Written by Lost in a Dream


It’s hard to leave the past behind entirely. Image // Carol Lin

Rose walked away from the high-rise buildings of Tetropolis, towards the fringe of the city. Her bag was heavy and the still, summer heat was particularly overbearing, so the journey took much longer than usual. While it would have been quicker for her to get a cab, she knew that the walk would give her a sense of closure. 

She paused to take a couple of pictures of her favourite places. She laughed at herself for being so damn sentimental. But there was no going back to Tetropolis after all that had happened. 

As she approached the edge of town, Rose found herself pausing outside her first flat. It seemed a lifetime ago. The owner of the grocery store on the other side of the street was sitting in a fold-up chair outside, reading a newspaper, and listening to a tinny radio. She recognised the song playing and it caught her almost by surprise. While she couldn’t remember the lyrics, she knew the rhythm straight away and it took her back to those early days. 

In a moment of nostalgia, she recalled the heavy, black notebook in her bag. The book was never really out of her thoughts, but she tried to push it to the back of her mind. She knew that she should have destroyed it with the other stuff, that’s what Felix said, but when she held the lighter up to the thick cream pages, she couldn’t do it. 

Knowing that she couldn’t take the book with her, Rose resolved to dump it in the next bin. Although she had written the book, she had never read through it. Would those happy, opening pages be laced with irony? Would she herself change through the pages? 

Sitting down at a disused bus stop, she pulled the book out of her bag and decided to give it a read before throwing it away. 

Lost in a Dream’s Closure was written in response to our November Half Hour Challenge theme, Book of Secrets. This short snapshot of Rose’s life leaves us hungry for more. What was in her past that she’s so desperate to throw away? But also, how is it that she cannot part with it? If you’re a diary or journal writer, would you find it sickening to throw your past away like Rose? Maybe it’s the pull of nostalgia that makes this HHC such a simple pleasure. If you liked Lost in a Dream’s writing, make sure you check out some of her poetry as well, such as ‘Parnassus Park‘ and ‘Time Was Standing Still‘.


Written by Miss Smiley

Beautiful scarlet roses for Mrs Hawthorne…

I only found the book this morning. Not much I can do about it now. It was weird – I found it in my roses, just outside my bedroom window. That should have triggered me off straight-up, but no. No, sensible Mrs Hawthorn Bridge doesn’t spot anything wrong with this.

Naturally, I opened it up. I’m the person who opens up other peoples’ medicine cabinets, after all. Like I wouldn’t open up a weird book outside my house, my room. Puh-lease.

That wasn’t even my first mistake.

It was all in a weird code. I couldn’t make head or tail of it at first. That was exciting. I love a good puzzle. But I was late for work and what was I going to do, leave it there, right outside my bedroom window? I think not.

So I took it to work with me. Thinking about it, it probably wasn’t my best move, but hey – can’t do anything about it now, can I?

I took another glance at the book at lunch time. I really wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t about the code – that was easy, once I’d started. Just a typical picture code – squiggle means A, small cat means C, that kind of thing. That really wasn’t the problem. The problem was the content.

Continue reading →

Angela’s Touch

Written by Rob


“I’d always felt Jenny had kept a part of herself in reserve.”
Image Courtesy of

I wasn’t even aware that Jenny kept a diary, until I found it lying in the hallway. I guessed it must have fallen from her bag. I recognised immediately what it was, even though it wasn’t written on a pre-printed, pre-dated book, but rather in an ad hoc collection of thoughts, scribbled into a well-thumbed, hard-backed book. I felt guilty about reading it; I knew I shouldn’t. She’d be mortified if she knew. Although we’d been married eight years, and we’d always promised each other “no secrets”, I’d always felt Jenny had kept a part of herself in reserve. It was as though there was a locked room inside her, that she’d lost the key to. I did not doubt she loved me, but I’d never felt that she’d trusted me with her inner sanctum, the core of her, the bit that made her tick. This memoire was too good an opportunity to pass over and so I sat on the “telephone chair” and read.

The early pages were mostly taken over with worries about the children: Derek’s first day at school, Linda’s poor spelling, Derek’s cut knee, and so forth. I didn’t seem to get much of a mention until I found “Kevin is a pompous arsehole!” in thick black letters, double underlined, following a passage describing our row about the Florida trip we couldn’t afford. That made me smile. I knew Jenny had come to my way of thinking about our budget a week or so later and, sure enough, there was the grudging, “I suppose he has a point,” two pages later. Continue reading →