Alright…I wasn't planning on posting this, in fact, I wasn't planning on ANYONE reading it…but I have friends who made me post it.

Highly angsty Sputchy. That's all you need to know. ANGST WARNING.

Read on, my friends. But be gentle with reviewing. Personally, I think it's pretty damn corny.

Afraid to Fall

My headlights lit up the dark, dusty road as I headed further out into the country. I sighed and switched the station on the radio to some soft jazz. Why was I driving out to Specs's house? I could've just as easily picked up the phone and called him.

But…no. Something in the way he acted today told me that I needed to go see him in person. I just had this odd feeling that something wasn't quite right.

I finally saw the dirt driveway that led to his house and I turned onto the narrow stretch of road, barely avoiding a fox that darted from the trees on one side into the trees on the other. It was another minute on that rough, rocky road before my headlights lit up the log cabin style house in the middle of a large clearing.

I knew Specs was home; his car was sitting just outside the garage. His dad's car wasn't there, but Specs couldn't have taken that one. It was a stick shift, and he didn't know how to drive it. He was lucky if his dad even let him sit in it as a passenger, let alone drive it.

I parked next to his car and stepped out, and I immediately knew that something was wrong. Specs's toy poodle, Crush, was scratching at the front door, locked out. Crush was an extremely small dog, and Specs never let him out unsupervised. There were too many animals around here that would consider Crush a tasty snack. Specs always sat on the front porch, reading a book and making sure the puppy didn't stray too far from the house.

Also, there were no lights on in the house, at least none that I could see through the windows. I could only see a dim light from a small lamp in the living room.

Crush began growling and barking as I approached, but not at me- at the door. I petted his head and then knocked loudly on the large, wooden door.

"Specs? Are you there?" I called out, but no answer came.

I decided to at least put Crush in the house for them. Specs was probably asleep already; I mean, it was ten o'clock on a school night. I didn't want to wake him up.

I wasn't surprised when the door easily opened. People who lived this far from the city never locked their doors. They had no reason to do so.

Crush shoved his way past my ankles and shot into the house, growling and whimpering, his little nails clacking on the hardwood flooring. My curiosity began to get the better of me, and I decided to at least step inside and make sure Specs was okay. I just had this weird feeling that I shouldn't leave yet.

Crush came running back to me and began pawing at my leg, and when I looked down my first thought was that he'd left muddy paw prints on my jeans. But as I looked closer, I realized that his tiny white paws were completely soaked with dark red blood.

At that point, the silence of the house became deafening.


I sprinted through the kitchen, flipping on the light but finding no one. I continued on into the living room where a dim lamp was on, and I immediately noticed a book lying on the floor, its cover splattered with blood. The carpet had splotches of blood all over it, and the couch as well.

I finally saw Specs's feet, the shoes stained with blood, practically invisible in the darkness from behind the couch.

I rushed around the couch, kneeling beside the still form and almost becoming sick to my stomach. Specs's hands were covered in blood, and a knife lay beside him, the red substance coating it and the carpet around it. Specs's breathing was harsh and shallow, and he whimpered with every agonizing breath. The deep wound in his stomach continued to bleed uncontrollably.

"Specs, can you hear me? Please, open your eyes," I begged, his harsh breaths and pale skin scaring me half to death.

His eyes slowly fluttered open, his gaze unfocused and glazed over. I ripped off my jacket, quickly moving his hands and pressing it down on the wound to try and slow the blood loss. He cried out in agony, his back arching and his eyes closing tightly. I bit my lip and didn't relieve the pressure, telling myself over and over again that even if he was in worse pain now, I had to do this to stop the bleeding or he would die.

"Specs…Specs, look at me. Look at me," I demanded, and his eyes slowly opened once more. I reached up and tilted his head so that he was looking right at me. "Who did this to you?"

"My…my dad," he said with great effort. I didn't take any time to deal with the shock of his own dad having done this; I needed to call for help.

"Listen to me, Specs," I said. "I'm going to go get the phone. I need you to hold this down as tightly as you can the whole time I'm gone. And don't you dare go to sleep. Can you do that?"

He painfully nodded, and I grabbed his hands and pressed them down on the jacket, brushing his hair off his sweat-soaked forehead before getting up and sprinting to the kitchen. I grabbed the phone off the counter, almost dropping it because my own hands were now slick with warm blood.

As I ran back into the living room I dialed 911, starting over three times because my hands were shaking so badly. I dropped to my knees on the floor beside Specs, beginning to help him put pressure on the wound. He seemed numb to the pain now, and that scared me worse than when he was crying and whimpering from the pain. He was now gasping for air and barely managing to stay awake.

"Hello, 911, what is your emergency?"

My throat locked up completely. I could feel tears threatening to come, but I pushed the feeling back down. I just couldn't seem to find the strength to answer her.

"Hello? Is someone there?" The woman asked, her voice filled with concern.

"He's bleeding, I think he's dying…Oh, God, I don't know what to do," I finally choked out at lightening speed.

"Slow down, honey. Take a deep breath."

"He's dying!" I shrieked in reply to that.

"Just relax and tell me what happened."

"He got stabbed, he said it was his dad, but I don't know where his dad went…"

"Where's the wound?"

"I can't tell. Oh, God…there's so much blood…"

"Where are you?"

I had to stop and gather my wits a bit to answer that question. "Uh…North County Road, 90 East. 919."

A pause. "Okay, honey, the ambulance is on its way. What have you done so far?"

I wasn't really listening to what she was saying at that point. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep Specs conscious, and being on the phone wasn't helping the situation.

"I have to go. I'm losing him," I said, and before she could respond I turned off the phone and tossed it aside.

"Please, stay awake. Help is on the way. Don't let go," I pleaded, my voice cracking in mid-sentence.

"Dutchy…" He started, unable to summon the strength to finish the sentence.

"Ssh…save your strength."

"Just…wanted to say…I love you."

I stopped breathing at that point. He was probably delirious from blood loss or something. He couldn't possibly be serious.

"Dutchy…I love you," he said with as much conviction as he could muster. He sounded desperate for a response, and I knew then that he wasn't kidding and he wasn't delirious.

It was his dying confession.

"I love you too," I whispered, and then, just on a whim, I leaned down and gently kissed him. Though he was whimpering with pain he responded, his soft lips weakly caressing mine. It all seemed so dreamlike, so absolutely unreal…

Until he went limp in my arms.

"Specs?" I said, my voice weak. "Specs, come on…don't leave me," I begged, my mind beginning to race once again.

I heard sirens in the distance, and I silently pleaded with them to come faster, to just get here and save him. I couldn't lose him, not now.

I finally let the tears come as I realized how helpless I was. I pulled him close, holding him tight against my chest.

"Please, don't die…I'm not ready for this!" I said between sobs, my voice raw, praying to God that this was just a horrible nightmare and that I'd wake up and everything would be okay.

The sirens were right outside the house now. Help had arrived, but maybe too late. Specs was pale and unresponsive, his entire body limp. I wasn't even sure if he was breathing or not.

I heard the door open and quick footsteps on the hardwood flooring, and I called to the medics to let them know where we were. They immediately asked me to step aside, and I stepped back as they got to work, handing him over to the EMT's.

"He's lost way too much blood," one of them said, surveying the scene wide eyed.

"Are police units on the way?"

"Yeah. Let's get this kid out of here. He needs to go straight to McClenaghan."

"But McClenaghan's off for the night."

"So call him in. He's the only one who can save him."

One of the medics finally took notice of me. "Who are you?"

"I'm his boyfriend."

There was a beat of silence as the medics took in this fact, but they didn't stop working. Two of them rushed out of the house and brought the stretcher inside just as the police units arrived.

The lead medic immediately began giving the police all the facts as they lifted Specs onto the stretcher and checked his breathing again.

"This boy has dozens of bruises and cuts all over his body…multiple scars, and evidence of serious injuries that have since healed. If it was my guess, I'd say he was abused; there's no other explanation for it," the medic told the policeman.

"What?" I said, my voice shaky.

The medic raised an eyebrow. "You didn't know?"

"No…Oh, God…"

The policeman took a few notes, and then he turned to me. "How do you know this kid?"

"He's my boyfriend."

He stopped writing and looked up, obviously confused and skeptical. "Your boyfriend? Look, kid, this isn't the time to be making jokes…"

"I said I'm his boyfriend, and I meant it."

This time he gave me a look of pure disgust. "Go with the Lieutenant. He'll drive you down to the station, call your parents, and get your statement."

"I'm not going to the damn station. I'm going to the hospital. I have to stay with him," I insisted, my voice getting tenser by the second.

"You really have to go down to the station-"

"I'm not going to the fucking station!" I screamed, and all eyes in the room locked on me momentarily in surprise. "I'm staying with him. He needs me."

The policeman scowled for a moment, and then he motioned for one of his colleagues to come to him.

"Lieutenant…take this kid to the hospital. Get his statement there. I'll have Johnson call his parents and have them bring him a change of clothes there."

"Yes sir," the Lieutenant said.

My parents…I hadn't thought of that. They didn't even know I was gay, and this was only going to accelerate the process of them finding out.

And he was right about me needing a change of clothes. I was covered in blood.

"Come on. Let's get your hands washed and get you out to the squad car," the Lieutenant said, leading me outside. We used the garden hose to wash all the blood off my hands and arms, but I wanted to get going. The ambulance was already pulling out.

I jumped in the squad car and we peeled out as we followed the ambulance, and I couldn't hold back anymore. I sat in the passenger seat and cried, trying to convince myself that everything would be okay even though I knew how hopeless it was.

"It's going to be okay," the Lieutenant finally said. He was a middle aged man, muscular and in shape but balding.

"He's gonna die…and it's my fault."

"It's not your fault. There's nothing more you could've done," he said, shooting a glance at me and taking another high speed turn. "If you hadn't come when you did, he would've died in just a few minutes. You're a hero."

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. "Tell me the honest-to-God truth…what are his chances?"

"Well, I'm no medic…"

"But you've dealt with this before. You've seen it."

He hesitated, and then shrugged. "It's hard to say. That stab wound was pretty deep, and I'd estimate that he'd already lost nearly half his blood by the time we got there. If they can get the bleeding stopped as soon as possible, he may have a chance."

I knew what he meant. He thought Specs had no chance, and he was only trying to give me some hope. But I had to have hope…I had to believe that he could pull through. I couldn't live without Specs. I'd been in love with him for years…just never had the guts to say anything. I didn't want to lose him.

I looked back up at the Lieutenant, guilt taking over full-force once again. "Are you sure about the abuse? Absolutely certain?"

"Yeah…it was definitely prolonged abuse. Today it just went too far, evidently."

"That bastard. That damn bastard. Why didn't I ever figure it out?" I choked out.

"Jay probably didn't want you to know," he said, using Specs's real name. "He was probably ashamed of it."

My throat tightened, and I could barely manage to speak. "God…I love him so much."

We finally pulled into the hospital driveway just as Specs was being wheeled through the double doors on a stretcher. I practically leapt out of the car, and the Lieutenant had to jump out and grab my arm to stop me.

"Hold on a second. You can't go into surgery with him, so let's just go wait in the waiting room for your parents."

"But, sir…"

He gave me a curious look. "What is it?"

"My parents…they don't know."

"Your parents don't know that you're gay?"


Now he was giving me a 'fatherly look'. "You need to tell them before they hear it from someone else."

"I know, but…they'll hate me. They hate gay people."

He laid a hand on my shoulder, gently pushing me toward the door. "I'll stay with you the whole time. Don't worry; they love you. You're their son first, no matter what."

You obviously haven't met my parents, I thought bitterly.

The first thing my mother did when she walked in the room was try to hug me, but Lieutenant Tanner (as I found out his name was) held her back from me.

"Don't touch him. He's got blood all over him," he said, and she nodded.

"Are you alright?" She asked, and I answered to the affirmative. Dad handed me a set of clean clothes and a plastic bag for the bloody clothes, and I quickly ran to the bathroom and changed. I didn't want to be out of the room when the doctor came to tell us how Specs was doing.

As soon as I walked back into the room I wished I hadn't. Tanner put his hands on my shoulders and turned me toward my parents.

"Mr. Von Lorne, Mrs. Von Lorne…your son has something to tell you," Tanner said, and my heart dropped into my feet. For four years I had succeeded in hiding this from them coming up with various reasons for not dating this girl or that girl, but it all came down to this.

"Do I have to do this now?" I asked weakly, nervously shifting my weight. My parents immediately looked even more worried.

My father stepped forward, taking my hands in his. "If you're in any kind of trouble, we'll help you. We love you."

"No, I'm not in trouble," I said, pulling my hands out of my father's strong grip. I dropped my gaze to the floor. "I…I'm gay."

There was a long silence as this sank in, and I heard the other patrons in the waiting room whispering amongst themselves. But I didn't care what they thought; I needed to know if my parents accepted this. I looked up and finally my eyes met theirs, and I was scared to death of what I might find there.

My mother was looking at the floor, her hand covering her mouth and her eyes brimming with tears. My dad looked furious- his face was red and his fists were tightly clenched. As he stared at me I actually became afraid that he would hurt me, and I stepped backward in fear, backing right into Tanner.

"Dad, I just…please…"

At that moment the door opened and a doctor walked in, his eyes locking on the Lieutenant. He walked straight to us, introducing himself as Doctor McClenaghan.

"The situation is uncertain," he started off, flipping through the chart in his hands. "Jay has lost approximately 42 percent of his blood, but luckily our supplies will allow for a quick transfusion. That means we won't have to fly him to a state hospital. The wound is very deep, but it missed most vital organs, so that should help the situation a bit. Which one of you was the person who found him?"

Tanner clapped me on the shoulder. "That would be this young man."

The doctor extended his hand and I weakly shook it. "I just wanted to thank you personally," he explained. "You're a hero. If you hadn't found him and slowed the blood loss like you did, he would have died for sure." He turned back to the Lieutenant. "The surgery is going to take a few hours, at least, but I'll be sure and keep you aware of the progress."

The doctor turned to leave, but I lunged forward and grabbed his sleeve. "Is he gonna be okay?" I blurted out, and he gave me a sympathetic look.

"It's hard to say for sure at this point…but if he survived that long before you even got there, then he's evidently got something to fight for."

With that said, he turned and walked out. The was another uncomfortable beat of silence as the door slowly shut, then my mother turned to me, still crying.

"Are you sure you're gay?"

"Yes, I'm certain. I've been gay for four years now."

My dad shook his head, his jaw set in anger. "That's absolutely disgusting. This goes against everything you believe in."

I felt my own anger surge up when he said that. "No. This goes against everything you believe in. My beliefs are different."

"And you honestly don't care about disobeying your parents and shunning the church?"

"I can't help it! This is just the way I am!"

"What, you can't help being a fag?"

That hit me as hard as if he'd punched me in the gut. The world around me began to spin as I really took in the fact that my own father had just called me a 'fag'. My mother stared at him in utter disbelief, but Lieutenant Tanner wasn't about to just let it slide.

"I'm going to arrest you for harassment if another word like that comes out of your mouth. You ought to be ashamed of yourself; he's your son!"

Dad immediately turned his anger upon the enraged policeman. "You're right. He's my son and I'll say to him whatever I want!"

"Not while I'm here, you won't."

I finally just couldn't stand it anymore. It was all just too much. My best friend, the boy I loved, was in surgery and quite possibly dying, my own mother was ashamed of me, my dad was disgusted with me…and my mind couldn't take it. It was just too much. My knees gave out on me, and the room spiraled into darkness.

When I woke up I found myself lying on a hospital bed with what was quite possibly the worst headache I'd ever had. I started to sit up only to be gently pushed back down onto the bed by a nurse, a large black woman.

"You just lay down and relax, sweetie. You've got a nasty cut on your head from that fall you took."

The initial confusion cleared as everything that happened that night came flooding back to me. "Is Specs okay?" I demanded as the nurse checked the bandage tied around my head.

"I who okay?" She asked, obviously confused over the nickname.

"Jay. Jay Addison."

"Oh, that poor boy…I believe he's still in surgery. He's been there for an hour already."

I'd been unconscious for close to forty five minutes. I had to get back to the waiting room just in case any more news came.

"Please, can I go back to the waiting room?" I pleaded, and the nurse smirked.

"I don't think that's such a good idea right now, hon."


"Your father is still arguing with that policeman. Things aren't pretty out there. Your mother stormed out just a few minutes ago."

I groaned and closed my eyes. Revealing my sexual identity to them had ruined my family. I never thought my dad would overreact like this.

"You poor thing," the nurse said, "You've been through so much tonight. You need to get some more rest."

I pushed myself up to a sitting position and looked at the nurse, whose name tag read 'Joyce'.

"Joyce, please take me out there. Please."

She studied me carefully. "Only if you go in a wheelchair. You might have a concussion."


She helped me stand up and slowly walked me over to the wheelchair, telling me how my head had hit the end table when I fell, resulting in a general panic in the waiting room when they realized that my head was bleeding pretty badly. Just my luck, I thought. As if this wasn't already the worst night of my life…now I've basically been kicked while I'm down.

When we reached the waiting room my father was still having an 'animated discussion' with the Lieutenant, but at least he was no longer yelling. And when the nurse wheeled me in, he fell completely silent. He didn't ask me if I was okay, didn't give me any news about Specs…he didn't even look at me.

"Any news yet?" I asked Tanner, and he shook his head.

"Are you okay?"


The nurse left the room and told me to stay put, and I wheeled up next to Tanner's chair.

"Why are you still here? Aren't you on duty?" I asked him.

"I'm staying here in case Jay's father happens to come looking for him. And I'm staying to protect you," he said, jerking his head toward my father, who was still fuming. Tanner took a deep breath, and then he said, "Look, from my experience, these surgeries can take a long time. Sometimes even six hours or more. You're dead tired, I can tell; you should go get some sleep."

"I can't sleep. Not until I know he's going to be okay."

"Just have faith. He'll make it. He's a fighter."

I sighed heavily. "I can't believe I never knew. I can't believe he never told me."

"It's not your fault. Like I said before, he probably didn't want you to know."

"I love him. I wouldn't have-"

My dad finally spoke, interrupting me in mid-sentence. "Oh, so he's a fag too?"

I practically leapt up from where I was sitting, grabbing my dad by the collar and screaming, "Don't you dare call him that!"

I didn't even have time to think before a fist slammed into my jaw. The blow sent me flying backwards, and I landed right on a table where a few kids were playing with Lincoln Logs. I rolled off the table onto the floor, my hand gripping my jaw as pain shot through my body ten times worse than before. The landing knocked the air out of me, and I gasped for air, my lungs burning.

When I opened my eyes and looked up, Tanner had his gun out and pointed at my dad, and he was screaming at him to get up against the wall. Dad reluctantly followed orders and got against the wall, and within a few seconds Tanner was handcuffing him.

"Robert Von Lorne, you're under arrest for assault, child abuse, and attempted murder."

"Murder?! I didn't-"

"That boy is already injured and in a fragile state. You could have killed him."

A nurse rushed in, having heard the screams of other patients and the yelling and arguments, not to mention me crashing into the table. She ran to my side, quickly helping me sit up.

"What happened?" She asked.

"He got punched. Check the left side of his jaw," Tanner said.

The nurse carefully inspected my injury. "You'll be fine. It'll just be a bruise," she said quietly as Tanner used his radio to call for a squad car to come and pick up my dad. She helped me back into the wheelchair as I fought down nausea and dizziness, and then she set to work calming down the rest of the patients in the waiting room.

Lieutenant Tanner forced my dad down into a chair and told him not to move, and then he sat back down beside me.

"Are you okay? Are you hurt?" He asked.

"I think I'm okay."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I'm sure."

Within a few minutes another policeman came and picked up Dad, reading him his rights as he was busy staring at me with repressed rage. I could feel tears threatening to take over again, but I quickly pushed the feeling back down.

It was nearly another hour before the doctor came back, and he looked exhausted. I immediately knew it couldn't be good news when he pulled up a chair and sat down with us.

"He's out of surgery. We've moved him to ICU."

"Is he going to be okay?" I asked, leaning forward.

The doctor sighed. "We're still not sure. The next few hours will determine that."

"How could you still not know?!"

"Well…by all reason, he should be dead by now. It's a miracle he survived the operation. But he's not out of the woods quite yet."

I took a deep, shaky breath. "Can I go see him?"

"Well, usually it's family only…"

"This kid is the only family he's got left, sir," Tanner said, making his point clear.

"Sure. It may help him pull through anyway," the doctor said with a shrug. He got up and wheeled me out into the hall and to the elevator, refusing to allow me to walk on my own in my condition. My nervousness only grew as we got closer.

What if he didn't make it? What if he died right there beside me? I would have no one. I would have nothing to live for without him there. Without his laughter…without his smile…without his gentle touch. It wasn't fair. Our parents were supposed to be the people who truly cared, the people who supported us regardless of what our decisions were compared to their beliefs.

Neither Specs nor I had that. And because of that, we might never get the chance to hold hands, kiss each other under the moonlight…you know, all the other things people who are in love get to do. Sure, we'd have our bad times, but we'd make it through if only we'd get the chance.

If only I'd admitted it to him sooner. Then he might have been more confident confiding in me…and I might have been able to save him.

"Are you sure you want to see him like this?" The doctor asked quietly as he wheeled me into the ICU, a circular wing designed so the nurses at the station could see all of the rooms at once.

"I'm not going to let him be alone," I said, my voice raspy from all the crying and raw emotion.

He rolled me into room 201, and my breath caught in my throat. Specs lay limp on the bed, his skin almost as pale as the sheets he lay on. He had an IV in one arm and dozens of monitors hooked up to him, and his mouth and nose were covered by an oxygen mask. The beep from the cardiograph was uneven and unsteady, and the nurse was adding more medication to the IV even as I came in.

I jumped out of the wheelchair despite the doctor's protests and I ran to Specs's side. I gently took his hand in both of mine, my whole body shaking.

"Can he hear me?" I asked Doctor McClenaghan.

"Yes. It may even help if you talk to him."

The doctor walked out and motioned for the nurse to follow, and I tightened my grip on Specs's hand as I slowly sank down into the chair beside the bed.

"Specs…" I started, but I didn't even know where to begin. There was so much I wanted to say to him, but at the same time, there were no words to express it.

I didn't know that I was singing until I heard the sound of my own voice. Sure, I wasn't at my best after all this, but I felt like if I couldn't find the words to say to him then I needed to do something to keep him from slipping away.

My subconscious choice of song made me feel even more helpless and scared. As I quietly let the melody of "Somewhere" flow from me, I softly stroked his hand and didn't take my eyes off him for a moment. Even like this, hovering near death, he was beautiful.

Finishing the song, I laid my head down on his chest and felt the gentle rise and fall of his breathing, much more steady than before. And before I knew it, I found myself drifting off into a surprisingly peaceful sleep.

I woke up to a long, monotonous tone filling the room. I shot upright, hitting the buzzer for the nurse and grabbing onto Specs's hand tightly once again.

"Don't let go! I need you!" I pleaded, but that didn't change the flat, morbid tone. The nurse came running in, yelling for the other nurses to call Doctor McClenaghan and bring a defribulator.

She shoved me back from the bed and began working to save him, trying her hardest, but even when they used the defribulator two times there was no response.

When the doctor came in he told them to record 5:05 am as the official time of death. I became numb to my surroundings, completely ignoring the nurses when they spoke about me or directly to me. Everyone in the room was crying…but I had no tears left to give.

He was gone. He was dead, and he wasn't coming back.

I had nothing left.

"Are you okay?"

I recognized Tanner's voice, and at the same time I came to a decision. I looked up at him and forced myself to speak.

"Yeah…I just need some time alone…"

I turned and walked out, hoping that he wouldn't follow. I walked straight to the elevator, stepping in and pushing the button for the roof.

The elevator moved agonizingly slow up through the floors- it probably would've been faster to take the stairs, but I didn't have the strength. Up past the 15th…16th…17th…18th…and finally, the roof.

The doors slid open and I stumbled out, dizzy from the throbbing pain in my head. I made my way to the edge of the roof, pulling myself up onto the ledge and slowly standing up.

18 stories. There was no way I'd survive.

I'd finally be with him for all eternity, just like it should've been.

"Don't do it!"

I turned around and Lieutenant Tanner was there, his face red from having sprinted up the stairs.

"Don't do this. You still have things to live for. People who love you. Just don't jump," he begged.

I actually smiled at him. He was a nice guy…but he couldn't change the fact that Specs was dead. He just couldn't understand.

"You know what?......I'm not scared anymore," I said, barely above a whisper.

And then I let myself fall, backwards, off the roof.

It didn't really feel like I was falling. I felt like I was being held, floating down to the ground, carried by the wind…carried by an angel. I could feel his arms around me, gently holding me.

I knew it now…we would hold hands. We would kiss under the moonlight. But unlike other people in love…it would last for all eternity for us.

Everything faded into a pure, pleasant white light…and as far as I knew…I never hit the ground…

Epilogue: Tanner's point of view

I was completely drained. I had failed in everything, and two teenage boys were dead…all because of me.

I could've saved him. I knew I could've saved him. But I didn't.

I couldn't sleep all that night, and the next morning I decided to just give up on sleep and get up to take a quick jog. I kissed my wife goodbye without waking her, and then I left.

I jogged down the busy city street, trying to get my mind off the events from the day before. I was furious with the press; they'd been there looking for a good scoop on the father-son stabbing, and when Dutchy had taken his fall, the first thing they thought of was to take pictures. Now there were pictures circulating of the devastated, guilt ridden teen in mid-fall.

Complete and total disrespect, that's what it was. They didn't even understand why he did it. It was gave them an attention catching story for the morning edition.

But as I passed by a newsstand, one glance at the cover of the local paper made me stop dead in my tracks.

I grabbed the paper off the stand and couldn't believe my eyes. The headline read, "Pictures of Suicide Jumper Being Tested for Authenticity".

Every single photographer there had taken pictures during the fall. And every single one had captured the same amazing, impossible moment.

The picture showed Dutchy in mid-fall, and he looked unconscious, framed by the sunrise.

And he was being cradled from above in the arms of what looked like an angel.

None of the spirit's features were clear, but I knew who it was.

And suddenly, I knew why Dutchy hadn't been afraid to fall.