Not Today (Flash Fiction)

Bob stared at his blank parchments and frowned. He tapped the dry quill with a worried rhythm as the candle slowly melted. Tiny rivers of wax inched across his oak desk in a continual encroachment upon him. They were the mocking fingers of silence.

The winter sun faded rapidly outside of his frosted window. Even the fire seemed to burn down quickly. His small library was empty save for the bountiful cold that continued to invite itself in. Bob shuddered and wrapped his wool blanket tight against him. It hung as a heavy weight from his aging, sloping shoulders. The dry quill tapped, tapped away.

His eyes darted in desperation, in search for that starting spark. A lifetime of clutter lined his dusty shelves. Worn books, outdated maps, jars and bottles and trophies and finds, all looked back with muted inspiration. A subtle sadness took to him. “A lifetime of searching,” he muttered to himself. “And what have I found?”

The anxious quill tapped on.

He fussed with his journals and papers. He neated the stacks and made them right. Disarray was given proper angles. Randomness was subjected to being organized. But always before him lay the one blank page. The off white paper stained in subtle yellow, its corners round and creased, was an endless ocean of uncreation. Bob felt the coldness around him find a layer of despair as his eyes fell into that sea and floundered there.

He closed his ink bottle and surrendered his quill. The waxed fingers reached for the blank page as if to grasp for victory. He didn’t bother to blow out the candle, for it was nearly gone. He didn’t bother to rebuild the flame, for the cold had already won.

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