When the roots break through the concrete and creep down the tower like blackened vines, Leslie steels his resolve.
The tree is hard to look at, now. It blots out the light around it, a shrouded halo of nothingness around branches that glitter in black and green and blue. It has burst forth from the little box Leslie had set up on the balcony, a little dream of what could have been spring, with unfurling hopes of flowers and fruits.
Dreams do not, as Leslie has learned, come true.
Upon its unhallowed dais, the thing Athro had left behind in Leslie's realm has not gone hungry. In its growth, its roots splintered its wooden confines, and the poisonous nature of the thing has turned the dirt to graveyard soil.
He takes the stairs up. Two by two by two, Leslie shuffles along with his heart in his belly, with feet flickering in and out of visibility with nerves. It is a slow ascent, one made longer by missing pieces and collapsed walls.
Inside, the skyscraper is dim, murky and unclean. Deca