Lit Mag Short Fiction

Floor Child

Sometimes- a change in perspective can ripple like the stirring tide. It only takes a single flip.

Nattie bursts into the carpeted bedroom. Her feet are dripping with saltwater and brushed with sand. The voices and laughs of other teens fades away as she shuts the door. 

Finally,” Nattie whispers into the afternoon quiet. 

The area is cramped, but peaceful. Clothes lay in comfortable piles in the corner of the room. The floor is soft, slightly dry. The beds are stacked like dominoes.

Nattie takes in a breath of stuffy air and presses her mop of shaggy, wet, dark cinnamon hair into the ground. Her sunburn writhes under her skin. She rips off her glasses.  


The child sinks into the floor. 


Why do they do this to me? She thinks. Restless, she repeats her words aloud.

“Why do they do this to me? Why do they do this to me?”


Their remarks play in her head like a record player. Scratched. 


The girl thrashes, in a prison of her own anxiety. Her mind buzzes with radioactive thoughts. The worry never ends. 

Stop it, Nattie! Stop it, Nattie!  She chants. This is supposed to be a vacation! 


A vacation where she’s isolated. 


Seeking refuge, Nattie closes her eyes. In the darkness, everything goes soft. The pitch black washes over like a soothing wave. Fuzzy. The universe pauses. Her heart slows.

“Stop,” She laments, her words guiding her like a dove, “There’s no need to freak out. You are better than them.”


You are better than them.


Nattie’s eyes flash open. The bunk beds are squared away. Silence.

The teen casually crawls around the room before comfortably settling. Her legs are positioned vertical along a wall. She’s staring up at the ceiling. 


At first it’s blank. Nattie chuckles to herself. She feels upside down. 

It’s only from this angle that she notices the details etched into her surroundings. 


Nattie’s hands become enlaced in the carpet fibers. The ceiling transforms into a battleground of white mountains- sculpted by the sea air. She keenly analyzes the bunk bed frames, the knobs on the dresser, the material of the sheets- smooth like sea foam.

Things that were once ordinary and overlooked develop into something more. Pieces and parts of a whole, albeit miniscule ones.  She’s entranced by the details. 

Slowly, her broken soul heals. Her heart crescendos. 

Now on her hands and knees, after crawling about the bunk beds- Nattie rises from the floor, her palms and knobbly knees rubbing against the carpeting. A soaring sensation of freedom ripples through her.

Nattie doesn’t need their approval.

Nattie doesn’t have to be right.

She just needs to be herself and have fun and discover her friends.


She picks up her scattered glasses and brushes the dust from her bathing suit. 

Suddenly, the other teens become audible again. Nattie hears their reckless footsteps, racing down the staircase towards the beach. 

“Hey Nattie-bear? Where are you?”

“Coming!” she shouts, opening the door wide and gallivanting out of the room.


The child has leapt from the floor. 


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