Final Breath

I used this short story in a weekly contest over at Weekly Short Stories Contests and Company on goodreads a few weeks back. I had a lot of fun writing it. Please let me know what you think.

Final Breath by C P Cabaniss

Glass crunched underfoot, jabbing painfully into Evangeline’s legs as she fell to her knees. Glass, so much glass. Moonlight spilled across the sharp fragments, reflecting throughout the room. Somewhere in the night—the sound magnified in the still quiet, carrying through the broken doors and windows—a bird took flight, wings rustling, a call issuing through its beak.

Drip, drip, drip. Evangeline glanced down, watched the red drops fall on the clear glass, staining it pink. Her eyes did not widen inn shock or fear, she just blinked, trying to make sense of the crimson drops. The shards bit into her palms as she fell forward, catching herself with hands that could barely feel. More red stained the floor, mixing with the flecks of glass.

Evangeline had always wondered, in some morbid way, what it would feel like to bleed to death, to have a gaping hole in your stomach or chest, knowing you could do nothing to stop it from killing you, if rational thought would flee or pain consume your body. Her breath was coming in sharp gasps. She tried to crawl forward but her fingers were stiff, numb, barely responding to the signals she was trying to send. She crashed forward, arms underneath her, red stained glass shards filling her vision. The beats of her heart were like thunder in her ears, starting to fade.

She wondered, in a vague, absent kind of way, what had led to this moment. If she traced her life back would she find some moment, some decision that set this path in motion? Or was it all out of her control? Her breaths were slowing, heartbeats pounding, blood flowing out and away. The glass poked her legs, arms, stomach, face. It created only a dull sense of pain. It was more that she knew it should cause pain than that it actually did.

There, was that the moment, she wondered. Was that what set her course toward this bloody end? Or perhaps this was not an end at all, she considered, but the beginning of something greater. She could not be sure if she believed that, but it was a nice thought all the same.

Groans and whimpers filled the space around her and it took Evangeline a moment to realize they were coming from her. Strange not to know what your own body was doing. She blinked one long, slow time, suddenly feeling like she should be on her feet and moving. Her arms straightened beneath her, wobbling under her weight, before faltering and sending her back to the floor. One more gasped breath, a twitch of her fingers, and she moved no more. Her eyes stared, unseeing, at the red blooming around her, staining the glass with her life essence.

Outside a siren wailed, shattering the stillness of the night.

Copyright 2016 by C P Cabaniss

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