Flash Fiction Winner - February 2013

Deirdre H. Gage - The Closet

The little boy stirred in his sleep as his thumb slipped out of his mouth and onto the train-printed pillowcase beneath his head. He mumbled and reached with his other hand for a dirty stuffed monkey but the motion of his small fingers disturbed the stuffed monkey’s perch on the blanket and the doll thumped softly onto the floor. The boy sighed and yawned but didn’t wake up; instead his fingers continued to curl and uncurl around his sheets, searching in vain for his toy.

The bedroom where the boy slept was cool and dim; the dark wasn’t so thick and heavy as it had been the past few nights, lit by a full yellow moon high above the hazy shadow of a live oak tree in the front yard. A purple Cinderella night light cast another tinier pool of light into the room, showing pale green walls smudged randomly with children’s hand prints. In daylight the prints were bright, cheery primary colors, but in the dark they looked like dirty tracks leftover from a crime scene.

A long tick sounded above the door as the hand of the sun and moon clock clicked into place at 3:00. The Cinderella night light went out abruptly. The little boy’s fingers stopped moving briefly, then resumed as he began to snore. Across the dull beige carpet, his sister slept deeply in her own bed, her face completely hidden by a lump of purple quilt and the heavy strands of her dark brown hair. 

Click. The boy stopped snoring abruptly at the faint sound. His eyes were still closed, but his legs wriggled around under the blanket as if someone had just poked him. 

Click. The noise was slightly louder this time and the boy yawned again and rolled over. 

Click. The boy thrashed in his sheets, wrapping them around his legs and mumbling, “No blanket, no blanket.” But the more he moved, the more he became trapped in his bedclothes and soon his arms pushed frantically at the blanket. His sister began to stir, her own fingers fumbling for something just beyond her reach on the nightstand.

Click. This time the noise was loud enough that the boy pushed himself up onto his arms and raised his sleep-swollen face. His blonde wavy hair stuck up in baby-fine swirls and a thin line of drool trailed down his puffy lips to his small chin. A crisscross of blanket pattern marked his pink cheek and he sat up, rubbing his barely-opened light blue eyes.

Click. The boy’s head swung around as he looked for the source of the noise, finally focusing on the orange-and-brown giraffe growth chart on his closet door. Click… the giraffe’s long stiff body began to move… click… the giraffe’s head wobbled… clickCREAK… the closet door swung completely open.

The little boy’s mouth trembled and his chin began to get all red as he moaned, “Mommy!”

BANG! The closet door slammed shut.



About The Author

Deirdre H. Gage is a Texas writer who has claimed half a dozen other places as home, including Kentucky and Chicago - but her heart belongs to the Big Easy. She has been published in Cosmopolitan Magazine and Appalachian Heritage literary journal and recently published her first novel, The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms.  For more information, visit her at www.getawaygirlsneworleans.com.