Running, running, running. This was not meant to be his end. The relentless movement of feet under his body felt wrong. His pursuers were unaware of his discomfort and continued insistently, moving with less effort then he could. He entered the dark structure with no regard for its beauty, ignoring the cries of objection from the French gatekeepers and pressing forcibly inside. Each stair was taken in twos or even threes: each level taking him closer to his goal. His heart pounded, punching blood through his body to feed his legs, pumping below him. His arms pulled him up, tugging at the invisible guide ropes that lead to the top of the monument.
Three hundred men built the tower, one for every metre. It was said that it would sway in high winds and even its height would change with the weather. His progress made him sensitive to such nuances and he wished it would shrink to speed his escape. As he progressed higher, the corkscrew motion made him dizzy. The little artificial light that entered the structure’s trunk was intermittent, pulsing and flickering through the mesh of its internal skin. His sweat ran down his face, tracing the edge of his eye sockets, running across his cheeks and clipping the corner of his mouth in its salty trickle. As he pushed his way to the top, the millions of rivets restraining the construction blurred like a series of full stops tumbling to the ground.
He reached the upper platform and leaned against an ochre girder to prevent him from buckling over, as he gulped for breath. Looking beneath his outstretched arm he couldn’t see his pursuers, but he heard the sound of disgruntled tourists, doubtless their enjoyment interrupted by his hunters. As he staggered from the stairwell, he welcomed the unadulterated light, the moonlight engulfing him. He surveyed the courtyard like a king on the parapet of his castle but the gravity of his situation sat heavy in his mind like the structure that supported him. He felt trapped in this iron cage - its solid frame unforgiving. There seemed no chance of escape.
Walking to the balustrades that entrapped him he gazed at the Bakelite moon over the French capital. He felt the wind gust across his face, like the pulse of the city, breathing below him. His mind raced with thoughts of escape. He gripped the ferrous safety bar in front of him and watched his knuckles turn white: not with fear, but in the determination of knowing what he had to do to escape his tormentors. As he pushed off from the handrail, he caught a young, solitary girl staring at him. He smiled at her as he fell away into the light, open air. Free.