"What did you say? I can't hear you!" an angry voice bellows from above.
She stares at her hands before her, shaking. Her tears held on the precipice of her bottom eyelid as she becomes conscious of the words she just uttered. She closes her eyes and the tears fall into her outstretched hands. She says it again, this time knowingly, "I can't."
"You?" shock and awe with a tinge of mockery oozes from the response, "but I thought you could do anything?" He leans over her, "I thought you said nothing was impossible." His spittle sprays her cheek.
"I know," her cracked voice is muffled as she holds her head in her hands, "but now I know defeat." She bends tighter into her kneeling posture, "I am broken, you bastard..." she rocks herself on the floor, looking like she is in some sort of solemn prayer, when, in fact, she is merely holding on tight to all of her pieces ensuring nothing breaks off and gets lost.
As he begins to cackle and turn away, the fury in her rises. She wipes the tears from her face. In doing so, she feels the heat of its reddened state and knows this means that her blood is still flowing. Slowly, she rises to her feet and turns her tears into tyranny, "What is the point of this?! Is this a game to you?"
He stopped in his tracks and turns, glaring at her, but she didn't give him a chance to retort - not yet, anyway, "How long am I supposed to fight?"
He looked down and smiled. There was no malice in it which almost made it terrifying, "You fight as long as you want to..." he said softly, almost encouragingly.
"And what happens when I decide that I don't want to fight any more?"
"Darling," he said, as if he were speaking to a small child, "that is when you can't."
"So, I was right? Nothing is impossible?" she asked incredulously.
He tucked her hair behind her ear and gently leaned down whispering into her ear, "I don't know, do you think you can prove that?"
It sounded like a challenge. Well, it was a challenge. He phrased it that way for a reason; to intrigue her, to entice her, to drag her back into the arena. She thought long and hard about what she had done so far. What she had shown him, shown herself and the world. She wondered if the fates would allow her anything more past this point. She wondered if she had already stretched the limits of possibility. She looked at her broken body and wondered how many more battles it could face without being literally torn limb from limb.
She hated him for the challenge as her head swooned with pressure, her back twisted from past defeats and her insides crawled with what could only be described as tiny demons armed with glass shards. She loved him for the challenge when she felt her heart beat again and knew that her eyes must be twinkling: she was still alive. With both hands balled into fists, staring straight into the ground, barely loud enough for her own ears to hear it, she smiled and said, "Yes, I think I can."
I'm adding this story as my "short story" of the week. What do you think? Does it qualify as a short story? Is it even flash fiction? Is it too vague to be either? Is it just a scene from something else; a vignette? This was the "beginning to end" in my head this week (still working on a longer short that - thankfully - did not get lost with all of my technical issues!). Feel free to give me your honest constructive criticism in the comments. If you don't want your critique to be public, then email me! Thanks.