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It Hurts To Breathe and other short fiction

By: F.G. King

Copyright 2012 F.G. King Smashwords Edition

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It hurts to breathe

The child stood with her violet eyes wide, and her velvet lips open to scream. Tears streaked her cheeks, but she could make no sound. She crouched on the stairwell watching her mother and father fight. They were angry; they were sad. She did not know why, but she quivered at the sound of their voices. It was late, and she was supposed to be in bed, but she had to know. This time, it was not like other fights, it was quiet, drawn-out, and sorrowfully subdued. When it was over, her father just said, “I’ll pick her up next week.” She crept back upstairs and pretended to be asleep, until her silent sobs exhausted her so completely that she succumbed to the comforting numbness of slumber.

The child sat at her desk, her auburn hair in a ponytail. She was listening to the teacher, until a tug on her hair sent a jolt of pain through her scalp. She turned her eyes to the boy behind her, holding back the tears that she knew would only make him try again. “Stop it,” she hissed at him between gritted teeth. The teacher said her name, and she turned back to the front. That weekend she was given detention for misbehaving in class.

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