The Problem with Seven
There are seven leaves on the new pillowcase. My breathing quickens, as if the pattern of vines entwines my chest. I divert my attention. Eighty-two leaves on the duvet cover. Forty-six spots on his pyjamas.
Seven: your age. Seventh: the date. Seven: the number of minutes late the ambulance was.
I run to the garden. Thirteen paces to the pear tree. Grasp a plump leaf. Pluck. Thirteen paces back.
Your brother sleeps on, his breathing rhythmic. One, two… I count till seven passes.
There are eight leaves on the pillow. My body loosens. Eight will keep him safe.
About the author: Sally Doherty lives in leafy Surrey with her two-legged husband, three-legged Labrador and four-legged Jack Russell Terror. She recently started dabbling in flash fiction with pieces published by Reflex Fiction and Spelk Fiction. She was also delighted to win Retreat West’s June Micro Fiction competition. Primarily, Sally writes middle grade novels. Her debut TOBY AND THE SILVER BLOOD WITCHES will be published by March Hamilton.