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Three Gifts

jaxx sullivan

16 Dec 2023

Flash Fiction

Dale was getting ready to go for a festive dinner with his best mate. He tweaked and teased his hair into place, his face and body surrounded by the faultless contours of the mirror’s curved frame. It was a poor reflection of how he was feeling inside. Itchy, aggressive, spears poked at the flesh and blood in his stomach. His phone sprung to life on his dresser, ‘home’ again. He ignored it for the third time, the spears turning to red-hot iron pokers, his face flushed, his throat seethed. “Breathe Dale. Long breaths,” he told himself. He was unwrapping the unwanted gifts from the past that had unwittingly been bestowed upon him - guilt, resentment, shame - and he was slowly throwing them away, one layer at a time. His phone buzzed again, “Dale78 you have a new connection.” He opened the app, then his phone rattled again, a message from Layla confirming their next date. Date six. The edges of his mouth involuntarily sashayed upwards, and his eyes widened, sending his eyebrows towards the ceiling. Strange sensations tickled him from behind his bellybutton, not unwanted, but unusual and a bit unnerving. His 45-year-old thumbs danced alone, together in the mirror as he sent out a message to help find his way home.

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