This one was just silliness, I suppose.
“Is there anything I can say that will stop you?”
I shook my head. Damn him, why did he have to be like this? Were all little brothers so infuriating?
“Tell me again what you’re going to do.”
“So that you can pick it apart.” He grinned, his freckled cheeks shining in the bright midday sun.
He turned and pointed at the thundering waterfall. Its rumbling underpinned every sound, and, inured to it, I knew that I would feel its absence when I moved away. There were a few tourists wandering around, one kid with a balloon.
“I’m going to take a boat to the top of there and tether it.”
“You’re going to tether a boat at the top of Niagara Falls. Uh-huh…”
He rolled his eyes at me. “There are secure tethers up there; how do you think they do maintenance on it?” He turned back and moved his finger down the waterfall. “There are five cameras set up to catch the dive. It’ll be magnificent, and it’ll be a YouTube hit within minutes. The bottom is just deep enough to negate the force of the drop.” He turned and flashed that grin again. “It’ll be a cinch.”
“People die doing this, Jer. Tombstoning, I mean. Not this specifically.” I waved my hand vaguely, but I think he got the drift. I really didn’t want him to do this.
His mouth twisted in distaste. “Don’t say that. If it happens, well, I’ll be joining Mum and Dad. You know that.”
It was always the same. His faith was unshakeable, damned if I know how. He Believed, with a capital B. Only after their deaths had he started doing these stunts. The bike jumps over lorries; the tightrope walks between skyscrapers… even the bull run in Spain had been safer than this.
I turned my back. “I can’t watch you go through with this insanity,” I muttered, even though I knew I would, my knuckled white on the railing as my little brother threw himself into the abyss. Just like I had a dozen times in the last year.
He was quiet for a moment, then I felt his hand on my shoulder. He spun me around and hugged me. Nearly the same height as me, he still had a bit of growing to do, and he was strong. Wiry. A survivor.
“It won’t come to that, sis,” he said, and then he pulled away. “Time to go!”
My heart seemed wrapped around with steel wire as I watched him weave through the crowd. He was anonymous now, but in a few short minutes he’d be a temporary superstar.
I moved to the railing and gripped it tightly, ready to watch.