Flash Fiction #2: The Candle

Okay, maybe this will turn into an every day thing, I don’t know.  I don’t believe it will, because I’m primarily a novelist and don’t like to be limited to this form of fiction.  Perhaps I will try to do this weekly to gather more ideas instead.  Otherwise, I should probably focus writing my novels every day.

And this is not me being wishy-washy.  I need to get characterization, conflict, and setting straight.  This certainly helps me distill them.

The Candle

All she held in the darkness was a candle in a silver candle stick.

A slow breeze caressed her arm before she could even take her first step inside the house.  She breathed slowly to keep from blowing the candle out.    But even then, as she walked down the dark hallway of the house, her ankles rolling across the floor to deaden the noise, the candle still flickered on its own every now and then.  She never understood why candles would do that.  She had never paid enough attention in science class to know the hot air they generated brought cooler air up with it in a never ending cycle, which to her, was what the hallway was starting to feel like.

She stopped.  She looked back at the door from where she came in.  Open.  Tempting.  Dark, but lighter than the hallway she was in.    She felt lost without a sense of placement.  She walked backwards in the hallway.  The entrance grew smaller.  She stopped in the hallway until the door was as small as her candle flame.  She checked its size by lifting it up to her eyes, accidentally burning the corner of her eyebrow.

She hissed, put the candle down, and put two fingertips up to the stinging spot.  She breathed and waited a bit for the sharp needles to go away.  This was not going well.  Halfway down the hallway, perhaps, and hurting herself, scaring herself into thinking she’d do it again.  There was no one else with her to give her a band-aid, and she didn’t bring any.  Space Girl, she was called, because she always spaced out like this at crucial times—taking tests, taking attendance.

She removed her hand and picked up the candle in its candle stick.  She wouldn’t do that again.  No more Space Girl.  She walked on.

And on.  And on.

This didn’t make sense.  The house was one floor.  She’d seen it from the outside; it was no wider than her father’s garage.  But the hallway stretched on forever and ever until the door was nothing but a speck.

She stopped walking backwards, and kept walking forward with her candle.  The door getting smaller was more frightening than the darkness to her now.   With the unknown there was possibility.  With the door, her anchor, dissolving into obscurity, the thought of safety seemed erasable.

She felt something tickle her ankle and gasped, taking two steps back.  It felt like a bug or a spider.  She hated bugs.  And if she peered down to look and find them, she most certainly would have broken the rule: no running.  Waiting until nothing else was tickling her, she sighed in relief.

Doing so blew out the candle.

Her heart pounded, and her lungs pulled and pushed air in and out of her lungs.  She gripped the candle stick, its silver reassuringly curved, thick, and immobile in her hand.  She could whack something with it, if she had to, she reasoned.  She tried to regain her breath, but her mind kept wandering—spacing and branching out into different possibilities.  She looked at the darkness of the hallway that stretched before her, then looked back at the door she came from, only to find that the darkness was one and the same.    No anchor.

She didn’t like to wander around and be in space anymore.  She turned back, thankful that the hallway wasn’t a maze that left her twisting and turning around the black hole of evil that was this house.  At the very least, she was courteous, and left the candle stick on the floor, where she found it.


The next morning, at the abandoned house with white paint chipping off, unbeknownst to anyone, a lone candle in a silver candle stick sat in the middle of a dark hall, one in which even the sunlight could not penetrate.  Pulled back by a thin, fuzzy black hand, the candle disappeared into the hall, and reappeared with a lonely, flickering light, welcoming its next guest.


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