Emily lifted her hand to the door handle; still warm from the touch of another. As the imposing door creaked open like a giant waking from some great slumber she released the breath that she had been holding and took her first steps into the room.
Soft light streamed through a large bay window warming the pillows of the window seat resting at its foot. Specks of dust swirled through the air creating the image of a dancing night sky painted by sunbeams. Her nose detected the faint smell of tobacco intermingled with that of old books that had been lovingly read and reread on many occasion.
Floor to ceiling bookshelves packed to the brim with the strangest collection of literature you’ve ever seen lined every remaining inch of wall space. In the center of the room was the most comfortable looking reading chair imaginable. Its plush, red, fabric cushions beckoned to Emily, but she had not come here for the chair. She turned her attention to the shelves.
Eyes scanning quickly and carefully pouring over the spines of books both colourful and plain alike until she found it. An inconspicuous empty spot on the bottom shelf in the corner of the room. She inhaled sharply and slowly stepped onto the Persian rug that lay beneath the chair.
As she crossed the room she thought to herself how crazy this all seemed. She paused. Any sane person would have never come up here to begin with. If she went through with this and succeeded no one would be the wiser, but if she failed everyone would know.
She could just leave. No one would be able to track this back to her. She could close the door behind her, go back downstairs and have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and carry on like the rest of the oblivious world. The faint ringing of a bell brought her back from thoughts of reality.
Except it wasn’t a bell. “Mom” lit up the display on her cellphone as she muted the ringer. “Can’t talk now. See you at 6pm. Love you <3” She texted wondering to herself if that was a promise she could actually keep. She returned the phone to her pocket and took the last few steps to the corner shelf.
Getting down on her hands and knees she tentatively reached a small hand into the opening. Her fingers closed around a wooden box. It was smooth to the touch except for the two small hinges joining the lid to the bottom. She pulled the box towards her chest and her arm began to tingle. This was it. She didn’t have much time.
She crossed to the window and flipped the latch with as much confidence as she could muster. The window swung open easily. She climbed onto the window seat and opened the box. Careful not to look at the contents she leaned forward and began to pour a small amount out the window. Just then her fingers slipped, and the box tumbled out of her hands falling faster than the beat of her racing heart.
“Shit” she thought sitting back on her haunches as she tried to decide what to do now. The tingling in her arm had now made its way up her neck and was pressing in on her head. She had to try. There was no going back now. She stood, took a deep breath of the sea air as the looked out over the waves crashing on the rocks below and with that she jumped.