The cliff stood before them, their necks turned up, looking upon the seventy feet of tan rock with black iron veins splaying about the stone. It’s about confidence, Lars had told her. If you have confidence that you won’t fall, then you won’t fall. The girl reached over and played with his belt loop and kissed him on the cheek, not realizing he had used this line on girls before. She tied into the rope and climbed the cliff, nervous but excited at the same time.

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Adam Padgett’s fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Roanoke Review, Cold Mountain Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and reprinted in Surreal South ’13: An Anthology of Short Fiction. He is a mentor for PEN America’s Prison Writing Program and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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