Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Company (360 words)

No one enters life alone. We’re born, listening to something else take that first breath with us. We hear it in our ears, feeling it against the back of our necks, and never see the thing that follows us into this existence.

We twist. We turn. We can’t see it.

It’s so close in those first few moments. They say that’s why we cry so loud. It’s close enough to touch us accidentally. Just a flick of its newborn fingers, and it can drag us back out of life. Our own personal reapers.

Some babies cry,  begging for help. Others scream, warning the thing away. Momma says I was silent. Who know what that means.

But that thing is never so close again, until the moment time designs for us to leave breath and beat behind. Then it puts a hand on your shoulder, and leads you off. If you’re not ready to go, it convinces you. If you’re not able, it carries you. If you don’t want to, it fights you. Kindly. That’s how my priest says it.

My grandda tells me his has cold fingers, and he’s felt them once or twice before.

Cobbe, down the street, says his has teeth that scrape like fire, and he’s never felt its skin in any of the times he’s escaped a battle dig.

My brother swears he saw his, just once, standing very far away, on the top of a hill in the middle of the road he was using to run off, waiting for him. I believe him, because I don’t have any other thought for why he came back that day after Da yelled at him.

And I’ve seen mine too.

It’s never so far away, and never very close. It stands in the far corner of the room while I work, or it walks down the opposite side of the street when I’m on my way home. It watches me the way I watch it, out of the corner of its eye, like it knows no one near it can see me, and it’s not sure it’s supposed to.

And in an empty room, in the dark, it says the most interesting things.

My friend, Kate is a thief! She stole the first line of this piece for some fiction on her blog. Be sure to stop by and read her take.

One thought on “Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Company (360 words)

  1. Pingback: October 11 2013 – I’m Gwen and I’m Doing Mass Updates – Legal Theft Project

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