeling and crossed over to the other side for some reason.
I knew I only had about a minute and a half to make my move so I made it a bold one. I made a quick sprint at Jeremy and pulled away Jameson. I felt his knife slash across my forearm as I pulled her away and I tackled her down to the ground.
I looked at the watch on my wrist. My clock was just under one minute. I looked out of the corner of my eye to see a person I had never seen before stumbling around behind Jeremy who was running towards me with both knives in his hand. Absolutely no signs of my mom.
The first knife plunged into my back, I felt a searing pain and my entire body went numb. It felt like the first seconds after a novacaine shot at the dentist. I fought against the pain and kept my grip on Jameson tight as it could be.
I felt the knife come down again. The pain shoot through my body. I checked my watch… 15 seconds left. I held onto Jameson for dear life.
I felt Jeremy reach his hands around the sides of my bleeding body, try to turn me over like a dying turtle, but I fought back as much as I could with my last reserves of energy… 7 seconds left.
Jeremy screamed into my ear from millimeters away…