Something to Remember Me By

Falling

Tom stumbled out of the bed. His apartment was a bachelor pad, a mess, and it didn’t take long to find a pair of jeans on the floor. He didn’t see his shoes. A breeze from outside brushed his skin. He looked back up. There nothing there. There wasn’t time to mess around with shoes. He hurried to the window and leaned outside, and a cold rush of air from below blew all around him. The girl lightly stepped her way to the end of the ledge.

“Hey.” Hey? That was the best he could do? “Can you hear me?”

She opened her eyes. They were dark, almost black, like the little marbles he used to play with as a kid. The stillness in them scared him more than the drop. His chest tightened. Tom felt like an invisible, thin hand was playing its fingers over his ribs like xylophone keys.

“Come back inside,” he said. He reached out his hand. She didn’t seem to understand, but she took a step toward him. Her outside foot was brushing the ledge. Tom imagined it felt like razor sharp teeth brushing against it, the maw of the empty street waiting to swallow her up. Another step.

“What’s your name?” Tom asked. She was almost there.

He knew this girl. Tom blinked. It didn’t make sense, but something told him he’d known her before. He leaned farther out onto the ledge, holding on to the window frame with his other hand. He had to save this girl.

She reached out for him. The wind was still, thank God. Tom smiled as her skin brushed his and their hands clasped tight. She said something; her name. Her voice sounded far away.

“What?”

She fell.

“NO!” Tom screamed.

He lost his grip on the window instantly; it was a joke to think he was strong enough to hold on for both of them. Tom pitched out toward the maw, the two of them about to fall end over end into a demon’s mouth. He snapped his knees hard against the underside of the window ledge. It slowed them down. He kept slithering out, falling, but he got enough of a grip with his legs to hang on.

Taxi horns and ambulance sirens rose up from the street. The girl screamed too, “Don’t let me go! Don’t let me die here!” Her beautiful face contorted in terror. Images of a skull flicker-flashed into his head again.

His feet slipped on the carpet. Now, he wished he’d put shoes on.

“Hold on! Climb up!” he screamed.

“Help me!”

Her nails dug into his arm hard enough to draw blood. She wasn’t letting go, but he wasn’t strong enough to pull her in himself. The invisible, cold hand tightened around his chest. He slipped out the window.

Grunting and moaning, like rising from the dead, this time Tom really did wake up. The neighbor’s dog barked at the noise. He stared at the window, which still looked like it opened to a maw, only now it felt like fresh, real air brushed his skin. Warm drops of blood ran down his arm.

<< Dream Girl ^ Dream Girl ^ Something Is Missing >>

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