23 July, 2021

Fiction Friday - Don't Look Too Close

Marion put the heavy vase back on the table, her thirst sated. She smacked her lips a couple times just to hear the wetness on her lips, teeth and tongue. A sigh escaped and she turned down the hall. The flowers lay on the table where she'd lain them on entering the old house and seeing the vase.

It had been too long. How long? Marion had no idea. The old wood panels of her huge Victorian house were faded with dust, but for the table in the center hall. The table that had held a heavy, cut-glass vase full of fresh wild flowers. 

Fresh? No, a few days old at least. Not that Marion had noticed. Her thirst drove her to distraction.

"Why am I so thirsty?" The thought crossed her mind as a simple question mark without words. She had no answers.

Her steps took her down the well-worn floorboards to the kitchen. Water.

The faucet creaked, but nothing came out. Why not? Too many questions.

Marion looked around at the faded wallpaper beyond the breakfast table. Had it always looked like that? Where was everyone? "Hello?" Her voice creaked out as a rasp.

Marion looked down at herself for the first time. Her clothes were faded like the wallpaper. That seemed wrong, too. Marion always took good care of her clothes. So why was her dress faded and - was that a rip? Tugging the fabric of her dress to and fro, she could see that the hem was ragged and there were random holes down the front of her dress.

"Why am I wearing a dress, anyway? Wait -" Marion asked the question out loud then stopped to think. She didn't recall coming into the house, or where she had come from. "This is stupid. I'm going to change," she told herself, and went back out to the hallway to take the main stairs up to her bedroom. Jeans. She wanted jeans.

At the top of the stairs, in the center of the hall, was a mirror over a side table. Marion saw herself as she crested the stairs and her jaw fell open.

Chunks of flesh were missing from her face and neck. She had seen without watching as her hands lifted the vase and played with her skirt, but now she turned her forearms back and forth and could see how the skin had shrunk back and pruned on itself. Her nails looked longer and dirty.

Stepping closer to the mirror to get a better look, her hands went up to her neck and touched a line of blotchy red bruising still visible across the part of her neck that was whole.

"Oh that's right," she stated with the slow dawning of realization. "I'm dead." And she watched her mirror image fade into a ghostly white vapor.


Every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment.


  1. I wonder how often she forgets that fact.

    1. I toyed with the idea of ending on "she'd be back tomorrow", but the flowers in the vase were a few days old, so I don't know!

  2. This is why you keep lists. Write things down.


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