On the roof

Cover: The Eighteenth of November

Extract from Chapter 10 – The Eighteenth of November

The roof looked very steep, and dangerous. Alice nearly cried out for him to be careful. Remembered just in time that angels are used to heights. She wasn’t used to heights. She wanted him to come and help her but something about him stopped her calling out. The doorway led onto a long, narrow platform; Alice stepped out onto it, clinging onto the doorframe with one hand and not letting go until she could hold the platform rail with the other. She stood there, gripping it tightly, hardly daring to look down, keeping her eyes fixed on Fabriel until she felt safe enough to sit, still holding onto the rail, using both hands now.

It was dark but a lightness in the sky suggested dawn or just before; it was hard to tell. The sound she’d heard was louder now though she still couldn’t make out what it was. A little below, to her right, she could see the outline of roofs and chimneys and, further down, windows. Blurred squares seen as if under water or through muslin. And was that a lighthouse perched on a roof? Perhaps she was dreaming after all. She looked back to where Fabriel sat under a huge clock. It loomed over him, so close it looked as if it could topple straight down on him and crush him. She thought with a pang that he looked crushed already.

His whole body spoke of defeat. She wanted to go to him and hold him but was afraid at first to leave the platform. When at last she plucked up courage and made a move she found that it was easier than she’d thought. There was a little ladder at the back of the platform and the roof, although though it sloped a bit, was flat and quite wide with a rail to cling on to. After a few steps it was just like walking on the pavement, if she didn’t look down.

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