On the Outside Looking In

Daryn stared at his reflection in the puddle, not for the first time wondering why he never seemed to fit in. He looked quite ordinary in the puddle and couldn’t understand why he felt this way. At school he was, somehow, different to the other kids, and spent much of his time on his own. At home all he wanted to do was sit in his room and write stories about heroes who saved people from evil giants, witches, or rampaging beasts.

In all of his stories, people worked together, a social response to attacks on their homes. Daryn was the outsider who rode in to dispose of the threat. But he never actually became one of those people, always staying on the outside, looking in.

‘You’ll feel different as you get older,’ Daryn’s Dad said, without taking his eyes from the newspaper he was reading.

‘That’s right,’ Mum added. ‘In the next few years the shyness will go away and you’ll make plenty of friends.’

Daryn often wondered how getting older would make any difference. He knew he wasn’t just shy, he simply felt uncomfortable being around people. Intended words formed readily in his head, but seemed to dissolve into nothing before they reached his mouth.

The puddle was changing, oily colours spreading across its surface, and with it, Daryn’s thoughts cleared. He saw himself as an adult, looking suave and confident in his expensive dark suit. The odd thing was, he was surrounded by people, all waiting for him to sign the books they held in their hands. On closer inspection he could see the author’s name on the covers: Daryn Tomlinson…

‘That’s me!’ he gasped, ‘I’m an author, a successful one, too.’

As an author, Daryn would soon be back at his desk, writing his next best-seller, away from the people he could not relate to. Being on the outside looking in suited him down to the ground.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Featured Image by Thorsten Frenzel from Pixabay

17 thoughts on “On the Outside Looking In

  1. Thank you, Maureen! I’m hoping to put all my recent pieces in A Dash of Flash 2. Unfortunately, I still have some way to go as I only have around 50 stories at present. 😕 I’ll keep working on them, though (in between attempting to write my next novel!) 💖

    1. Thank you for that lovely comment, Ineke! I do love writing flash fiction and I know you do, too. I hope to keep posting one a week, if possible. I miss the challenges, although they became too time-consuming for me. Yes, many writers, artists and other ‘creatives’ feel the same way as Daryn. ❤

      1. Yes, I also felt at the end while trying my hand at the challenges that it overwhelmed me so much that I stopped writing them. I started writing some stories for younger children during lock down. I enjoy writing them. I’m also still working on my memoirs.

  2. Millie, I see in your comments that you want to join in with one of the weekly challenges. I wonder which you’d chose because I’d like to join in too. Used to write in Scribblers Free Forums, but the thread is ‘asleep’ at present.
    Of course, I too enjoyed your take on Daryn the future author. It seems to me that you’ve hit the nail on the head — authors are often observing rather than joining in.

    1. Until three years ago, I used to do 3 flash fiction challenges a week, Hanne, as well as my Word of the Week and often a travel post, too. It all became too much while I was writing my Sons of Kings books and sadly, I had to stop posting on my blog. Since I was last here, two of the flash challenges I did have stopped, and the other is a 100 word one when, ideally I prefer a few more words to play with. Having said that, I might still go back to Friday Fictioneers (a 100 word challenge) as it’s a really great community.
      It’s lovely to know you’d like to write some flash, too, so as soon as I hunt some challenges out, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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