The clouds break apart high in the sky, leaving frayed edges and trails of white behind them. A warm, red hue blankets the bottom rolls, reflecting the evening’s sun as it begins to dip beyond the horizon.
Sarah looked at the black illumination of the city’s skyline. Ribbons of towers and spires were like mountain’s themselves, like some kind of testament to the power of man over that of the Earth.
Her feet dangled off the side of the cliff while she sat. Hard, rust colored rocks surrounded her, no bigger than couch. A playfield of boulders, as some her friends had called it. But at the edge of the playfield was Marooner’s Cliff. A devastating – or beautiful – three hundred feet drop down into forest below. The lodgepole pines outstretched from the base with their slim trunks trying to meet the edge but falling still over two hundred feet short.
The sky began to take on the nature of fire, orange and yellow streaks slit across the view in front of her. Would this be her last sunset?
Andrew had found a space next to her. He had been noticeably quiet for a while now. She assumed he was giving her some space – a chance to think. Everything had happened so fast. It was all supposed to be a joke, a hoax. None of it was supposed to be real.
He stirred, moving to get up. “Sarah?” he asked, his voice small.
Sarah didn’t respond. She still didn’t feel ready.
He cleared his throat. “Sarah?” he asked again.
She turned her head steadily, meeting his eyes. “We can’t wait any longer. If we don’t do it soon, the sun will have set and then….then…” he shook his head. He looked down and traced his boot on the dusty ground, pebbles scratching the surface as he moved. “We would let them down,” he added.
“I know.” Sarah stood, taking in a long breathe. Her heart was beginning to race again. Could she really be doing this?
“Here –,“ Andrew fumbled with his pack and handed her a small container. The clear liquid sloshed around. “It’s pure, I promise. Picked it up on my way over.”
Sarah nodded; she would never doubt Andrew. He was someone to bet your life on.
He pulled another container out. “Covered. I think I’ll just leave my bag here.” He tossed it over one of the rocks to the other side. “I don’t think it would be a good idea to take it with me anyhow. You might want to empty your pockets, too. Anything to weigh you down a little less.”
“Right.” Sarah managed a small smile. Her heart began to feel like it was moving its way up her chest as nerves began unraveling all over her. With shaking hands, she pulled out her cellphone and wallet, tossing them down on the ledge. What would her mother think when they found them?
A pang hit her hard in the stomach. Her mother. Did she say goodbye?
“Ready then?” Andrew asked. He was trying to be brave, but his pallor had gone pale amidst his red-freckles. Poor Andrew, Sarah thought. She was the reason he was here today.
With as much stillness as she could muster, she popped open the lid and drank the liquid in one breathe. It was cold and hinted of metal. She supposed as any water kept in a copper basin would be.
Taking Andrew’s hands in hers they repeated those three sentences. Only twenty words. She had counted them repeatedly.
They both turned to the edge of the cliff and released hands. Taking in the world around her a last time, she stepped out.
Her body felt like a cloud as she fell – weightless and free.