Music flowed through the air and air itself seemed to glow from it. Laughter came in short bursts and fizzled away in the in the stream of conversations. Night lights of the city seemed to blink to the beat and Sybil was just where she liked to be. Surrounded by people whom she knew and who knew her.
This was what she created. A gift to the people, a testament to her skill as an organizator, a love letter to the city.
Sybil walked through the event coyly smiling at the people who called her name and invited her to join them. She wanted to see more of the party, before settling down with pleasant company and spending rest of the night with them.
Someone plucked at the guitar strings on stage, a young woman who assisted Red's performance. Catching Sybil's gaze she almost stood up dropping the guitar, but Sybil nodded with a smile, allowing her to continue. The woman was not the regular guitarist of Red, but a replacement. It may very well be the last time this girl would stand on the same stage as Red.
Sybil felt sympathetic. In some way, the two of them were not too different. But maybe it was just her imagination and Sybil was seeing dividing walls that did not exist. Columns of smoke which were just that - hot air.
Today Sybil crushed the wriggling maggot doubts with ease, strolling confidently past full tables and drunk happy people. Sybil won’t be brought down by machinations of her own mind. This event was not a love letter to the city alone, after all. Sybil wished to see it delivered to Red personally.
But she could not find her. Red was infamously elusive. The only times she enjoyed standing in spotlight was on stage, but in private she preferred little to none attention. If she was present, then certainly on the outskirts of the celebrating noisy crowd.
A waitress offered with a bow a glass of Sunlight. Sybil accepted it and smiled, regarding the woman. She was pretty, with dark flowing hair woven into braids and eyes of vividly bright green. The waitress smiled politely and withdrew with another bow. Sybil twirled the drink, watching the bubbles rise to the surface. From the corner of her eyes saw the woman serve drinks to a group nearby. Maybe Sybil should have asked her name. Or maybe not.
The night wind was warm and Sybil approached the balcony. Below it a shallow pool with stars reflecting on smooth dark surface of the water. Taking another sip, Sybil wondered if Red was somewhere down there.
Sybil walked by the rails, brushing them with one hand. Smooth, cold metal was pleasant to the touch. Sizzling Sunshine on her tongue and cold metal in her hand, Sybil felt as if she was walking with the city hand in hand.
Eventually, Sybil reached the end of the show zone. Few people stood alongside the wide golden gate and walls. Noises of traffic intruded the grounds and music was so far away one could barely hear it. Not a pleasant place. No surprise Red was nowhere to be found here either.
But Sybil's gaze stumbled across a service door, just to the sides of the gate. Thoughtfully, Sybil approached the door and brushed against the white, shimmering metal. The electronic security beeped, recognizing her, and the door disintegrated. Behind it was a narrow winding staircase, obviously not meant for day to day use.
The metal here was rusty and had sharp edges. As she descended Sybil barely touched the rails in fear of cutting herself. A faint green glow came from above, but it was still not enough. At the bottom there was only pure darkness. Sybil held out her hand, making hesitant, small steps forward. Then her fingers brushed against cold metal and the door faded away under her touch.
Sybil blinked, making out a few lanterns and pools in the distance. She thought, she saw somebody sitting near them. Sybil lightened up and set to walk up towards them. It must be Red. Sybil was sure of it. But then she remembered she still had her drink in hand. What to do with it, just place it in the corner here?
As she hesitated, someone spoke up. Sybil stared into the darkness and saw a another figure, leaning at the wall. The deep voice belonged to him.
Red softly laughed in response.
There was a chill breeze down here and goosebumps ran over Sybil's arms. But Red did not seem to be bothered by the cold. She had a big, black jacket around her shoulders. A bright yellow triangle on its back.
Sybil felt as if time was running out and she was about to lose her chance to make a move, to call Red's name. But was Sybil invited to this solitude, to sit down next to Red and sink her feet in the warm water, to watch the stars float in water dark as the night sky?
Still wavering, Sybil did not catch the moment when Red started singing under her breath, softly and absent-mindedly. Her voice grew slowly steadier, stronger. Sybil did not recognize the words, nor the tune. Maybe a new song she was still working on, maybe something improvised.
That was Red. She always had a plan, whether she shook it out of her sleave just a moment ago or had carried it around for years. Sybil admired Red for that. Sybil too, had a plan. Someone like Red might appreciate the intricacy, the sheer scope of it.
But maybe not. Perhaps it was to similar to her own skill for Red to truly recognize its beauty.
As unexpected as it had started, the song died down. Silence washed over Sybil and she found herself unable to move, still under the spell of Red's voice.
The man spoke up, again. His rough, quiet voice filled Sybil with apprehension. Why was he here, why did Red know him, who was he?
As Sybil stared and tried to remember, the man stepped closer to Red and helped her up. After Red was on her feet, he did not immediately let go of her hand. They stood so close to each other, their dark silhouettes melted into one and Sybil could barely see where he began and she ended.
Maybe it was just a moment, but to Sybil it felt like eternity. Mercifully, Red let go and turned around, to face the city. On the edge were no rails shielding Red from the fall, but she was unafraid. Taking in the view, taking in the city.
Then she made a step to the side, to the narrow edge between the pool and the city below. It was reckless, but she did not seem intent on stopping. She walked not like a singer above an abyss, but like a carefree child on a boardwalk. Red lazily spread her arms to keep balance, and once again Sybil noted the black jacket, way too big for her. Then the man followed Red without hesitation and looking at his stature, something clicked inside her mind. The jacket must have belonged to him.
Sybil wordlessly watched their figures disappeared in darkness. She heard Red laughing again.
The wind rose again, sending ripples across the pools. Sybil shivered. She had not noticed how cold it had gotten.
But city lights still shone as brightly as ever. They did not go out at night and only dimmed at daylight. Sybil came closer to the edge, looked at the city and wondered what Red saw. What did Sybil herself see? What did she want it to become? Was it the same that Red wanted?
Uncertainty dragged its claws through Sybil's mind, making thoughts flee like startled fish.
Sybil realized she was still holding the glass with Sunshine. She stretched out her arm let it to slip out of her grasp. Far below she heard it shatter.
And as pieces of glass fell apart, she felt some pieces of her mind putting themselves together. A sense of calm washed over her.
Perhaps some things needed to be broken before new structures could be built. And perhaps Sybil knew what needed to be broken.