When Icarus Fell

Madeline Rebber lives on the South side of the fence of her split nation. Her everyday life is affected by the threat of violence from the North of the country, but people have tried to make their lives as normal as possible considering the circumstances. Madeline wishes for an escape but can only dream of a future far away from the South. Until one day, a creature falls from the sky and dies, leaving behind the mystery of what it is. Madeline is drawn to this creature as he dies by her side, in a way that she can never know. But the mystery of this Icarus is only the first step in a line of events which would change Madeline's life for ever.

For the Sony Movellist of the Year competition, first 3 chapters.

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2. The Fall

 

          From that night onwards, Noah and I grew close. I spent the next year and a half coaxing him out of his shell and into a world he didn’t have to be frightened of. He was clever and we ended up in most classes together. We shared the same love for astrology and the beach and a need to explore. My weeks were filled with school and the girls and then Noah was my weekend. Once Noah had stopped being the new kid, people learnt to accept him and he got on with mostly everyone. He was one of us.
          The friendship between Noah and me was something that grew by the day. He told me everything about his life in the North and I told him about my family. We would spend days walking along the beach, watching the stars or sitting quietly in a tree talking about anything. I would love it when he told me stories.
          Clayburn Higher School continued as we got older, getting not so much more challenging but more serious the further we went up in the school. I remembered the day when we’d come back from the summer holidays to see the faces of the tiny first years. I felt so old in comparison to them. The teachers never changed – if anything, they softened if you’d had them in previous years and knew everyone’s names. School was a comfortable routine in which we were allowed to do as much – or as little – studying as we wanted.
          The threat from the North never went away and there were a couple of times when I was up all night with Jamie as we could hear the gunfire. The news continued to spill out the deaths and the uncooperative dictator still refused to meet with the Circle. Tensions were at their peak and over those eighteen months, it was a time when I was my most scared. Jamie would crawl into my bed most nights, scared of the monsters who patrolled the fence. He was only four and to grow up next to so much violence was going to damage him in later life. Aaron wouldn’t be far behind as he was an almost constantly hyperactive ten year old and seemed to recharge after only a couple of hours sleep. Aaron would drag his mattress from his room to mine and sleep close to my bed. My mother would still be working in the factory and would have several hours before she came home. My brothers somehow managed to fall straight back asleep as I had Jamie tightly in my arms and Aaron would be snoring softly on the floor. Having them there in the room would be enough to lull me back to sleep even though my dreams would be enough to haunt me.

Δ

     We were all feeling pretty miserable today – as in Aaron was sulking and Jamie was running off just so I’d yell at him. My ten year old brother walked about with his hand across his skinny chest as he stomped in every puddle he could. We’d been shooed out the house because Mum was expecting someone who had news of Matthew. I could hardly remember him, apart from a face I’d seen in so many photographs. My mother was at the end of her tether with the boys and told me to take them on a walk. Jamie was still the age that he could run and hide in the dunes but still look cute doing it. At that moment, that was exactly what he was doing and I had a little grump trying to get covered in as much mud as possible.
          “Jamie!” I called out and I saw his hat appear in the long grass. I blew out a breath as the wind whipped my hair across my face. It was long now and I thought it was about time that I had it cut. It was a dark brown which sometimes did what I wanted it to but more often than not, it did its own thing. I had my absent father’s light brown eyes and my mother’s pale skin. This meant I had a cluster of freckles and burnt easily in the sun. It didn’t really bother me, as I thought I looked normal among my friends. It was clear by looking at me, Aaron and Jamie that we were all related.
          I folded my arms across my chest, then realised that I was mirroring Aaron’s posture as we stood side by side in the dunes. The wind was wild today and the air was warm, the threat of a storm whispered on the wind. I looked down at Aaron who stubbornly looked ahead and sighed.
              “Come on.”
         As he stormed off in front of me, I thought about how long it would be before we had to go home. It would probably rain in the next hour or two and I didn’t fancy getting caught in it. But there was time to go and visit the lighthouse.
          It was a long time since it had stopped working, but the lighthouse had never lost the interest of my imagination. When I was ten, I used to believe that the spirit of the lighthouse keeper’s wife still stood on the rail, looking out to sea. It had been abandoned when the country was split, as no one had really seen the need to have it there. It still acted like a beacon, only for those of us on land rather than on the sea. I could see Jamie running towards it already. He loved going to the lighthouse.
          “Mad!”
          My nickname was called out by a familiar voice and I turned to see Noah making his way towards us. I smiled, thinking of how different he looked after the summer. He was tall when he first came, but now he was towering over me by a good couple of inches. It felt weird to have to look up now to see him. His voice had changed as well and it was like he had suddenly sprouted into a man overnight. He was wearing a big grin on his face although I couldn’t understand why he was here. Jamie suddenly appeared out of nowhere and had launched himself at Noah. I thought that Jamie sometimes forgot how old he was now and how heavy he was getting. Noah caught him up and put him on his shoulders, laughing at my little brother. Jamie gripped onto Noah hair and I smiled up at him. He’d been so quiet recently and it was scary. I was worried about him because I knew that his life had hardly started and these were supposed to be the most carefree years, all the crap would come later. Seeing him smiling made me feel incredibly grateful that Noah was here.
          “What are you doing here?” I asked Noah, ruffling Aaron’s hair because he was still pretending to sulk. Even he couldn’t help but smile at Noah. It was like he was some sort of role model for them, like the older brother that wasn’t away in a prison.
          “I was coming to find you.” He held onto Jamie’s legs to make sure he didn’t fall. “I saw these men in your house and your mum was coming out and told me you’d taken the boys on a walk.” He shrugged, lifting Jamie up slightly and he laughed. I looked gratefully at Noah and he smiled in return.
          “Fancy coming with us to the lighthouse?” I was surprised to hear Aaron asking, since he’d hardly muttered anything eligible all morning. He was no longer sulking and instead stared up rather jealously at Jamie on Noah’s shoulders. We all knew he was too heavy to go up there without causing Noah a spinal injury.
          Noah’s eyes lit up and I felt myself smiling again. I was glad he was coming with us, for it saved me a couple of hours of dull babysitting. He reached up for Jamie and rearranged him so he was now giving him a piggy back.
          “I’ll race you there.” It wasn’t fair; he was already down the dune. My competitive streak got the better of me and I picked Aaron up, holding his legs around my waist as we set off after them. I knew I was as fast as Noah and had been running along the dunes longer than him so we caught up as my brothers cheered us on. We were pretty much evenly paced until he was suddenly in front of me. Aaron was also laughing as he told me to run faster. As we passed Noah and Jamie, Aaron let out a battle cry and I whooped. We broke over the dune and ran down the huge bank. The lighthouse was there and I stopped once it was certain we’d won. I let Aaron down and braced my hands on my knees, trying to get my breathing back to normal.
          I’d been staring down at the sand when Noah thought it would be hysterical if he tackled me to the ground. He lay next to me as we both waited for our breathing to slow. Jamie came over and squeezed between the two of us and Aaron stood at our feet, a huge victorious smile spread across his face.
           Aaron smirked at Noah. “You both got beaten by a girl.”
          I raised my eyebrow at him, "You won because of a
girl.” I pointed out, grabbing his leg with my feet and brought him down also. Jamie decided to lie across the three of us and put his hands behind his head in a satisfied manner. I was happy lying here, not quiet caring about the sand in my hair or Aaron's elbow in my side.
          After a couple of minutes of quiet, Aaron turned to Noah. “Noah, you're going to marry Madeline aren't you?”
          I sat up to look at my little brother, frowning. Did those words just come out of Aaron’s mouth? Aaron’s mouth, the same Aaron who thinks calling his friends a girl is an insult. Where was he getting these ideas from? Noah and I were only friends, really close friends but nothing more. I didn’t know what to say.
          Noah quirked an eyebrow at Aaron and then looked at me. For some reason, I was embarrassed that he may think I’d been talking about marrying him! I couldn’t imagine myself even thinking about getting married. I felt my cheeks go pink just thinking about it. God I wanted to throttle Aaron.
          “Now where’d you get an idea like that?” Noah asked, looking more bemused than flustered. Great, so it was just me who was embarrassed because he was my little brother. Jamie laughed quietly, enjoying being near everyone though I doubted he knew what was going on.
          Aaron shrugged, unfazed by the whole conversation. I glared at him. “I just think you’d be really cool together.”
         It was like Aaron had had a personality transplant. He was giving me and Noah relationship advice. I put my hand on Aaron’s forehead and said, “What’s wrong with you? I thought you thought marriage was boring.” I smiled at him because it was the least likely thing I would’ve thought he’d say.
          Again, he shrugged – his favourite method of communication. “I think Aunty Silvia getting married was boring, but you two would be great. It means you could spend all your time with us, Noah. She'd not that bad to live with. Think about all the great times we'd have, you could be like our brother!”
          Jamie sat up then and started pleading Noah to marry me, sitting on his chest and getting all excited. I laughed because the whole concept was strange. I was nearly fifteen, not thirty five. Marriage certainly wasn’t something that was happening any time soon, maybe if ever.
          We’d got up and continued towards the lighthouse as I told Jamie and Aaron to go ahead. I needed to speak to Noah alone for a couple of minutes.
          I looked up at him and blew out a breath. Noah laughed, knowing enough in my actions to know what I was about to say. I shook my head. “I have no idea where he’s gotten that idea from.”
          “Uh-huh.” He laughed again and poked me in the ribs. He would always be Noah, the one who kept my secrets and I kept his. He cared for my brothers and was one of my closest friends. I trusted him with everything. I could never imagine us being apart. Marriage was silly anyway – it wasn’t as if I didn’t believe in spending your life with the person you loved, it was the whole idea of it being the happiest day of your life when you get married and then what are you supposed to do? Live a normal and boring life. I didn’t see the point in the whole big production. I certainly couldn’t imagine doing it with Noah. The idea was just too strange to consider.
          “Mad,” Noah said, looking at me with the face that said he was going to say something serious. “Do the boys think I’m going to leave?”
             I frowned, shaking my head. “Of course they don’t. Why?”
          He puffed out his cheeks as he let out a breath. “Well, back then when Aaron said it would be good if I could spend all my time with you. I keep thinking that they’re expecting me to disappear.” Like your brother, he didn’t say it but he didn’t have to. It hung in the air. I wasn’t angry at Matthew any more because he was a stranger. I didn’t know who he was.
              I took Noah’s hand in mine and squeezed it. “You’re not Matthew.”
          “I know.” He said, but I could see it was still bothering him. His eyes were distant as he looked at Jamie and Aaron. They were now climbing the metal stairs and laughing at each other. We watched them, holding hands as we made our way to them. I felt confused, but in a good way, I think.
          “Mad!” Aaron called out, hanging upside down from the rusty platform encircling the lighthouse. Standing beneath it, it was huge and white, with paint peeling from years of standing by the sea. I’d always loved it here.
          By the foot of the lighthouse was a very large puddle of sea water that the tide had left behind. We all knew not to stand next to it for too long, for there was a danger you wouldn’t get your shoe back. The mud was so sticky and gross that the temptation was almost passable as it left your feet covered in a disgusting gunk. Although, today, I rolled up my jeans and kicked off my shoes, leaving them on the dry sand by the stairs on the lighthouse. I suddenly found myself airborne as Noah picked me up and slung me over his shoulder. I screeched and thumped his back but it wasn’t until he was knee deep in the water did he put me down.
          It was horrible and slimy but I couldn’t stop laughing. Jamie was laughing as he swung his legs off the edge of the platform and Aaron was testing himself by hanging with his face millimetres from the brown water. Noah was flicking water at me and I couldn’t move out of the way fast enough.
          We ended up all heading back to my house, soaking wet, covered in mud and sand caked to the bottom of our feet. I was happy and Noah and I swung Jamie between us. Aaron started singing and playing air guitar and we all joined in, smiling as it began to pour.

Δ

          It was night time now and the rain had eased up to leave clear skies. Noah was still here somewhere. I knew he was thinking about what Aaron had said and I wished he never did. Aaron had the uncanny ability to say whatever it was on his mind without thinking about the consequences. It’s wasn’t the first time I’d been annoyed at him, but he’d disappeared with some of his friends and Jamie had fallen asleep, exhausted after running around so much. It was just me and Noah, as my mum had left a note on the kitchen counter saying she’d be back late. I sighed when I saw it, not really surprised.
          It’d gotten cold outside but the sky was so bright I could see everything perfectly well as I made my way towards Noah. He was framed against the stars, arms around knees as his head was tipped up to the sky. I smiled and walked towards him, sitting on the ground beside him. I put my head on his shoulder and looked up at the stars. There wasn’t another person I could watch the stars with, as Eleanor got bored or fell asleep and Grace needed to keep moving. Phoebe would stare off into the distance and go into a daydream whereas Noah loved the stars as much as I did. I did the mental walk with my eyes around the constellations. There were so many of them here that I could sit out here all night.
          After a few minutes of peaceful silence, I whispered, “Thank you.”
          He looked down at my upturned face and smiled. “You know I don’t mind being with the boys.”
          “I know,” I said. “You care for them like they’re your brother but thank you for today.”
          The smile widened on his face and there was a twinkle in his eye. “You’re welcome.”
        I lay back and looked up at the solid lights in the sky. Noah lay beside me and took my hand in his. This was normal for us. We settled down amongst the long grass and the damp ground.
         “Madeline,” Noah whispered and I turned to look at him. He hardly ever called by my full name. “No matter what happens, I’m sticking by you.”
            I smiled and before I could comprehend what was happening, he’d leant forward and kissed me.
       There were always the kisses that I thought about when I was younger, as I watched boy after boy fall at Eleanor’s feet; watching Grace get flustered whenever Phoebe’s brother, Daniel was near and about every other girl in the school holding hands with boys as they walked around. I’d never been interested in the boys at school, for they were sometimes worse than the girls for being in love with themselves. But not Noah.
          It was quick but soft and I couldn’t stop grinning. I shyly crossed the gap between us and kissed him again, softly. It was like he was whispering against my lips and I’d never been so happy in my life. Everything about Noah was shining. I curled up closer to him, slipping under his arm as we continued to kiss.
          We broke apart slowly but I kept my nose touching his as I couldn’t help but smile. The moon was so bright I could see his eyes clearly, thinking up new names for the colours I could see. He kissed me one last time, before flipping onto his back and bringing my head down on his shoulder as we looked up at the stars and the moon.

Δ

          Noah must’ve fallen asleep, because his breathing had gotten slow and steady. I couldn’t stop smiling to myself as I thought about the last hour or so. It wasn’t that late at night and I had too much energy to sleep. Who would’ve thought it? Noah Battersby!
          The stars had shifted since I first came outside and the moon was directly in my line of sight. It was a giant orb tonight, the second day of the full moon. Everything felt electrified whenever there was a full moon, like there was magic in the air. With my head rising and falling against Noah’s chest, I looked to see the craters as the moon shone bright amongst the stars.
          While I watched the moon, smiling, I noticed something flew in front of it. It was a dark shape, a black blip soaring through the sky. I thought it was some bird or something, but it looked so close that it was flying near the surface of the moon. I blinked, thinking that I was imagining it, but it was still there, soaring through the light of the moon. I sat up, frowning. I didn’t know what it was.
          I shook Noah and he woke up, startled and as I apologised quietly and pointed. Just as I turned to see the spot of darkness suddenly fall like it had hit a wall and it was crashing to the ground. I could feel my heart beating in my chest, the pounding in my ears as I watched. It was probably some bird but somehow I knew it wasn't. Noah had obviously seen it too and he was quiet and watching beside me. It was suddenly visible as it tumbled through the stars and sped towards Earth, towards us. I watched, wide eyed and wondering what it was. It continued to fall.
          There came a point when it was so close, it couldn’t be two hundred yards from us. I gasped as it crashed, feeling the aftershock. It had landed in the middle of the fences. I had to see it, see what it was. I shot up, running straight for the fence, my feet sinking into the sand as I hit the dunes. I could hear Noah shouting my name as he called me back but there was nothing that could stop me.
          The fence wasn’t as secure as they had hoped and at some point last summer, I was walking along the fence and found it loose. The chain link was curled up and I pulled it, surprised when I found it was big enough to fit me through. I didn’t dare climb through but now I found it and pulled myself through, desperate to find it. It was dark all along the fence and Noah had stopped calling out for me, but I knew he was behind me. I was through the fence with minor cuts and only a few scratches. I ran as fast as I could across the flat and dead, dry ground. There was no grass here, no signs of life anywhere, only twigs that I tripped on but I continued to run, not caring about anything except finding the fallen creature.
          It was there, something that I had never seen before in my life. I slowed the closer I got to it and knelt beside the crater it had made in the earth. It was about the size of a man, but to call it a man would be an insult. It had fingers and toes and legs and arms like a man, but the skin was a pale cream colour in the moonlight. It was lumpy, like candle wax that had melted and set again. The creature was covered in these lumps, like it really was made of bees wax. It withered about slightly in the dirt and suddenly, it’s bright, strangely human blue eyes found me and I was shocked. I couldn’t move. Here, lying before me was something so impossible that it couldn’t be true and yet it was. Its eyes were so wide and so full of joy that I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand anything about it. It suddenly made a grab for my hand and I gasped at how strong and strange it felt in mine. A blinding light appeared over my shoulder and I looked, not seeing anything. I turned back to the creature and it parted its lip to reveal a mouth with no teeth. It struggled for a moment and its eyes went glassy. It died, right by my side as all the strength left the grip on my hand.
          There were too many people around me, it was too crowded. I didn’t like it, it was too noisy. Everything around me was blurred, like it was only dream and I was slowly waking up, the dream tugging me back. People, men with guns and dark uniforms were closing in on me, suffocating me. I closed my eyes as I was pulled away from the creature, the creature that flew and fell. There was a pretence that everything was okay, but I could feel a curious fear of the dead being running through the lines of men with guns and uniforms. I couldn’t see properly, everything blurred into light and dark. There was so much light, too much light. It hurt my eyes.
          A hand found mine, a familiar touch that brought me back to my senses, as my hearing became sharper and I could see again. I saw his face, a face that smiled and hardly frowned, eyes full of concern as Noah tried to coax me back. He placed a hand on my cheek and I leaned into him, holding onto him. I didn’t think I could let go of him, I didn’t want to let go of him. He held me close, muttering reassurances and whispers in my ear. I felt numb and sluggish. I wanted to home and wake up, but there was a part of me that knew, that had known all along that I wasn’t dreaming.

Δ

I was huddled under a blanket, Noah’s arm around my shoulders as the first signs of dawn began to show. We’d been out here all night with both armies waiting for an excuse to start firing at each other. You couldn’t really blame them, though, for this was their job and they got paid to be ready to fight each other. But there was sort of an unspoken agreement that ran through the air like a whisper. There would be no more deaths tonight.
          I looked over to the spot where it'd landed – where he’d landed but the small dent in the scrub was covered by a white tent. The whole thing looked strangely like an old sci-fi film which had suddenly come to life in front of my eyes. Both sides of the fence were here, Generals glaring at each other and troops never letting go of their weapons. Men in white suits wandered to and from the tent, carrying clip boards and murmuring behind white masks.
          Still none of it felt real; I’d been asked by men in white coats to men in uniforms. I didn’t like all the noise and it felt like my brain still hadn’t kicked into gear yet. I’d told them all the same thing, over and over so much that Noah could’ve answered everything for me. Yes, I’d found a hole in the fence; yes I was there when the creature died; yes it’d touched my hand; no, it didn’t speak. But there were also the longing gazes from the soldiers standing guard, looking confused and a little bit out of place. They glanced at me every now and again with their own questions in their eyes. Some were so intense that I could feel them looking at me without raising my head.
          At some time after midnight, when the moon had moved once again, they’d set up the tent while the whole space was flooded with light. The scientists (I was presuming that they were the men in the white coats) from both the North and the South agreed that it would be best to work with each other instead of against each other until they could figure out what he was.
          I kept seeing his face, those eyes, over and over until someone snapped me back to the present. The whole concept of something falling from the sky was a concept I couldn’t get my head around. Of course, birds fall from the sky and their chicks fall from nests but never had I heard of . . . well, a man. But he wasn't a man, he was far more wonderful than any man. But he was unique as far as anyone knew. What if there were more out there? What if there had always been creatures like him out there and have watched humanity tear each other to shreds?
          Other than Noah, there was one other person who could bring me out of my dazes and he was a man named Dr Nevitt who was old enough to be my grandfather with surprisingly still dark eyebrows in stark contrast to his bristly white beard and hair. He had kind eyes; the sort of eyes you’d want your doctor to have. For some reason, he kept me grounded and listened to my silences when I didn’t want to speak. I could tell that he was genuinely concerned about me because even though he never asked, I could always sense the curiosity over what had happened out here brimming in his kind eyes. Dr Nevitt never pushed for too much information at a time and it was strangely nice for him to be there.
          I didn’t know if I could face my teachers, my friends, or even my own family after this. I didn’t understand it. How could something so sudden change my life completely? I knew I would never be the same docile, ignorant person I was before; I felt different, like the world was a more hostile place than I thought it might be, with oddities and the unknown around every corner.
          My jumble of emotions were all rocketing inside me while everything on the outside seemed backwards. The North and the South working together, even if they didn’t like one another but inside of me, I had never felt so foreign in my own head. If he fell from the sky, what else could? Surely if that was possible, how many more creatures were there that we didn’t know about? Why me? Why did I have to watch a creature I didn’t know existed, die? So many changes and questions that I feared no one could answer.
          The sun rose promptly at about seven o’clock in the morning and I knew I wouldn’t be able to face everyone at school. I was still wrapped tight in the blanket as the previously midnight world bled with colour of the new day. I was tired from not sleeping last night and all I wanted was my bed. The last chill of winter was about to pass as we shrugged out of February and into March. Spring would be well on its way in a couple of weeks. I liked the thought of that – how the world and the seasons kept on changing and turning no matter what happened. We were only temporary on this earth, but for as long as mankind can remember, there had always been the sea and the sky.

Δ

          They removed the body from tent but it could’ve been a human under the sheet they used to move him. I didn’t like to think what they were going to do to his body. It was far better to remain ignorant as to what he was than to cut his up, piece by piece and stuff him into jars. I didn’t want that for him, whatever he was.
          Most soldiers had left me alone but Noah hadn’t left my side for a second. Even though my mind still wandered back to last night, his arm around me grounded me, kept me from completely getting lost. I tried to sleep many times but every time I closed my eyes, I saw his eyes, the creature.
          Eventually, someone must’ve reminded an authority that we were still on site and we were escorted to a huge gate, which must’ve been the only way in and out of the South. I had never looked at the South through this side of the fence before and I’d never realised how close we were to the sea. I could see the blocks that were my school and the five rows of houses where everyone bar a few lived. I didn’t like passing through the gates, like they were going to tell me that I had committed a crime and shoot me before I’d managed to step back into familiar land. I gripped Noah’s hand, knowing if I let go I’d crumble. He guided me, exchanging only briefly with the soldiers before we were through and the gate clanged shut behind us. I didn’t look back; I couldn’t look back.
          The houses came into view and I saw a figure approaching us. Something inside me snapped and my vision became blurry. My mother reached us and enfolded me into her arms. I was shaking and I couldn’t stop crying. I could smell my mother’s scent, warm and comforting as I didn’t want to let her go. I was worried that she would be angry with me for running off. She smoothed my hair back from my face and touched my cheek. I felt seven years younger as she dried my tears. She took my hand and helped me inside.

Δ

When I pulled my eye lids back, I could see it was dark outside my window. It sounded like someone else was in here with me, sitting in the old rocking chair that had always been in my room. I sat up, my head foggy from sleeping so long. I stretched when everything came rushing back to me in a blur.
          I blinked several times, my eyes adjusting to the darkness. I could see Noah’s sleeping form sitting in the rocking chair. It looked extremely uncomfortable sitting there but he looked peaceful. It was hard for me to remember everything that had happened because everything was hazy, like seeing through an unfocused camera lens. I must’ve gone into some sort of state of shock. My brain seemed to recoil from the memories and I didn’t understand fully what had happened to me. I did remember Noah though, grounding me, being there beside me, holding my hand. He stayed with me all night. The thought made me smile, considering what had happened under the stars. I crept out of bed and touched Noah’s shoulder. His eyes opened immediately and he sat up properly, smiling at me in a sleepy manner. I smiled back and took his hand, chaffing it between my own to heat it up. I kissed his palm and crawled onto his lap as he pulled the blanket up over us.
           “Thank you.” I whispered.
          “Don’t worry, Mad.” He whispered back. His arms tightened around me and I felt warm and safe. “We will get through this.”
          After a couple of minutes of silence I began to be aware of other noises in the house. I was surprised to hear Jamie and Aaron still up, with the clock reporting it was past nine o’clock at night. I could vaguely hear my mother’s voice and hearing them all made me feel like it was really home.
          Noah followed me downstairs and I kept his hand tight in mine. The soft glow from the lights downstairs chased away the shadows. The living room door was open and I could hear the fire crackling away. The kitchen was where Aaron and Jamie were jumping up and down and my mother laughing at them. Everything seemed so perfect in that moment. Jamie spotted me and Noah in the doorway and I picked him up, hugging him close. He wrapped his legs around me and squeezed tightly. It felt good to be hugged by him. I felt guilty for running off without thinking about my brothers. I apologised to Jamie silently as I hugged him, before putting him back on the kitchen tile.
          We all squeezed into the kitchen and Jamie was dancing to a song on the radio. No one mentioned the fall or him and it felt good to at least pretend to be normal. Both Mum and Aaron twirled around Jamie. Their laughter settled me and I could remember all the good things before the fall. It was easy to get lost in their smiles and forget the past. My world was the kitchen in those glorious minutes.
          My mother insisted I got my guitar and we all retreated to the living room. The fire warmed us all and as I played, I found myself gazing into the flames, watching as the fire turned the wood into charcoal. The flames flickered and licked the metal grate, like it had a mind of its own and wanted to be free. I hummed quietly and caught Noah’s eye.
          He smiled at me, following me and being here even after what had happened last night. While I smile back him, I didn’t regret it. If I could turn back time, I would do the same again. I would never forget those eyes even if it killed me. His piercing blue eyes that were so alive despite the nearness to his death. I could see them as I looked into the flames. He’d held my hand, gripped it, conveying a silent message that I couldn’t decipher. I didn’t understand it. I wanted to know more, I wanted to be there more, and to figure out what had happened to him and what he was.
          But for the moment, I only had what I knew and that was that a body that flew in front of the moon fell from the sky and died beside me. He’d left me feeling a grief for something that I had never known existed. He was not forgotten, he would never be forgotten, I’d make sure of that. I didn’t think I would be able to forget him even if I wanted to.
          I would never forget the day Icarus fell from the sky.

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