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2022 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 22

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something featuring the phrase "the door is open."
Flash Fiction Challenge

For today’s prompt, write something featuring the phrase "the door is open."

Remember: As mentioned yesterday, these prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at featuring a specific phrase:

Knowing and Known

People always talk about when they knew they’d found “the one.” But does anyone talk about what the knowing feels like?

It isn’t something I feel all the time; even Midwesterners can become used to the constant sound of the crashing ocean. It’s something that flutters occasionally between my rib bones, the bitter-sweet weight of too much chocolate in my mouth. It sounds like there you are and here you’ve been and the faint surprise of you’re still here. It’s the scent of a third cup of black coffee, the enthusiastic sound of a Pokémon game playing on the Switch while the world goes to hell.

And on the opposite side of knowing is being known. That’s the really tricky bit. You knew me when I was still an animal in a cage, moon-eyed for passersby but with teeth bared in the mirror. There was no map, but you listened for coordinates in stop and no and I don’t like that. Years have gone. Was there ever a day you weren’t waiting for me?

These days, I’m an animal reluctantly freed. I still prefer the safety of the cage. But now I sleep with the door open. This is progress, you say, and I pause. I see small differences in the mirror, but your eyes are not a mirror. On the best days, I wonder at that. On the worst ones, I fear it.

Why stay? I’ll ask, savage in the open air, desperate for reprieve, retreat.

Because I know you, you’ll say.

And I’ll remember—the door is open.


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