I hate summer, I really do, but standing on my balcony, moments before the sun will erupt from beyond the cityscape, shirtless in the breeze, is a wonderful feeling. I can't sleep again because of the heat, they say it will start to cool down, but that doesn't mean it will. I can only hope.
The stereo is on inside, the music isn't loud, but then it doesn't need to be, there is nothing else to hear. My neighbour can hear it, or so she claims, but I have to raise my voice to her just for her to realise her hearing aid is malfunctioning so maybe she just assumes it is on.
A small metallic noise below me, maybe someone else is awake as well, I want to look down but I know I will be disappointed, I always am. I rub my jaw, my tooth is starting to hurt again, I'll stand here in the breeze for a little while longer before I go inside to get some paracetamol.
The sound comes again, slightly louder, and again and again.
I look down now, leaning out over the concrete of the rail around my balcony. There is the drop, always there is the drop, but it doesn't bother me as much as it once did. There is something new there today, a smile, a massive, toothy, grin.
"Hello," the grin says, and a person resolves into focus around the teeth.
"That is definitely new," I comment, not completely sure I haven't created this out of boredom.
"But at least today you aren't disappointed," the man says, reaching up and taking hold of the bottom of my balcony with another metallic sound.
He is wearing metal gloves, which are the first thing I notice, after the grin on his face. He is wearing what looks like a black jumpsuit with a long black coat billowing around him. From where I stand I can't see his shoes but I can only assume they are also black.
"That is definitely the case," I hear myself respond, somehow unreal, I think the feeling is largely due to the giant who is climbing my building, because he looks tall, really tall.
He reaches up again and this time gets a hold of the top of the railing on my balcony, he is really tall. His other hand comes up and with a surprisingly clichéd sound he is standing on my balcony, and man is he tall. The other things I notice now that I can see all of him are that I was right about his shoes and that his pants aren't quite skin tight, but they are close enough to make me self conscious.
I find my jaw still hurts and reach up a hand to rub the tooth, the man stops me, which is strange, and largely uncalled for, no, completely uncalled for. "What..." he cuts me off.
"Does your tooth hurt?" he asks.
I nod, he grins again and turn and looks down, releasing my hand. I rub my face and look over the balcony with him, I am not so high up that I cannot see that there is a person below, but I cannot see them very well.
"Come on up," the man says, not shouting, barely louder than before.
I think the person crouches, and either a coat or a dress pools around them on the ground. "You might want to lean back," the man says, taking a half step back and straightening as much as he can, which is not completely, despite the fact that the next floor is seven feet above my floor.
I glance back down to find that the top of the person I was looking down at a moment ago is substantially closer than a moment ago. I hastily step back, brushing against the tall man's coat. How can he be wearing a coat when it is so hot?
A young girl alights gently on my balcony railing, a heavy, black, dress flattening itself around her. This definitely isn't right, my mind tells me. "How can you two be wearing such warm clothing?" is what my mouth asks, determined to ignore the methods they used to ascent here.
"Practice," the girl says, from her voice and her height I would judge her to be about eleven, but from the fact that she just jumped up here, or something, I can honestly say I have no idea.
The sun burst from the cover of the cityscape, I'm not getting any sleep now, despite having a night job I cannot sleep during the day. I need to go inside, mostly because of severe emotional damage that probably has roots in when I was a child, but also because it is about to get hot.
The real question is, do I want to invite these two inside? I get the feeling I can't just ignore them.
I would rather be inside with them than outside with them. "Please come in, before the sun gets here," I say, my mind and my mouth finally agreeing.
"With pleasure," the girl drops down from the rail and walks inside, the tall man crouches through the doorway after her.
I follow, closing the door, the blinds and my specially made blackout curtains, the room in plunged into absolute darkness, almost. The only light comes from my stereo, telling me that it is on and running, the music is still quiet, but I can still hear it.
"I feel like we are at a disadvantage," I hear the man says, he doesn't seem to have moves since I closed the blinds. "But surely you can't see better than we can."
"I'm sure I cannot," I reply, not sure if is true or not. "But I know where everything is."
"Except for us," the girl points out.
"Unless you move I know where you are now," I say. "Give me a moment to turn on the lights."
"Of course," the man says.
I walk over to the light switch and pause a moment to rub my tooth again. I close my eyes and turn the lights on. Even though the light is dim, it burns into my eyelids for a long few seconds as my pupils contract and my sight adjusts.
I open my eyes and they are standing exactly where I expected them to me, rubbing their eyes. "You should give people more warning before the lights go on," the girl says pointedly.
"You shouldn't climb onto people's balconies so early in the morning," I reply. "Please" – I gesture to the couch – "have a seat, do you want a drink?"
"No, but thanks anyway," the girl says, sitting heavily on my couch. The tall man shakes his head and sits next to her, stretching his legs out into the middle of the room.
"What do you want then?" I ask. "I can only assume it will be something unexpected, judging by your means of ingress."
"If you assume it will be unexpected then it is less likely to be," the man points out.
"That isn't necessarily true," I say, rubbing my cheek again.
"Please stop doing that," the girl says, staring pointedly at my hand.
"My tooth hurts," I point out, determined not to treat her like a child. "What else am I going to do?"
"Your tooth doesn't hurt," the girl says, looking away. "Your gum does."
"As far as I know you are correct," I reply, sitting down in one of my lounge chairs. "But that won't stop me from thinking my tooth hurts."
I rub my cheek again.
The girl looks at the man. "Hold him," she commands, I get the feeling this will hurt, but it won't kill me, probably.
The man stands with surprising grace, considering the apartment is shorter than he is, and grabs my shoulders, pushing me back into the chair.
"Thank you," the girl says. "This will hurt a little."
I assume the last is directed at me. "As long as it is only a little," I manage to say before the girl appears from under the giant's arm.
"We'll see," she says with a grin. "Please open wide."
At least it will be beneficial, I think as I obey her.
"Well, your breath could be drastically improved," the girl comments. I swear there is light emanating from her hand. "It doesn't look rotten."
She reaches into my mouth, I had been expecting that but it still takes some effort not to bite down and stop her. She takes hold of my tooth, with hurts more than I had expected. "Aw," is what I manage, I was going for: 'that hurt'.
"Shush," she commands, what else am I going to do?
She gets what I assume is a firmer hold, moving my tooth slightly, it hurts more, but I am quiet because it is not unexpected this time.
She twists her elbow and... it hurts a fair amount, and she is holding my tooth aloft, grinning broadly.
"That is unlikely to stop his pain," the man comments.
"Humph, you ruin all my fun," she says, sounding just like a child.
"You wanted to stop him complaining about the pain," the man says calmly.
"I did, didn't I?" she says, reaching into my mouth again, she finds the missing tooth and prods the gums there, and it hurts, a lot. I can't stop myself from making pain noises this time.
Then it stops hurting, and then it feels better, and then a new tooth sprouts, that is definitely not right. She removes her hand and wipes the blood and spit on a handkerchief that the tall man produces.
My mind yells what the hell. "That is definitely better," is what my mouth says.
"As is to be expected," the tall guy says.
"So, what is it that you want?" I ask, trying to remain calm in the face of whatever just happened. "I am assuming that you didn't come here to pull my tooth."
"I doubt there is actually any base for that assumption," the girl says.
"But it is still correct," the tall man points out to her, then he turn to face me properly. "We don't want anything here, we were going to visit the man upstairs and you just happened to be up."
"Which is convenient," the girl says, smiling again.
"I'll say," the man agrees.
"Why is it convenient?" I ask.
"Anyway," the girl says, they both stand. "We should be going about now, thank you for your hospitality."
"No problem," I reply. "Are you really going to dodge the question like that?"
"Yes," the girl says.
"Do you mind if we don't go out the window?" the man asks.
"I would prefer it, it will have heated up outside by now," I say.
"You know that the top today is eighteen degrees, Celsius?" the girl asks.
"I do," I reply, well aware that my aversion to any heat, at all, is unusual.
"Ok," the girl says. They leave, and I hear the front door close behind them.