Flash Fiction: Elastic Walls (307 words)

There was no difference between the air on this side of the door or that. There was nothing powerful about the slatted wood that made the door, or the dozen other panels that made the wall it was set in. There was no slice in the universe that divided one from the other.

But one side was home, and the other was not.

One side, the air seemed lighter. And so did bone and breath and body.

One side, the wall looked like a standing guard and guardian instead of another of a dozen rugged outward faces on the row.

One side, the universe disappeared into a pocket, while the square living room that backed into a narrow kitchen, and the twisted stairs, and the bedrooms overhead, burst open into mansion spaces.

Dorea stepped through the door, sack over her shoulder, and even in the emptiness of it, she could hear the echoes of the voices that belonged there. They would be back soon, after whatever days in the workshops they’d taken. She wanted them back now, bounced on her toes, but she smiled at the gentle sound of nothing, and measured the walls in a quick glance to see how she had grown since she had been here last. Another step inside, and spun on one heel, trying to look at all of it at once.

Home had a good sound to it. It wasn’t rhyme, wasn’t sameness, but it sounded like whole.

And whole was what she was, between these walls, under this roof, taking these breaths. No matter how many times she left, no matter how many changes she pulled while she was gone, no matter how long she stayed away, all her pieces still fit in this room. It was some sort of magic, something in the walls that made them elastic.



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