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:  Alone time


She was out in her driveway again, in the dark, at eight o’clock at night.  This being suburbia, and she being the sort of woman she is, it is impossible for her to understand that it is an imposition to be constantly greeted: to leave the house, to return to the house, to get the mail, to drop off the mail, to go for a walk, to return from a walk, to mow the grass, to pick up bits of trash from the front yard, it is like being constantly barked at by the neighborhood dogs, until one is on the lookout, until one of you (if you are with someone) is chosen as the one who has to throw themselves under the bus of making conversation with someone who is both helplessly likable and hopelessly unable to allow herself to say anything other than what she thinks one ought to have said, at length.

Her husband’s friends were over, playing a game together as they once had in college, and she wished to apologize for the irregular number of cars parked in the street, she was lonely, they only wanted to use her as a hostess but not to speak to her, her child had been sent off with its grandparents, and she wanted nothing more than to be alone, alone, alone in the bath with a glass of wine, and she could not.

“Blow them off,” I said.  “Just lock the door and take a bath upstairs, if you would like to be alone.”

She changed the subject to how we never really talk to each other, nobody does, and I think what she meant to say was: I didn’t know it would be like this, I didn’t know that I would have to stay here, with my kid, working from home, cleaning house, not cleaning house, feeling guilty about not cleaning house, wanting to reach out to other people and grab onto them, to put down roots, feeling everyone around me slip through my fingers and not understanding why, why, wanting to belong, I thought it would be different, that I would feel comfortable and safe here, but no matter how safe it is I can only feel that I am in danger, the kind of danger that cannot be spoken of lest it be laughed at, I am constantly followed, I am haunted by another self, a past, a future, a self that somehow, somewhen, chose something that would have allowed me not to be here, now, forever, one day is so much like another, when will this be over, am I doomed.

I went inside the house; I have learned that there are perfectly pleasant people in this world that are bottomless in their hunger for security, and they will, charmingly, swallow one up.

She was not meant to live here, with her fear of being alone.

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