Flash Fiction: Persuasion (259 words)

“There is nothing under the eight suns, or under the thousand stars, or in the hundred oceans, that would convince me to do that,” Leonathan said. Spine straight, arms crossed, eyebrows high to strengthen the emphatic syllables, he spoke with the assurance and wariness and absolute shock that made Chaela smile, then cover her mouth just to hold in a laugh.

She glanced over at the rope bridge swaying between cliffs. It was old, missing a few boards. The knots anchoring the end were thick, but fraying in age. It looked a little dangerous, a little like it might have the heart and the sense of humor to drop you into the water fifty feet below.

But the bridge had been there for as long as Chaela could remember and she had wanted to cross it for twice as long.

She looked at Leonathan sideways. “Or in the thousand airs?” she asked.

He shook his head. “No.”

“Or under the million dirts?” she asked.

Leonathan paused, knowing she was making fun of him, and then not caring. “No,” he said.

“Or under the hajillion rains?” she asked.

“Or in the hajimagillion stuffs,” he said flatly.

And Chaela laughed immediately, hiding her mouth again, turning away to cover the harshness of it. She turned back in silence, fingers slowly dropping from her lips. Her smile was still bright as starlight, wide as an ocean.

Leonathan watched her, feeling the smile spread to him, feeling his stomach settle a little too deep in his gut. He realized, there was one thing.

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