"Short" answer: You can't really have a short circuit as such in the first place.
Superconductors aside, everything has resistance. Even free electrons at rest have a little bit of mass and will resist applied voltage just a wee bit. Put those electrons inside something and resistance can only go up. (Again, superconductivity aside. It doesn't just happen by accident.)
Circuits are designed to operate in a specific envelope, where each individual part is working correctly. That means that current in every wire needs to be low enough that voltage across the wire is negligible. Such terms are neglected for the sake of comprehending what the circuit does.
Complex circuits are often simulated by computer-aided design software, working on a complete physical description of the final product. The size and shape of all the wires is typically taken into account, leading to a "schematic" where no parts are directly connected except to resistors. If such a simulation turns up a problem, the designer might track it down to a wire that failed to be an ideal short. (And the solution is usually to get a bigger wire.)
Likewise, air gaps can become conducting given a high enough electric field. I've not encountered a simulator including such automatic analysis, but an engineer designing high-voltage electronics should always pay special attention to insulation.
Lines drawn between circuit elements are a fiction, predicated on all the other assumptions that went into the design of the circuit. Failure modes may simply not be described by the schematic at all. When representing excessive current through a wire, on a schematic or a system of equations, you must remove the wire with your eraser and substitute a resistor instead.