Nov 04
franklih's picture

The cliffs

I was walking home from school as usual. The air had a certain chill in it, that promised fall was coming. Red and yellow crinkled leaves wafted down from trees. The frosty grass cunched flatly under my feet. I tried to concentrate on the assignment ms. Taylor gave us. ‘’Find an interesting and strange house in your neighborhood and ask the owners if you can come inside and look around. Come up with a backstory to the house,’’ Ms. Taylor had told our class. All the houses along flasky street were boring. Square. Flat. no windows, tiny yards. Not for the first time, I wished that I lived up on oopa heights, way up on the cliffs. The houses there were big, old and rotting. I remember someone telling me that children sometimes disappeared over the edge of the cliffs. Even now, parents let their kids wander near the edge, not even looking up from their phones. Only a few people lived on the cliffs. I haven't heard any news from the breezy gaping neighborhood of oopa heights. 

As I trudged up my driveway, lugging my backpack, a sudden icy wind whooshed around me, slicing its way through my thin coat and shooting leaves at me like torpedos.  I pulled my hood on and scampered into my house, which was warm and glowing with light. Delicious smells drifted from the bright orange rustic kitchen. I peered out the window. The freezing wind had followed me right up to when I slammed the door.

The wind howled and moaned outside, battering the windows. I looked back at the kitchen, and all the light and tasty aromas were gone. It was back to its usual bleak dreariness since the fire. Memories of times when I still had family and happiness haunt my days and nights. I rushed to my closet sized room. It was friday. That night I wrote in my journal, ’’tomorrow, I will go to the cliffs.’’ I needed to complete my homework assignment after all.

I woke up at 4:02 on Saturday morning. I slowly lifted myself out of bed. I had a sudden yurning to go at this very moment to oopa heights. I snatched up my backpack. I could go out the front door, but it felt more stealthy to go out the window. I silently lifted it, then gracefully fell face first out of the window. 

I walked quickly down the dark sidewalk. Streetlights illuminated the shady trees, and I felt completely alone. A memory suddenly popped into my head. It was a flashback to a camping trip I went on when I was seven with my older cousin, who was sixteen. We sent up our tent right by a rushing and bubbling river. I shrieked with joy every minute because this was my first time camping. That night I woke up and the silence minced my ears.‘’jane?’’I called softly. there was no answer. I stood on the riverbank, straining my eyes against the darkness. I still remember her blue-purple lips and mangled hand struggling against the water. 

I sunk to the ground. Under me, there was a sudden scraping sound. The worst sound `had ever heard, seeping from under the sidewalk. It sounded like 10,000 ragged fingernails scraping down rough pavement, all the time wearing away the fingernails, cutting into the fingers making them bleed. I jumped up, tripped over my own feet and kept running down the street. Scraaape. Her hands, grabbing for nothing in particular. Scraape. Her hands looked like an old man grabbing for his cane. Her hands sinking.

I stood in the heart of Oopa heights. It was like a whole different world in there. A dense little forest, half a mile wide which was the width of the one and only street on oopa heights. My family used to go picnicking on the tall island. Five years ago, my older brother and I went on a picnic for his birthday. Even though it looked like it was about to rain and thunder, he kept insisting. We walked along the narrow causeway joining the mainland and oopa heights. Halfway up the trail he slipped on a rock and disappeared over the cliffed. I arrived home alone in the pouring rain. I suddenly snapped away from my thoughts as i realized i was only inches from the edge of the cliff. Before, I was way back in the trees. Had i walked without thinking? Something made me take a half step forward. Now i was right on the edge of the cliff, a sheer drop to whitecap waves and sharp boulders. My thoughts swirled around me and a little ghostly voice in my head whispered, ‘’children disappeared over the edge, they were right where you are standing’’

There was a pulling somewhere off the cliff. Something was pulling me and i had to resist. I slapped myself hard but i was still being pulled. I slapped myself again and managed to pry myself away and run and run all while slapping myself. Run run run, slapaplapaslpapy slap! Snap out of it. 

I got closer to the end of the gray street with the big far apart houses. Each one bright red. Even though there was still only a little light in the sky, the paint shown like it was a sunny mid afternoon.i was almost at the end of the street when something funny came over me. I could no longer taste the earthy autumn air. I took another step, and I couldn't feel the cold breeze against my face. I took another and another. I couldn't hear the crackling and rustling of leaves, or the sent of the salty sea. Finally my hearing slipped away, like the last of the hot water seeping down the drain. All that was left was sight. Everything was blissfully silent. At the very end of the street, a towering house stood. It was red, like the rest of the houses, but there was something different about it. The paint was more glowing that ever and even though I knew the house had been there for much more than 100 years, there was not a speck of dirt on it and the shutters were perfectly straight. I walked up the perfect steps and put my hand of the perfect shining door knob all without a sound. I stepped inside. 

There was not a single wall or floor in sight. Just sky, sky as far as I could see. The world left numb and I felt isolated. I felt… what did I feel? but I was almost enjoying looking back and forth, rigtht and left, into the broad sky. But that’s before I looked up. Way up in the vast blueness were all of my dead loved ones. My brother, mother, father and cousin were hung, arm and legs stretched wide by four ropes. I couldn’t see what the ropes were connected to, because they stretched as far as the sky to who knows where. The world swirled around me and yet I knew that the world didnt revole around me. Nothing revolved around me. A ghastly wind howled through the sky. Was it the same wind that followed me in my very own abandoned driveway? whooshing, the wind nocked me over, then travled up to the sky and swayed the dead boddies. There was a creaking sound like a swing on a summer day. 

Except it felt like the dead of winter.

The sky was a milky purple. I hurtled down the side walk. There I stood, shuttering and panting, 10 feet from the edge of the cliff. I felt my self being pulled one again. My feet dragged forward, scuffing the dirt. My eyes were locked straight ahead. I have to, I thought. I deserved it after all. Was I responsible for… responsible…

As i got closer to the rocky edge, i could see the water, the same color as the sky. The gelationus waved tilted ever so slightly. The world was silanter than ever. Now i was four feet from the edge and still i was being dragged like a magnent. 

Three feet.

Two feet.

The abyss...

One foo-
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