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Burning Midnight Oil

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The darkness closed around Nelly as she laid in her bed. She could hear her parents moving about the house; it wasn't time yet. As her parents' mumbling grew fainter, Nelly slid her hand closer to the red leather book.

Silence. She held her breath and counted to herself, until a full minute had past. Then she sighed. Closing her eyes, Nelly moved her hand across the bedside table. Her fingers glided over her diary, and she pulled it to her pillow. Next, she searched out her candlestick and matches.

The candlelight tinted her room. Nelly opened her eyes and watched the lambent light flicker on her bedroom walls. Reaching into her pillowcase, Nelly found her pencil. She positioned it between her index finger and thumb and allowed it to rest on her ring finger. She stared at how the pencil fit so well in her hand, like it belonged there naturally. Like she was always meant to write.

Flipping open her diary, Nelly found the place where she'd left off. Now she would record the day's events. Of her hike. Of her premonition…

'I will fall headlong into the chasm,' she thought. It's not like she willed this. It's not like she planned to take her own life. But, while hiking today, she knew. She just knew that she would die this way. How would it happen? Would she be pushed, or would she just slip to meet her fate?

Everyone would eventually meet their demise. But did everyone know about it ahead of time, as she did? Did they just not say? How can people hide such a secret?

She wrote. She recorded the events of the day, as she always did. But she was afraid to go into much detail about her premonition. Sure, she mentioned it. But nothing more. Should it be explored? Perhaps only in thought. She really didn't want to dwell on it anyway.

Nelly was barely fifteen. It was a time to think of life, of what she'd be doing tomorrow, of which boy was the cutest, of living. Of living her childish adventures. She was still young enough for fantasies.

Nelly made a conscious decision to forget about the chasm.

- October 20, 1918