Imagine for once it's not raining.

Imagine giving your parents cheerful goodbyes and running out the door, slamming it behind you before you can be sure they heard. Imagine the soft thuds as your bare feet make contact with the ground, settling into a steady rhythm. Imagine it's your favorite type of music.

Imagine running through bright meadows and stands of trees that cast long shadows in the morning sun. A small white blur dances around your ankles and barks happily, enjoying the daily romp. You soar over gravel roads and climb fences with practiced ease.

Imagine approaching the bank of a deep gully and marveling at how high the muddy water has risen. Imagine feeling like a queen—and wondering what has become of your king. Maybe he's already there, or maybe he hasn't arrived yet. Either way, imagine you have too much energy to wait. You know you'll meet him at the castle, anyhow.

Imagine the dog is sniffing happily at the roots of a tall oak tree. Imagine you're scared to take him over with the water so high. What if you drop him? Imagine he'll be safe here, for now. The king has had more practice; he can take the dog over.

Imagine finding a long branch exactly where you left it, and using it to pull an old, weathered rope hanging over the water towards you. Imagine the bottom drips where it has been submerged in the creek.

Imagine you smell the warm, sweet scent of the wet soil. Imagine you feel the mud squishing beneath your toes and the occasional grass sprout tickling your heels. Imagine grasping the rope and feeling suddenly at home. The coarse strings grate familiarly against the calluses on your hands, and your fingers settle naturally around the sturdy rope. A light breeze stirs your hair and caresses your cheek. Imagine taking one deep breath—inhaling the fragrance of damp leaves and wet dirt and moss-covered rocks. You bend your knees and jump, as your mind leaps and your heart sings and your dirty feet leave land forever.

Imagine that you are flying.

Imagine you hear a crack louder than any grenades of Terabithia. You feel like your hands are on fire, like the rope has no more substance than air.

Imagine you are falling.

Imagine seeing the water come rushing towards you and hearing a crack to echo the first as the bottom of the rope slaps the water. Imagine the clear sound of the stream, and the dim sound of frantic barking. Imagine the first wave of cold consuming you, swallowing you whole.

Imagine being in the water. Under the water. The current is swift, tossing you about in the creek's depths like you're no more than a rag doll. Imagine you try to pull yourself to the surface, but you don't know where the surface is.

Imagine your head suddenly feels like it's been cracked open with a jackhammer. The pain is so great it knocks out all the breath you've managed to keep in your lungs. Small black dots crowd your vision. In the cold water, you feel something warm trickling in your hair. The water buffets you, creating a dreamlike environment as you sink. Imagine you stop struggling. Imagine numbness.

Imagine faces. Mom, Dad, Jess. Imagine the sun hitting a golden wall and setting it on fire. Imagine light filtering through a tall, stained-glass window and illuminating rows of dusty pews. Imagine Terabithia.

Imagine the black abyss.