Winner: Least Contrived Use of a Thesaurus
Co-Winner: Best Story, Most Original Story
The girl in the flat opposite drifted onto my balcony. I didn’t see or hear her footfall; hands still clutched about the rail, the gasping sob as she settled, exhaled. So the girl tapped the glass. Twice. And I answered.
“Hello.” She whispered. “Can I come in?”
There she was, twenty-something and naked on concrete, warm breath against glass. Dark hair cascaded to her bare shoulders and a slight, mousy face. Deep brown eyes pulled the moon down and pooled it so her slender frame seemed to shiver with weight. Her lips showed a trace of blue; glistening alike fairy dust, or hypothermia. I opened the door and guided her in.
She can’t have jumped the distance. 15 foot and recessed into the sheer wall of the building.
Her paleness frightened me as she sat on the sofa. I mentioned an ambulence. She shook her head, sadly. For the first time she seemed to notice her nakedness in a maturing vulnerability. I draped a bathrobe about her shoulders; a scent of acridity clung about her neck, like bubblegum. I asked her what happened.
“Its difficult. I went on a diet. I wanted to be…” she swallowed her trepidation. “Lighter. I ordered this…blue powder, to help me lose weight. You dissolve it in water…drink it….but I had too much. Made me a whole lot lighter. Lighter than a feather.. lighter than…”
I followed her words like a white rabbit. “Air? ”
“Yes.” She blurted and leaned forward. The peach flesh of her breasts bulged glistening, as she took my hands in hers. “This powder fills you with kinda gas, like helium….enough to make you go up like a ba…”
I tried to draw back, but the warmth of her hands held me tethered.
“I’m serious!” She snapped. “It’s gentle, at first. Butterflys. Then the fizzing starts. Bubbles. Burbling in your tummy. Then I started to stretch.”
She widened her hands as if catching a beachball.
“I just….bulged out like I was pregnant. Tried to hold it back, but the pressure was pumping my arms out like a swim-ring under my clothes. Clothes…Oh…..gosh…they just burst off…I lost my best bra.”
She laughed and cupped her chest mischeviously.
“Your breasts follow. Before you know it, they’re positively enormous but strangely rounded. Bulbous. Buoyant. Buttocks too. All this time you’re thinking it can’t be happening. But it is. Your skin goes from soft, to firm, to pneumatic. So sensitive; the wind pushes on you, teasing between your legs. Then everything is just billowing out, arms, legs… you start to feel lighter, your balance goes, you bounce gently, almost drifting….your feet rise to tiptoe and….”
She paused, reddening in recalled arousal.
“And then…..Oh God. I don’t think I can explain it. It’s like being a giant bubble, soft but irresistably bouyant. When your feet leave the floor it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Floating. Until you hit the ceiling. Boing! ” She giggled, waving her hand up and down.
“And there you stay, all upside-down and wriggly, until the gas wears off.” The blushes again. “I was fizzing for ages. Thought I would pop…and maybe I did, well…a little, if you know what I mean.”
She stood up. Suddenly serious again.
“But I drank it outdoors, without someone to help. Maybe I liked the sense of danger. I don’t know. I was excited at first; scented so lush. But the hissing just kept going. I got scared. I couldn’t get back in. Once I started to float, well….I was lucky…. The wind whipped me about the building, I grabbed hold of the railing on your balcony and just hung on, terrified. I should have called but, I…didn’t want you seeing me like that. Not then. I just waited ages to deflate and then realised I was stuck naked on a balcony of a neighbour I’d barely spoken to…”
She blanched at the memory. Unsteadily she traced her way over to my front door and opened it. She paused, one last secret to impart.
“Later.” She said, smiling. And left.
Her door was unlatched, or she got a key from somewhere because I heard it shut. Tired in a way I could not explain, I rose and crossed to the balcony. Outside, the urban sky was occluded, drizzly and mundane. Only petrol and electric dreams until I saw it.
Lying on the tiles, right where she must have left it, was wrap of cling-film in purest tinctured blue.