Not everybody plans the day they’re going to die but Salem Snow did.
Death is a punch in the gut that chases the oxygen from your lungs. It’s walking down the stairs, shrouded in heavy darkness, and missing the last step. It’s standing on the edge of a roof and looking down at the busy streets below, filled with people who couldn’t care less about you.
And he knew all these things yet, to him, death wasn’t something that lurked in the shadows of his room at night. It wasn’t the monster that would reach from beneath his bed and grab his ankle. He knew what hid in the darkness and it wasn’t death.
As his grip on the railing behind him slipped ever so slightly, he forced his eyes to readjust, trying to pick out something in the distance, something to distract himself from the fact that he could fall but wouldn’t die.
It was tempting to try it again—to feel the rush of adrenaline as he plummeted to the ground over a dozen stories below and to hit the ground with a bone-snapping thud. But in the end, he would be forced to watch the empty sky mock him, laughing at his futile effort.
He inhaled deeply, the cold wind blowing through his curls and stinging his face. Something wet slid down his face and he held his hand out to catch a raindrop but nothing landed in his palm. Realizing, he wiped away the lone tear that had escaped and leaned back, the cold metal of the railing seeping through his thin clothing and making his skin crawl.
He looked down, blinking away any tears that had gathered in the corner of his eye, blurring his vision. The city roared with life but no distinct sound reached his ears. It was a symphony of car horns and shouts, of screeching bus breaks and squawking birds, the tread of drained people as they made their way home after a long workday. It was a continuous cycle, day in and day out, the same thing over and over again as if it were a song on repeat.
Ninety-nine years and everything had changed. Except him.