Published today on 1000words – my flash fiction piece, A Note Unsaid. If you’re too lazy to click (and, let’s face it, we’re all winding down…), see below.
A Note Unsaid
It never got properly dark there, not with the works so close by. Sometimes, as she waited in the kitchen for John to come home, she’d turn the humming strip light off and prepare the food by the glow of the quarry instead, judging how much to cut from each vegetable from the size of its long shadow on the chopping board. She didn’t even need to look at them any more – just the shade they cast in the half-dark.
She worked without thinking most of the time, chopping and dressing a salad, cutting thick slices of bread from a loaf, arranging the food on a plate so John could take what he wanted. Sometimes, after a long night shift, he was ravenous; other times, he’d come home grey and exhausted, and wanting nothing at all. She always made it as easy as possible for him, feeling a sting of pleasure as she watched him ponder and choose, his rough fingers hovering over each component of the meal.
By the time the night had started to lift, the indigo sky lifting over silken orange clouds, she remembered John wasn’t coming home. Lifting her head, she suddenly felt very tired. Across the water, the cranes reached towards the sky like ancient creatures stretching their long necks, the factory sending plumes of steam upwards like heavy breath warmed deep within some living thing.
The lights set high on the chimneys would go out soon, and the sharp, fickle ribbons of gold that reached across the water towards the house would be gone. In the months since the accident, she’d felt bitter anger at those lights, turning out when every new morning rose. Those were the lights that had connected her to John during the hours he spent over the water. They were the lights that should have guided John home.
Leaving the food on the table, she turned her back on the window and left the room. The cranes, with their slender necks, stood tall, and the tarnished water reflected the beauty of another nascent day.