This is a piece of flash fiction using two of the characters from my debut novel as a starting point. They have a difficult, complicated relationship. It was originally published on my creative writing blog as part of a Twitter prompt:

“Do you believe in angels?” she asked. Her voice sounded small and far away, and he saw she’d opened the French doors onto the balcony. She was leaning on the railing, the wind blowing her long, dark hair back over her shoulders. Her slight hands grasped the polished steel like a gymnast getting ready to begin a routine. Jacob looked at her, and half got out of his chair, trying to get a look at her face. He narrowed his eyes, scrutinising her.

“Why?” he asked.

“Do you think,” she said, turning her head just enough so that he could see her profile, but he couldn’t read her expression, “if I jumped off this balcony…an angel would catch me?”

“Sarah,” he said, standing up fully. He was trying to sound stern, authoritative, but she was scaring him. She turned her head all the way, and fixed him with those sad, terrible eyes of hers. Slowly, gingerly, he started to move towards her the way he would towards a wounded animal, terrified of spooking her, making her trip.

“I think they would,” she whispered. She turned away again and began to put her weight, such as it was, onto her forearms. One ill-timed change in the wind and he felt sure she’d blow away.

“Sarah, come on now. Stop-stop kidding around,” he stammered. He was uncomfortably aware that his apartment was on the twenty-third floor. Suddenly, unrestricted city vistas seemed like the worst idea in the world.

“Who’s kidding?” she said, taking a step up onto the little ledge just behind the railing. “Let’s find out.” She leaned over and he felt his heart threaten to burst out of his chest.

“I said stop, Sarah!” he shouted. “Come back inside. Please!” She looked back at him again and smiled, taking another step up. He pitched forward, half tripping over his own feet, and grabbed her around the waist, yanking her backwards. She landed awkwardly on top of him on the reassuringly solid concrete floor of the balcony, both of them breathing hard.

“S-see?” she gasped. “An angel caught me.”

"Sarah" is based on my debut novel, "Abernathy", which is being crowdfunded via Unbound. For more info and to pledge, click here.

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