Megan's Diary by Sean Bracken
Colin Sharpe had finished hoovering and dusting and was busy putting odds and ends back into the top drawer of the pine dressing table when he noticed Megan's Diary. Feeling slightly guilty, he picked it up and started to read.
Megan, his daughter was nearly five years old. She had started school last September and after only two weeks had been moved from junior infants into first class. She was advanced beyond her years and already possessed the reading abilities of a child twice her age.
The diary was full of the usual entries one would expect from a young child. Birthday parties, a trip to the Zoo, Christmas Holidays and so on. Colin skimmed through the pages, all written in Megan's neat script, until he arrived at the last page. There in a strange spidery scrawl he read one sentence. “Nana O'Brien will die tomorrow at twelve o'clock.”
Taken aback by the words only written yesterday, he put the book back in it's place and closed the drawer. He decided to discuss it with his wife Melissa later and put the matter out of his mind for now.
Later that morning as Colin and Megan watched TV and Melissa prepared lunch the phone rang. It was his sister in law Patricia and she sounded very upset. “Colin” she cried, “ Call Melissa to the phone. I have terrible news”
It transpired that half an hour earlier, at precisely twelve noon, Mary O'Brien his mother in law had dropped dead from a massive coronary. According to Patricia she was dead before she hit the ground.
A few days after the grief and the turmoil of funeral arrangements were over, Colin brought up the subject of Megan's diary over evening supper. Megan denied ever writing such a thing and was very upset at his persistent questioning. Despite her protestations and the tears streaming down her face, Colin insisted on bringing the diary to the table. He opened the book to the offending page and to his utter amazement there was nothing there. The page was blank. The ominous words had vanished.
After talking late into the evening the family finally agreed that his mind had played tricks on him. He must have confused a vivid dream with reality and due to the stresses of the past few days believed in something that had never happened.
The years rolled past and Megan now shared her life with a younger brother, Colin Junior and a baby sister called Sarah. She was maturing into a young woman preparing for her Leaving Cert and looking forward to college.
Colin had never forgotten the strange episode of the disappearing diary entry and from time to time had taken a sneak look into his daughters private life and writings. On seven occasions he had found the same ominous scrawl hidden on the pages and every one of them became true. Each one predicted the death of a friend or relative and was always accurate to the exact time of day. The omens always faded from the pages within a couple of days. Colin kept the secret to himself. He didn't want to attract undue attention to Megan who seemed blissfully ignorant of the frightening messages of doom that her diary contained.
Today though was very different. Colin was shaken to his core. There in that now familiar scrawl were the terrifying words “Tomorrow at a quarter past ten in the morning my Daddy will die!!!.” He sat on the edge of Megan's bed and let the tears come. He cried until he heard the front door open and the sound of Melissa dropping her keys on the hall table.
Pulling himself together he resolved to say nothing. There was no point in upsetting everyone. After all they'd have more than enough to cope with after he passed.
The following morning with a heavy heart he continued the pretence of normality and left for work as usual. Other than checking that his final affairs were in order he did nothing much at all. Sitting back at his desk, enjoying one last cup of black coffee he reflected back on his life and was content knowing that life had been very good to him. Feeling sad for his wife and children he waited quietly for his final moments. Ten fifteen came and went. Nothing happened. Colin couldn't understand how or why but thank God he was still alive.
Over dinner that evening he looked around at his family and took huge pleasure in sharing this meal with them. During the usual chitchat of dinner Melissa spoke to him. “Did you hear the news today Colin” she said “Tom King from two doors down died this morning” And he knew. With absolute certainty he knew. But he also knew that he would take this secret to his grave. He loved Melissa, he loved his family. He would forgive and accept the past. Life would go on.