Prologue – The Rooftop
Quinn walked up the steps. He didn’t know why and he couldn’t remember if he was going up the steps because there was an actual reason. Quinn was afraid of heights – and he was going towards the rooftop. That didn’t sound right. He lived on the top most floor, of the tallest block of flats on First Street. The rooftop wasn’t going to be any good for his vertigo… So why was he climbing the steps so enthusiastically? He didn’t think there was any need for going there… or was there? For some reason, he just couldn’t turn around and walk right back down to his apartment.
The rooftop was a scary place. It was depressing – all gray and then the open sky. The open sky, thought Quinn shivering. He just hoped he wouldn’t throw up when he go to the top. At the top of the steps there was a bright green door, with a shiny brass knob. Oh, the irony, thought Quinn, What a nice green door for such a horribly depressing place. On a normal day, when Quinn was acting normal – he would hesitate before opening the door. Quinn’s mother had warned him not to open it a much as she warned him against Hell – and she warned him about the place of the Damned a whole lot. But he opened the door without the slightest hesitation. What’s going on? he thought to himself.
A rush of air hit him, the wind playing with his thick brown hair and making his eyes water. It’s a bit cold for a summer’s day, he thought. When his vision cleared, he observed the rooftop. The ground was gray – as usual – and the sky was a cloudless blue, the sun shining and the birds singing. That’s more like it, he thought. Then he looked closer, and saw that people were sitting on the edges of the roof – separated from each other. Where did they come from? he thought irritably. They must have been there, but for some reason he had decided to ignore them. There were seven people – four boys and three girls; different ages and different sizes. Two boys he recognized from school, and there was his neighbor sitting there as well, but the others he couldn’t place. He’d seen them somewhere… but he couldn’t remember.
“You shouldn’t sit so close to the edge!” he called, “You might fall off!” They all ignored him, not even turning their heads to see who was talking. “Hello!” he said hotly, “I’m talking to you! Get away from the edge! It’s dangerous! HELLO!!” All seven of them continued to ignore Quinn, until he gave up. He crossed his arms, and huffed. These lot must be mad, he thought, Or may be I’m going crazy. He thought this because he began walking towards one of the occupants of the roof, and sat next to him. Quinn tried not to look down, but couldn’t help it. He could feel his insides curling and twisting as he saw car racing so far below him. If I fall, he thought, I’ll be a flatter than a pancake!
He looked at the roof occupant to get his mind of vertigo. He knew the kid. He had messy hair, and dark Latino skin – which was dry – but very strong hands. He was scrawny and sickly and smelt funny – like he only took a bath once a month. He was in Quinn’s class, but no one really liked him. Everyone called him lame, because he dressed in clothes that were too big for him and shoes that were beat-up. Quinn never said anything against him, of course, Quinn liked everyone in his class, and he liked making friends. But this classmate tended to be very depressing and didn’t talk much. But there was something different about him now… his nose had been flattened into two Voldemort-like slits, and he had a smile on his face. He was swinging his legs off the ledge and humming something in Spanish. Quinn looked at him, and his classmate seemed to take notice of Quinn for the first time.