She has shaken off the two men. The shifting shapes that have dogged her all morning; their steps no longer beating the hollow yet persistent tune in the shadows of Munich’s streets.
Now, the park, all she hears is the September breeze lifting leaves, undercut by the rush of blood in her ears.
She lets herself pause. A moment of balance. One gloved hand against a racing heart; closing her eyes, pressing her fingertips against her ribs.
Looking for the pattern, searching for courage and the right moment to begin.
She walks on, stepping out of her shoes, the grass damp and cool beneath her silken feet. The gentle knock of metal marking time in the pocket at her hip.
An English Rose in the English Garden, caught between two homes.
One sad smile and through her teeth blows the last of the summer and the prelude to dying leaves; the taste of a moment held in time.
Between dark and light.
Heat and chill.
She closes her eyes and lets in air that’s charged with colliding atoms. Bright sparks, destined to ignite history. Red, blue, flashes of green, spiralling behind her eyelids; fireworks of distraction the like of which she has never seen.
She fights to ground herself, to bring these things together. To get things done. In this world on the edge, intent on ripping itself apart, her actions will be the force that joins up the ragged seam.
On the nearest bench she sits, hidden, screened from onlookers by low hanging trees. She sets her hands in her lap, pushing them forwards, exposing snaking veins; blue rivers, twisting and licking at her wrists. Left hand flat, right hand curled. She lifts each bare finger in turn with just the slightest twitch.
Five knots of love. Slipping and retying.
She takes the pistol from her pocket.
Holds it, lifts it.
Takes courages from the circle at her temple.
Steel; cool and firm against her skin.
And hopes they’ll understand.
Living up to her name.
Rachel Canwell is a writer and teacher living in Cumbria. Her debut flash collection ‘Oh I do like to be’ was published by Alien Buddha in July 2022.. Her short fiction has been published in Sledgehammer Lit, Pigeon Review, Reflex Press, Selcouth Station and The Birdseed amongst others. She is currently working on her first novel .
Photo – English Garden, Munich by Jason Chan
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