The Ties That Bind

The silver thread ran from her foot, through the wide window overlooking the lake, and - she squinted - into the half dying laurel oak tree that crouched on the side of the house. Her toes itched. She wiggled them, and pulled her foot closer to examine the silver thread.  Not tied on, she saw, but rather growing out from her heel, running along the center of her foot, wrapping itself around a few toes before venturing to the window.

Only one thing to do.

She moved to the window. The thread had stretched through the glass, through the screens.  She pushed the window open. The thread pulsed; her eyes watered from its silver lights.  She pushed out the screen, letting it fall to the ground, and then stepped out the window.

She was on the second floor, and it was quite a drop, but somehow she fell more slowly than she had thought she might, as if she were falling through water, not air, or as if the thread were holding her up. Still, she twisted her ankle when she landed, and she limped a little as she followed the thread to the tree.

The thread wound its way around the tree trunk and up into the branches. She followed it, walking around and around the tree, three times, like the thread, unwinding it as she walked. She could feel it pulling at her foot, itching, urging her.  She followed it up the tree, through the branched. The branches bent and bounced beneath her weight. She heard the slight sound of cracking, that first sound before the breaking of a branch. For a moment, for one moment, she considered resisting the pull, considered cutting off the thread, thought of the safety of solid ground. The branches swayed and cracked again. The silver thread grew taut, thin. It tingled at her touch.  She climbed on, ignoring the thinness of the branches at the tree top, the twigs that cracked and broke beneath her weight. And then she was at the top of the tree, ready to follow the thread to the clouds.  And with one small breath, she launched herself into the sky.




Mari Ness  Mari Ness's website lives near a large, alligator infested lake in Central Florida, which she claims has a tendency to eat her words. Her work has previously appeared in numerous online and print venues, including Fantasy and Polu Texni. She keeps a disorganized blog at, and lives under the delusion that she may, one day, convince her two cats that her laptop is not a cat bed.

Other works by Mari Ness