As she climbed, bark scratching off layers of skin, Seph smiled her mouth around the word ‘free’. She imagined she had new flesh underneath, unscarred as an unfurling bud. The tree held its boughs wide in welcome. Once she reached a sturdy branch, hidden from sharp gazes and sharper words, Seph nestled herself against the gentle shh-shhing foliage, sighing out memories and watching them tumble. She shrugged out of the rest of her skin and let that fall, too, like pieces of a torn family photograph, as she pressed herself further into the bark and made her home within it.
This story was shortlisted in the June 2023 monthly micro fiction competition.
About the author: Katie Holloway has never been able to help being a writer, but has become obsessed with flash fiction recently. She lives in the south of England and is fueled by strong tea and snatches of alone time. In 2022 she was awarded a DYCP grant from the Arts Council England.