“Get down from there, Sebastian,” I begged. Fear made my throat tight and quaver-y. But he didn’t appear to hear me. He was a dark figure, silhouetted against the sky. The fading sun tinged everything with a strange, surreal glow.
Sebastian wavered, almost losing his balance for a moment before he righted himself. His arms rose higher behind him, looking almost like wings as he walked along the fallen tree, so high up off the ground. Snapped off during a heavy storm, the tree had come to rest on the branches of another tree and made a bridge.
We walked these woods every weekend. Bullied and teased at school. Ignored or picked on at home, neither of us had anywhere to go but these woods. And no one to turn to but each other.
The moment Sebastian had seen the tree-bridge, he’d darted ahead of me and scrambled up to explore. Now, my heart sat in my throat, heavy with fear. Sebastian had been so vague lately. So distant and strange. More reckless than usual.
What if he … but no, he wouldn’t? Would he?
“Please,” I begged again.
He turned to face me and closed his eyes, looking like someone about to dive from a cliff into the ocean. Only there was no ocean below. Just cold, hard earth and too far to fall in between. I held my breath. He crept forward, his scuffed sneakers reaching the edge of the fallen tree.
I whimpered, helpless terror making my voice mute, but he must have heard me because his eyes opened. Even at that distance I could see the blankness on his face. He shook his head and seemed to snap out of the daze he’d been in.
“Come down, Sebastian, please,” I croaked.
He gave me a vague, fleeting smile, but turned and walked slowly across the fallen tree and shimmied down the trunk to the ground. I caught him in my arms the moment his feet touched the earth.
I squeezed him hard, too hard probably, but I was so relieved to see him on safe, flat ground. “Don’t fucking do that to me again,” I pleaded. “Please, you’re all I have. Don’t scare me like that.”
He mumbled something against my shoulder. I pulled back and he looked me dazedly, like he wasn’t sure what had happened. The look in his blue eyes was still vague and distant, but he nodded at me. I gripped his hand and led him away, but he turned back and stared at the tree.
“You’re all I have,” I repeated and tugged him further from temptation.
I didn’t know if I was enough to anchor him to this earth anymore. And without Sebastian, I had nothing.
That took a more serious tone than I originally planned, but
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