As told by Danielle:
You shouldn’t fall in love just because somebody saves you. But you try it. Go get saved by Skybach, and see if you don’t catch feelings.
Everybody falls in love with him. That’s why he’s famous. It’s not just that he can fly.
I don’t know how he knew when I needed him. I never asked for help. I probably passed a dozen folks that day on my way to jump off the bridge. Three people passed by while I was standing right on the ledge. When I jumped, nobody screamed. But Skybach saw me.
The really amazing thing about him is, once he flies down and saves you, he’ll fly away again. He won’t remember that he did it. Lots of people get confused by that. You figure when somebody goes out of his way to save you, that he must care a lot. But it’s not a special thing for him. It’s a hobby. So lots of people are out here thinking that they need him, wondering if he’ll come back.
I never wondered. I knew he wouldn’t come. I was lucky to meet him that once, and I think he does really like me. He stayed in town for weeks. We laughed at the same jokes and we loved the same feeling of night in our hair. We never made out. He brought me to the sky just for fun. I promised him to take good care of myself, and he knew that I meant what I said, so I had to. I followed him on twitter anyway, telling myself one day I would save some money, go fly out to wherever in the world people were seeing him, and take him for dinner again.
I knew he was in trouble right away. Someone on the top floor of an apartment took the video. Skybach was minding his own business, flying around with a fat lady whoo-hooing on his back. Something happened to the air above him that looked almost like a tornado with a gaping hole in the middle. Then some kind of slimy tendrils shot out of it and wrapped up him and the fat lady, and dragged them away through the middle. The tornado-thing disappeared in a second, and he was gone.
I wasn’t the only one who cared. The twitterverse was in an uproar. Most people blamed the government, some blamed aliens. I didn’t have time to think about whose fault it was. Skybach was gone. I had a power.
I stepped outside and took off my shoes. It was cold, blue winter. But I couldn’t think about that. There’s a pulse in the crust of the earth – in, and out. Like breath. Skin can’t sense it. It’s too deep.
Somebody made me full of knives. But that doesn’t mean they’re not all mine. They are. My whole life since having them has been about making them mine. It’s a natural thing, when you’re just a person trying to move, and you keep getting stabbed. You pay attention. You realize where it hurts, learn to move the way your bones are pointing. You can squeeze your springs and keep in a blade, for as long as your muscle will hold. You can twitch along the right line, and the tilt of a flat edge will move. It’s not just mindless suffering, to hold yourself together. It’s fine negotiation. You move some things deep down inside before you take a step. When you reach for something, it’s after you’ve thought up a plan to keep your arteries safe. Your heart doesn’t beat by accident. You repel the metal, with mostly gentle steering, and sometimes mighty strength.
It’s dangerous and keeps you fascinated. It’s friendly and familiar. The metal speaks, and teaches. Some day, after years and years of listening, you make yourself magnetic. Then you can feel both ends of the earth, by the pull, and the push, at its poles. Sometimes after that you’ll feel the screaming, spinning pit of the world reverberate right through you, and you’ll tell yourself the knives are liars, because your skeleton is saying there’s no misery as bad as being.
The day I saw the video of Skybach in need, I knew what to do. I’d been thinking of doing it a long time, and just felt afraid to try. I moved my metal bits like antennae, tapping into that ferocious magnetism at the earth’s core. It spilled through me until I felt molten and ill and brutally lost – and right then, I swiveled every pole against it. The force shuttled me up sky-high, faster than a riptide. I didn’t know how fast it would be. I was ready anyway. I diverted half my magnetism against the south pole and shot forward. This was more success than I was used to, and I had a hard time breathing, way up in the air and going so fast. I told myself to stay calm, and fiddled around, moving little bits of me. It took me awhile and scared me breathless, but I got the kinks worked out. I kept cruising at four-hundred feet.
I knew where to go. You can’t have a mystery cloud-tunnel, like the one that stole Skybach, and not put a wrinkle in earth’s magnetic field. It’s a Bermuda-triangle, all tipsy and irregular, with a skinny trail of pull in the middle leading somewhere. I felt these tunnel-things before, and didn’t know what they were. They caught my attention because they moved so fast. You could tell how far away they were because if one passed by you, storms would come, days or hours later. If it happened near the ground, there could be earthquakes too.
I’d googled the address of the last place Skybach was seen and picked out the closest patch of tipsy particles to follow. The beginning of the air tunnel was faded, leaving behind the static of so many atomic poles trying to sort themselves. I could feel the place the pull was leading to, so deep in the crust of the world it had to be under an ocean. And other tunnels ended in the same place. Whatever was down there, it was strong.
It was cold and it got colder as I raced along the atmosphere. Skybach does this naked. I got to the ocean and kept going. Stars had come, and gone. I drifted into sleep and out again, jerking awake, but in my iron I felt the need to stay calm. Same as always, the wrong little twitch would kill me. I had stayed on target, navigating in my sleep. Now I could feel it, deep underneath me, the shifting and sliding of scattered poles. I pushed and pulled a little at the source of all this mystery, and found the atoms happy to pivot in any direction I chose. This was purified metal, and no mistake. All the magnetic anomalies causing the storms and the quakes were leading to a structure made by man. If Skybach was alive, he would be there.