Short Stories

The Rooftop – A Short Story

(Pixabay stock photo)

      There she sat, alone and not wanting to be disturbed. There was something magical about her, yet also completely broken and flawed. That became clear the moment I saw her. This combination, combined with her beauty drew me in. It felt like I was meant to speak to her, I had to find out what was going on in that pretty little head of hers. She had dark hair that she wore in a ponytail and little makeup. I imagined she was the kind of natural type of woman who just woke up like that. Her clothing looked thrown together but suited her slender body. I grabbed my cappuccino and sat down next to her, she was reading a Murakami book, I think it was Kafka on the Shore.

“Is that your first Murakami book,” I asked her, I couldn’t contain my smile.

“It is and I find it simply wonderful,” she answered back.

“It is wonderfully weird, judging on where you are, I guess you have already read the part about him thinking about his sister while being jerked off by the girl he meets on the train.”

“Yes, that’s the scene where I realized how great of a writer he really is,” the girl answered back with a genuine smile.

      A nearby elderly couple gave us a dirty look, got up from their seats and left the coffee shop. We began laughing uncontrollably.

“I like you stranger, I can tell you are one of the good guys,” she said.

“Tell me, what is your name?”

“Guess,’ she said.

“Is it Kafka?”

      Our laughter quickly returned, echoing throughout the coffee shop.

“No, I’m Megan, pleased to meet you.”

      I grabbed Megan’s extended hand and held it as I gave her two kisses, one on each cheek.

“A real gentleman, Megan answered back. “Are you going to tell me your name, mysterious and bold man?”

“They call me Steven,” I said.

“Well Steven, how would you like to go on an adventure, or do you need to go back to your important job,” she asked me. “You are dressed very seriously; you must be an important business man.”

“Don’t let the well-fitted suit fool you, I am free to go on your adventure.”

      We got up and headed out the door, I noticed she was not wearing a bra. You could definitely tell we were not together, simply by our difference in appearance. She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me through the crowd, wasting no time.

“Hurry up businessman, it is going to rain soon,” Megan said.

“How do you know that?” I responded back. “It looks fine to me.”

      We hurried along to what appeared to be an abandoned mansion, the gate stood half open or it was simply half broken. The eeriness of the mansion reminded me any kind of horror story I remember reading as a kid. I would get my hands on every horror and science fiction story I could find, hide in the basement with one small light illuminating the adventures unfolding on the pages while my parents fought. Broken plates and the bruised face of my mother scared me more than any of those stories. I was successful and rich, but not because of my own merits, my parents left me the money. Thinking about how things unfolded made me feel sad and lonely. The feeling of sadness left me as we continued around the outside of the mansion to a beautiful forest clearing with a single hammock. We climbed in the hammock like an old couple, completely aware of each other’s bodies and personal space. It felt like a routine thing we had done many times before.

“Do you want some whiskey,” Megan asked me as she took a flask out of her bag.

“That sounds great,” I said. “This is an amazing spot, it feels like a sanctuary.”

“Exactly, everything evaporates in this place, every worry, every stressful thought, everything unfair, at least for a while.

“You are an enigma, are you aware of that,” I asked her.

“There are very few men in my world, wearing suits like that, who bother talking to a girl like me.”

“That never occurred to me when I saw you, except I felt a great conflict within you,” I said. “You are struggling with something, like you no longer really care to exist.” “Your flame burns ever so lightly, but it cannot be put out, I still sense its great warmth.”

“I think you should take some more whiskey, take your coat off and shut up,” she said as she fed me more of her whiskey.

      The smoothness of the whiskey reminded me of our chance encounter so far, I wanted to know more about her. We fell asleep in each other’s arms before more words could be spoken. Words were useless, the way her body fit into mine was like that final center puzzle piece being placed on the board. We woke up hours later, the air had changed and it began lightly raining.

“Come quick, let’s go to the roof,” Megan said.

      Our nap seemed to have given her great new energy. I could not protest at all as we entered that great dark mansion that reminded me of some Dracula tale. I felt safe anyway, we could protect each other from any evil that lay within. We climbed a set of winding stairs, it had the wide steps and most were no longer in good condition. I wondered who had lived here before and why they choose to abandon it. The stairs wrapped around a great chandelier, dirty and broken, it’s last cleaning ages ago. We reached one of the rooms on the highest floor, it was in pristine condition, with vibrant regal colors and beautiful works of art on the walls. That was the first thing I noticed, the art. As we continued into the room, I noticed the randomly placed and incoherent collection of beautiful furniture laid out in the room. This was no ordinary furniture but seemed to be expensive. It was the type of collection that took both time and care to collect.

     “Do you live here by yourself,” I asked.

     “Yeah, mostly, I am hoping to fill this entire mansion with expensive and forgotten furniture,” she said. “Perhaps rent it out to starving artists to serve as a type of inspirational sanctuary someday.”

     “You are full of ideas. Has anyone ever told you that?”

     “My mother used to tell me that I come up the craziest ideas as a child, kind of like a superpower.”

     “Like predicting that it was going to start raining,” I said.

     “That was just a lucky guess.”

      Megan went into her bedroom, which was separated by just a small, almost see through bamboo room divider and changed her clothing. She told me to look away but I had trouble averting my eyes. Her thin, slender body reminded me of my first girlfriend in high school. I imagined myself on the other side of the divider with her, undressing her. I was no longer reminded of the fact that there was something inherently broken about this girl. She showed me around the rest of the room and told me the history of some of its most coveted pieces of furniture. We proceed to head towards the rooftop. As the door swung open, I noticed a greenhouse and a pigeon coop, unoccupied for what seemed like at least a decade. There were no barriers on the edge of the building, just a small raised wall, made out of some kind of metal. There was clothing hanging all around on makeshift clothing lines. The rain stopped, like it anticipated our arrival on the rooftop. Everything seemed to fall into place, our meeting, the weather, the way we bonded. Megan walked over to a small roofed area and turned on the radio. It was an old 8-track cassette player, but it did the job, it began playing some song by Strauss, or perhaps it was Tchaikovsky.

“Can I have this dance,” she asked me.

“You most certainly can,” I said.

      We waltzed across the rooftop, forgetting where we were for some time. I imagined us dancing away in some ballroom in Russia instead of on this old decrepit roof. Our movement once again came together, like a single joint organism. The wine went down smoothly as we took frequent breaks under that small roofed area, sharing childhood memories. Both of us had parents that were not there for us while growing up, one of us lacking financial support and the other emotional support. Although much different, we understood the emptiness they left behind. The rain made several short appearances, cooling us down enough to keep going. I noticed that she occasionally checked her watch as if time was of great importance to her. I did not feel like asking her about this.

“So what do you do that required a suit and tie,” she asked.

“I run a couple of businesses, mostly trading valuable things. My father left most of them to me but I also started a few others. I wanted to leave my own mark as well even though he left me with a fortune.“

“Way to not really answer my question, mystery man,” she said. ”What do you trade in?”

“Anything with a good price and a high demand.”

      The rain stopped and the air became chillier than before, as if to signal the end of the evening.

“I must go now, but I would really like to see you again,” I said.

      I stared deep into her eyes, hoping to find a new sign of life.

“You can’t just leave after a performance like that,” she said.

      Her eyes became larger and there was a sense of longing.

“I do, I have to take care of some things.”

“All right, meet me here in two days, at five in the afternoon, on the roof,” she said. “And bring something you can freely move around in.”

      I picked her up gently and gave her a kiss. She seemed surprised as I left the rooftop and proceeded down the stairs. I could feel her stare upon my back.

      I had to attend a number of meetings with my partners, this particular job was making me lose interest. Thoughts of Megan overtook most of the work in the following day as I performed the mundane tasks required to keep everything running. The way she moved on that rooftop, or how elegantly she changed her clothing behind that bamboo divider. I thought about what I was going to wear, I owned almost nothing but suits, buttoned shirts, and dress pants. The days of just carelessly wearing band shirts or basketball journeys were long behind me. The excitement washed over me as I tried to fall asleep, beyond this sleep was my second meeting with Megan.

      I headed down to my local wine shop and picked up some vintage merlot red. I remembered multiple bottles collected in her living room and figured she would appreciate this vintage wine. I hopped on the metro, making it a point to leave early enough to be on time. I made a point to be on time, that was sort of a thing I had to always stick to. The metro stopped just two blocks from her house, I headed there at a quick pace as the excitement was building up inside me. The door was slightly open, a small golden rod held it that way. I proceeded up the stairs all the way to the top. Music was playing, a beautiful piece by Anna Fedorova, I had heard this before many times. As I reached the rooftop, I saw her in a long red dress, practicing the waltz. She moved gracefully along the rooftop, her phantom dancing partner along with her.

“There you are, I figured I would match you this evening,” Megan said.

“How did you know I would still wear a suit,” I asked.

“I had a hunch.”

      Megan smirked while giving her answer. I took the place of her phantom dancing partner and we continued on until the song ended.

“I brought you some great wine, let’s have a drink,” I said.

      I poured us both some wine and waited for her to taste it before joining in. I wanted to make sure she approved of my choice, that was important. Megan began stumbling and reaching for me, she seemed much further away from me already, that distant stare in her eyes intensified.

“What have you done,” she screamed. “How can you do this to me!”

“It was too easy Megan, I don’t follow any sort of moral code. Go to sleep now, it will all be over soon and then you can go back to living your sad empty life.”

      Megan attempted to reach for me once more before falling over, hitting her head on the side of the overhead rooftop on the way down. I felt somewhat bad for her, I really did. As sad as someone like me could feel after meeting someone for only a second time. Perhaps this would be my last job for a while. I threw her body over my shoulders and headed down two floors to where her bedroom was. She barely weighed more than two big bags of flour. Her bed was perfect for tying up victims. The red dress seemed to complete the upcoming ceremony quite well. A ceremony I have been a part of for the past eight years now. I tied her up using various pieces of clothing that were lying around the room. The next step was to call my guy, I told him to bring plenty of ice. I waited around, inspecting the furniture once more. Some of this stuff would look great in my apartment. Had we met under different circumstances, maybe we could have been friends, I would have loved to create that artist sanctuary. Perhaps in a different life.

The End