The Climb

2 Apr

The Climb


Winnie flexed the toes on her right hand. With her left she clamped down on the misaligned brick and pulled herself up. She was almost at the top now, almost at the end of her journey. She threw her head back and let her neck extend so that she could see just how far she’d come. Down below the streetcars looked like caterpillars. She wondered what would happen if she wept. Would the frenzied specks be washed away? Would panic ensue? Did it really matter? It was no longer her world. She belonged to the sky.

Climbers usually left the ground once puberty hit and they had enjoyed their right. Climbers bore only one offspring. Once that baby was born and all twenty toes were counted. The parent was free to seek the homeland.

Winnie had been terrified that she would bear more than one child like Davinia. Climbers did not consider multiple births to be a blessing like the Swimmers or even the Creepers. It was the mother’s duty to choose the strongest of all her babies to be raised by the governing body and then throw the remainders into the subways to be crushed underfoot by the commuters.

Winnie would never forget that day. Never. It was carved into her memory like the Roman numbers on the side of the building she climbed. Davinia had made her choice and the governing body had looked in the holy scrips for a name. They chose Florence to be forever known as she who eats Prozac and carried the child into the great Lilly Hall.

Davinia waited until not even the scent of them remained and then she tore her birthing robe into wide strips and bound her two remaining babies to her breast. Taking long strides that built in momentum until she was almost flying Davinia hit the wall and began scrabbling as fast as she could. Winnie could not believe her eyes. Davinia was committing sacrilege. Not only was she making the journey skyward with the unblessed but she was contaminating the very clouds themselves with the living dead.

Even though Winnie knew in her toes that Davinia was committing blasphemy there was a part of her that prayed that somehow, someway she would triumph and cross the line to sky before the Disciplinarians could shoot her with their strength drainers.

‘Faster’ Winnie screamed to herself as watched Davinia desperately searching for a toehold. Davinia was almost there now. She just had another story to go. Winnie felt her hearts exploding in her chests. ‘Safe.’ Davinia was safe. The Disciplinarians had finally arrived but it was too late. Davinia was over the line and could not be touched. Winnie turned away. She would think of Davinia safe with her two babies all the way home.

A sound like buildings collapsing almost burst Winnie’s eardrums and then nothing, not even the low drone of the billions of pigeons nesting wherever there was a merest hint of space. Winnie did not need to turn around. She knew then that the great book of Pharmaceuticals lied.

Winnie preferred to remember Davinia safe and skyward rather than broken on the ground and she made a promise to herself, a promise that she was keeping now.

Winnie sat with her legs dangling over the edge of the gleaming silver building. She could feel her baby moving inside her. Baby? Perhaps there were more. It didn’t matter now because even if there were a dozen little climbers inside of her they were all safe and she would name them after the clouds.


One Response to “The Climb”

  1. Robert Constant April 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    I like it and the visuals are marvelous, but I find it confusing

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