Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt Late.
At three in the morning, you don’t make grocery lists or answer day-to-day messages; you don’t even make common snacks to eat while you’re being anything but common. You make won ton soup and mashed potatoes with a cup of hot cocoa. You keep the television on behind you while you surf the web, for whatever reason—after all, there’s nothing on telly anymore and everybody knows it. At three in the morning, you crawl the internet for old documentaries on the Bermuda Triangle, you Google Street View the pyramids, you find yourself walking down the road in Kankakee, Illinois for the first time in thirty five years and you’re surprised to see that your dad’s old diner is actually still there, although it’s now an oddity. It squawks real family cooking in the window, and it probably still has the six stool counter with coffee cups upside down and waiting for customers. You learn that speedwell, your favourite flower, was in fact the name of the Mayflower’s lesser known travelling buddy, 60 tons and still the smaller of the two ships. At three in the morning, it’s late but it isn’t to some, some have the silliest timetables—you’re one of those people. You’re just trying to find important things to do, maybe stumble upon a cure for all of the world’s woes while you’re waiting to turn your child, give him a fresh pillow; now it’s almost time to work his legs and bring him his middle of the night pills. You think and think and think... about the lines in Peru, the first person to climb Everest, and you don’t think about it being late. I’m here to tell you, you never think about the lateness of the hour.
Rhonda Poynter is a professional freelance writer and has been published in many magazines, journals, and anthologies. Her second collection of poetry is pending release. She lives in California with her son for medical reasons, which means that they get to see the ocean almost every day. They're from Chicago, though via 45 states and three countries.