Contributor: Brian J. Smith

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TOMMY GIBBS WAITED UNTIL THE BLUE FORD ESCORT EASED OUT OF THE driveway before creeping down the hallway into Bridget’s bedroom. There was no room for failure this time; no slip-ups like last time when she caught him two nights ago and screamed for Daddy as he bolted out of the bedroom. Outside, the rich blue sky was vibrant with sunlight and streaked with clouds shaped like joints. Across the street, a two story house had been ate by fire, its rough brick exterior and large windows smudged by soot. The joyful sound of afternoon play from the neighborhood kids echoed up and down the street.

He knelt down before her bedside table, moved the four Twilight novels aside and came up empty. He was setting them back up when his eyes drifted over to the small pink object jutting out from between the mattress and box-spring. He pinched it between thumb and forefinger, slid the diary out of hiding and set it on the bed. She always did have a nice bedroom, so white and clean and so many boy-band posters up on the walls, even a few people from the actual Twilight movies. When he turned the little conjoined key, the clasp snapped apart and the book opened, pages slowly fluttering back and forth.

Each page smelled like some flowery perfume and lightly dusted with glitter. He thought it was funny and sat down on the edge of the bed to read the page he found. His laughter ceased and the gaiety he felt when he obtained the precious journal drained away from him like the color from his face. His fingers slowly glided down the page, over the neatly scrawled script and shook his head. He couldn’t bring himself to read it, just couldn’t, and before he knew it he was holding the book up to his face and reading every bit of it word for word.

July 11, 2012

Dear Diary,

My mother woke me up last night to tell me the house across the street caught fire and that no one inside had made it out alive. I ran upstairs and fell onto my bed, crying and I stared out the window and stared at the house all black and burnt down and thought about Tommy Gibbs all over again and how he never had any real friends and never got to play outside because his parents always kept him inside and have parties at all hours of the day and night. He always waved at me from his bedroom window and let me know he was okay even though his father was constantly drunk and beat him and his mother was too busy smoking pot (I could smell it from their front porch one day when I was walking by to go to school) to even care about him but he always let me know he was okay. The paper says the fire was started by faulty wiring but I think I know better. I think Tommy did it because he—.”

He followed the arrow and turned to the next page. Tears slid down Tommy’s cheeks.

“knew the only way to free himself from that prison was death and if it meant taking everyone with him then he was fine with it, too. He was like a little brother to me and even thought he scares me when he comes in here at night to read my diary I would never get angry about it. I think I might leave a candle on my dresser and leave the book open for him tonight. Let him know everything he’s ever wanted to know about me."

Feeling the diary slide out of his hands and back onto the bed, Tommy sobbed uncontrollably and, at the sound of footsteps pounding up the staircase, carried his sadness long into the farthest reaches of the Unknown.

“Eavesdroppers never hear
anything good about themselves.”
—Old Saying

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Brian J. Smith has been featured in numerous anthologies such as Living Dead Press’ E-Mails of the Dead and Book Of Cannibals 2: The Hunger, Pill Hill Press’ 365 Days of Flesh Fiction, Metahuman Press’ The Dead Walk Again and And The Nightmare Begins...Vol.1: The Horror Zine. He’s also been seen in such magazines as Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine and New Voices In Fiction and such e-zines as The Horror Zine, Postcard Shorts, Thrillers Killers and Chillers, The Carnage Conservatory and The New Flesh and The Flash Fiction Offensive. He’s an avid fan of the horror and mystery suspense genre and a hardcore fan of both The Ohio State Buckeyes and The Cleveland Browns; he currently resides in Chauncey, Ohio with his mother, his brother the writer J.R. Smith and six dogs.
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