Far Worse than the Dark is the Moonlit Night

Here’s a new flash fiction piece inspired by an article from Brain Pickings on how list making can boost your creativity. Read it in full HERE. The advice in a nutshell…

‘Make a list of ten things you hate and tear them down in a short story or poem. Make a list of ten things you love and celebrate them.’ Ray Bradbury

I decided to give it a whirl so here’s what I’ve done with my ‘hate’ list, love list coming soon…

Far Worse Than the Dark is the Moonlit Night

Mary sighed at the chat. It was all who had died and how, no detail spared, and who was next. That or the cost of everything and what you were doing with yourself.

‘Are you still working Mary?’

‘I am.’

‘That’s great. It’s a job at least.’ They all nodded approval.

‘And… you’re still playing?’ ‘Yes, every weekend, keeps me sane.’

‘Do you get much for it?’ Here we go I thought.

‘Not money…I don’t get paid.’


No one ever knew what to say to that. They might stare a minute, bewildered, searching, for understanding, for something forgotten, or god knows what.

‘Teaching children is it?’ A relatable reason.

‘No, Not teaching, just playing, just adults.’

She almost went on, she used to, the reasons clamouring, struggling for air. In her head she said, not for money, not for competition, not for children, just for the love of it, for our minds, because we can, so that we know we’re living, you understand?

No, she’d never say that, could you imagine it? She smiled to herself. Only, ‘just for the love of it,’ that’s all she’d say. But from experience she knew the words once set free would but die on the air and the good would be dimmed just a little, she’d be dimmed just a little, she swallowed them.

‘Do you enter competitions? I saw ye were away there for a while? Who paid for that?’

She knew words should have power. Not here. Words had no power here. ‘It’s because we’re not far enough removed from the famine,’ her mother always said. They turned back to their tea and the death notices.

She remembered as a child she used to think it would be an awful thing to be an adult, it looked boring. They, most of them, never wanted to do anything only sit inside and talk. Even on the loveliest of days they’d be in in the dark. Not a scrap of life between them, only the range burning. As far as anyone could see anyway. The irony wasn’t lost on her that here she was still in her twenties, one of them,  or so it would seem.

To be fair not everyone was like that, she shouldn’t be too general. There were a few notable souls that weren’t all gloom, the past or plodding life, who would encourage people. That’s what she wanted to be herself she thought, an encourager.

Still, they were hard to find and for some they were hard to believe where the winters were long and youth was short and people said things they didn’t mean. She sighed with emotion, turned away to the window, up to the moon.

‘You’re very flushed Mary, I hope you’re not coming down with something.’ At sign of illness everyone brightened, ‘There’s a nasty old dose going round.’ ‘How is the love life Mary? Any sign of you to settle?’ They were killing her and her alive yet, but it was up to her how it ended.

‘Close those curtains Mary and throw a few sticks on the fire.’ Getting up to close the curtains she realised, far worse than the dark was the moonlit night. That was what really scared them, that was what was behind it.


And the list of things I hate…

The night, negativity, slowness, envy, small minds, fakery, acceptance, sameness, small talk, conservatism.

2 thoughts on “Far Worse than the Dark is the Moonlit Night”

  • Wow, Jane. And if this is a preview of your novel, you’ll be a best seller. Wow. Did I say Wow? “We’re not far enough removed from the famine.” Slavery and the Great Depression here in the US. Yesterday, Eamon asked if anyone still lived in Ireland because of the famine. I’d say that’s not necessarily living.
    You paid the challenge great homage.
    Love Ya’,

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