Flash Fiction: Quietly

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 Diary.

Quietly

It’s not much of a gift, really. A hard cover decorated with white daisies, lined pages kept secret with a flimsy lock and key. I could never trust it to guard my words. What if you snooped? What if I forgot to lock up my thoughts? What if you got curious and decided to break in? 

I found myself writing for your benefit, just in case. Every word was chosen carefully, every pen stroke nearly perfect. Pencil first, cross out, erase. That’s not really what I meant. Hush, hush. 

So much was left out, so many unpublished worries. Unreturned phone calls, offhand remarks. Every time you forgot something that you were supposed to remember.

I awoke one night to find your side of the bed empty. It seemed so dark, but I could make out your shadow in the corner of the room and the locked-up book on the floor at your feet. I hardly recognized it; the pages were wrinkled, the binding stained. It was swollen and wet. Each one of the daisies had yellowed and withered and rotted. 

“Please, don’t.” I could only whisper.

But you reached for it anyway. The book warped and dripped like a wet sponge in your hands. 

The covers blew open and the pages erupted like water from a dam, rushing and crashing around the room, filling it up, knocking you down. The hardwood floor, heavy with the weight, bent and creaked. 

Black ink bled into black night. I sat up in bed and watched. I did not know what to do, but you were dying, drowning in an ocean of things unsaid, and so I had to tell you – “I hate daisies.”

Author bio
Nathalie Parmentier lives in Montreal and recently graduated from Concordia with a major in English Literature. She enjoys reading fiction and listening to podcasts. When she has had enough of words, she spends her time communicating through movement with a local non-profit contemporary dance company.