by Selma Sergent
The scarred part on my wrist throbbed as the trains trundled past. The skin grows over the wound but it doesn’t make you forget why it’s there.
I looked at the tracks. Hot metal smell like burning fat. I imagined myself falling, being crushed under the power of the machine. I saw a disposable cup blown to safety by the speed of the train’s passing. What if I was light enough to be blown to safety?
I couldn’t risk it.
So I headed for the roof. Twenty storeys up. Once you were falling from that height, you kept falling. No chance of a reprieve.
The escalator gave off a blue sheen. The colour of the centre of a match flame. Everything was different in this light. Faded 8mm film. I wondered how the critics would review the ending.
A little girl on the down escalator waved at me as we passed, both at exactly the same point for an instant, neither down nor up. ‘It’s a moving staircase,’ she said. Quaint, unexpected turn of phrase.
I turned around and saw her getting on my escalator. Going up. She had on a long blue dress with a pale blue sash. All dressed up.
I alighted, opening the door to the fire escape and freedom. She was behind me, shuffling up the stairs.
‘I’m lost ,’ she said.
She held out her hand. Such a small hand, gentle as a wing. My resolve shifted.
‘I’ll help you find your way,’ I said.