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Flash Fiction


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Darkness was all he knew. The world empty of color. Of hope. Empathy. There was nothing but shadows, painting the walls black. Shutting out the sounds of love. Beauty. For so long that’s how it was. No light. No anything, except his trilling thoughts. Stagnating his mind in bitterness. In all the things he taught himself.


He couldn’t remember when it was that the darkness first came. Life in the time of the light was so long ago. Cracked smiles. Broken glass. Old photos fading on the floorboards. Dusty. Cobwebbed. Things he would never get back. Things, he convinced himself, he didn’t want back.

I don’t deserve it…

There was a melody once. That much he could recall. The soft piano echoing through white-washed halls. The gentle pitter-patter of rain. The smell of spring—damp and lively outside the living room window. The little things, that when he sat and thought about, would make his heart flutter. Make it thump an extra beat. Remind him of a time he was at peace. A time when nothing else mattered…

Silver rain collected on the sill, birds chirping in the dogwood trees—blossoming in white. Outside in the garden, fairy lights twinkled, lighting up the incoming evening. Setting a soft glow to the mossy yard. And still, from the warmth of his home, the piano played on. Beautiful symphonies. Collaborating with the rain.

And the candles, how they flickered. Breaking the shadows that came to listen. Ushering them away—back to the darkness of the cellar. How they blinked in time with the melody around them, counting each and every note. Burning softly. Sweetly. Like his cup of tea, freshly poured and drowned in honey.

How lovely it all was. How peaceful. How rare.

He didn’t want it, he told himself. He couldn’t have it.

He wasn’t worth it

No, it wasn’t her he wanted anymore. Her bitter nagging and heartless inquisitions. Her negative clutter, piling itself in the corners of his mind. Swallowing his breath. His light. His peace.

He had known darkness before her. It had lived in the hearts and the words of many others. Spewing their way through the cracks and kindness. Nipping at his heels since the day he had unexpectedly invited it in.

Yes, he knew the darkness. Knew it well, and had learned to tame it. But she fed it. Gave it reign. Made it feral. Back to the way it had been before. Before the candlelight. Before the music. The rain.

And when she left, oh, how she saddled him with it. Leaving it hungry and alone—starved for attention. And all it did was eat away at him. Picking flesh from between his bones—gnawing its way through his ribs. Towards his heart. And he just didn’t have the energy to stop it this time.

He was too tired. Too broken.

Desecration was all he accepted.

But, oh, how those simple things he would take back. Capture in a bottle. That little beacon of sunlight. Those candles—breaking the shadow. The moments in between the sorrow. In between the despair. Those silent moments—silent moments with himself—he wouldn’t have traded for the world.

For amongst the piano and the rain, the candles and the tea, he found his voice again. Found it and made it his own. It wasn’t choked by her darkness, or the darkness before her. It could come out of hiding. Breach its head and sing. Lively. Proud. Even if quiet. Just enough to tell the world, “I’m here!”

And so, he gathered his courage to strike the match. Ignite a feeble flame, hungry for wax. And he sat back and watched it dance in silence. Dance to the invisible melody he knew still lived in the walls. Waiting to return.

And what a surprise it was when it did.

How it echoed across the windowpane, catching drops of sunlight in each note. Lighter than the rain had once been. More free. And he felt it in his heart. Felt it skip a beat. Felt it thump-thump with the intrigue of times before. Times of pleasure. Of peace.

Of times he thought no longer existed.

But it wasn’t the music or the candles or that beating in his chest that made him know the chain was broken—the weight lifted. It was the smile, breaking across his lips, that solidified it. The little wavering sliver of beauty, of love, of hope that could never be broken. That could never be swallowed by the shadows. Inside, the light returned. And how the world could see it, illuminated on his face.


Dorian J. Sinnott (USA)

Dorian J. Sinnott is a graduate of Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, currently living in historic Kingston, NY with his two cats. When he's not writing, he enjoys English horseback riding, playing violin, and traveling to comic cons up and down the east coast. He is the social media editor for Coffin Bell Journal. Dorian's work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including: Crab Fat Magazine, Riggwelter, and Nightingale & Sparrow. He is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and Horror Authors Guild. Dorian's work has appeared in over 200 literary magazines and journals around the world and has been nominated for the Best of the Net and Eric Hoffer Book Award. Find him at:

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