The shapes bodies can make by Emmaleene Leahy

I follow ragged paths, seeking cavernous places, the empty space where she used to be and water black as death. One last swim before I go under. I need to float to connect with her; we swam in amniotic fluid.

Windswept clouds swirl across the sky. I let the vortex withdraw me from the muffled world, distant.

Silence, ghosts hide, swallowed by a decision. I allow water to consume me.

We practised relentlessly. The shapes two bodies can make when suffering a reverse vertigo, an addiction to heights. We’d float and glide through the air, sweating hands grabbed wrists. Imaginary crowds cheered in adoration of our acrobatic skills.

We were conceived on a sandy ridge overlooking the sea. My sister was born first. I came an hour later. Identical twins born into the carnival destined to perform. Our bodies moved in unison and twirled in umbilical connection.

She still floats to me through thick air. Sweating palms grab at her and she slips through my fingers. With nothing concrete to hold, fingernails make crimson channels on my arms before she falls. Her image blurs at the edges, breaks up, and disintegrates. I grow cold inside.

Two bodies in the air tumble, twirl, spill.

Wading out into the water, guilt and grief invade my existence. A shadow always present regardless of light. Liquid thrumming against ears, sucks away all sound like a vacuum.

I don’t hear them coming, the water must have drowned out their sounds. It is their toes I see first and the ripples they create as they splash the surface. I claw my way to consciousness when I see the children’s eyes looking down at me. I won’t ruin their lives with the shape of death. Life invades as I gasp in air.

Emmaleene Leahy’s work appears in FlashFlood, Wordlegs, Eating my Words, The Scum Gentry, Boyne Berries, 100 Words 100 Books, The Ogham Stone and elsewhere. Successful in competitions with Carousel Writers, Fish, RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story, The 99, Twisted Tales, #PDHorror, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Liberties and Original Writing. She blogs here, and you can follow her on Twitter.

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