Will Clarke

Steve’s Exciting Deaths


Steve’s hands were sweaty. He felt slightly sick as he looked over the bridge. The water was shallow, but perhaps he’d be able to survive the fall if he was careful and lucky. He took a three paces back, took a deep breath, ran and then fell into a shallow dive.

A full second later Steve struck the water in an almost-full belly flop with loud slapping noise. A plume of water showered down. For a while the only sound was water falling. On-site paramedics rushed into the knee-deep water, running furiously. They picked up the bloody corpse and put it on a stretcher. On the bank of the river they started administering CPR. His neck tilted at a nauseous angle and it looked like he’d dislocated both arms. The medics pronounced him dead two minutes later.

The next day Steve jumped out of an aeroplane without a parachute. He aimed for the dense coniferous forest. Surely if he landed just right he’d be able to survive. If anything, he feared surviving more than death-on-impact. If he survived, he had the potential to hurt. A lot.

The forest whizzed closer and closer. Steve picked out a particularly tall tree and tried to angle himself so that he’d brush it, slow down and then fall into one of the other smaller trees nearby. The tree hurtled towards him and the next thing Steve was aware of was tumbling. His arms and legs hit branches with phenomonal force. He felt no pain and was only aware of the impacts shaking his whole body. His arm made a sickening sticky noise when he struck a large branch. He had no control any more over his descent. Two thirds of the way down he struck his head on a large bough and blacked out. The paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene.

On the day after Steve’s unfortunate parachuting incident he went cave diving. He was confident that he’d be able to map out some uncharted territory in this large cave system. He was near the limits of existing exploration; most divers in the past had turned around by now to leave enough oxygen for the return journey and a safety margin. Steve didn’t need any safety margins. It was either total success or total failure. As he squeezed his oxygen cylinders through a tight crevice through the end of a large cave, he wondered how bad drowning would be. How agonizing would it be? He couldn’t imagine what it would actually feel like to have his lungs slowly filling up and his body writing for air. A sliver of fear crept through his hardened mental defences. Should he turn round now? He didn’t need to carry on. He didn’t need to risk this torture of a claustrophobic and cold death. He was totally alone. No one to impress, no one to die for. He could do what he wanted. He could go home.

Terrified, Steve forced himself forwards. He had a reputation to uphold. He had built his entire lifestyle by being stronger and braver than anyone else. He was making a small fortune with these videos and it had nearly covered the massive expenses of his body-backups. He needed to carry on. Taking a deep breath of his limited oxygen supply, he reluctantly pushed himself further into the cold fissure.