Flash fiction project: one dark story per day, all the way through October, each one based on one normal thing gone wrong. More of this year’s stories here.  You can find last year’s stories here, or at Amazon as October Nights.

Normal thing:  Cute journals

THE JOURNAL

Tanya received a journal for her twelfth birthday from her Great-Aunt Vasilisa.  It was an important birthday, her great-aunt told her, in a year you will be a teenager and you will go back to an ordinary sort of life, good or bad or both.  But when you are twelve, it will be the worst year of your life; if it is not the worst year of your life, then you have no soul.  Her mother laughed and said, “I wasn’t miserable until I was sixteen,” and Great-Aunt Vasilisa patted her on the cheek and said, “You were always boy crazy,” and Tanya’s mother fell silent. The cheek that had been patted went a little paler than the other.

“This is a magic journal,” Great-Aunt Vasilisa continued, turning back to you.  “Whatever you write in it, if you write something that is not true inside of it, the ink will disappear.”  Tanya could not have told her great-aunt exactly why that was nonsense, but it was; however, she accepted the journal in all seriousness and promised to write in it every day—or at least she would try, she said with almost a wink, because there was such a terrible amount of lying that she had gotten into the habit of, that the first few weeks might be a struggle.

Great-Aunt Vailisa laughed then, one of her great walloping laughs.  The cover was brightly decorated in the latest fashion, by an artist of that place, and of that time, with brightly colored animals with babyish faces. It hadn’t the slightest bit of magic to it, that was obvious.

Tanya threw the journal away when they moved away from that town, when she was sixteen.  By then Great-Aunt Vasilisa was dead, and Tanya must have purchased a hundred journals, stolen more, been gifted dozens by her family.  But it was always the same.  As quickly as she wrote, her words would vanish.  In college, if she would so much as doodle in the margins of her chemistry notebooks, the entire page’s worth of notes would vanish.  Emails, love letters, Christmas cards: all would go blank.   No one would lend her their books.  She would inevitably have to lose them, for they could not be returned in the blank state that they soon acquired, once she had read them.

It began to comfort her, to be able to write anything down, anything at all, and to watch the words fade away, slowly, inevitably, like the drying of invisible ink.

Truth is beauty, she wrote, and laughed as the words faded.  Love makes the world go ’round.  

Then one day she wrote, “The year I was twelve was the worst year of my life,” and there they stayed, the words, still lingering on the page.

I remember, she thought.  Oh God.  Now I remember.

And then the words came, and would not stop.

Dark, strange, twisted, and wonderful – #paranormal #horror and #mystery stories from Wonderland Press.