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The Absence of Light

November 9, 2015

Here’s the first of the Flash Fiction (250 word) stories I wrote back in January in response to the Contest on the Writer Unboxed site.- Enjoy
Two of their neighbors brought the tabletop lantern into the living room.
“Perfect spot,” Adele blurted, quickly rubbing her arms.
Royce kept silent. It made the room obscenely bright, even revealing strands of a lifeless cobweb floating near the ceiling.
“Well,” said the taller neighbor. “Candle’s battery-operated. No fire worries. It’ll burn two weeks. Be back Saturday. Next neighbor’s turn. Y’know, set by the window like that, even passersby may notice. Bless you both and may you find peace in the light.”
Peace in the light? What a line of crap. Royce had to bite his lip to keep from laughing. But look at this. Adele on the verge of tears. And when wasn’t she?
“It’s beautiful,” she told the two neighbors as they were leaving, and afterward stood transfixed before the table and the lantern’s light.
“What’re you simple-minded?” Royce yelled from across the room.
“So pure, so peaceful,” Adele answered.
“Yeah, pure stupidity.”
“Not true. Something . . . more. I feel it. You must believe me.”
“Been snookered’s what I believe.”
The light reflecting off Adele’s face at that moment was like nothing Royce had seen before. It wasn’t simply that she looked suddenly younger, although that was part of it, but that she wore an expression of such innocence it made his muscles limp.
But the feeling passed, tightening as quickly as it came.
“Move away!’ he shouted, reaching Adele. But she remained transfixed by the light, and unmoving, despite his relentless punishment.

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