The Rise

Light reflects from the foam at the peak of the waves. Silvery moonlight crosses the sand and paints in broad strokes the pale cement of the staircase. The hotel rises up in brave defiance of the roaring ocean, a monument of blinking lights and muffled music.

Shadows cut into the light where it blooms, carving out the shapes of plants and straight edges, but here where the light spills free from each apartment it is a futile attempt at darkness.

No stars can be seen in the sky here for the entire shore is lit by the dreamy haze of civilisation. It is as though the hotel has absorbed the very stars itself and now uses their components to form a building filled with living parts and pieces.

A voice, the sound of laughter, a telephone. Electricity flows through the cables and out into lights that do not flicker: bright lights shining on white concrete.

And there, on a high balcony a figure steps towards the shadow. His name is Stephen, though he has temporarily misplaced it. Something noxious found its way into his system earlier this night.

A fight in a night club, words misspoken, a moment of violence as two groups moved against each other. There in the shadow-cloaked valleys of the club the boy sought bravery, yet found only Strife.

Stephen’s lip is busted but he does not remember why. He remembers nothing and the darkness is calling to him. That vast roar of the ocean drowns out all other sounds. The wind whispers to him.

Light blooms at the edge of his vision. Stephen tries not to notice it, but he does. Suddenly he is aware of the feeling of gravity that threatens to drag him down and shatter him against the cement.

On the balcony beside his somebody is watching him. His head turns just enough to see Love. It is not a face he knows; the face is wearing a smile.

He is gripped tightly from behind. A strong arm wraps around him and pulls him back from the edge. Somebody is swearing, somebody is laughing nervously, the music is still playing.

The music is still playing.