The sleepwalker left her bedroom at precisely twelve minutes before midnight. She flew down the apartment stairs with the rhythm of water. Her unbrushed hair was like wind as it bounced of her back. Against the cement, the bare feet running, running, tapping a code into the sidewalk.
Barely any time had passed. The sleepwalker floated lightly into a tall, glass skyscraper and passed between the doors of the elevator. They swished shut. The enclosure was transparent. Outside, the sky was nice and dark, the air nice and electric. There was no storm, but there was energy, like the kind in ink. The writer rode up to the sixty sixth floor. It was a time for enigmatic numbers.
A strange smile hung off the sleepwalker's face. She was dreaming that she was running across a vast expanse of ice. The sky had become a slate and frozen over. Her toes hooked onto the stars. Down the hall. There was a room, gaping, open mouthed, as though saying, “Is it really you?”
“Yes,” murmured the sleepwalker, happily. She allowed her dream to lead her in, past the desk without any family pictures, past the hazy, black computer, past the dull, dead calendar, towards the window. Her fingers found the latch easily. She swung the glass panel outwards. Somewhere, the eyelid of a sixty six floored skyscraper was being opened. The eye leaned her torso out, until she was so precariously suspended she looked like laundry.
A telephone line waited, a foot below her. It stretched somewhere the sleepwalker couldn't see. She yanked the heavy curtains. From above, heaven above, the pole came crashing down. The sleepwalker heard waves. She was beside the ocean, on it's frothy, shell fragmented edge. The water licked her heels. She sprang forward on her toes. Don't let the water catch you, a voice in her head teased. She ran.
Her foot emerged, past the boundaries of the dark office, into the sky. It was not her space. Still, she intruded, weightlessly, quietly. So invisibly it couldn't have been considered as intrusion as all. The dark clouds rolled past, the shadows of their underbellies like knitted sweaters. Somewhere, halfway across the world linked by telephone lines, the sun was shining. The sleepwalker shouted cheerfully to the rest of them, in their beds, trapped in their houses. No words. Just a burst of throat. Her shadow plummeted. But she was paper. She was weightless. She was like plastic wrap with a spine and a curtain pole held out before her. She matched the line with the ocean horizon living in her dreams.
And she began to walk. It was a casual saunter, a natural sway. The telephone lines lullabied beneath her. In the dream, she was walking across the ocean. The water flickered it's eyes up at her. “Not yet,” it whispered. The sleepwalker was too enraptured by the thought of her footsteps to care. The water was a cradle to her feet. And so was the air, and so was the city, the glass city, the snow globe city.
The sleepwalker reached her first telephone pole and stood on her toes above it. The current hummed beneath her. It terrified her in an exciting way. She was walking on the ocean! Who knew how deep it was beneath her? The thrill of anxiety, the thrill of knowing what you were doing simply shouldn't be done, she breathed it and lived it. But was it real?
She continued on. Five minutes passed. The city spread itself out beneath her and cold air replaced the buildings. The roads were bended and empty. She danced above the stage she'd lived on for all her life. She tiptoed over the ugly places, so beautiful from up there, up where she was. There was seaweed that could strangle her, plumes of octopus ink waiting to be propelled into her face. And there was the soft, carpet of water, playing with the puppet of moonlight, pulling the strings, making the white specks dance with the waves.
It was so fake. It was such a wonderful illusion and she didn't want it to end. The sleepwalker's wrists were sore. She was holding something, but what? A rope was cutting into her feet. She was growing heavy, heavy, heavy with awakeness.
Her eyes. They opened. One minute past midnight. And she realized that her name was Celestia, and that even someone named for the stars had no right to tread on them, and no right to be where she was, and that she was going to die because she was awake. Where was she? Why was the road so small? Celestia whirled clumsily and dropped the curtain pole. She saw all the stumps of the telephone poles. Had she really crossed that many? And then the consequence of the pivot wrapped it's lead arms around her and leaped off the ropes, dragging her towards the ugly road that had seemed so wonderful from so high above, where reality had nothing to do with her, nothing at all, the sleepwalker girl named for the stars.