Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Rattle and Hold (409 words)

The breeze sank to the floor as soon as it came through the windows, rolling stubbornly across the length of the room. Its persistence chilled the wooden floor while most of the room held onto the day’s summer warmth. The sun had gone down hours ago, and the stars glittered through the wavering glass. Karleigh leaned her shoulder against the door frame and looked at the white light stretching across the room.

Her door was barely open far enough to let her through, but she had slid her shoulders into the gap, and then waited.

It was so strange to hear nothing in the middle of the night.

Of course, some things creaked. The same breeze that cooled her toes nudged the outside wall and the wall grumbled on its studs while the breeze chuckled to itself. Somewhere something else was sighing, too quiet, and too shy for her to politely give it any attention. And the rest of the silence hummed.

She listened closely, but she couldn’t find the deep sleeping breaths that might have been there in the middle of the night. No one was shuffling through the house now that she had stilled her own small feet, and there was no clang or thud or drop to betray people too far away to make their own noise.

Her new rooms were all hers, fitted to her, and silent if she chose not to make noise of her own.

Karleigh held her breath, just so it would not break the silence. Then she let it out, long and loud, and laughed at the end of it, just to break it into its pieces and listen to it come back together.

This was hers. All hers. Only hers.

It was almost all right to think that here, where Momma and Father had never been at all. And it was not all right that it was almost all right.

Karleigh tried not to let that rattle too hard into her bones, but it still jittered over her shoulders and tightened her stomach down to a cold coin.

Taking a breath, she forced herself to call this freedom, this silence only she could break, this room wide enough for her to run and small enough to hold her tight.

But she never thought that freedom would taste this tart.

My friends are all thieves! They stole the first line of this piece for works of fiction on their own blogs. Check them out here to see what happened when they left the windows open.

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