4. Thanks

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

1006 Words.

The street below was a sea of lights. The sounds of the city rang in Kimberly’s ears. Car horns, shouting, the music of a nearby nightclub.

She stood on a rooftop, hands on the railing. Her red hair danced behind her in the chilly breeze. She tugged the large coat tighter around herself and leaned forward against the railing.

She watched cars travel by on the street below. Their lights streaking as they sped along.

Kimberly hadn’t had a long life. Not much of a good one, either. She slowly removed her coat, wearing a black shirt and a pair of shorts underneath. She extended her arm, holding the coat over the railing.

The coat slipped free, seeming to float on the wind as it slowly descended.

A chill grew within Kimberly. She slipped her barefoot between the rails and tossed a leg over. Balancing, she slowly straightened up. She brought her other leg over and leaned against the cold rails. Finger by finger, she loosened her grip.

A rush of wind whipped up, startling her. Her eyes turned down, suddenly aware of the concrete down below. A wave of nausea came over her and she froze.

She stiffly climbed back over the railing, utterly defeated. The black sky seemed to spin above her. She groaned and raised a hand to her face. It was nearly an hour later when the rooftop exit opened.

Sarah appeared. A black-haired woman. She was wearing a sweatshirt and a long skirt. Her hair was tied into a ponytail. Her empty eyes ignored Kimberly.

Kimberly was seated against the railing, knees to her chin. Sarah strode across the rooftop and looked over the railing.

“I met someone new today,” Sarah said. “A guy named Tobias.” She turned to Kimberly, frowning. “He’s a new employee at the shop. I tried to be nice, but I’m no good at that.”

Kimberly did not comment.

“He said that I should be more empathetic.” Sarah folded her arms. “What a bother.”

“Jesus.” Kimberly buried her face in her hands. “I can't do this anymore.” Sarah cocked her head.

“Listen to me talk? Is something wrong with my voice?”  

“Just shut up!” Sarah flinched. Kimberly grabbed a rail and pulled herself up. Sarah watched her as she rose.

“Looks like you had a bad day. You didn’t dress very well for the cold either.”  

“I’m tired!” Kimberly shouted. “I don’t know what I’m doing!” She raised trembling hands, glaring at Sarah.

Sarah furrowed her brow, seeming to inspect Kimberly.

“I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t.” Kimberly turned away. “There’s no way you could understand.” Sarah considered that for a moment.

“You're upset.”

Kimberly gazed at the floor. Sarah’s attention returned to the city below. For a moment, neither of them spoke.

“You know, this isn’t easy for me.” Sarah rapped her fingers against the rail. “I can’t read your thoughts. You have to tell me—” 

“I came here to kill myself,” Kimberly snapped, silencing Sarah. Sarah blinked.

“Why?” Sarah turned to Kimberly. Kimberly balled her fists.

“It's what I want.” Sarah knelt beside her sister. Her eyes seemed to see through her.

“Why?” She asked again.

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“You keep saying that. Why won't you just tell me?” Kimberly lowered her head.

“I don’t have a purpose.”

“Well that’s easily resolved,” Sarah said. A smile formed on her face. “We can simply—”

“Just listen to me for a minute, would you?”

Sarah ran her index finger and her thumb over her lips, promising her silence. Kimberly took a breath.

“I get up every morning and wonder, why haven’t I died? I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not gaining anything. I don’t have desires. I don’t…” Kimberly trailed off, taking in Sarah’s blank expression. “I feel like I’m wasting time.”

Sarah raised her hand as if she were in a classroom. Kimberly rolled her eyes before acknowledging her.

“Yes?”

“Why haven’t you?”

“W-what?”

“You’ve been here for a while, haven’t you?” Sarah tapped her chin. “I mean, if you tried now I’d certainly stop you. But what have you been doing?”

Kimberly laughed. She laughed hard. She threw her head against the rails but laughed on. She laughed so hard, it started to hurt. Sarah watched, silent. Kimberly’s laughter quickly devolved into sobs. She didn’t hold back. She cried as hard as she’d laughed. Tears streaked her face. She started to wail, clutching her head tightly. Sarah shifted on her feet as her sister broke down.

 

“Stop it,” Kimberly croaked. “Stop staring at me like that.” She wiped her eyes.

“I wasn’t joking,” Sarah said. “I suppose I’m happy you’ve found amusement in my question.”

“I couldn’t do it.”

“Why not?”

“I’m scared.”

Sarah folded her arms again.

“Next month will be a year. A year since I lost my emotions,” Sarah said. “It’s a strange sensation, emptiness.” She unfolded her arms and gazed down at them. “I often find myself questioning if I truly don’t have emotions. What is an emotion?”

Kimberly sniffled and shivered.

“I mean doesn’t the fact that I’m awkward in certain situations imply character? Is that not some kind of emoting?” She went silent for a moment. “I may not have emotions but I do believe that I have feelings. Whether or not it’s the same thing is up for debate.”

Sarah took Kimberly’s trembling hand.

“I feel bad seeing you like this.” Kimberly stared into Sarah’s blank eyes. “Whether or not you feel like… Like you don’t have a reason to exist. You do. You exist.”

“Lucky me.”

Sarah paused for a moment, considering her words carefully.

“I think it's better that you stay alive,” Sarah said. Kimberly sighed, running her hands through her hair. “Let's get you to my car.” Sarah pulled Kimberly onto her feet. “Perhaps, we could get ice cream at that diner you enjoy so much.” Sarah started for the door. She glanced over her shoulder at Kimberly.

Kimberly nodded slowly, wiping her eyes.

“Thanks, sis.”


Submitted: June 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Matthew Hair. All rights reserved.

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