Posted in Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday 176: Smell

Short Story: "Smell" | Flash Fiction

            “What’s that smell?” Barbara asked. She stuck her nose in the air and sniffed a couple of times before drawing in a deep breath.

Emily sat up in her bed and sniffed the air without saying anything in response. Then she looked at her sister and shrugged her shoulders.

Barbara tossed the blankets off of her body and swung her legs over the side of her own bed. She slid her feet into her slippers and stood up grabbing her silk bathrobe that hung on the frame of her bed.

Emily watched as her older sister walked out of their bedroom. Once Barbara was gone, Emily decided to get up and out of bed as well. She didn’t smell anything at all so she was curious as to what Barbara was doing.

Emily reached up on top of her shelf and put on some slipper socks. She always kicked them off her feet in her sleep in the middle of the night so she didn’t bother wearing them to bed anymore. Once they were on, she hopped out of bed and followed her sisters downstairs with her arms wrapped around herself. There was a slight chill in the air and Emily wasn’t one for bathrobes. She was still wearing tank tops to bed even though it was going to be winter soon.

When Emily reached the bottom of the stairs and walked into the kitchen. She sniffed the air again, but she still couldn’t smell anything. Her nose was usually stuffy in the morning. That was most likely caused from her wearing a tank top and no socks to bed in chilly weather, but she didn’t care.

“What do you smell?” she asked her sister.

Barbara looked all around the kitchen. She twisted each knob on the stove to make sure they were all shut off. “I thought I smelled something burning. I still do, but nothing seems to be on.”

“Maybe the heat clicked on. Sometimes it smells like something is burning.” Emily suggested.

Barbara nodded her head. “Yeah, you could be right. I just wanted to check anyway.”

“Good idea.” Emily agreed. Their parents were out of town for the weekend. The last thing they needed was for their parents to come home to no house.

Barbara looked at the clock on the microwave and sighed. “I was hoping to sleep in a little later than this.”

“It’s Saturday, though. We have the whole day now!” Emily smiled. It was only seven o’clock in the morning. Which, to Emily, that was a normal time to wake up. Barbara liked to sleep in late, though.

“I know,” Barbara sighed. “I’m going to take a shower and then maybe we can go food shopping?”

Emily nodded. “I want to take a shower too, though.”

They walked out of the kitchen together and both stopped shocked as they made it into the living room. There, just outside their window, the neighbor’s house across the street was smoking.

“Barbara, is that…?” Emily stammered.

Barbara walked closer to the window and noticed the smoke coming from the kitchen window. “I can’t tell if they just burned something or if there is an actual fire.”

Emily turned right around and went back into the kitchen. She picked up their landline and dialed the number to their neighbor’s house. The phone rang a couple of times before someone picked up.

“Hi, it’s Emily across the street. There’s a lot of smoke coming from your kitchen. Are you guys cooking something?” Emily asked. The phone was attached to a cord, but she stretched it out enough so she could peek into the living room.

“No?” her neighbor responded.

Barbara gasped in the other room. “I think I see flames!”

“Jill, I think your house is on fire.” Emily said quickly.

“I’m calling the fire department.” Barbara raced back up the stairs to get her cell phone.

While still on the phone with Emily, Jill went down stairs in her own house and checked out the kitchen. Sure enough, there was a fire. She woke up her husband and two kids. She gathered up the cat and they all ran outside together.

Emily opened her front door and beckoned for them to come inside. It was cold out and they shouldn’t have been standing right outside their smoke-filled house.

“I can’t believe this!” Jill exclaimed as she sat down on the couch in Emily’s living room.

“The fire department is on the way.” Barbara said walking back down into the living room. Shortly after, they heard sirens in the distance.

“What do you think happened?” Emily asked.

“I have no idea.” Jill shrugged her shoulders. “I noticed the stove burner was on. The cat might up jumped up there and turned it on by accident.”

“I thought you had child-proof locks on the knobs because he jumped up there a lot?” Barbara asked.

“We do, but he broke one of them. We haven’t gotten a new one for it yet.” Jill sighed.

Barbara and Emily looked at each other pitifully.

A red fire truck pulled up just outside their house and the firefighters immediately went into action.

“Stay here, I’ll handle this.” Jill’s husband walked away from the window and went outside.

They all watched from the window as the fire department took out their big hose and washed their house down. Fortunately, the fire didn’t get big enough to spread through the rest of the house.

When all was said and done, Jill went outside to talk to her husband and the fire fighters.

“The good news is,” her husband said, “it was just the kitchen. The bad news is, we have no kitchen.”

Jill put a hand on her heart. “I’ll take that as opposed to the whole house burning up.”

Emily elbowed her sister as they watched Jill and her husband talk to the firemen. “Good nose.”

Barbara chuckled. “I only got out of bed because I thought Mom was making pancakes or something.”

“Mom isn’t even home.”

“I know, but when you wake up groggy, you forget these things.”

Words: 1,016

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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