Title: Reviving Icarus
Author: Elizabeth Christian
She stood alone, staring down at the night-blackened waves cresting and breaking on the supports below. The City shimmered far distance, a thousand pinpoints of light, a thousand warm homes and a thousand happy families within them. And there she stood, alone.
A sharp wind ripped through her, sending daggers of cold through her thin shirt and whipping wet raven strands of hair into her burning eyes. She fought back the sting of tears, but they swelled and broke like shards of glass, spilling over reddened cheeks already shined and stiffened by the hundreds before them.
Sobs shook her fragile body and she gave herself over to them, allowing the pain and the sadness to block out all other thought.
She could still feel the lingering touch of his hand, the roughened silk of his fingertips as he caressed her face. His lips against hers. His voice echoed sweet nothings inside her mind and the phantom scent of him clung to her—the soft musk of cologne, the whisper of his soap, and the natural warmth of his skin. She closed her eyes and saw him standing with open arms. She opened them and saw the gathering night.
Again the wind howled, drowning out her cries of mourning.
The streetlights above her flickered, dimmed, and came back to light.
She heard the approaching roar of a car and willed the person inside to see her, to stop, to stop her. It went by without slowing down.
A light drizzle of rain began to fall, clinging to her skin like tiny diamonds.
The streetlights flickered. The City shimmered. The wind screamed.
Her pale, shaking hand clasped the rail, icy cold and uncaring. The ring on her finger made a hollow sound against the steel. With one hand on the rail and the other on the vertical support, she pulled herself up until she stood, teetering, in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Black waters roared below her, sending up ghosts of white spray in the pale moonlight.
The drizzle grew, thickened, gathered itself into thin drops of freezing rain, cascading down her body. Her clothes clung to her skin in heavy wet folds.
The rain and her tears fell into the uncaring ocean.
Clouds gathered around the pale white moon.
With a step, she plunged toward the sea below.
Wind turned to sharp icicle blades and drove into her skin. Spray from the waves blew into her face, mixing with her tears. The roar of the sea shook her bones.
She opened her eyes.
The sea lay below her, stretching out infinitely still. The sky stretched above her, a broad expanse of stars. Nothing moved, nothing breathed. She remained frozen in the night.
The sea dropped away beneath her as she rose, speeding towards the light of the moon
Warm, milky sunlight filtered through the thin silk shades.
Aemelia lay nestled amid miles of soft blankets, gazing at the game of light and shadow playing out against her wall as the trees outside moved in the delicate hands of the breeze. A tender tranquility filled her as she drifted in that quiet place between sleep and awake.
She awakened at the sound of a knock at the door.
Her joints popped and creaked as she unwound herself from the cocoon of blankets and she took a moment to stretch. Her reflection across the room was that of a cat emerging from a long sun-nap. She smiled at the thought as she slipped on his robe, still carrying that gentle fragrance, the unique scent of the man she loved. She pulled the belt tight and nestled in, feeling in the soft cotton the tender glide of his skin against hers. The memory pulled at things deep inside her, aching and sweet.
The thick, bold aroma of brewing coffee greeted her as she walked past her humble kitchen, and she silently thanked God for the inventor of the coffee machine with a built in timer. She gazed longingly at the pot as she moved toward the door. The knock sounded again, a bit more insistent, and she shuffled faster in her bare feet.
She pulled the door open in time to catch the last words of an apparently heated argument: "…against all laws of physics and human physiology!"
The woman turned, face reddening, when she realized Aemelia was standing there. The tall, dark man beside her pretended not to notice his partner's growing blush as he pulled a leather-cased badge from the pocket of his unironed suit. "Aemelia Feldmann?"
"Yes, that's me."
"Good morning, ma'am. My name is Fox Mulder, this is Dana Scully; we're with the FBI. May we ask you a few questions?" It wasn't exactly a request.
The woman, Scully, fumbled for her own badge, still struggling to control the flush on her cheeks.
Aemelia smiled. "Of course, come on in."
The two agents settled themselves a respectful distance apart on the couch, the darkness of their federal-standard suits contrasting starkly against the tranquil pastels and creams of the living room. Aemelia padded into the kitchen, bare feet making quiet slapping noises against the ceramic tiles as she moved around, gathering ingredients for her morning coffee. "Can I get you anything, Agents?" she called as she poured a large amount of cream into the steaming black liquid encased in her favorite mug: "I Got Boned at the Museum of Natural History."
"No thank you," said Scully. Mulder's silence was a sign of agreement.
She settled herself into her husband's thick, worn-leather recliner. She recalled how she had hated it among the muted tones of the apartment, and how the events of a sunny afternoon had forever reversed her judgment. She could still feel the sensuous scratch of his day's-growth beard as he had kissed his way down her body.
Mulder cleared his throat, bringing her back to this time, this place. "Mrs. Feldmann…" he began.
"Um, Aemelia, we've been getting some rather bizarre reports from people in this building, as well as a few surrounded ones. Footsteps on the roof, faces in the windows, that sort of thing."
"Which is quite bizarre, since the fire escape doesn't even go to the roof and only the landlord and maintenance guy have keys to the inside door. Plus, reports are coming from people on all sides of the building, many of whom keep the ladders up at night," Scully finished. "We'd like to know if you have any idea what is happening here."
Aemelia set her coffee down on the end table beside her. "Let me share something with you two. A few weeks ago, I was in a very dark place. My husband and I had been in a car accident. I made it. He didn't. While I was in the hospital recovering, the doctors told me that the same accident had caused me to have a miscarriage; I hadn't even known I was pregnant.
"It tore me apart inside. I had no reason to live. One night, I drove out to the Bridge and stood for hours, contemplating my life. Contemplating suicide. I jumped."
"But you never landed; you rose," Mulder asserted.
His partner fired back immediately, "That's impossible."
Aemelia leaned in close, looking deep into the woman's eyes. "Let me tell you something, Agent Scully. Flying is easy; you just throw yourself to the ground and miss."