He stopped to lean against a rail at the edge of the path, where the cliff jutted out, providing a popular sea-gazing spot. Seagulls wheeled majestically, soaring and hanging in the air like kites. Away from the shore-line, the sea became seemingly flat and calm, compellingly blue. The scene had such an uplifting power, it was tempting just to remain there, absorbing it. Even the rhythmic surging of waves against rocks fifty metres below was a kind of soothing music.
Without warning, the rail slackened under his body. It suddenly sagged forward like a sapling caught in a gale. It happened too quickly for him to jerk back. His own weight carried him forward as the rail buckled and he felt himself losing his balance. He was at the very edge of the cliff, tumbling. He felt the yawning chasm reaching for him, the cool air rushing upward from the sea. He felt the terror engulf him. His feet scrabbled at the earth, stirring up a flurry of loose soil and pebbles. His arms flailed desperately, despairingly. He was starting to fall, the scream frozen in his throat.