Written by: Juniper Huang
Edited by: Joey Lin
Oct. 11th, 2020
It was an early winter morning. The cold, grey sky shrouded Spruce City as the sun hid itself beyond the storm clouds. The streets were unusually quiet, with almost all of the residents being away for holidays.
On the rooftop, she could see at every avenue, every turn, every corner, something to remind her of the bleakness of this world.
Today was the perfect day.
She took a few steps towards the edge. Two feet. Adrenaline rushed through her body like thousands of needles piercing her flesh. All of her reflexes were shook alert, as if sensing the approach of a storm.
She took another step closer to the edge and peered down. The empty streets seemed so far away. How long would it take for her to reach the bottom?
She inched further. The soles of her shoes were halfway over the rim. She glanced down once more, the dim streetlamps giving her vertigo.
She took a deep breath and sat down on the edge, her feet dangling a few hundred meters above the ground. Leave. This was all just a dream—the only way out is here.
She thought about the day her sister bid her farewell to the world. She thought about her laugh even as she struggled on with cancer. She thought about her final words before the heart monitor dropped to zero, “I’ll see you on the other side.”
The other side...what is the other side?
Just then, the landscape beneath her shifted. The concrete sidewalks disappeared and skyscrapers vanished. She was left to find herself on a tall tree overlooking a grassfield.
There was nothing for miles and miles onwards, just an endless stretch of green.
And below the tree, dressed in a plain white shirt and blue jeans, was a girl with auburn hair. The girl had her back to her, but she knew exactly who it was.
The girl turned, a wide grin on her face, “Sis! Come down, I’ll catch you!” She held out both of her hands in the air.
“Okay!” She bent her legs and leapt off the branch, laughing for the first time in months.
But just as she was about to touch the ground, the landscape shifted again. Both the girl and the grassland were no more. She crashed onto the cold pavement as agony coursed through her body, a piercing ring filling her ears. She shut her eyes tight as she felt her ribs become mashed against her chest and was forced out of the skin. Her right kneecap, which had taken most of the impact, was now completely shattered, making her leg hang at an odd angle next to her arm. Blood flowed across the pavement, it’s deadly glisten filling up the cracks in between the concrete tiles.
There was no clamor, no frenzied yells for help, no nothing. It was just her, the wreckage of bones and blood, and the empty city.
This wasn’t the escape she had hoped for. This was much too slow, much too painful. She let out one after another of choked screams until the scent of blood was all she could taste.
How long before the end?