Hide-and-Seek by Danielle Bordelon

A five year old girl is mentally traumatised by her brother's death in Danielle Bordelon's flash.

It was my fifth birthday. I don't really remember tears or screams or any kind of noise. Just the silence.

I played with my cake, smashing it until it was unrecognizable.

My parents stared at the walls as if they would move at any moment. There was a world between them.

His funeral blurred into a sea of muted colors; the parents of Brady's friends cried softly as they dragged their somber faced little ones to pay their respects. The casket was closed.

I started to cry when I saw it, screaming at my parents to get him out.

"He can't breathe in there, Mama! How can he breathe?"

My mother started to cry too, like a child. She had been doing that a lot lately. My father bent down to smooth my hair.

"Honey," he said gently, "Brady's gone. He's not in there. He's in Heaven."

My sobs subsided a little. I hiccupped.

"But he's coming back, right?"

My dad shook his head.

"No, Annabel, he's not. He's dead, sweetie."

I stared up at him, my eyes wide. Now death wasn't just something that happened to old people or the characters on the TV shows I wasn't supposed to watch. It was real. It lived and breathed just as I did. And it was there in the room with us. It would always be there.

Living, breathing, watching, waiting.

I saw him for the first time at the funeral, munching on a sugar cookie, but it didn't stop there. I saw him on the drive to school, waiting at a bus stop. I saw him at the board, teaching us the alphabet. I became more and more withdrawn with each sighting. My parents became concerned.

One night I heard them talking about me in the kitchen, their voices strained.

"She's not adjusting. She's getting worse."

"Aren't we all?" My mother laughed harshly.

"Stop it. Stop that. This is our daughter. Don't you even care?"

"Of course I care, Brian. I just don't know what to do. We're spending so much on therapy already, I just..."

"It's worth it. She's our little girl."

My mother laughed again, the sound strange and callous. She showed him something. Slowly, I inched around the corner to see what it was.

It was a drawing I had made the day before. I didn't remember drawing it; I rarely remembered school these days. It was a similar effect to the one from Brady's funeral, a blur of bright colors and smiling faces. 
A crude stick figure girl sat on a red hill with her arms outstretched. I strained to see it, vaguely remembering reaching for the red crayon.

"Her teacher sent this home with her. She was concerned."

My dad swallowed. "Are those -"

My mother nodded. "Bodies."

That was when I saw them. The stick-figure bodies, dripping blood, contorted in strange shapes to form the hill upon which the girl sat. Underneath, there were words written in a five-year-old's scrawl.

"What does that say?" My father asked, squinting.

"He'll find us." My mother's voice was quiet. "He'll find us all."

I slunk back into the shadows, running up to my room. I did not think of the consequences of worrying my parents, only my insatiable need to express my pain.

At my sixth birthday party, I watched the other kids as they laughed and talked and played games, mocking them silently. I saw Brady's smiling face twisted and distorted, blood dripping from his forehead.

My parents looked on, whispering to themselves, as I slowly drew circles on the plate with my plastic fork. I remembered the words of the man with the glasses who I had gone to every week since Brady died.

Don't be afraid, Annabel. Death is a natural part of life.

I could see Death in the room with us. He laughed as he took a sip of wine, his teeth stained red. He sat on the couch, grinning too-wide at a cartoon. He hid behind the curtains in a game of hide-and-seek, though he was the one doing the seeking. He was everywhere and nowhere, all at once.

I watched the other kids as they talked and laughed and played games.

Don't you know he's found us?

I played with my cake, smashing it until it was unrecognizable.

He's found us all.


  1. how do you explain death to a child?

    very good Story, descriptive, characters
    to the Point

    well done

    Michael McCarthy

  2. You can run...but you can't hide. Creepy edge to a well written story.

  3. Nice flash story. I liked how the beginning and the end are connected. Especially with the phrase "I played with my cake, smashing it until it was unrecognizable."

    Haunting, considering it's a young girl who is confronted with death.

  4. Wow! Your three opening paragraphs really grabbed me and you held my interest throughout your flash fiction piece. Loved "Hide & Seek" by Danielle Bordelon

  5. creepy, but amazing writing. Loved this flash story!

  6. Hugely affecting short fiction sharing the perspective of a very young child to the death of her sibling. I read “Hide and Seek” with anguish In my heart, empathizing with the little girl. At this point In our lives, all readers can relate with the wretched trauma that Annabel suffers through, unprepared by experience or maturity to cope with the devastation to her world view. Thank you, Danielle, for so cogently and poignantly, telling this tale, And if, like so much fiction, this one has a germ of truth to it, I hope you, too, have healed.