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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a world where two types of people live separate, a mismatched couple think they've found the cure to being together. One will become like the other. But--who?

Submitted: December 22, 2011

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Submitted: December 22, 2011




Both of them stood on their tiptoes and tilted their heads up so they could kiss. The couple stood together in a waiting room carpeted on the walls and ceiling. Circular lights lit the space from the walls, only abstract paintings were hung, and doorways were cut ceiling to floor.

The boy extended his arm above his head so his thumb could rub a crescent across his partner’s cheekbone. She blinked up at him—what was up to her. He returned the same look up—what was up to him.

“Sadie, in a few more minutes this will be over, we’ll be together like a real couple.”

She beamed, although from his perspective the corners of her mouth moved into a frown. To his green eyes, she was standing on the ceiling. Not even her long flaxen mane hinted to the fact that she was defying physics—instead it fell towards her feet, which were planted on the room’s top. Privately, he was overjoyed that she had agreed to the gravity surgery.

“Tom, are you sure you want to use your savings for this?” Sadie asked him. Her slender hands came down from the ceiling to hold his face, and her soft blue eyes searched his. Whenever he was particularly troubled by her affliction, Tom lost himself in those eyes. Unless she blinked too often, you could forget the handicap, and she appeared a normal woman. The others who walked the right way like him always gave the pair strange looks when they strolled together through Metropolis’s indoor streets. Each held a balloon, and the balloons bumped often against each other, so that way Tom and Sadie could pretend to be close even as one trod on the ceiling and the other on the ground. The humans who lived like her, the upside-down way, stared too, from their wrong-way market stalls and bicycles. But Tom did not care about what the cripples thought of their pairing, he only needed his peers’ approval. He knew the wrong-way-walkers were just jealous of Sadie, who would soon be fixed and escape their inverted way of life.

“I’m sure. Because I love you,” Tom said, and kissed her upside-down mouth again. He felt relief in the pit of his stomach at the thought of soon interlocking lips with her the right way. Sometimes he was jealous of his friends, who had not happened to spot Sadie, the other side’s one redeeming feature as he thought of her, as she jogged nonchalantly along the paved ceiling. He would never have considered falling for one of them. But how was he supposed to defend against her charms? He knew he was a catch too; another reason her people glared; envious, all of them!  She had long blonde hair and a pointed face; he had curly brown hair, scruff, and a jaw line of which he was especially proud.

“This will be a big change for you,” Sadie said.

“For you, more.”

“What?” She laughed. “You’ll be the one looking down on all your old haunts and old stores—even your old home.” She sighed. “But it’ll be all right! Wait ‘til you see the cute boutiques we have. Our beautiful fountains will finally be upright to you. You can meet my parents!’

“What?” He forced a smile through his confusion. “Honey, what are you talking about?”

“After the gravity surgery.” She brushed her hair behind one ear and wondered why he was being so dense all of the sudden. He wasn’t scared to meet her parents, was he? “After you get fixed, when you live down here with me.”

He felt a grimace he could not control spread across his mouth. What? She thought he was undergoing the operation? How could she be so obtuse? Why would he live up there? Fountains? Cute boutiques? “What the fu—what are you saying, Sadie? Of course that’s not what’s happening. I’m paying for you to get fixed.” His smile was sharp like broken glass.

She laughed with an edge of bitter disbelief. “Oh, are you saying there’s something wrong with me, now? We agreed this operation would make everything right, Tom. Ha—I can’t believe you! Why on earth would you want us both on that side? It must make you miserable—I know you can’t help it, you were born that way, but now we have a chance to make it right. So stop the nonsense, let’s just be happy together—down here.”

He could not even pretend to take this lightly anymore. He scoffed out loud, and Sadie saw the lips she loved so adopt a sneer. She was hurt already, but then he swore, “I would never live your twisted way. I’m saving you.”

“How could you, Tom? How could you think that?” she asked, shocked and angry. “You’re delusional. Your brain must be damaged from living upside-down your whole life. You’re coming with me.” She stamped her foot against her floor—his ceiling.

He snatched her hand and pulled it towards him. “Sadie—” But she yelped, and pulled back. Because he still held her wrist, he was lifted a little from the ground. He screamed, terrified as an astronaut loosed from his moorings. Why? Why would she do this? When he fell back to the ground, he glared up at her, cold sweat on his brow. She-demon! He knew now he had been deceived by her beauty. She was trying to drag him up to hell with her.

She scowled daggers at her love, and thought the same of him. “Bastard!” she hissed, and spat contemptuously at him. The spit floated away on the invisible line where their two gravities crossed. Other occupants of the gravity surgeon’s waiting room watched curiously from both floors.

Tom glared up at Sadie. She was still so flawless. It made him angry. He had wanted her since the beginning, desired her even when it was wrong, and impossible. Then they had learned about the operation, and, drunk with glee, they had made promises Their pledges and oaths had been shouted across empty space, tied to balloons, implied with heated looks. That she might get out of those vows, walk out of the waiting room thinking herself superior—it burned.

“No,” he growled, and grabbed her by her shoulders. She squealed and beat at his face. Tom turned his head to the side to avoid her fists, and grinned savagely. Now even if you run, I can follow! He pulled down, hard. 

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