Lydia peered out the narrow window of her micro studio apartment. Her narrow angular face was lit from below by flashes of red and blue.
A tear ran down her cheek matching the raindrops running down the window. She watched the first police officer charge through the door three floors below. She didn't have much time.
She turned and grabbed her bugout bag from her single chair. The green army surplus strap slipped over her shoulder, and she stepped out the door.
In the hallway she paused, looking at both the elevator and stairwell doors. The elevator was on the ground floor and rising.
She opened the stairwell and could hear the pounding of boots just over the rain outside. She ran herself, up the next flight of stairs. Two landings passed her in a panting blur.
She hadn't worked out in weeks, and she felt rung like a sponge, but she couldn't stop.
When she reached the top she wrenched the handle of the rooftop door, but it was locked. Her eyes widened in panic and she slammed against it with her shoulder.
Her arm was bruised, but the door was the same. Don't panic, just breath, you've planned for this. She thought to herself.
With a shaking hand Lydia reached into her bag and pulled out an iron pin and sledgehammer. She could hear the pounding of the police officer's feet getting louder.
Carefully she placed the pin under the bottom hinge of the locked door and swung the hammer up to strike its head. It took a few strikes each, but she had the hinges separated in a moment.
She pushed on the door, and an inch of the rain clad roof revealed itself in all its slippery hope. She slammed against the door again. This time it opened three inches, then four, then seven.
It was almost wide enough for her to slip through when the officer yelled.
"Freeze." He was holding a gun and it was pointed at Lydia's head.
No options left, Lydia charged the door a final time. The unyielding metal scraped her back and shoulder, and her bag was left behind, but she made it through.
"Shit." said the cop. He tried to come through after her, but Lydia slammed her bleeding back into the door.
He'd managed to get his hands through, so he screamed and dropped the gun, falling back on the inner landing. Lydia slammed the door again and it squeaked shut. She grabbed the gun.
Reaching down sent rivers of pain running down her right side. She gasped, but then she was standing and she had a gun.
She walked over to the edge of the building and looked through the six foot chain link fence. Below was a five story drop and various flavors of concrete, all wet and obscure in the rain.
There was only one way of escaping from here, and her past, only one direction left to go. And she'd thought she couldn't fall any farther. She laughed and reached for her bolt cutters.
Then she remembered her bag was gone.
In despair Lydia turned, knowing what she would see. The entire roof was protected by the fence. For a moment she just thought about sitting down and giving up.
Then there came some metal scraping noises and several voices swearing from the rooftop door. Shit, they were almost on her.
Lydia looked at the gun, maybe she could threaten them, she'd heard of suicide by cop. But what if it went off? She didn't want to hurt anyone. She was done hurting people.
So she did the only thing she could do. She climbed the fence.
The rusted metal was slick in the rain. Thunder boomed above her and the entire fence shook. The top was twisted links that cut at her thighs as she tried to go over it.
She was halfway over when the door burst open. Three figures ran out, two of them brandishing guns, one holding his arm. They couldn't see her, and they fanned out to scour the roof.
Lydia, turned away, her hair whipped by the wind, her face coated in raindrops. She wasn't sure if she was crying anymore.
Then a light hit her, a bright yellow light, and she thought they must have turned on a spot light, but when she opened her eyes she saw a break in the storm.
There in the sky was the old paper yellow face of the moon. It was huge, bigger than she had ever seen it and framed by the roiling thunderclouds.
Lit by the heavens Lydia smiled, maybe this was meant to be, maybe this was a sign, and let go of the fence, toppling off the building.
She stopped just as suddenly, not on the concrete below, but only a few inches from the rooftop.
In confusion she twisted and looked up to see the cop whose gun she had taken holding onto the flower pattern of her dress. His knuckles were white and he was grimacing.
"Dammit lady, I just want to talk!"
In the strange yellow light of the moon, the rain seemed to slow and gleam like drops of ancient amber, sparkling on a thousand hanging necklaces.
It was so beautiful that for a moment Lydia forgot to be afraid, but then she saw that the cop was holding onto the fence with his other hand, his dominant hand,
the hand she had smashed in the door. Then, they were both falling, through the million drops of liquid amber, and into oblivion.