Edge of the World

Short Stories

By Kelsey Ortman

Shewa could hear running water, delicate flowing at the edge of her mind. She tried to turn her head to look for it, to reach her hand out and touch it, but her body was too heavy to move. Her lips and throat ached for cool water and her skin felt stretched and parched. Again, she attempted to lift her head, and this time it moved with her effort. The water suddenly seemed more distant; a far away river. Every thought in Shewa’s head fought for the water and struggled to grasp it as it trickled farther and farther away. The gurgle slowly blended into soft voices that seemed to echo in a deep space. Light gradually shone red through her eyelids and she lifted her lashes to see blurry figures glide across her vision.

“Look. She moved. Do you think she’s waking up? Put the paper away.”

Shewa blinked slowly and tried to focus her failing eyes on the looming shapes standing around her. Her heart skipped as she made out the tall figure of her sister, long limbs and spine straight as if there were a rod running through her body. Shewa tried to call out to her, then remembered with confusion that Abeba had died years ago, along with the rest of her/ her sister and hers generation. Suddenly her head seemed to clear. Her age came rushing back through her shrunken muscles like the mudslides that tore down the mountain in the rainy season. A soft breath of air pushed out of her lungs. She felt so weak. So heavy.