A myriad of lights flickered brightly in the distance. The whoosh of the surf cascading against the rocks was only a far-off whisper hundreds of feet below.
From up here, the lights all seemed just like candles to him. Millions of candles! Like the whole world had all come out and assembled before him, an endless procession at his feet.
It made him smile. He had never seen anything more beautiful in his life. He had always wondered what it would be like from up here—the gigantic mound of rock, miles and miles of coastline stretching below.
Now he knew.
You could probably see all the way to L.A., the boy imagined. He was no longer a boy really, he was twenty-one—though sometimes he still felt like one.
What are the voices saying to you now?
He stepped out closer to the ledge. “They’re saying this is where I was meant to be.”
He had made the climb up hours ago, before it got dark, to be alone with his thoughts. To calm the noise that was always in his head. To see . . . And now it was just so beautiful. And all the voices had quieted except one.
His angel, he called her. The one voice he could trust.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? the angel asked him.
“No, I haven’t.” He looked down at the lights of the small coastal town.
Waves crashed against the jagged rocks below. His heart picked up excitedly. “I can see the whole world.”
Yes, it’s all there for you.
He hadn’t taken his meds today. Usually that made him a little foggy, his thoughts jumbled. But today, maybe for the first time ever, his mind was clear. Completely clear. “I feel just like Jesus.”
Maybe you are, his angel answered.
“Then maybe I should just return from where I came. Maybe God wants me back. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling.”
You’re not meant for this world, the voice replied. You’re smarter. You were destined for greater things. You’ve always known that, right?
Yes. The voice was soothing and close to his ear. His heart began to pound like the surf. There’s only one way to find out...
He took another step, closer to the edge, the darkness surrounding him. The breeze brushed against his face. “That feels good. I feel good. I feel good about this.
”Just spread your arms, his angel instructed him.
“Like wings?” He opened his arms wide. “You mean like this?”
Yes, just like that. Now think of heading home. The pain you will no longer be feeling. You see those lights? They’re all so beautiful, aren’t they?
Beneath him, a piece of the ledge broke loose. It took several seconds until he heard the sound of it breaking apart on the craggy rocks below. He stepped back, fear springing up in him. “I’m scared.”
Don’t be. This is the moment it’s all been leading to. All these years. You know this, don’t you?
“Yes.” He nodded. “I know ...”
Then open your arms. Just let the wind caress your face. Let the darkness take you. It’s easy ...
They entered the house through the sliding glass doors in the
basement, which Becca, their fifteen-year-old, sometimes left ajar to sneak in friends at night.
Upstairs, April Glassman stirred in her bed. She always had an
ear for noises late at night. The curse of having a teenager. Marc
could go on snoozing forever, through fire alarms, she would joke, but April had a built-in antenna for the sounds of Becca tiptoeing
in past curfew or Amos, their goldendoodle, on guard at the living
room window, scratching at the glass over a late-night deer or
The house was a large, red-brick Georgian at the end of a private
drive off Cat Rock Road in backcountry Greenwich. Every bend in the wood seemed to magnify at night. She opened her eyes and checked the time on the TV cable box. Two thirteen a.m. She lay there for a few seconds, listening. She definitely heard something creaks on the floorboards, muffled voicesÑin the foyer or on the stairs.
Suddenly Amos started barking.
“Marc . . .” She nudged her husband.
“Honey, what?” Marc Glassman groaned, mashing his pillow
into a ball and rolling over. She leaned over and shook his arm. “I heard something.”
“Probably just Amos. Maybe he spotted a deer. You know those
bastards never decide to come out before two a.m.”
“No,” she said, alarmed. “I heard voices.”
“Okay, okay . . .” Marc exhaled, giving in. He opened his eyes
and took a peek at the clock. “Grrr... I’m sure it’s just Becca ...”
Their daughter now had a boyfriend at the high school, a junior
on the wrestling team, who drove, introducing a whole new set of
complications to their lives. Lately she’d been sneaking out after
the two of them had gone to sleep, or on weekends, sneaking in her
friends at all hours of the night.
“No. It’s a Sunday, Marc,” April replied, recalling how she
had kissed her daughter good night hours ago and left her curled
up in bed with Facebook going strong and a chemistry textbook
on her lap.
“Not anymore . . .” Groggily, he sat up, rubbing a hand across
his face, flicking on the light. “I was just gonna get up and check
out the overnights anyway.”
From the book RECKLESS: A Novel by Andrew Gross. Copyright î 2010 by Andrew Gross. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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