written by Srishti Kadu
edited by Lauren Wood
The rusted metal clinked against her boots as she hurried up the ladder to the roof. The sun had set behind the hills; reds, yellows and pinks spilled across the horizon. In the east, a pale full moon hung above the many glass buildings. The tiny lights on the streets below lit up.. Even after all those years, the view stunned her.
But today the dark hills called to her, their muted presence amplified as the sun dipped lower. She made her way across the cemented floor. Her building didn’t have a standard terrace like most others. Instead, two parallel metal pipes ran around the periphery, doing what little they could to keep people from walking to their deaths. She squeezed herself through the gap between them, sitting on the lower pipe while resting her chin on the top one. Though her feet were off the ground, she felt safe strapped in to her red metal harness.
Twenty storeys below, kids flooded the streets with their footballs and cricket bats. The wind carried their laughter up towards her. She smiled looking back at the sky. The colours had deepened; the shape of the hills sharpened in contrast. She watched as little clusters of light popped up on the hillside. A sign of life.
She sighed as she thought about her own life: the monotony of it was stifling. Everything was too… safe. Just the word sounded foul to her without even having said it out loud. The daily routine of school-homework-eat-sleep was beginning to grate on her and she itched for something more. Boredom was beginning to seep into her. She feared that if this… this feeling of nothingness continued she’d soon disappear into it.
Maybe that’s why she loved this place. Sitting on those pipes was as close to danger as she could get. Living a life where everything seemed so concrete and sure, perhaps this was exactly what she needed.
As the wind picked up, she stretched out her feet. Arms unfolded and eyes closed; falling. And then all too soon, she was flying. Her dark hair lashed around. Her pulse quickened. She tilted forward. The metal cut into her collarbones. She clung onto the excitement desperately and believed that she was soaring through the sky, looking down at the city; its millions of tiny lights outnumbered the stars above. She skimmed over the glass buildings and into the dark valleys. She chased the last fading rays of the sun.
But when she opened her eyes the illusion was shattered. The adrenaline wore off. She was still trapped in her red metal harness.