Flying Free.Eric sat on the edge of his bed in the dark hotel room with the liquor cabinet open and a bottle of scotch that he rolled around and around in his hands; thinking about oblivion, his mom, and choices. It was early and the sun was still below the curvature of the planet but he was too pent up to sleep and anyway he keep waking up from nightmares of Melinda screaming his name as she died over and over.
He put the bottle carefully back, closed the cabinet, and then got up and quietly opened the doors to the balcony and step out into the cold New York night and eased the doors closed behind him.
He could tell himself during the day that she was a big girl and could take care of herself and she might not even be dead but at night his dreams were haunted with her screams and pleas for him to come save her as his mind kept coming up with new torments that she could have gone through in her last moments of life and he was never there. He had been out doing his duty and ignored her until it was too late.
Leaning over the rail he looked down the five floors to the sidewalk below him. He could just roll over, not think about it, crash into the ground, and all thought of Melinda would stop. She would never bother him again. Choices. No not for him. Looking up he could see that dawn was fast approaching; light was reflecting off the few clouds high above the city, and the top of the Empire State building was touched by the morning sunlight. It was cold but the day would be pretty.
Suddenly he needed to be free. Shrinking down, he lost the pajamas he was wearing and then with a thought zoomed up off the balcony into the morning sky. In a heartbeat he was a mile over the city pushing himself faster and faster, cork-screwing in sinister circles higher and higher. Icarus unbound! Free of earth and earthly concerns, free to go anywhere, see anything, do anything he wanted!
He broke out of the clouds miles above the earth, his arms spread to the heavens, and screamed with the joy of it. In less than an hour he could be on a beach in the Bahamas or ice fishing in the Hudson Bay. In two he could be talking to the elephants on the savanna or chatting up a good-time girl in Bangkok. Then looking up into the heavens he thought about the distances and slowed. Alpha Centari was four or five light years away. At his best speed it would take him a year to get there and that was the nearest other star he knew about.
He came to a stop and then slowly let himself start to fall. It was still a cage. His wings may as well be melted, there was no escape from his duty or his conscience. Earth is the only home he would ever know. His body, spread-eagle on the currents of the wind, slowly fell back to earth. His eyes staring up into the vastness still above him, drowning in the immensity of it all. He sent his spirit out letting his mind just run free of thought as he fell back into his mother’s arms.
Soon however he got bored with the introspection and self pity, flipped over and zoomed down to the city to start a new day. Now, If he could just remember what his hotel looked like.