Finding Suzie
Author: N. Renč

Chapter 1

I sighed, bottle dangling limply in my hand, eyes turned skyward as the stars lazily shimmered over me. From my right came a gentle warmth, not enough to quell the tremors the cold night bestowed on me, but enough to make me acknowledge that I was not alone. Setting the glass bottle down on the roof tiles between my feet, I laced my fingers behind my head and sackened my posture to lay down.

It was like an endless blanket, the sky. The darkest purple silk, the strewn haphazardly with pearls and sequins. It was so beautiful and yet... so cold, so unwelcoming. There was a distance between the earth and the stars that somehow felt entirely unloving.

"A penny for your thoughts?" came a question from the warmth. A lazy loll of my eyes revealed my companion, a boy close in age to me.

I hummed a sigh, eyes returning to the vast, cold universe. "Doesn't it seem that the earth and the stars, though forever connected, are so seperate?"

He chuckled. "What?"

I paused, repositioning my hands to rest over my stomach, eyes drifting between each glowing bead of light staring back at me. "I feel that... once... the earth and the sky were lovers. I remember when the stars felt closer, warmer... But somewhere along the way, they've drifted off... Now all that's left is apathetic gazes and a significant... coldness. There seems to be no intimacy. What's happened?"

Another chuckle and he reached towards my ankles to pluck the drink away, shaking it before downing the last dribble of personal poison. "You've had too much to drink my dear."

I smirked, sitting upright once again. With a flick of my hand, I reminded him of the small stack of beer cans nestled in the gutter - put there by him. "I could turn that around and say the same for you my dear," I quipped back. He smiled, one side of his mouth not pulling up as high as the other. I paused for a moment before reaching out my hand, cupping his chin with my fingers to gently press my thumb against the scar that held back his otherwise full smiles.

He smiled softly again, shaking his head. "You like this story, don't you Lady?" I retracted my hand, smiling at his use of my nickname. "Would you like to hear it again?" I nodded, pushing myself up the roof's slope to settle against his side, his warmth familiar and comfortable. He shifted his arm to drape it over me as my eyes yet again drifted towards the stars.

His deep, smooth voice began to lull me to sleep as he retold the story of how, as a young child, he had loved his cat so much that he would kiss its head each night before he slept. When that cat died, he and his parents went to a shelter to get a new one and for some reason he settled foolishly on an old tom cat that spit at anyone who approached it. That evening he went to resume his nightly ritual when the tom had lashed out and split his lip. The story was quite silly, but I never tired of hearing it. I had drifted to a different plane, however, by the time it was over. On some acute level I recognised that he had hoisted me and was now carrying me to the balcony outside his attic bedroom. He paused briefly to set me on my near-asleep feet and to climb over the balcony rail before deftly swooping me back into his arms.

Once in the amber light of his bedroom, he settled me down on his couch, my body sinking into the cushions comfortably. He crouched in front of me and I opened my eyes wearily to smile at him. He stroked my dark hair off of my face before leaning forward to place a soft kiss to my forehead. My tired smile briefly widened as I pushed his face away. "Careful there," I mumbled. "I might giving you another scar." Again my ears were met with a soft laugh.

"I doubt that, Lady. I'll turn the light off in a moment. I'm going to go and collect our rubbish from the gutters and then I'll turn it out." I nodded once, but was not awake long enough to see the lights go out.


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