This is my entry into the 2017 Flash Fiction contest. My Genre was suspense, the location had to be a balcony and at some point in the story a spotlight needed to appear.
Hang In There
I look between my feet and see her standing below me. I stay still as she calls to me, using a spotlight to look around the darkened yard. I keep quiet. I love her and I want to be with her, but I’m annoyed, and reluctant to give away my location right now. The balcony provides just the right amount of cover and of course she doesn’t expect me to be up here. I don’t know why I feel like I need to be away from her, but I do. She treats me horribly – ignoring me for the most part, then lavishing attention on me when she feels needy. I have some pride.
I crouch lower as she starts to look around a little more earnestly. ‘Gina!’ she calls, her voice a little exasperated. I shift my weight and the small Juliette balcony groans – but she doesn’t hear. She turns the spotlight off and jams her left fist into her hip, arm akimbo.
‘She’s got her Bitch-wings on’ I think to myself with a sigh.
‘Fine!’ she says in a loud voice ‘you’re being an idiot. Stay out here all night then!’ She turns and marches back into the house, closing the patio door with a decisive click. I hear the lock slide into place.
I stand up again. I got here by shimmying up the tree that stands just beside the door and I’m not really sure I want to get down the same way. I look behind me – the window that looks out onto this balcony from our bedroom is locked so there’s no way I can get in there. I look back at the tree. Seriously? What was I thinking? Well, I wasn’t thinking.
I was so upset with her – we had company and she tried introducing me but I am not something to be trotted out for everyone’s entertainment. It’s humiliating. I’ve never been an equal in this relationship and that is a hard thing for me to look at: I’ve always been fiercely independent and provided for myself. When we met I was living in reduced circumstances – but I was happy. Once we spent some time together though, we realized it was love at first sight. I had never felt as connected to another person as I did to her. So yes, it was quick, we moved in together that afternoon – but when it’s right, it’s right. At least it seemed right.
I look at the tree again and resign myself to the fact that I’m only going to be able to get down from here the same way I got up. I climb up onto the balcony railing and get my balance, teetering just a moment before I jump for the branch. Before I can properly launch myself, my foot slips off the railing. I manage to grab one of the spindles just as I fall. The railing acts as a pivot and I crash against the building, slamming into the wall. I look down, heart pounding, breath coming in quick gasps. I look up at the railing – my grip is firm. For now. I look down again. No, it is just too far to drop. I scan the house and see the flicker from the TV screen. She must be watching TV without a care in the world about me. A pang of annoyance breaks through the rising panic.
I look up again as I feel my grip slide. All the hair stands up on the back of my neck. I try to pull myself up, but I don’t have enough strength and my muscles are stressed to the max. I try swinging my feet, trying to get my body swinging, hoping that I can get a leg over the part I’m hanging on to. Nope. And my grip slides a bit more. I scream, hoping someone will hear me. I look frantically at the house again, screaming as loud as I can. The flicker of the TV mocks me.
My grip slides even further. I am almost at the point of no return. I try to lift myself and give myself enough slack to get a better grip but it just causes me to lose purchase. I’m very close to losing my grip. Now I change my tactic: I try not to kick with my feet as swinging makes it harder to hold on. But frankly, the only thing that has a firm hold is panic.
I scream again, as loud as I can – hoping above hope that she can hear me over the television. I am absolutely regretting climbing up here – it seemed like such a good idea when I was annoyed.
Suddenly I slip and I am no longer holding onto the railing. I fall twisting and turning, reaching out as far as I can, desperately hoping that something will save me.
I hit the ground hard, all the air leaves my lungs in a giant Whoosh! I look around quickly to see if anyone has witnessed my denouement. No one. Of course I landed on my feet. I sit and give myself a soothing wash and when my nerves are settled I go and call as loudly as I can at the door. After a second the door opens and there she is, her face wreathed in smiles.
‘Gina you silly cat, where have you been?’ I am scooped up into her soft arms. She nuzzles my neck and I start to purr. I can’t help it. I love her.