Hi everyone! This is a Mirror's Edge fanfiction I've had published on my deviantart (~sukiroseessence) for quite a while now, so I decided to share it here. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1 – Blue
A lot of people have asked me how I deal with being alone. They have good reason to; pretty much twenty hours of my day are spent in my own company, muted to any sound of friendly voices or presences. In fact, sometimes I'll go for hours on end without hearing any sound at all – apart from my own footfalls and the echoes of ragged breaths being torn from my own lungs. But what people don't understand is this is a different kind of being alone. It's not sitting in an empty room, trying to forget a nasty past. It's a beautiful kind of loneliness; one that is made of a harmony between the living and the non-living; of adrenaline basking in the sunshine of an everlasting blue sky; of not being forced to think or feel... just to run. Running is everything to me now. Running is the very reason why I could never consider myself to be truly alone.
It's hard to remember when my life changed forever. A lot of people would say it was the first time I vaulted over that fence and freefell into the embrace of a twenty foot drop without being injured by the impact at all, but I suppose if you want to go that far back, you might as well say it was the day my school closed down. There was outrage, seeing as it was the only place in our district of the city where we kids could hope to get some form of education, but the protests never went beyond an irritable frown or a furious whisper when certain backs were turned. Nobody was stupid enough to stray beyond those boundaries; if you wanted to have an easy life these days you didn't protest, didn't kick up a fuss. We all knew the people that did such a terrible thing, knew the name that they went by. Runners. Outcasts from all around the city that just wouldn't accept Callaghan's new leadership, even though it had been more than thirteen years now. If you didn't agree with something, you were expected to get on with it. Or you could go and join the runners and live a life of shame and darkness. Seeing as they were merely messengers for the bigger criminals of the city, those who did protest and did speak up against the mounting fear that pressed against the walls of the city, they weren't necessarily on the opposing side of Callaghan and the police; they merely ran on the mirror's edge, too scared to stop running, just in case they did find themselves sinking from that elusive line between good and bad, just like Faith Connors and her sister did. Faith and Kate were never found. None of us wanted to end up like them, their names bathed in darkness as the present turned into old news, so we didn't protest.
But I was upset. I liked school.
Maybe that's why I turned to parkour instead of heading into town along with the rest of my friends in an attempt to find a place in a new school and continue my studies. In hindsight it makes perfect sense; I was bored, I had nothing to do now that school was pretty much out of my reach, and the only pastime I could thikn of was flaunted in front of me every single day: '5 signs to tell if someone is a runner or not'; 'Runner arrested on 31st avenue'; 'Police reopen runner/terrorist Faith Connors case after potential recent sighting.' During that present time however, I merely decided to take up parkour in order to escape the mundaneness of what had become my reality. I saw no reason to go back to school, to start all over again in a new place only to probably see that one shut down too. Yet all that waited for me outside school walls were small badly paid jobs around the city that offered me no future and no hope. Parkour was exciting. It was dangerous. During every jump you found yourself wondering if this was going to be the last time you ever used your legs. I craved that kind of danger after a life of sitting at a school desk while sunlight poured almost tauntingly in through tinted windows. And I'd always felt, whilst gazing out of those windows at the strange city that surrounded us, that danger craved me.
Of course I had to start off small. I made frequent visits to the library, using the computers to look up CCTV and News footage of Faith Connors, watching the ways she recovered from jumps and drops, studying her techniques and trying to tap into the way she saw the world through her eyes. I would spend hours a day watching the same video clip, pausing it, replaying it, scribbling down nonsensical notes and diagrams that I never even looked at afterwards, but learning all the same. I practised what I saw in the back yard at home, whenever my parents were out working in the city and my sister was at her new school or up in her room doing homework or giggling with her new friends. Sometimes I would even film myself and take note of what I was doing wrong. I should roll over the shoulder, not over my head... my legs are too far bent when I land, they need to be at a little over ninety degrees... I'm taking off on the wrong foot during that vault... Every day I worked and I learnt, until finally the day came when I went running in the city for the first time. And that, I think, was when my whole life changed forever.
As a child who has been born and raised under this new totalitarianism ruling of the city, I can safely say that we have a certain fact drilled into us from the moment we first realise we should listen to those adults that call themselves our parents; our teachers; our leaders. Everything in the city is watched. Every person, every street, every single thing you do will be watched and noted. Unfortunately, I forgot that the first day I went out running. Things started off so well. Feeling energy begin to stream through all my limbs and around my body, I took off running down a deserted street. My target awaited me at the bottom; a ladder, three feet off the ground, leading up to a whole load of stairs that ran up the side of the block of flats that flanked me on my left. They'd lead me to the roof, and that was where my new skills really would be put to the test. As I approached the ladder I felt myself accelerating until my speed peaked. Hold it... hold it... Hold it... I stared straight at the ladder, counting the number of times my heartbeat pounded against my ears... and then, as my instinct suddenly roared in approval, I leapt, hands clad in deep blue fingerless gloves, outstretched. I hit the ladder easily – and for a second there, I swear the sapphire of my gloves seemed to bleed onto the silver metal, coating it in a pleasant shade of blue. I shook my head. The adrenaline was having an affect on me, that was all. I wasn't used to this mind-numbing pulse that thrummed all the way through my body yet.
A small smile playing on my lips, I pushed myself up the ladder and onto the staircase. Up I climbed, enjoying the sound of my feet pounding against the steps as the city melted away beneath me, the sunshine beating down hard on the top of my head. My lungs were already beginning to tighten a little, but I expected nothing less. Although I had done a moderate amount of training for this I'd never been the fittest person out there, often attaining a D or below for my PE at school. I'd keep going though; this was the only way I could prepare myself if parkour was something I really wanted to do.
The stairs opened out onto the roof, sending me straight into the embrace of the sunlight, one that I'd never felt before. The streets below were so shaded by the towering buildings that it was difficult to get any kind of sunlight unless you headed into one of the more open areas – but even they couldn't offer light like this. I could feel my skin burning and my eyes watered as they attempted to adjust themselves to the level of ultraviolet radiation that I had never been exposed to before, but in that brief moment I understood just a little more what it meant to be a runner. And I liked what I comprehended.
I would have stayed up there all day if I could; but in parkour you always have to keep moving. There is no time to sit around and take in the view. I jogged over to the opposite end of the building, seeing the top edge of a pipe positioned on top. It would take me to a balcony about halfway down the building if I decided to take the plunge. Tentatively, I lowered myself over the edge, not wanting to think about what would happen if I fell, before desperately grabbing hold of the pipe with my clammy, trembling hands. I don't think I can quite say that I slid down the pipe, but I'll be generous enough to say that I 'gracefully fell' as my hands scrabbled to get a good enough grip during my descent. I quietly cried out as I hit the floor, landing right on my butt. Okay, so I definitely wasn't good with pipes. That was something I needed to work on. Clambering to my feet, I strolled over to the edge of the balcony to peer down... and in that second I felt my heart stop. Blue lights flashed in my eyes, almost blinding me after becoming so accustomed to the sun. Faintly I heard a voice shouting up at me, ordering me to 'DO – NOT – RUN', mingling with the screams of sirens. How on earth hadn't I heard them before?
In that split second, instinct took over. I didn't blame it; in the few precious seconds I had left to do something, anything, my mind was merely floundering in the tempestuous, furious waves of panic that were beginning to build within me. I turned left towards the next balcony along, realising with another bout of bewilderment that the world around me had become tinted with blue once again. The lights from the police cars must have had a real effect on my eyes. I sprinted to the edge of it, and before I knew what I was doing, I had launched myself at the wall. One foot came out instinctively, kicked it as it approached, sending me spinning off towards the next balcony along. I grabbed the railing in both hands, forced myself over it. Next balcony... I used the same technique, merely watching in amazement as each element around me – the wall, the railings, the balconies themselves - began to glow blue as I approached them.. It was at the end of the fourth balcony or so when I felt my heart drop into my shoes: I'd reached the edge of the building. There was nowhere else to run, unless I could somehow run round the corner there and get to the other side. But no, not even Faith Connors could do that. I looked up, preying to see another pipe, but there was nothing, no way to get back onto the roof. Unless-
I had to do it. I was going to have to wall run up to the roof if I wanted to escape.
I backed against the railing, staring at the space of wall where I would hopefully be able to plant a foot. Then, I threw myself straight at it – but no, my foot came against it too hard and I merely rebounded against it. Again – no, I made the same the same mistake. Tears began to form in my eyes now, the world disappearing into a sapphire blur. I'm not sure whether they were from frustration or desperation, or maybe both, but either way, my legs kept working. I kicked furiously against the wall, waiting for the impact of the railings against my back again. This time, however, something huge slammed straight into my stomach, my body instantly folding around it. A rough surface beneath me, legs dangling over the side... I'd made it, I realised as I blinked away the tears, I was back on the roof.
"Get her!" Before I could bask in victory and liberation, however, I felt something grab one of my feet, still hanging precariously over the edge. Looking down, I felt my mouth drop open in horror, a panicked scream forming in my throat. Two police officers stood beneath me, one of which now had a firm grip on my leg and was pulling me away from the roof, the only haven I had in my current circumstances. The scream that had been building inside of me burst from my lips as I kicked desperately against him with both my legs this time. He clung on for dear life to my captured limb – until I managed toaccidentally catch him in my face of course. As he cried out I slithered away from his grasp and onto the roof, forcing my trembling body up into a standing position. Oh my god, what the heck had I just done? I'd kicked a police officer in the face! Guilt briefly consumed me until I realised I was still on the run, still an inch away from sinking below the mirror's edge. I heard both the officers roar beneath me, and I knew that it wouldn't be long until they too would share my advantage. The stairs, I had to get to the stairs. If I could make it down onto the street below I could run, get away from them all. I'd never meant to break the law. I didn't want this.
Gasps which were starting to sound more like sobs of pure fear were escaping me now every few seconds. The light of the sun, which once seemed to be so welcoming and beautiful now seemed to glare down on me, setting the surface of my skin on fire as the sweat poured from my face and arms. I took the now blue-tinted stairs five at a time, even jumping down a whole flight as the momentum increased. The street reappeared beneath me but I didn't waste time squinting down into the shade to try and give myself some form of reassurance that the end was in sight. Where the heck was the ladder? I rounded corner after corner, hearing feet pounding three, now two flights above me. They were catching up. There was no time.
I reached the end of one flight, but as I did, the nearby railing turned bright blue again. You have to be kidding me, I said to my instinct as I gazed at the suddenly illuminated barrier, there's no way I'll survive if I jump... or would I? I had no idea how far away I was from the ground. But if I kept going down the normal way the officers would catch up with me before I could get to the ladder and down onto the street. And hey, maybe death would be better than the punishment that I knew awaited me from the authorities. Parkour was an illegal sport in the city. I don't even know what possessed me in the first place to take it up – and now I was going to pay karma back. In that instance I made a snap decision, one that would probably cost me my life. I ran straight at the railing, vaulted over it, and let myself freefall. In those few seconds I had of pure liberation, I actually felt myself acknowledge death, felt myself realise that this was probably it. My life was over. I'd spent all my days at school, sitting in a stuffy classroom and doing Maths equations, not for one moment being able to appreciate the beauty of what was really out there. Now, just when I had found something that took me away from that depression normalcy, I was going to suffer for it, and in the worst way possible. Frustration consumed me for a moment. I could have done so much more.
Then I hit the ground, still alive. And that was the moment when my whole perspective on the world shifted completely.
Of course I didn't get away from the police. I'd been stupid to think that I would; they'd been waiting at the bottom of the ladder, always one step ahead of me. As I felt those handcuffs become secured onto my wrists however, the whole world was completely consumed by blue. I guess this is what happens to the body when you've been through so much emotion in such a short period of time, as well as being dehydrated and have just had a near death experience – at least, that was what I was guessing anyway. The cuffs burnt into my wrists as I was thrown roughly into the back of one of the police cars, the two police officers that had been pursuing me across the roof flanking me, blocking my access to the doors as we took off through the all-too quiet roads of the city. I don't really know why they felt they had to; I was in handcuffs for goodness' sake – but it wasn't my place to judge their decision. I faintly recall them talking to me, telling me what I stupid naughty girl I had been and listing my offences in taunting tones: trespassing on private property, practising parkour, assaulting a police officer... But I hadn't meant to do all of those things. I would never ever kick a police officer intentionally, I merely panicked. Oh, what the heck had I done? Why did I go running in the city anyway? I knew all too well that parkour was illegal, but still I was stupid enough to go and do it. Guiltily I allowed the blue to wash over all of my senses and muffle my hearing.
After what seemed like an age I felt myself be pulled out of the car, up a small flight of steps, through a pair of doors – one of which lightly grazing my right arm as I was bundled through, along a corridor and then pushed into a small room. A heavy door slammed behind me, the sound of a lock sliding into place ricochetting off the walls and attempting to shatter the blue that still had firm hold over me. In fact, I could barely see around the room. All I was aware of was that half the room was painted a deep azure colour, the other half an ugly crimson. It was the red that seemed to sting my eyes, my head instantly beginning to pound as I looked at it. No, what I needed right now was blue, calm and serene as opposed to loud and furious red. I staggered over to the other half of the room, my knees buckling beneath me as I sat down hard the bed. I was in a cell, that much I could figure out. I'd been arrested, the pressure on my wrists confirmed that as well. A prickle of fear and intense guilt passed through my whole body. The question was, how long did I have to go before I received my punishment? I sighed, my whole body pulsing with the sudden motion in my lungs. Well, there was nothing I could do for now. I lay down on the bed, curling in on myself with my head resting against the pillow. At least I was surrounded by all this wonderful blue. Even when I closed my eyes, the normal darkness was replaced by a pleasant shade of sapphire, filling my mind, washing over my body like a cool ocean wave. In fact, I thought to myself as I drifted into a dream of an underwater apartment block with lots of balconies to jump across, I wouldn't mind staying forever in this cell, as long as I was surrounded by blue...
So what will happen to Piper? Will she survive? The more reviews I get, the quicker I'll update! Thanks and see you guys next time!