The Space Between Breath

Another day, another piece of flash fiction. This is slightly more bleak but it has come at the end of three grey days of rain. Two very lovely and amazing female friends read this for me this afternoon, so thank you both for your time and your wonderful comments. Although, I was quite sad when the Lovely DB said it scared her. It’s, as ever, about emotions, which can be frightening but I hope this doesn’t scare you.

The Space Between Breath

In the space between breaths she saw him and fell. A moment of contact that would leave her with no will, no choice, no hope, only the fraction of time when the world changed. Obscured by the wall of water, she could not be sure of his reaction, only that he was there, real, solid but blurred around the edges. His features obscured, his heart hidden, covered with doubt and driven by fear. Air thick with knowledge unspoken, a glance, a deed, hesitation and retreat. The wall rose between them and they both turned away. Unsure.

She watched, unknowing. She breathed through pain. She walked, head held high as she made new footprints, new stories, trying to ignore the beating of her heart and the tremor of each missing breath. The one that was his, the alternate beat, his and always his, never hers again.

In the space around her heart, the missing beats gathered, each one a tribute, a torture, a moment of peace, a raft of despair. They swirled and they gathered, split apart and reformed. Waves of hope, pits of gloom and always the hollow of the missing beat, the lost part of her soul, now floating, discarded on the edges of his mind.

He barely saw her. His head down, his smile never rising to hers. Yet he knew she was there. The awareness heightened his nerves, swung his moods, flaring his anger. His fury rising each time she passed, irrational and violent. The missing beats floating like death above her head, his eyes flickering to watch her as she moved, each nuance imprinted on his soul as he tried to turn away. He took refuge in silence, hiding confusion, his face set hard but he did not know why.

Her gasp was barely audible when they passed, so close they could feel the heat. He retreated behind indifference and she stumbled from the weight of his bleakness. The space between the breaths grew longer as he walked away, the fraction of time where the world changed fading with her heart. Knowledge unspoken, as the missing beats turned to ice in her soul.