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Not Going Out

What would happen if I stayed in the house for another week? Would they know? Perhaps they already know. Perhaps it is already a subject.

But how would they know? People still came, what of it if I didn’t go?

Outside looks dour. It’s not a day to go out. It’s a day to stare out. The house overlooks uncelebrated, toppled headstones, claimed by lichens and scoured by weather. The deep dead rest out there, unmolested. Breath on the glass obscures them so I draw on the pane with a manicured finger: smiley-face.

I am hiding; they must have noticed.

When thoughts come, simply acknowledge them and let them pass.

No. I am hibernating. A natural state for mammals in the winter. I am channelling the bear, or rather, the hedgehog. I am curled up in a ball with my spiny parts external, until spring. I’ll definitely surface then and be cheerful, like the daffs. The kids won’t mind, they keep my vulnerable inner warm. They are not outdoorsy children anyway; the garden meets all their needs. And the internet.

Do something that scares you every day. Tomorrow.

I am safe. These castle walls keep us, this sanctuary. Home is where the heart is, all my hats lay here. We’ll all be quite fine. We’re just not going out today.


Flash Fiction by Emma Dykes

Published in Spring 2017