I head to the only place where I seem to be able to clear my head. The
roof. At nearly two in the morning, the entirety of Main Street is dark and
deserted. I sigh and close my eyes, hoping maybe I’ll doze off. And I do…but
then I’m dreaming that someone is calling my name. It takes a few seconds to
realize that it isn’t a dream. Someone really is calling my name.
“Walker! Are you up there? Walker!”
Startled, I jump up and follow the sound to the edge of the roof
overlooking the alley between our building and the one next door. Looking up at
me is Mason Stevens.
“Mason? What are you doing here?”
“I have to talk to you. Can you please come down here?”
I shake my head.
“Uh-uh. No way. Go home, it’s late.”
“Please! Just let me talk to you.”
“I am not coming down.”
“Okay, then let me come up and see you there…”
“Dude! You’re not listening to me. I don’t want to talk to you. There’s
nothing to say.”
“Of course there is! I have to explain about Cassandra. And I know what
my mom said to you at the pub. Walker, there’s so much I have to say to you.
Please, don’t make me do it from down here.”
I’m about to turn around and go inside when he does something incredibly bizarre.
He grabs the long drainpipe that runs down the side of the building. And he
starts to climb.
“Hey!” I holler down at him. “Hey, stop that!”
“Walker O’Halloran, I love you!” he’s saying as he passes the first floor
windows and starts on the second floor.
“Mason! That thing is not going to support your weight. Stop! Please!
Just go down before you kill yourself!” I hear myself getting louder and
shriller. A light comes on across the street in an apartment over the newspaper
“No. I won’t stop. Not until we get our H-E-A.”
“Happily ever af—”
I presume he was going to say “happily ever after” right up until the
moment that the brackets holding the pipe against the brick façade break free
and the pipe starts to bend backward, taking Mason with it.
“Oh, shhh—” I hear him mutter just before I lose all sense of time and
He’s falling. He’s high enough up that he’ll surely break his back, or
his neck, or crack his skull open. Oh, sweet Jesus, he could die! He came here
to see me and I wouldn’t let him up. So he climbed the wall…and now he’s going
to die! I’m going to kill someone else.
“Mason!” I hear myself screech as he continues his backward descent,
still clutching the pipe with his arms and legs.
It’s all happening in slow motion and, for a brief second, he’s almost
horizontal, like a pig hanging off a spit at a luau.
“Mason!” I shriek again, running back and forth along the ledge of the
building, my eyes scanning the roof around me for inspiration. But there’s
nothing. And it’s too late, anyway.
I can only watch in horror as he falls out of my reach. And out of my