Flash Fiction: Two Pieces (333 words)

“It’s been a long day,” Kadie said. She ran one hand across the back of the couch in her brother’s rooms. She wanted to sit, and she didn’t want to sit, knowing that her own bed was waiting for her several halls away. She wanted to rest, and she wasn’t sure if that meant sitting a while, talking, laughing, and spilling words, or shutting her eyes and disappearing into thoughtless sleep.

“You have no idea,” Brance murmured. Sitting in the padded chair across from her, he smiled long and wide, with the sort of lazy ease that came with exhaustion. The smile came slowly, but started fast, with all the usual way-points between thought and action erased by his tiredness. He shut his eyes, seemed content to sleep himself, then lifted his head from the back of his chair looked at her when he felt her responding quiet.

Kadie smiled a little in return. She didn’t know what he had been doing all day. She was a little afraid to ask.

But suddenly, the day felt even longer. He had his twenty-four hours, she had had hers. They didn’t sound like the same ones. They were just long stacks set side by side, squaring out the bulk of the day. She considered the uncounted hours, held by every person under this roof, tried to picture the rows of them, the heights of them, the years that might squeeze themselves between the horizons of one sunrise and one sunset.

Taking a breath, she sat. She didn’t move gracefully, just slowly, hands hung at her sides, shoulders low and easy. She had lost the space between thoughts and motions herself, and only swept her skirts out of her way after she had settled into the cushions. She tried not to yawn.

Looking across at Brance, Kadie leaned back and forgot about the softness of her pillows waiting for her. She didn’t want to make the day any longer, or split this hour into two more pieces.

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