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Family Dinner

A Flash Fiction Story

By Mackenzie DavisPublished 12 days ago 2 min read
Family Dinner
Photo by Enver Güçlü on Unsplash

The draining bath water sounds like a woman wailing behind a wall and my limbs plaster themselves to the tub. I lie there long after she runs out of tears, growing warmer until there’s no distinction from when the tub was brimming with steaming water. That its absence can satisfy as much as its presence startles me.

I fold into a towel. My sister knocks as if the door is a flower petal.

“You done?”


There is too much fog on the mirrors.

The door agitates open, the humidity making it a three-part shoving process on account of my sister’s gentleness. As she begins to brush her teeth, I gather my things and leave. In total, we say three words between us, but I remember reading somewhere that a pyramid is the most stable shape and decide we’re fine.

Lights are on everywhere except the hall which I try not to make too much out of. Hallways are transitional, though, and I can’t help feeling that a shadow hangs over my life. Behind me, my mother flips the switch.

“You’re always in the dark,” she says and smiles. I shrug.

“No hands.”

“That’ll do it.” It seems like she wants to say more. Her feet start to twist away, though, so she follows them to the kitchen.

I think about words and how few are left now. Yesterday, there were too many. The memories of them flap like geese over my head. But as more and more come, they start to blot out the light and soon it’s all too much, too dark, and I realize that I’m the shadow.


It’s Dad’s voice. Right next to the door.

“I hear you!” I shout, matching him.

A pause. Then a heavy sigh.

“I wasn’t that loud,” he said.

You’re deaf. Then, aloud, “Well, you were.”

His footsteps dwindle and meet with dishes clanking.

I pull on clothes and throw my hair up, then go to the dining room. Everyone’s eating through silence. They’re just on their phones: my sister’s texting, Mom’s scrolling through news, and Dad’s reading a murder mystery.

Plate full, I sit. The words of yesterday seem to have bled into the resting space of action. I read once that if our eyes weren’t always making micro movements, we’d be blind to objects at rest.

The threesome’s faces flit across the confined frame of their respective algorithm and occasionally to each other, though never in sync. The blue light uniting them brightens until a right-angle triangle emerges, each point on the bridge of each nose. The pyramid is the most stable shape and I’m in the negative space.

I eat because I’m hungry. I don’t take my plate to the sink. Maybe they’ll find comfort in the absence of the words I so desperately want to leave behind.

Short Storyfamily

About the Creator

Mackenzie Davis

Writer by hobby and aspiring copywriter.✨ I love spending time outside, but also immersed in stories under a blanket.

I truly love this community. A big thank you to all who have welcomed me in. 💗🥰

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (23)

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  • Rizwan4 days ago


  • Congratulations on your Top Story, we have included this in our Community Adventure Thread in Vocal Social Society on Facebook and would love for you to join us there

  • Noor Chaudhary5 days ago

    Nice work . Keep it up .

  • J. S. Wade5 days ago

    Some are from Mars, others from Venus, some of us are from a distant galaxy yet to be defined. I get it, and it’s okay…now. This is an Excellent story with keen observations and a gift to translate for us travelers. 😎

  • Amazing and beautiful

  • Ahmad Zubair6 days ago

  • Shaheryar Ahmed6 days ago

    This is really a nice story a true emotions expressed on what happens in a family dinner. You can check out mine at

  • Real Poetic7 days ago

    Very thought-provoking. Amazing job.

  • Kristen Balyeat7 days ago

    This piece is incredible, Mackenzie! You did a phenomenal job creating very strong imagery and emotion. I second Naomi, I've felt that disconnect from the distraction of others and their enslavement to the next stimulus. Fantastic work here!

  • Naomi Gold7 days ago

    This hit me hard. I often feel disconnected from those around me, witnessing the endless scrolling. I love the repeated imagery of the pyramid. When you realize your environment is stable, and you are the potential disruption to it as an outsider, what is there left to say?

  • I'm thrilled to have learned about this story, and your artistry, through the Vocal shout out thread. The themes of presence / absence, light / shadow, speech/ silence, stability / transition play out so richly in such a condensed space. I love the bookends of the empty tub and that empty plate. So, so well done! Happily subscribed!

  • This is part of life

  • Gina C.7 days ago

    Your writing is mesmerizing 😊 "The memories of them flap like geese over my head." ...just one of the many lines I loved. Amazing work and Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Gerald Holmes7 days ago

    This is art! Such a wonderful use of words. There are so many great lines in this that it is hard to pick just one. But I loved this one, "The words of yesterday seem to have bled into the resting space of action." This is a very deserving Top Story. You just got a new subscriber.

  • Andrei Z.7 days ago

    Yees, congratulations! 🙃

  • Heather Hubler7 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!

  • Congratulations on your brilliant top story!❤️

  • Heather Hubler7 days ago

    I loved how reality felt blurred in this. Your descriptions were so lovely. Just painted this sad, floaty feeling. I appreciated how you ended it. I really enjoyed your writing :)

  • Beautiful work here. Excellent descriptions and haunting narrative

  • Donna Fox9 days ago

    Mackenzie, I love you use of personification in the first paragraph as you set the scene. It was such an unconventional personification of a bath tub draining that I was immediately drawn to continue the story! I found you word selection and way of describing the scenery to be very poetic and enticing. Although this is likely the scene of many family dinners, I find it sad that this is the case. You did a great job portraying the main character as an outsider or as though she feels like on in the family. It was an interesting notion to throw into the mix. Great story all around!

  • Andrei Z.12 days ago

    There's something dreamy and unsettling about this piece. I liked how you threaded the beads of the words all through your story. But I guess flash fiction is not my genre; it manages to raise so many questions, but doesn't really answer them, and I sit here intrigued and not sure what to make of it :D

  • ALI HAMZA12 days ago


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