Behind the postcard imagery of London, the darkest parts of the city house some of the saddest stories.
When Michael met Cameron, they were two boys who shared a bond and a ledge, an escape from their turbulent and violent home lives. But when Michael leaves, their lives drift apart into dramatically different directions until the events of the past bring them back together. They are no longer boys, but the ledge remains. Can they save themselves? Can they save one another?
He sat on the bed, his back leaning against the headboard, two misshapen pillows stuffed against his body. His legs stretched out and feet crossed over like hands giving themselves up for arrest. The duvet lay unkempt on the other half of the bed, a body of colours and feathers. He stared blankly at the wall opposite, listening to the gentle hum of traffic; the car starts in the far corner of the room and works its way past his right ear, disappearing into the night as if it never existed at all.
He thinks of being a kid again; he thinks of Cameron. He thinks of what he should be and what he is not. He wants to know where he lost his way and why he cared so much. The past becomes a ghost that talks to him in his sleep. Sleep becomes harder to find; it’s a dream to dream but one turns two and the bed felt like fire. The pillow becomes a body; heavy and hot, the dreams move slowly towards the open window. Tonight is different. Tonight, he wants to sleep and not wake up.
The thought of Cameron conjures the ghosts that haunt his dreams. Steven is always there – a child lost in the darkness reaching for his hand as he turns away. Steven calling his name. Not in an angry or desperate way, not asking for help, but his name simply stated as a fact without any question mark.
“Sorry Steven, you’re not a winner.”
He uncrossed his legs and swivelled on the white hotel sheets, planting both feet into the green carpet. He rose and walked towards the bathroom. Fragments of the past crashed against the inside of his skull like waves on a pier. Aiming through habit more than concentration, the splatter of urine flicked against the white surface of the bowl, delicately flicking the rim enough for him to feel the gentle splash on his feet.
He moved to the window overlooking the crowded street below. Sao Paulo was a city of different faces – the streetlamps were attached to wires that hung menacingly over badly kept streets raining light down onto the rich and the poor.
He wondered what it would be like to fall to the pavement ten storeys below, what he would feel as he fell through the air. Fear? Regret? He thought of Steven again, desperate to know his last thoughts as he became drowsy from the pills.
Thank you, Daniel James and Love Books Group
About the author
Daniel James is a London born writer residing in Toronto at the release of his debut novel. Daniel draws upon his own life experiences as a Londoner to create a descriptive account of life in the city, exploring issues of inequality and the pressures on the human spirit blended naturally into one story.
Daniel uses modern-day themes and explores complex issues that revolve around mental health, relationships and societal class, issues that have impacted his life in one way or another. The need to captivate and highlight these themes are the inspiration behind his writing. He hopes you connect and enjoy the story in your own way.