Clare McCullough

Short Story

Urban Cliffhanger

I hung with my hands against the wall, mere inches of myself keeping me hanging of the side of the building. The window edges were poking from the flat expanse of wall. The earth was a ghastly 200 miles from the ground. The asphalt was simmering in the hot sun. The people mill about with their hands in the pockets, or sides swinging like great mills that are lacking the wind to propel themselves forward. The feet of many a suffering man (and by man I mean all humanity) shuffling along sidewalks. Wearing down the concrete slabs until nubs remained from the fingers of earth.

My body hung like wet laundry from the silver sheet of glass. The gravity pulls strongly on my shoes, weighing down the black bricks, the asphalt calling them down in order to give them a maternal kiss. My fingers, white with the tension, bone hooking onto the red surface.  I inched to the side, slipping just a little bit lower every raise of my hand. My heart fails to send more blood to my hands, the blood slipped down into and around my neck, each beat brought new heat surging. Cold hands, dangling limbs, throbbing heart, burning lungs. All slipped across the building.

The sun plastered the light on to only half of the building. The building; half-eaten and still, was predominating out of the earth, jagged teeth against the smoky dark. The fingers of the right hand slipping down below the sill, tilting my body violently to the side, I swung back, a pendulum against the flat surface. I managed to wedge my foot onto a close-by metal ledge. I stepped to relieve my sweaty cold fingers from the crumbly earth for a moment. But my legs, failing me, I slumped down again. I took a deep breath and re-administered the pressure; I managed to straighten myself that way, pulling with more effort this time from my arms. I took the next step bringing myself about 3 feet from freedom. My arms and lungs were burning with the exertion. I managed to haul my body to the gray dented fire escape, reaching relief.

My head bursting with blood now, I rolled myself over the handrail and landed with a shivering thump on the cool surface. I lay there and breathed for thirty seconds, laughing out my relief, and my head felt clear again I sat up slowly, my body aching and shaking  I hoisted myself to my feet using the handrail as my support. I tittered down the stairs slowly and with effort down towards the dark empty street, my arms swinging like great mills that were lacking the wind.

Leave a Reply

Join our Mailing list!

Get all latest news, exclusive deals and event updates.