Free

The statue tumbled through the air, turning head over end on its journey to the busy footpath below. The fixed smile was cracked in two upon its chipped plaster face. The unseeing eyes with faded pupils gazed at the world as it dizzily scurried past. Wayne, who had been dreamily glancing through the glass and imagining his date later that evening, suddenly jerked his head back as the blurred body of stone breezed by, leaving a cold air in its wake. High up above on the rooftop of the 80 floor building, Steve emitted a course of curses which would have had his mother pulling him by the ear had it been 40 years earlier. “Fuckbags! Bollocks! Bastard It!!” He hated remembering his mother and what she had put him through. His time on earth was limited and it was best not spent thinking of her. He had only sneaked up there to enjoy a quick smoke on his 15 minute break before it was back to the desktop drudgery he so longed to escape from. He had been admiring the statue of weathered limestone on his breaks every day. He wasn’t entirely sure what the stone lady represented but she stood proudly at the edge of the rooftop facing the south of the city and overlooking the river below, like some watchful goddess. Her hands were held out in prayer or in the form a diver would take ready for the starting position. Steve had often stubbed his cigarette out on the base of the statue where the lady’s feet were planted. Her toes were so worn and weather beaten that it looked as if her feet had melted into one. The details of her flowing garments were chiselled in a careful fashion and the details of her face had evidently been lovingly carved at one point. So just as Steve had leaned against the lady for a moment, he had heard an ominous shift of stone and as he realsied what was happening it was too late, for the lady broke free and fell. No, not so much fell, he mused, but flew. He rushed to the edge and looked over to witness her perfect plummet into the people below. It was too late to warn them. She was flying fast. And as he continued to watch her falling, he became more and more hypnotized until finally he felt himself topple too. His gaze met hers hundreds of feet below and her lifeless eyes blazed through his being and called him to follow. Steve let go. He let go of everything in his life as he released his ragged grip on the rough edges of the stone rooftop. The lady had told him she was the goddess of spirit and she would set him free. As he fell head first from the 80th floor, he was surprised and shocked at the thoughts that crossed his mind. Had he switched off the cooker this morning? Who was going to feed his cat? Why had his first kiss been with Tara Waters!!? Who was going to take his job? He twisted and tumbled and turned through the air. Wayne saw him and fainted. And before he fell to the floor he thought ‘I hope I don’t drool when I’m out’.

Anne walked gloomily along the crowded footpath below. She had just broken up with her boyfriend. And nothing was right. The chatter of the people felt like nails on chalk boards. It buzzed infectiously throughout her mind like bees swarming a nest. The colours all around were just varying shades of grey and black. She looked at her red pants and felt her heart bleeding on them. Nobody notices you crying in a busy city and if they do, then they don’t care. Her shadow cut a dejected shape upon the path. She wished she could slip into it and never return. Above all the busy sounds of people calling, cars passing, taxi horns blaring, Anne heard an unfamiliar one. It made a WHOOOOOOOOMFFF noise and suddenly the stone lady split into millions of fragments as she crashed into the ground inches only from Anne. It was a miracle she hadn’t been hit. She watched as people broke apart and ran in a flurry of fear to their cars and into buildings. But Anne did not move. She was transfixed by the head of this statue which was the only observable, intact piece. The cracked smile and lifeless eyes seemed to call to her because that is exactly how she felt. She tilted her head sideways to stare a little longer at the head. Then it started to roll away from her. She followed. That was when it all occurred at once. The screams of STOP!!!!! The awful air rushing noise again. Yet somehow different. Somehow full of life this one. And then the crashing, instantaneous pain of body on body contact. Bones fracturing. Heads crunching. Bodies crumpling into piles of inward mess. It was over before she could even feel or think one more emotion. Her pain was smashed into the pavement. She was no more. Nor was Steve. In fact, it was rather impossible to tell who was who when it was all over. And then her spirit soared. It flew to the rooftop overlooking the city of battered emotions and beaten people, of cruel intentions and desperate interventions. She sat here in place of the stone lady. And she watched over all the pain and suffering and anger and hurt. But she carried one secret in her soul and that was that one day they all too would be free like her.

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