Glorious, darling, that sudden vista! – his mother’s telephone voice, of course, but why up here? Was she haunting him? If she found out he’d climbed a tree so high, she’d have kittens! The clifftop-walk above Shanklin – Children, away from those railings!
Other voices, real this time, petulant as mice. He glanced down between his toecaps: three tiny heads, his tormenters, bickering amongst themselves. Drop a nut, whispered another ghost, surprise ’em!
But he would keep this to himself: no vainglorious boasting … though victory nonetheless. Every step a triumph over terror!
Up here – if nowhere else – he was untouchable, unreachable, invincible.