Of course, I want to qualify my work and say this is for Story-A-Day May. Every story this month will be written as it comes, no notes or planning, and possibly, like today’s story, written with a churning stomach. Chemotherapy hates my stomach. So, those are my excuses for typos, grammatical errors, and nonsensicalness.
The black birds gathered on the roof at sunset as they did every day in the winter. The boy heard the flap of wings. He knew almost nothing about birds. He had no memory of being outside. But outside was where he was determined to go.
The grownups told him outside would make him sick. He didn’t believe them. The sounds of other children reached him even with the windows shut and the blanket over his head.
He was determined to go outside, but he was afraid of the sun. The sun was too hot and bright and it saw everything. The sun would expose him to the nurses. He didn’t know what the punishment would be for sneaking out, but he knew it would be spectacular. Nurse Stillmark always used that word. The day was spectacular. The song over the loudspeaker was spectacular. His correct answer to a question was spectacular. His mistakes were spectacular too. She was the nicest nurse.
Getting to the attic had been easier than he expected. But he realized that he’d made a spectacular mistake. If he’d gone down to the basement, he’d have better access to the ground. From the attic, he had access only to the roof. But he hadn’t thought of going to the basement. Patients never thought of going to the basement.
The roof would have to do. All he had to do was wait for it to get darker. He curled up in the space between the wall and massive, dusty, rusty-hinged trunk and dozed.
The boy dreamed the black birds took him away to where he could feel the grass under his feet, and the grass was soft like he’d always imagined, not sharp like the nurses said. He woke near midnight. The birds were gone, but the moon was high. The window latch moved easily. The cold night breeze startled him and he stretched his hand out, the moonlight striking his skin.
He thought about falling. He thought about getting caught.
The boy pulled himself through the old window, and setting one foot on the roof, he decided he’d never go back inside.