It had happened before.

The first time, she was ten. It was an accident, riding her bike. She didn’t remember the hurt of it, not

even in dreams. Only the sticky cream

of blood on her chest. The limbo aftermath of being road-killed. The sound of a child, hospital bound,

crying in an endless, sputtering, roar.

God, it was


strange. The second time, at twenty, she meant to do it. It was easy enough with a handful of pills and a

locked bathroom door.

The chemicals diffused in her arteries like incense. A ceremony. At peace.

Until consequence shattered it all.

She awoke to the whispering. The stares. No one trusted her unguarded, alone. But couldn’t they see

the danger was over? She’d come back, like a cat with nine lives. Self-vaccinated, for another


decade. Brick by brick, word by word

by dinner and diaper and bridal concern,

she’d built herself back. But this self she had built–she wanted a new one. Not this wilted age, white

flower turned brown at the edge.

Her birthday was in June. This third time was due soon.

And she looked forward to it.



Samantha Pilecki

Samantha Pilecki’s work has appeared in Five 2 One, Kansas City Voices, New Lit Salon Press, Timberline Review (forthcoming), Yemassee, and other publications. She’s the winner of the Haunted Waters Press short story competition, the Writing District’s monthly contest, and was a finalist in both the New Millennium Writings Contest and the Writer’s Digest short story contest.

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