In the heat, the concrete stretched out before him like a roiling sea.
Ander pushed forward, his shoes scraping off the edge of the building, and suddenly the wind was tearing against him, shredding through him. It was awful, how his body tumbled into the open air, how it wanted to kick and claw its way back to firm ground.
Instead he snapped open his arms, the tough fabric making a smooth line between his wrists and waist, then across his legs. He screamed and fell but moved forward, riding the wind forward even as the earth rushed up to meet him.
It felt like he was breathing for the first time.
The concrete moved beneath him, faster, faster, then grass brushed his fingertips, and then he was crashing against the hard earth of the park.
When he rolled to a stop, pain was blooming in his wrist, back, all over. He’d lost his goggles at some point, and his face was scratched all to hell. A rock had gouged deep into the brim of his helmet. Nothing was broken, somehow.
He turned onto his back and stared up at the sky, hemmed in by trees and buildings. Amazing how something could be bigger on the inside than from the outside.
Ander picked himself up and went home, fingering the tears in his windsuit. The twisting warren of the city pulled him in. It clung to his feet, coughed its dust into his lungs.
In the small apartment his father was waiting, first aid kit in hand. He sat down at the kitchen table and let him bandage his sprained wrist. There was clutter everywhere—tools, bits of copper and bronze, seashells, a compass, the half-finished carving of a cow figurine.
“You need to stop this,” his father said finally, inspecting a cut above his eye. “I didn’t make that windsuit for this type of fall. You don’t even have a parachute.”
“Don’t need one.”
“Don’t be stupid, Lysander.”
They were silent. This was an old conversation, and they played it in their heads. When will we leave the city, a couple years, maybe more. Now, please, let’s go now. Please, I hate it here. Don’t be stupid, you know—
Ander limped from the kitchen and spent the rest of the night patching up his suit.
In the morning he found a taller building, towering up from the city. His body was so light; the sky was blue and open. He breathed and breathed and then drowned in the sea.