The Diaphragm Dancer by David Hartley

The diaphragm dancer breathed her last upon a synapse leap. Teeth crashed together in applause, glands wept, cried encore.

Twisting nerve strings fused in from rib-wings, scooped her small body up, held it aloft. The raptured collective thrashed louder, shuddering alveoli.

Her disintegration began as the cheers softened. It felt perverse to watch.

An organ from above hummed a sonorous peal in eulogy, beckoned for her full consumption back into the body politik.

The nerve-hands obliged, and the gathered allowed a suitable silence to fall. Somewhere, a bone creaked, in mourning perhaps, but it seemed fitting.

And then she was gone, cell-absorbed, queued for reconfiguration. Back now with the mindhead, to manifest as a beautiful thought, they hoped.

An enzyme swept her remnants from the stage, wondering who to give them to.

David Hartley is a short story writer based in Manchester. He has had his work published by The Alarmist, Dark Fiction Magazine and The Cadaverine. He tweets nonsense at @DHartleyWriter and blogs longer nonsense at davidhartleywriter.blogspot.com. Out now with Gumbo Press: Threshold - flash fictions by David Hartley 'By turns hilarious, sinister and poignant, these postcards from the fringes highlight the absurdities of the normal. An impressive debut indeed.' - Jonathan Pinnock, winner, Scott Prize 2011 for Dot, Dash (Salt)

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