#105 Aerial

by Elizabeth Grondin

Thomas leans in and murmurs into her ear, “Shall we try it without the net?”

He peers around the vast circle, undoubtedly seeking confirmation that they are alone. He needn’t worry. The only hint of movement is the tent’s multicolored fabric billowing lightly in the wind.

Cecelia ponders his question. They have been practicing for months. Their motions are fluid, their timing precise—every step, swing, and leap anticipated. Their routine has etched itself into Cecelia’s mind, a perfect symphony of acrobatics never interrupted by a fall into the net’s mocking web of fibers.

“It is how the professionals do it,” she whispers back conspiratorially.

After the knots that hold the net aloft are loosened, the net drops to the ground, and the young trapeze artists approach their ladders, pulling themselves up rung by rung.

Standing atop their pedestals, Thomas nods, and Cecelia springs off her pedestal board, catching the bar in her hands. Her lithe legs swing over the bar, and she releases her fingertips, letting her agile body curve backwards until she hangs upside down in midair.

The blood rushing to her head used to disorient her, but now it invigorates her. She swings herself back over the pedestal, building momentum. When at last her body slices through the air and reaches the top of her arc, she releases, reaching for Thomas’s hands as she has hundreds of times before.

But they are not there.

The last thing she sees as she falls are Thomas’s eyes glinting wickedly.

4 comments:

Bruce Roush said...

Whoa! Wicked, well-written story.Good job!

Elizabeth Grondin said...

Thanks, Bruce!

Sarah Laurenson said...

What a bastard. And never a hint of distrust in her. Serious bastard. Well done.

Elizabeth Grondin said...

Thank you for your comment, Sarah!