Free


by Ruth Jones


Holding his hand out, he smiled.


“When I tell you, run!”


“But why?”


“Just run.”


The wind whipped through her hair, the sea air filling her lungs. The gentle rustle of leaves in the trees and the seagulls soaring overhead, the warm sun bathing her skin; life was perfect. Gripping his hand she grinned back, her heart filling with joy.


“Ok.”


“Run!”


He took off, running through the grass. She started running too, as she was half dragged along. They ran closer and closer to the edge of the cliff until he swerved off course, narrowly missing the drop.


Collapsing on the floor, he pulled her down with him.


“Never forget how you felt today. Never forget how happy you are at this moment. When things get tough, remember this!”


Without warning, he jumped up and ran off into the field, before doubling back towards the edge. He built up speed, head down.


“Paul? What are you doing?”


He didn’t reply and just kept running, pushing towards the edge, getting closer and closer until…


“Paul? Noooo!”


Sarah jumped up, went to the edge of the cliff and looked down, down to where the body of the man she loved was lying. Or at least should have been.


Looking down at the rocks, Sarah gasped. There was nothing, just rocks. So where had he gone? And why did he tell her to remember this moment?

* * *

The sun filtered through the blinds, filling the room with a warm glow. Gradually Sarah stirred, blinking as she opened her eyes. The memory of her dreams came flooding back, the same dream she had every night. The meaning of the dream always remained unclear, the exhilaration felt as she ran towards the cliff, the heartbreak as she watched Paul disappear down and the confusion as she realised that he was gone, not dead, just gone.


Her phone started to ring, the screen flashing on her bedside table. The lit display read ‘Paul’; she smiled, happiness filling her heart.


“Hey sweetheart!”


“Hey Paul, you all right?”


“I’m great, you?”


“I’ve only just woken up! What you up to?”


“Not much, wondering if you were free tonight. I’m thinking we go to the cinema, maybe grab some food first. Sound like a plan?”


That was the last time she spoke to him.

* * *
A shadow passed overhead, steadily circling. Sarah looked up, curious as to what it could be. Paul was there above her.


“Come join me.”


“Paul, what are you doing? How did you get up there?”


“I’m free, I’m happy.”


* * *

She clutched onto the flowers, her heart in pain, not wanting to let them go, just as she hadn’t wanted to let Paul go.


In reality, he hadn’t flow into the sky, but had gone into the ground. He died young, but was free from the pain. She knew that the only place she would be with him was in the silent hours of her sleep. But she also knew that one day she would join him, and fly. Until that day, she would stare at the sky, watching for every shadow, knowing that one of them would be Paul, watching over her.

Ruth Jones is a second year Biochemistry student, originally from Bristol, now living in sunny Portsmouth, who writes for fun, instead of revising…

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