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I gradually became aware that I was sitting on a small cart. It was travelling slowly along a narrow concrete track heading down a hill. 

I knew I had seen these types of carts and tracks before, but I couldn’t immediately remember what they were called or where I’d seen them. I thought about it for a few moments trying to work it out as my cart made its way down the hill and then it came to me. 

It was an alpine slide. The last time I’d seen one was the summer after I graduated from high school. That summer I had worked at an amusement park in New Jersey called Action Park. The alpine slide there had been one of the main attractions.

The cart on which I was riding was different from the carts they’d had at Action Park. Those carts were all one-seaters. Mine had two; side by side. 

My fiancée was sitting in the other seat. Between us there was a brake, a lever that could be pulled to slow or stop the cart. The brake was well within my reach and I could easily have stopped the cart because the slope was not very steep. 

I didn’t pull the brake.

I looked back and saw that the concrete track extended far into the distance. Toward the limits of my vision the track looked very flat, but I could see that as we had moved along the track it had been getting gradually steeper and steeper.

I looked forward again and saw my friends ahead on either side watching us. They were all smiling. As I passed by them, I noticed that the increase in the slope of the track was accelerating. So was the cart.

I looked over at my fiancée. She was smiling too.

I didn’t pull the brake then either.

My family and hers were on the side of the track up ahead. The track had become extremely steep and was quickly becoming ever steeper as it approached them.

That was when I noticed Michele. 

She was with her husband on another cart on another track parallel but never joining. Her track was very steep just like mine. She didn’t look happy, but she didn’t appear to be doing anything to try to stop her cart either.

When I looked forward again I saw not far past the point where my family was watching the track became impossibly steep and disappeared into an abyss. If I stayed on the cart until I got to that point the cart, my fiancée, and me would all be lost.

Our families looking up the mountain -- it was no longer merely a hill -- toward us and must not have been able to see the danger ahead. 

I didn’t do anything to try to alert them.

My fiancée, at least, must also be able to see the abyss. I looked over at her. She was looking ahead but she seemed oblivious to the danger. 

She was still smiling. 

I didn't tell her what lay ahead either.

The brake suddenly became very large and powerful. I knew it was capable of stopping the cart before it reached the abyss. 

But I still didn’t pull it.

The cart careened past my family and hurled towards the abyss. . . .

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