Luke stopped in the middle of his climb. He was trying to catch his breath. There were beams of light flickering about hundreds of feet below him. Luke stayed still, trying his best to make as little noise as possible. Soon, the voices faded from below. Luke wiped the cold sweat away from his face. He turned his gaze upwards. He stretch his arm outwards.
He was 5 feet from the top. He was almost there. He carefully raised his right foot to take the next step. Something was wrong. His feet didn’t make contact with anything. This spelt trouble. His arms were growing tired. He had already climbed over 700 feet. There was no way his arms could last much longer. He had to find another way — quick. He looked around. He had found it. He brought in his right foot to replace his footing on the left, and quickly brought up the left leg to a steel beam protrusion beside his waist. He was safe — for now.
Luke was panting for breath when he got to the top. He had never seen a place so heavily guarded, especially for an unfinished construction site. But all that was worth it when he got a hold of the panoramic views that stretched before his eyes for miles, upon miles, upon miles. The unfinished, shell of a structure he was standing on, right now, jutted in the city skyline like the Eye of Sauron in Mordor, looking down upon, what seemed like, all of creation, with a look of superiority. Luke felt a strange sense in his chest. An awe, maybe, or perhaps it was accomplishment. This was why he did what he did. He’d be a millionaire if he had a nickel for every time he almost damn near killed himself, but, the thrill, and the high, of reaching the top — that’s something Luke would never be able to give up, even if it meant losing it all in one freak accident.
Luke was a thrill seeker — in the truest sense of the term. In fact, today, he wasn’t just about to end his day here. Nay, it was far from over. Today, he was about to do something even crazier, and dumber, than anything he’s done in his life. He was about to jump. He took a look over the edge. The cars below, speeding through the empty, midnight, intersections looked like ants. People were almost indiscernible. Hell, he was even higher than the helicopters flying the billionaire inhabitants of this city. Wait, what? Luke took a step back from the ledge. Hellicopters? Luke never realized just how high he was. This instilled fear back into his mind. It made him nervous, anxious, almost. As if he had, all of a sudden, so much to lose.
Luke took a look over at the bag he brought up with him. There was a GoPro hanging off the side. It was recording, like it always had. He had bought this for his 18th birthday. With it, he promised himself one thing — to go on the crazy adventures he had always dreamt of. He was always the type of boy to stay at home, watch TV, and live the quiet, suburban life. He never really had aspirations. He never really had goals. And, he never really had friends. To him, life was something that happened naturally with the passage of time. There was nothing you could do about it.
But, on the eve of his 18th birthday, his father passed away. Luke’s father was one of the largest influences in his life. His father was a great business tycoon, with an empire spanning the world, assets in the billions, and employees in the hundreds of thousands. There was never a problem his father didn’t have the answers to. Luke always took him for granted. Thanks to him, Luke’s life was lacklustre, uneventful, and even mundane. It was bountiful, and if there was ever a moment of doubt, his father would step in and fix things up. But that man, the man that felt like such a big, protective wall, suddenly disappeared one day.
The butler had brought him the news, through a text. At first, Luke thought it was a cruel prank. Soon, he got a call from the family physician. Luke dropped his phone at the news. He couldn’t even shed a tear. He mind shattered at its very foundation at the news. For days, he would roam the house, aimlessly, searching for something, never knowing quite what. It wasn’t until the butler chased him down the hall, a week later, that he made human contact with anyone.
Luke’s butler sat him down at the dining room table, and laid an envelope in front of him. It was a letter. Nay, it was a will. Whatever it was, it was addressed to Luke. He opened it up. The contents were terse, but clear.
The news of my death may strike you as sudden, or perhaps, it’s of natural causes, and it’s expected. Either way, I believe this is the moment when I have to be frank with you.
Luke, I know the reason for your lack of ambition is me. And, now at the hour of my death, I want to tell you, the towering walls surrounding you are no longer. All my wealth will be given to a foundation, in charge of running the enterprise. You will be given ample shares in this foundation, rest assured, but the shackles of you having to take over my business empire is gone.
Luke. You are my greatest gift. And the world is my greatest gift to you.
Go explore it. That’s my final wish.
Your father, Harold
Luke clinched the GoPro hanging off his bag. He put on his wing suit, and strapped the camera to the helmet. He put on his bag, and took one more look over the ledge. He closed his eyes, and stood tall. Deep breath. He took his right foot off the ground. Free fall.