You are having second thoughts, but it is too late now. The panel lights in the lift are slowly rising, taking you ever closer. You have to go through with it. There’s no turning back. A ping sounds and the doors slide open. You hesitate, avoiding your reflection, no wish to catch sight of the fear in your eyes.
Leaving the safety of the mirrored box you cross the roof, stumbling forwards on uncertain legs, grabbing hold of the safety rail, clinging on tightly to peer over the edge, body buffeted by the wind. The crowd is gathering. From this height it’s nothing but a speck. Your attention is drawn by movement close by. A woman is stepping over the rail — stepping over the edge.
You catch your breath as she launches herself off the building without so much as a backward glance, the baying crowd below urging her on. A man follows, then another. You watch them fall, body shaking, hands clenched, knuckles white — questioning your sanity — wishing you were anywhere but here.
A gust of wind carries your name. Goosebumps rush across your skin. Stepping forward robotically, you clamber over the rail. Only fresh air separates you from those below. The tension is tangible. You inhale deeply, listening to the amplified shouts and cries rising from the ground. All the while teetering on the ledge, swallowing back rising vomit.
Your stomach lurches.
Air engulfs you, rearranging your hair, battering your face, stealing your breath.
Time slows. Emptiness invades.
You tumble and twist, touching the void, gulping down air you’ve forgotten to breathe, euphoria washing over you.
Fumbling for the cord you start to countdown. One quick tug is all it takes to slow your descent. And as your feet come in contact with terra firma, the only thought in your head is to do it again.
CR Smith splits her time between writing and art. Her work has appeared in places such as Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Sick Lit Magazine, Paragraph Planet, Train Flash Fiction, Visual Verse and VERStype. She won ZeroFlash’s Best of the Best and has a horror story in The Infernal Clock. Find her on Twitter @carolrosalind
Image: Alex Wong