TW: Sickness, death
I watch as the sun rises up from its sleeping place, far beneath the ground. Maybe the sun is tired of always having the same cycle, each day, over and over again. For an infinite amount of years and then some.
Orange streaks fill the sky, closing out the darkness. It’s a sight that I’ve always loved, like a change in time, an end to the dark. I watch from my roof as a dazzling beam lifts itself up out of the earth. I have to squint to look at it.
I watch the sunrise every day, but it never gets old. I enjoy watching the sun rising rather than setting- which is weird, because in our small coastal town, the sea faces to the west.
My family doesn’t know I go out onto the roof each morning. And if they did know, I don’t think they’d be okay with it. But that never stops me from doing anything.
You might be wondering how I’ve never once been caught on that roof. I’ll give you one solid answer- because it’s 5:20 on a Saturday morning.
I’m a morning person. I get up at 5 A.M. to watch the sun rise up. A morning person, who makes the most of their summer day.
I see a light turn on in a house across the street. That’s weird- I’ve never seen anyone up this early. It’s Lana’s house, oh so perfect Lana. Lana, with the pretty hair. Lana, always getting the good grades, beloved by her teachers. I wish that I could at least be free of her every summer, but she just so happens to be my next-door neighbor.
I scramble back to the window. I don’t want my time up here to end so abruptly, but I don’t want anybody to see me and tell my parents. It’s a high climb back up to my window, though, so I’m barely halfway up when I hear the creak of a door opening. I pray that I’ve turned invisible as I dreadfully look behind me. There’s Lana, staring right at me from her doorway.
“What are you doing?” She asks me.
“What are you doing?” I snap back.
She glances at me sideways. “What I mean is, what are you doing up there? And at 5 in the morning?”
“What are you doing at 5 in the morning?”
“Do you really care what I say?” Lana asks, raising her eyebrows.
“And do you care what I say?” I’m proud of my stubbornness, but it was true. I could have told Lana I was going to do backflips off of my roof, and she wouldn’t care.
Lana sighs. “Well, if you must know, I have a really early flight to catch.”
“Makes sense. You wouldn’t want to abandon your beauty sleep.”
“How long have you been up there for?” Lana asks.
“Long enough,” I say. It’s only been twenty minutes, but I want to sound tough, unbudging. “Don’t you have a flight you need to prepare for?”
“I have enough time,” Lana says. “Why are you on the roof? You aren’t doing anything… bad, are you?”
I know what she’s implying. I’ve had a lot of people mistake me for the vaping, drug-doing type, but I’ve read enough online to know what it can do to you. Just because I’m not shy or perfect doesn’t mean I’m reckless.
“I’m not doing anything you wouldn’t do,” I say. “Unless you count getting up at 5 every day.”
“What are you doing?” Lana asks me again, her voice obviously suspecting.
“Can you please just leave me alone?” I ask, raising my voice a little. “I doubt people would think you were doing drugs if they saw you watching the sunrise.”
“Oh,” Lana says. “Is that really what you’re doing?”
“Of course,” I reply. “If I didn’t want anyone to see me, I would be on the other side of the roof, facing the sea.”
Lana nods, maybe seeing some sense for once.
I would go up to the window now, but I’m still kind of curious. “What are you doing out here, though? You know, showing your face without your fancy-schmancy makeup?”
“I’ll just go inside now,” Lana says, spinning around.
“Wait!” I exclaim. “I’m sorry. That was… kind of mean, for me to say that.”
I’ve never, ever apologized and actually meant it, nor did I think I ever would, especially to Lana. But… she seemed hurt.
Lana raises her eyebrows. “This is some sort of trick, isn’t it?”
I gape at her. Does Lana really think of me like that? Like I’m some sort of bully, the antagonist in her story, who’d never actually feel sorry for her? It makes sense, really. Even though I’ve lived next to her my whole life, I’ve never spoken to her until now. I’ve scowled at her every day. I’ve accidentally-on-purpose bumped into her in the hallways. Lana is the perfect princess at school. She deserves some harsh treatment.
But what does she think of me now?
“It’s not a trick,” I say. “I’m sorry.”
“And for your information, I don’t even wear any ‘fancy-schmancy makeup’ outside of school. My mom wants me to look nice for boys, she’s so old-fashioned. I hate makeup, though.”
“You didn’t seem like it,” I say. Lana, the perfect, beautiful girl, didn’t even like makeup? “Well, for your information, I don’t like tricking people with apologies, or smoking tobacco on my roof at 5 A.M. So, trust me, I don’t do anything bad like that.”
Lana laughs. “Okay,” she says.
I slide off of my roof and land on the driveway below. Lana looks at me like I’ve made a daredevil move, but it’s only about eight or nine feet.
“So where’s your flight to?” I ask her. “And are you going with your family?”
“My parents and I, we’re going to Cincinnati,” Lana says. “To- to visit my grandparents. We haven’t seen them in years. Our flight leaves at nine, but we have to drive for an hour and a half to the airport, so…”
“You need to go inside and get ready,” I say. “I get it. Maybe we can talk when you’re back.”
“No, I have time,” Lana says. “I got up an hour earlier than I needed to.”
I'm surprised again. Lana willingly got up this early?
“Okay,” I say. “Wanna come with me? I have something to show you.”
I lead her down the street. June pride flags are hanging off the houses. Fully-bloomed trees are lining the streets. It’s so silent at this time of day. I can hear the faint whisking of waves half a mile away.
We turn a corner, which leads to a dead end in the street. It’s a corrupted part of the neighborhood- broken glass, beaten sement, a faint smell of cigarettes. I bet Lana would never think of going here.
“What are we doing?” Lana asks me, backing away.
“Oh, it’s fine. Come with me.” I grab her arm and lead her into the woods behind the old houses. There aren’t any paths, but I don’t need that.
“So.. Cincinnati?” I ask. “Have you gone there before? To visit your grandparents?”
“Grandparents? Cincinnati?” Lana asks, staring off into space. “Oh, yeah. Or, well, no, I haven’t been there before, if that’s what you were wondering. I’ve… I’ve never even gotten on a plane.”
“I thought you’ve been to Hawaii,” I say. “At show and tell, at the beginning of the year, you brought in that Hawaiian art.”
“Oh! Yeah. I went on a plane to Hawaii.” She shook her head.
“Are you okay?” I ask. “You don’t seem like it.” If I’d gone to Hawaii, I’d definitely remember. And all of that rambling about Cincinnati and her grandparents… it didn’t seem like Lana.
“I’m okay,” Lana said, looking down. “But where are you taking me?”
“We’re almost there,” I say. “You’ll see then.”
Lana looks unsure- maybe she doesn’t completely trust me yet. I got that.
Then I see it. The sunlight streaming in through the trees. We’re here. I step through the trees, dragging Lana along with me into paradise.
I bet Lana was expecting something that had to do with the ocean. But no. There’s so much natural beauty on land. We’re about fifteen feet from a cliff, which overlooks… the entire world. Hills and hills, endless hills, dotted with trees. It goes on forever. And behind it, the sun is rising up to the sky. Some people might not appreciate this. They’d say, “why come here, when you live right next to the ocean?” But sometimes these beauties are in places where you wouldn’t think to look.
I’m a morning person. I look at my surroundings while I shiver in the chilly breeze. A morning person, who never wastes a precious moment in life. It’s like a warm-up to my day, when everyone else is falling behind.
“This is beautiful,” Lana says, looking out at the world ahead of her. “I never knew about this.”
“I don’t think anyone does, besides me,” I say.
“You know,” Lana whispers, just loud enough for me to hear, “maybe I was wrong about you. I never, well, I never thought you were a very good person.”
“I never thought you were a very adventurous person, either,” I say. “How about this- we put those first impressions behind us and become friends. Okay?”
“Okay,” Lana says. “Friends.”
We both smile.
“I have something to tell you, though,” Lana says, coming to sit down at the edge of the cliff. I plop myself down next to her. “I have epilepsy. Really bad epilepsy. I forget things a lot. I have seizures. We’re not going to Cincinnati to visit my grandparents- we’re looking for a treatment.”
“Oh,” I whisper, at a loss for words.
“I just wanted you to know, since you’re my friend now,” Lana assures me. “You don’t need to make too big of a deal about it.”
“Of course,” I say.
Then we just sit there, at the edge of the cliff, no ground beneath our feet. I don’t know how long we stay like that, but the sun gets higher and higher. I’m just about to tell Lana that we should head back when it happens.
It goes too fast. Lana’s body convulses, thrashes wildly. Her chest drops to her knees. A seizure, I think. And my confused expression turns to horror as I see her leaning forward, forward, forward…
Before I can stop her, she slips off of the surface and falls down the cliff’s fifty-foot drop.
“NO!” I scream, looking down and wishing I hadn’t. Lana must’ve gotten her perception back now, because her eyes are wide as she falls, desperate for something to hold on to. But there’s nothing, just rushing air. I turn away when she hits the ground.
“No…” I say to myself, shaking. “No…”
I look down, but I don’t see her. Two oak trees are covering my view of her, but I know what's down there.
“HELP!” I yell out, hoping someone can hear. But I don’t think so.
How do I get down there? I look along the cliff’s edge. It doesn’t drop out, doesn’t lower. It would be impossible for me to get to Lana without falling down myself. By the time I can get help and come back, she’ll definitely be… be...
I can’t force myself to think it, even though it’s the sheer reality. Her parents will be heartbroken. I will be heartbroken. My first friend. My only friend. Tears rim my eyes- I feel hollowed out, an empty shell being all that remains in me. Which is weird. I've only known her, really known her, for less than an hour.
But it could've been so much longer.
It’s no use getting help. It would take at least ten minutes to get back to the neighborhood and dial 911.
I should still do it, though, right?
But what if Lana’s parents didn’t believe I led her out here? I wasn’t exactly the kind of person she would normally befriend. They could think that I did it.
But if I just went back and said nothing, no one would need to know.
The decision whirs through my mind. Whatever I choose might have consequences. Maybe I should move on, let them all discover Lana on their own. She- she’ll be gone anyway, won’t she?
But what would Lana want me to do?
Maybe people should know what really happened. Her parents should know she had a friend, at least for those few minutes, when we sat there, feeling like we were at the top of the world.
It was the best moment of my life. I guess I owe it to Lana for giving me that.
I look out at the hills, the forests, stretching out. It was like a sea of its own. Maybe I can’t get away from that emptiness, that nothingness that stretches out all the way to the horizon. I’m never coming back here again, that’s for sure. Just staying here any longer makes me sway.
I’m a morning person. I try to live everything out and never miss a beat. A morning person, who wants to be patient and take things slow. The Twin Towers were attacked in the early morning. Mount St. Helens erupted at 8:30. If people slept in, they’d miss history, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe dark events happen in the mornings. Dark twists of fate can be peering at you behind the rising sun. There’s so much evilness in what shines bright, the morning breeze I’ve always loved. Should I ever trust it again? Ever trust anything again?
I take one last look out at the scenery before I take off into the trees. I’m not going to miss this place.
Sometimes a morning person just needs some sleep.
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Wow! That was really good! I think I found a few spelling errors but besides that really good. I loved Lana's relationship with the main character (whose name I don't think was mentioned?) They had an interesting dynamic. Very sudden plot twist I definitely wasn't expecting it I think you did the death well and my only suggestion would be to have maybe like it a little slower her death with a teeny bit more sadness but besides that great story. And congratulations on first story since June!
Thanks for reading and commenting!!!
no problem :) Im glad your posting again!
dont ask bro dont ask. just showed up in my comments so why not? TIME TO SPREAD POSITIVITY WHEN I SAY "I AM" YOU SAY "LOVED" THEN COPY/PASTE THIS TO SOMEONE ON REEDSY AND CONTINUE THE CHAIN LETS SPREAD SOME POSITIVITY READY??? I AM-
LOVED (I will post this to just about everyone I know on here)
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR...
Should've expected that....
You know meee. XD
SPOILERS ON THIS COMMENT!!! This is my first reedsy story since June (post-quarantine business + writer's block + reeeeeeeeally hating the update.) I'm amazed that I actually got this done!!!!! I've wanted to write a story like this for a long time. So, yeah. The plot twist. I'm definitely a pantser when it comes to writing, and I definitely didn't imagine it when I started the story. I hope you, above anything, enjoyed reading it (but pressing the like button would be appreciated!!!) I might make more reedsy stories in the coming mont...