Flash Fiction: Elbow Room (234 words)

The snow was coming soon. Looking up, Keada felt it in the weight of the clouds with their gray, bowing bellies. The sun had been fighting its way through in fits and starts since morning, but now it was just sifting its way through as if it had given up trying to define the world’s shadows. The air had been cutting cold at sunrise, and still as stone. Now, it brushed against her cheeks, just warm enough to feel like the breath of something a little too alive, a little too far away.

Everyone was slowing, settling in the sudden winter warmth that would have frozen their bones in the middle of summer. Everything loosened. Old leaves skittered in the gutters, and signs creaked on their chains above the doorways. People murmured, rather than raise their voice, and let the breeze push them along. The city was already hushed, expecting the blanket of snow that would muffle footsteps and quiet echoes.

Keada wanted it. She itched for it, tucking her hands into her pockets and slowing too. The city had been crowded in the press of this chilly December, keeping them all shut in with the noise of each other, 0bound to the reach and rattle of the furnaces. She needed the snow fall, the calm, the quiet, just to give them all a little more space before the next week tumbled into them.

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