Flash Fiction: Lost Parts of Speech

“You don’t lay claim to an inch of me, no one does,” Sarah shouted to the ravine below her. 

She dangled there with one hand gripping the root of a small tree. One small misstep and there she was with the river ready to swallow her in a moment’s notice.

This is what I get, she thought, shoulder aching from holding her own weight. 

The burn was so beautiful and painful. Her mind delirious from nearly drowning in the river the day before, from swollen knees and a continually bruised ego. Sarah hadn’t slept in 36 hours. Everything about her existed on fumes and all she could do was dangle there and laugh.

The fine line of dying and living was juicy and present, more so than it had ever been. Sarah didn’t care if she fell to her death, it was that simple. She let herself sway there until the tiny fibers of her rotator cuff frayed like cheap twine.

She swung her body slightly, just enough to reach her other arm up to the branch. This arm was fresh and new to the texture of the bark. The other arm had been more intimate with its bite.

“Today isn’t the day,” she yelled across the river and the temperate forest, “you can’t have me today.” 

Sarah flung a leg over the branch, working silently to pull the bulk of her body to a more terrestrial footing. On solid ground, she collected her thoughts, looked back at the death she could have succumbed to. Sarah leaned back onto the wet leaves and inhaled the smell of loam and worms. She smiled at the feeling of her heart racing inside her chest. She would have to stand up and find the trail she had so carelessly lost.

“You don’t lay claim to me.” Her voice fading into the air. “Not this time.”

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