Flash Fiction II

Sweep it off the table like those small, twisted up pieces of eraser that always end up on the underside of your socks. An orange glow starts to bleed from the streetlight, over the side of the road and down the steps into your darkness; it doesn’t apologise for interrupting the early night. Ginger, rose and cardamom are filtered through warm air and steam. A small red toy car left abandoned among dust and dead flies; you reach over to save it from a life of silence and realise that could have been you, sitting and waiting for a hand larger than your own to come and pluck you from shadow.

Obligation tugs at the hem of your skirt, insistent. It looks up, tears welling in its eyes and you sigh, fold the book closed. “What are you reading?” it asks, suspicion pouring off its tongue like tea.

“Nothing.”

“But why can’t I see?” Desperate now, hugging knees to chest.

“Because you won’t like it." Shrugs; never minded anyway. We walk back to the house, its tiny hand in mine, and as we turn the last corner I realise that it has rained, that the plants will be smiling from ear to ear.