Five minutes earlier he was pressed against the window, wanting to fly. Now he was crying and holding onto a madman's leg because he knew that flying was impossible. It was a fantasy, a dream, and not the dream of a little boy having fun ith his mother or of some make-believe superhero saving the earth. It was a nightmare that had no happy ending. It was not the glorious Icarus with wings melting, high above the earth on a flight that ended only with an excruciating fall. With failure. With the sadness and fear he saw on his mother's face. And with death.
The man dragged his leg over to the window now and Jack thought, What's he doing now?
then he could feel the man's leg kick forward and Jack's eyes widened as he realized what was happening. He tucked his chin into his chest as his shoulder and then his back and then the side of his head slammed against the thick glass. Jack remembered hitting a baseball once, shattering a window in a first-floor apartment; that's what he felt like, that baseball, because he was being skewered by new pieces of broken glass. Jack felt sharp stings in his arms and neck, he watched more glass tumble and fall, then the man gave one more kikck. Again Jacke was flung against the glass, only now he felt wind rushing by his face and...
No, no, please, no, he thought. Please, this can't be true.
But it was true. He heard screams from down below, and the heat, he could feel it soaking into him.
He was outside the building.
He was dangling, hundreds of feet above the ground, and th eman was trying again to shake him loose. The man's leg was twisting back and forth, and up and down; it was like riding a bucking bronco, and Jack knew it was the wrong thing to do, to look down, but he couldn't help it. He saw new shards of glass tumble by. Then he saw a flash of the crowd, and even though he turned away it was too late. The street seemed to rush up at him, he felt as if he were already falling. He nearly let go, thought for a horrible moment that he had, was sure he was somersaulting from the warm sun to the cold, hard earth, but, no, he was still holding on, his body was still banging against the window and the steel casing, his arms were still wrapped tightly around the man's leg and the man was still shaking him. Staring at him and hating him and shaking him...
Excerpted from Icarus by Russell Andrews. Copyright © 2001 by Russell Andrews. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.