Threshold

On the cliff, the girl spun.

The sheep behind her bleated and turned their backs. Below her, the sea was mesmerisingly far and heavenly blue.

Can you look down into heaven? she thought, Is that what’s calling me?

She turned again to catch the voice. If the sea was not calling, then was it a shepherd? But the sheep were masterless.

Beyond the fields was the indifferent road. Cars flashed east to west, west to east, ignorant of all but direction.

“This way, this way.”

The voice bounced from ridges to terraces, ancient and nameless on the windswept land.

The girl took another step to the cliff-edge. Flakes of orange earth crumbled under her toes, disappearing into the space where the seagulls whirled above the waves in their intricate aerial ballet and down onto the distant shingle.

Would it hurt to fall? she wondered.

Would the seagulls part or would their beaks and feet slash as she dived? Would the air sting as it rushed past her face? Would the sea be at last, a pillow to engulf her? Or would she, as delicate as a fern or shell, smash into a thousand fragments yet become imprinted on the rocks, encapsulated forever.

“This way, this way.”

It was not the sea calling her to its turbulent heaven. It was the peaceful land.

Falling to her knees, she crawled back from the edge, the wind whipping her tear-drowned hair.

“Not yet,” she heard, “turn this way. Try once more.”

cliff top.jpg

Words and photograph copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

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4 thoughts on “Threshold

  1. Beautiful piece, Paula. I liked the numerous questions and how you made the reader wonder – along with the girl – where the voice was coming from.

    I enjoyed the imagery here. Stunning!

    “The girl took another step to the cliff-edge. Flakes of orange earth crumbled under her toes, disappearing into the space where the seagulls whirled above the waves in their intricate aerial ballet and down onto the distant shingle.”

    Keep on writing,

    Liked by 1 person

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