I stood on the rooftop, her sillhouette before me, feeling like a spectator looking upon an angel. After all, she did not know I was standing here, watching her. She hadn’t heard my silent footsteps, hadn’t moved an inch.
I knew time was of the essense in this scenario. I needed to get in, pluck the damsel up from her “tower” and get out in about a millisecond of time, but something about this moment seemed almost sacred. I didn’t want to spoil it prematurely and so I waited, approaching slowly, until I stood only a few feet behind her. She still didn’t notice me, remaining fixed on the starry horizon.
I wanted desperately to know what she was thinking in this instance. Was she looking down at the world of ants in their taxis below and mocking them from her realm far above? Or was she, rather, more horrible, wishing to be a part of them, to fly off of this roof, and taste asphalt? To catch a moment of blissful free-falling. I stepped closer.
“Come with me, Angelica. We’ll run away.” I rehearsed the words in my mind. “Angelica, just take my hand. Come. Please.” Nothing sounded exactly right. I wasn’t eloquent. I never had been. My words tumbled over each other.
And then suddenly, she was spinning, pirrhouetting around to face me, looking into my eyes with no sense of surprise at all, as if she had known I was there all along.
“Hello Aaron.” She said coolly, her tone like ice. My stomach turned a somersault, as I looked her in the eyes, and tried to compose myself, tried to resist grabbing her roughly by the arm, and pulling her away with me, making up for what I lacked in words with force. But I did not.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, softly, studying her face, her cold eyes, her parted lips. She was beautiful, but right here, right now, she looked like a corpse, pale, life gone from her eyes.
“I like the view.” She said.
I wanted to shake sense into her, but she was too fragile, standing there, wisps of her hair blowing in the cold wind. She looked like a porcelain doll, dangling on the brink of a great abyss.
“Don’t you know the danger you’re putting yourself in?” I asked. “Don’t you know what you’re doing?”
She just blinked, looked down, arms hanging lifelessly at her sides. “I don’t care.” She said at last, bitterly. “Tom let me into this party. I told him I wanted to fade into the faces, to just be someone besides,” She glared off at the sky above. “Angelica King. He stayed downstairs, talking it up with some bimbo and I slipped up here. He’s not far away, Aaron. Really, I’m safe.” She sounded like one in a trance.
I shook my head, slowly. “Angelica, Tom is dead. He was found with a bullet through his head fifteen minutes ago, and everyone is looking for you. I knew where you’d be. We need to get you out of here. Please, Angelica.”
The shock set in slowly. She spun away from me, staring out into the night, the string of deaths leading us here so vivid in her memory. So many corpses. Now Tom. Just thirty minutes after she had seen him last, in this very party he had escorted her too.
I waited a millisecond, and then slowly turned her around, sliding my arms around her. Her hands came up around my shoulders, and she clung to me for a brief moment. “Come with me.” I whispered. “I’ll take you home.”