Phillip shifted impatiently. “We don’t have a lot of time for this, Natalie. We need to leave now.”
“Oh, now you want to leave?”
“Quit giving me a hard time. Come on, we have to go!”
“So, let’s just leave from up here. There’s enough light to read the map.”
Phillip shook his head. Sometimes he did not understand her! After a cursory glance around the battery, he heaved himself onto the cannon and then the wall. He slung both legs over to sit next to Natalie.
His breath caught. The view was breathtaking. Lights from the city sprinkled the horizon throwing the buildings into shadowed relief, a mysterious contrast against the dark sky. From where they sat the city was at rest, and Phillip felt a quiet peace steal over him.
“What do you think?” Natalie asked.
“You were right,” he said. “It’s great.” But it was more than that. Watching over the silent city from the battery wall and at the dark sky that stretched forever, Phillip sensed that the world held far more than he knew, and that all of it was out there for him to discover. He felt both small and infinite, and at the same time free.
“My dad is out there somewhere.” His voice was almost a whisper, the words swept by the breeze.
But Natalie heard. Her head bowed until her forehead lay against his shoulder.
“We’ll find him,” she said.
Phillip swiped at the damp corners of his eyes, then reached into his pocket and pulled out his map. “Let’s go.”
Natalie’s head lifted and turned to take a final look at the horizon as Phillip gave the map the place and time of their destination.
The lines rose and formed onto the map’s surface. Phillip and Natalie placed their fingers on the spot they were headed and focused.
“What are you kids doing? Are you crazy?”
The policeman had arrived a ways down the battery. His body was taut with panic and disbelief. He took off at a run for them.
“Get down from there!” he yelled. “You could fall!”
“Quick!” Phillip said.
He felt his power weave around them, fading them into the map.
“Phillip, he’s getting close,” Natalie said. “We don’t have time!”
She was right. The cop was calling to them, his footsteps thundering closer. They weren’t far enough into the map to evade capture.
“We have to jump,” he said.
“We’ll fade through the map before we hit bottom.” Phillip focused harder on their destination and wrapped his arm around her. “Hold on!”
“No, Phillip,” Natalie cried, but she threw her arm around his neck as he yanked her with him off the wall.
The cop gave an anguished roar as they toppled over the side. Phillip’s stomach somersaulted with the fall. The wind flapped against them in a mad whirl. He felt Natalie’s frantic grip, her hair as it whipped against his face and her scream as it pierced his ear. The scenery meshed into a blur with the speed of their descent.
“Keep focusing!” he yelled.
The policeman’s cries sounded above them and then faded. The details of their destination rose to the fore: the city, then the streets and houses, and they fell towards them like a crashing wave.
Fast, they were moving too fast
copyright © 2015 M.L. Roble