Seconds This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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She’s just sitting there cross-legged. If not for the library blocking the sun at the present angle, it would feel like someone was shining a flashlight in her face. A book’s in front of her, on the same ledge she’s on, flipped open to the one hundred eighteenth page, which is far enough into the story that the spine’s broken and it can stay open without her help. She’s engrossed in it. Absolutely fascinated.

What made her do it? Who knows? It was an unconscious action, innocent and unthinking. Just shifting to get more comfortable, that’s all. Think nothing of it. She didn’t. She’d been sitting there so long, her butt had started to go numb against the concrete. So she moved.

Maybe she should have been paying closer attention to where she was sitting. Maybe she’d actually been much closer to the edge than she thought, or maybe the ledge just fell away without warning, because suddenly it wasn’t stone beneath her. It was air.

Her hands shot up, grasping blindly for a handhold that wasn’t there. A yowl bubbled up in her chest, and her vision began to tilt sideways. No one noticed. No one turned their heads in her direction. No one witnessed her distress. Her mind was thick with a chowder-y kind of nothing. She wasn’t a cat; she wasn’t going to land on her feet.

It was all over in the inhalation of a breath. Her vision straightened out and she righted herself and felt the ledge underneath her once more. Solid.

She flipped to page one hundred nineteen.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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