Wind blew a scatter of leaves across my path. The rattle matched the jangle of my reactions. Each sound caused a hitch in my step, caused my fists to clench, my head to turn – this way and that, check everything for movement, for shadows within shadows. For any black darker than the grey of Autumn. There’s something there, and close.
What does it want? What do I have? How can I get out away?
A dog barks, the hack of it bounds from the shape of the wind. I couldn’t tell which direction it came from. If I could, I’d go that way. A dog would be better company than …
A noisy gust lifts a dancer’s swirl of colour – leaves in browns and yellows and reds and oranges combine and swing and eddy and twirl into a shape of a tall and elegant woman with auburn hair. It was in my way, and I wanted to reach out and brush it away, or burst through it, but I looked again – It had eyes!
My backside hit the cold, wet grass. The path was to my right. My left arm burned with pain and I lifted it, felt the pain that surged through a living body. Pain meant life. If I was alive, I could get out of here.
The useless left arm I tucked into the gap between two buttons on the long blue coat I’d taken from my mother’s cupboard. The arm held there, but it didn’t ease the agony. Life. Agony. Same.
I tucked my legs under my torso, pushed with my right hand on the ground. It was cold and wet. Where were my gloves? Wasn’t I wearing gloves? Who would be silly enough to go out into this sort of day without gloves? Not me. I always worse gloves, summer or winter, to hide it.
Now it was clear and visible and as bright as snow on the mountain. The red gash. The inch-wide scar of livid and proud flesh, one of the many that defined my life. The reason I was out here.
Push. Lift the body.
It was harder than I thought. One arm held in tight to the body, the other weakened by the lack of solidity. Push. Push. Use the legs, use the thighs. Push. Lean into it. There. Up. Looked around.
I saw the gloves on the gravel path. White gloves with the blue pattern of skeletonised leaves. I’d made them for my mother, but she was gone now, and I needed them.
A roar of wind as my foot lifted to move me forward. My left arm came loose of the coat as I leaned into the wind. Hair blew across my face, blocking my sight of the path. But I hadn’t turned, I hadn’t changed direction, so it was directly in front of me. Keep going.
One step. Another. Lean down and into the wind. Hold that left hand steady. Ignore the pain of the left, ignore the bite of cold on the right. Move to the path. Safety lies on the path. With the gloves. See them, see the glow of something there, on that brown path?
I stepped onto the brown, but it wasn’t a path.
I wasn’t walking in the park.
The parapet on the rooftop of my building looked like this. The ledge. One step would take me … away.
Copyright Cage Dunn 2017 (an idea for a Part 2 scene).