Being It

31 …. 32 ….  33…

I raise my head and look through the twisted tangle of naked branches to the cloudless sky. 

Their giggling retreat behind me confirms my suspicions.  Last time, red-faced, heart-wounded and strewn with cobweb lace and rhododendron petals, I had sneaked past Tilly’s garden where they sat laughing and eating biscuits.

48 …. 49 …. 50! 

The dead tree is my only witness. 

I hope for acceptance, but today I will not go looking for it.

Resting my head against the weathered trunk, I listen for the chomp of the woodlice and pretend it doesn’t hurt.

This story was shortlisted in the June 2023 monthly micro fiction competition.

About the author: Jan Erskine-Power is an avid reader, gardener, crafter and lover of tiny tales.