“Amy. Please. Don’t.” I said, trying to sound soothing and friendly.

The girl standing on the edge of the school roof turned her head slightly, looking at me from the corner of her eye. She said nothing and turned back, looking up at the sky. Amy was not one of my friends, but neither was she an enemy. 

She was one of those that lived at the bottom of the high school food chain, desperate for the social status that would stop the constant harassment. She didn’t dress quite right. Her pants were a bit short, her shoes a bit too practical, and the colors in her clothes a bit too garish. He hair was frizzy and dark, always worn with the top pulled back into a barrette. 

The barrette was gone now. Her hair caught up in the breeze, snaking over too pale skin. I gripped the antler I held in my hand and took a step closer.

I had found the antler in the woods while hunting with my dad. It had six points, and I thought my hand had tingled when I picked it up. A breeze I had not felt had twirled a stream of brown, dead leaves around me. 

I hadn’t planned to be on the roof. It was off limits for students, but we all snuck up here from time to time. The door lock was easy to pop. I had been heading to the cafeteria, but the stairwell had called me, and I had answered. And found Amy. 

I took a few steps toward her. “Amy?”

She did nothing, not even telling me not to come closer. That was scary. I stayed out of arms reach, since I thought that might make her jump. The breeze twisted around us carrying leaves. One caught in Amy’s hair. I froze. Then lifted the antler. 

“Hey, you should have this.” I felt like a total dweeb. She couldn’t possibly think this was anything but a ploy. Of course it was but I didn’t actually have anything planned, just a vague, gut feeling that she needed it. 

She turned her head. I held the antler up. “I’ll just put it on the ledge and back away.” 

She looked down and then stepped along the ledge. More leaves skirled around her. She smiled and closed her eyes for a moment. I thought she would sway but she didn’t. Then she opened her eyes. 

“Did you know I love birds?” I hadn’t, and shook my head. “I’m so trapped here. I can’t leave. This place is a cage.” She clutched the antler to her chest. Her smile was suddenly genuine and happy. Even radiant. “Thank you.” The leaves danced again and she fell backwards off the roof. 

“No!” I rushed forward looking down. Nothing was on the ground. Nothing at all. A hawk screamed. I looked up, it was riding a thermal towards the clouds. Leaves danced again. I went back inside.

Published by sabrinarosen

Sabrina Rosen is a writer, home remodeler, massage therapist, and, landlord. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two tuxedo cats.

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