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I come back from the bathroom and I wake Jamie.

“Mate,” I say. “Let’s climb onto your garage roof.”

He doesn’t say anything, just scratches his head. His room smells of sweat and the sweets we’ve been eating. I don’t wait for him. I just say, “C’mon.”

The landing light’s off, but his mum’s bedroom door isn’t shut, so we’re tiptoeing, whispering.

“Look,” I say, pointing into the bathroom. “We can fit through that window.”

“Why?” he says.

“Have you been on the roof before?”

He shakes his head.

“That’s why,” I say.

I put one foot on the toilet bowl, the other on the sink, and I push the latch. There are bottles on the sill, so I put them in the sink.

“We won’t fit,” says Jamie.

My hands are on either side of the open window. “I can’t believe you haven’t done this before,” I say, and I pull myself through.

The roof is flat, made out of gritty grey stuff that’s rough on my bare feet. It’s a warm night. I’m thinking about Jamie’s mum. How she bought us take-away pizza. How she was going to blow up my airbed with her mouth until I told her I’d brought a pump.

Jamie’s next to me. “What now?”

“It’d be cool to sleep out here.”

He walks over towards the edge of the roof, but he stops short. “How high is this?”

“We could jump.”

He turns to me. “I’m going back in.”

“I could push you off.”

He tries to laugh. “Yeah, right.” He goes back to the window. “C’mon,” he says. “It’s just a roof.”

I walk over to the edge so that my toes are over it, and I look out over the estate. There’s no wind, a clear sky. The moon is huge. “Don’t you think everything looks different from up here?” I say.

But when I turn around he’s already climbing back in.

I sit down and dangle my feet over the edge. I can hear him whispering my name from inside, but I just close my eyes and hold my breath.

I know I won’t breathe again until he’s gone.

Flash Fiction by Jason Jackson
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Published in Autumn 2017


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