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Cloud Club (The Quintessential Daydream)
Over the jagged horizon of a lonely city, winding around the bustling herds of friends and family returning from work, was the solitary outline of a fire escape. To the average passerby, the fire escape would appear to be empty, devoid of any movement other than the stairs shuddering against the soft, autumn breeze. However, upon a slight venture with one’s intuition, it could be found that a young man of a stern face and cool disposition reclined on the bars of the stairs. His dark, navy streaked hair bristled softly in the breeze, his eyes closed with only a light touch of black strands on white skin. A set of red and white graphic headphones was tucked snugly around his ears, humming to the tune of The Saltwater Room.
He opened his eyes and immediately pressed a hand to his forehead to shield from the blinding sun. “There’s not a cloud in the sky today…” he remarked quietly to himself. His eyes began to slide closed, but he reeled backward and forced them open. “He’s late… I wonder what’s up.”
The music felt soothing. He was drifting aboard a sailboat in the middle of the ocean. The harsh creaking of the rusted stairs reminded him of wooden planks wailing against the tide. He could discern every rise and fall of his chest, steady as the rushing wind.
“Haaa…” He was hypnotized by the music. Maybe he could spare just one more minute…
The teenager leaned back into the bars and shut his eyes.
Clouds, dispersed in cotton tufts in a zone of cerulean blue that had no beginning or end. He was suspended in negative space, with no land or even a concept of time. Bewildered, but intrigued all the same, he took a tentative step forward. It took no effort. He was practically weightless; all gravity had been switched off.
The moment he touched down, a ripple pulsed through the sky and disturbed a nearby cloud, rending it into puffs of scattered fluff. With a bit more confidence, he continued forward and began to kick up a continuous stream of gentle ripples. Every ripple moved in the same arc; they traveled on the flat plane of a platform invisible to the naked eye. Determined, he tried not to look down.
There seemed to be no end to this path. He peered around from under narrowed lids at the space of negative blue, confused, but curious all the same. His sight told him he was going nowhere, but at the same time, he could sense in his heart that the path did lead somewhere. At least... he didn't think this daydream had no conclusion.
A picture frame was sitting flat in the middle of the sky. Face widening with anticipation, he sped up his pace, closing the gap between himself and the object. Ripples danced from under his feet as if they were chanting a mantra, tearing at the physical presence of the sky.
He was almost there. Plucking the frame from the ground, he began to bring the photo to up to his face. He was about to catch a glimpse of a friend he hadn’t seen since he was small, when a tremor assaulted the platform. He retched over, clutching the frame, and attempted to catch his balance, when the path swung open at the bottom like a trap door.
“Dude! Dude! Wake up! My fashionably late *ss has arrived.”
Someone was shaking his shoulder hard enough to dislocate it. Startled, the short teen was unwillingly thrust into reality, the world flooding to life around him. Was the dream trying to tell him something? He almost wanted to fall back asleep just to see what would’ve happened next.
He glared at his friend.
“If you’re trying to be funny to worm your way out of paying for the arcade, then I doubt ripping my arm out of its socket is gonna give you any pity points.”
The other boy smirked and didn’t seem to really care. “What were you thinkin’ about? Head up in the clouds again?”
The blue teen jumped in surprise.
A smile tugged at his lips.
Best friends forever, as they always say.