Last month, I wrote a 500 word flash fiction to celebrate reaching 500 followers on Twitter. It proved to be a wonderful writing exercise, so I’ve decided to do a creative piece for every hundred followers I reach. This is my #600for600 flash fiction, celebrating 600 followers! Thanks, guys! Enjoy!
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Nicholas put out his cigarette and ducked back into the cabin, welcoming the warmth that washed over him as he moved to stand next to the fire.
He knew sleep would be elusive at best if he were to try at this hour, so he withdrew another cigarette from the pack. Never mind that Eleanor was sure to complain that the house reeked of tobacco when she woke – the earthy fumes of the wood fire would probably mask it anyway, he thought as he took a long drag.
He moved to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, sitting down at the table to enjoy it. His gaze wandered out the small window, watching the morning sun twinkle through the dense forest cocooning their humble house.
He’d just tossed his cigarette butt into the fire when Eleanor shuffled into the kitchen, rubbing the drowsy droop from her eyes. Her lavender dressing gown sat askew on her small body, revealing a bare shoulder. She wrung her hands and stood in one spot, staring at the floor.
‘Good morning,’ he greeted her. ‘Sleep well?’
‘Well…no.’ She looked up at him, the flickering flames reflected in her eyes. ‘I want a divorce,’ she murmured.
The silence that followed stretched on forever, broke down the walls of the quaint cabin, spread over the roads, infiltrated every house and building in the world. In Nick’s world.
He blinked slowly, watching steam curl off his coffee. ‘You want a divorce.’
He nodded back and sipped his coffee. Twenty-six years, and she just wakes up one morning and decides she can’t hack it another day. He idly wondered if it’s because she smelled the cigarette smoke.
‘Okay,’ he said, not looking at her either, just staring out his little window. ‘You can have your divorce.’
Her head shot up. ‘Really? Just like that?’
He could feel her gaze fixed on his back. ‘So…you’re not upset?’
‘Why would I be? This is what you want, isn’t it?’
‘I just thought…I mean, we’ve been married for twenty-six years. Are you not gonna ask me why?’
He frowned. ‘There’s only a few reasons why your wife would wake up one day and say she wants to divorce you.’
She shifted. ‘I just feel like we’ve become different people than we were when we met.’
Nick suppressed the urge to scoff as he pulled out his cigarettes and struck a match to light his third one of the morning. He was already sick of this conversation. No sense in dragging out the inevitable.
‘You know you’re not supposed to smoke in the house.’
He sucked down the poison until he couldn’t hold any more in his lungs. The smoke came out in puffs when he spoke. ‘I built this fucking house with my own two hands, so I’ll smoke in it if I want to.’
He ignored her.
‘You’re such a cold man.’
‘You’re just gonna let your wife walk out on you without so much as an explanation.’
Nicholas shrugged. ‘It would be selfish of me to try and make you stay. You’re clearly unhappy here. All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be happy, whether or not it’s with me.’ He walked over to her, planting a kiss on her stony cheek. ‘I’ll miss you, but I wish you the best and I hope you can find someone to love you the way you want them to.’
She slapped him so hard across the face that he patted his beard to make sure it was still there. ‘You’re a fuckin’ doormat.’