'Sunrise' by Andrew Patch

Alex dangled his feet, black battered converse swaying above the rolling waves that thrashed furiously against slate grey rocks. Opposite his cliff top perch the sun began lazily climbing, slowly peeling away the monochrome to reveal colour. He breathed in deep, the aroma of the sea filling his lungs, for a moment it was just him and the end of the world. 

‘Howdy stranger!’

Alex turned to see Emma pushing her bike out from the copse of woodland that concealed the road. He waved a hand in greeting, a smile breaking out across his face as she threw the bike down amongst the yellow flowers that blanketed the cliff top. He hadn’t expected anyone to come here this morning, yet he was pleased to see Emma.

She sat down, cherry doc martens hanging beside his trainers, ‘great minds think alike eh?’

Alex nodded, watching Emma root within her rucksack, retrieving, with a mischievous grin, a bottle of vodka and a pack of cigarettes. His quizzical look at her supplies was not well hidden, for Emma shot him an exasperated look in return. ‘A girl’s got to start the day with a healthy breakfast’, she tossed him some matches, ‘now light me up.’

Alex pulled out two cigarettes, the wind frustrating his initial attempts to ignite. Finally they sat in silence, passing the bottle back and forth, blowing white clouds into the slowly reddening sky.

‘So your folks, not bothered you’re here?’

Emma flicked her butt into a tumbling arc, hurtling towards the frenzy below, ‘nah, sat on the sofa watching the news, as if some how that will make any difference. Yours?’

‘Holiday, France. Course, no flights, so…’ Alex beckoned across the sea.

‘Shit, bad timing eh? Well lets toast them to their overseas adventure.’ Emma passed him the bottle, surreptitiously brushing a tear away with her other hand, ‘do you think its gonna hurt?’ Alex shrugged, drinking deep, finding solace in the heat that filled his gut. 

The sun was higher now, bathing the world in deep red.

Alex was surprised to feel Emma’s fingers intertwining with his, how comfortable it felt. He could talk to her, of crushes and fear, how once such a moment was all he had ever desired. Yet such things were irrelevant now.  

‘Look, its started …’

Around them the yellow flowers were dying, stalks withering in the heat, petals crumbling like paper. Alex felt his clothes beginning to stick to his skin, the sky was now a deep crimson, as if the world was on fire. 

Alex felt sick, yet Emma seemed calm, she leaned in, her kiss momentarily blocking out the sun. Then she whispered in his ear, sending goosebumps racing across his skin.

‘C’mon, jump with me’

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