Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 170: Pumpkin

Short Story: "Pumpkin" | Flash Fiction

            Anna pushed the stroller along the pumpkin patch as her eight-month-old son napped. As she paced around hoping to keep him asleep, she watched her husband and her five-year-old daughter wander around the many pumpkins for sale.

Anna’s daughter, Victoria, had never picked out her own pumpkin before. She was too young at the age of one, didn’t understand what was going on at the age of two, and she had a terrible cold when she was three and four. It was the weirdest thing and Anna expected the worst this year, but she was happy that Victoria was finally able to pick out her own pumpkin. And Victoria sure was excited!

She waddled around the many pumpkins looking thoroughly at each one. Parker, Anna’s husband, followed closely behind waiting for their daughter to finally pick one out.

“What about this one?” he picked up a small one. It was a good size for Victoria to carry all on her own.

Victoria tilted her head to the side staring at the pumpkin. She was thinking deeply about whether she wanted it or not. Finally, she shook her head. “Nah,”

“Why not? This one is cute.” Parker said.

Victoria ignored him and kept on walking. Anna chuckled from the sidelines.

“Okay, well then how about this one over here?” Parker picked up another one. It was the same size, but it was more round like a circle rather than an oval like the other one he picked up.

Victoria turned around and looked at it. She tilted her head to the side again in wonderment. Anna stifled a laugh. Did her daughter always tilt her head like that when she was deep in thought? Who did she get that one from?

“Nah,” Victoria said coldly. She abruptly turned around and kept walking.

Parker sighed and put down the pumpkin. He looked at Anna and shrugged his shoulders.

“Don’t rush her. This is a very crucial decision.” Anna said with a smile.

Parker nodded, but he continued to look for more pumpkins. He spotted a white one and pointed to it. “Hey, Victoria, look at that white one!”

Victoria stopped and stared at it in confusion. “That’s not a pumpkin.”

“What are you talking about?” Parker asked. “Of course it is.”

Victoria shook her head. “Pumpkins are orange.”

“Not all pumpkins.”

“Pumpkins are orange.” She said again and walked away.

Anna burst out laughing. Parker turned his attention and narrowed his eyes at his wife. “She sure told you!” Anna said.

“She takes after her mother.” Parker smirked.

“Good,” Anna replied bluntly.

Victoria continued to weave in and out all of the pumpkins. Parker followed along not bothering to point out any more pumpkins. He obviously had no idea what his daughter wanted. Well, he knew she wanted an orange pumpkin at least.

Victoria gasped with a grin spread across her face and she broke out into a run. She tripped a couple of times over some of the pumpkins, but she never fell down. Parker watched her get farther away, but wasn’t worried as the patch wasn’t that big. He couldn’t lose sight of her.

“Victoria,” he called out to her, “where are you going? The smaller pumpkins are over here.”

Victoria stopped and pointed to one right next to her. “I want this one!”

Parker’s jaw dropped. The pumpkin was the same size as his three-foot daughter. Why on earth did she want a pumpkin the same size as her? He thought she was going to want to carry it around with her. She couldn’t carry that! Would Parker be able to carry it? He had no idea.

“This is perfect!” Victoria cheered jumping up and down.

As Parker got closer to her he realized that she wasn’t wrong. The pumpkin was, to say the least, pretty perfect. It was the ideal circle, and very smooth to the touch. It was a bright orange color, too, so of course Victoria wasn’t going to shun it.

“How are we going to get that one home?” Parker asked.

“You carry it.” Victoria shrugged.

Parker sighed. Well, he didn’t go to the gym every morning for nothing.

Parker squatted and wrapped his arms around the pumpkin. He grunted as he lifted it off of the ground. “Watch out, Victoria. If I drop this, I don’t want to squish you.”

Victoria cheered and ran back to her mother. Anna stared at Parker with wide eyes.

“You’re letting her get that pumpkin?” she asked.

“This is the one that she wanted.” Parker groaned. He tried to shift his weight to get a better grip on the pumpkin, but it was like trying to hug a sumo wrestler.

“Where are we going to put it?” Anna asked.

“On the front porch,” Parker stated.

“But how are we supposed to carve it?”

“On the front porch,”

“We’re going to just sit out on the front lawn with knives and carving tools and just let the neighbors watch us carve a humongous pumpkin?”

“Anna,” Parker grunted, “if I drop this pumpkin, that won’t be the only thing that will smash.”

Anna looked down at Victoria who was grinning from ear to ear. No, they couldn’t allow this pumpkin to break or else they’ll break their daughter’s heart.

“You’re right, we should go.” Anna sighed.

“I think my back is going to break… And I can barely see anything around this thing, so could you lead me?” Parker asked.

“Parker,” Anna sighed, “how are we even going to get it into the car?” she looked down at Victoria. “Honey, let’s try to find a pumpkin daddy can carry.”

Victoria’s bottom lip quivered as Parker spoke up.

“No, I already got it this far. Let’s just keep moving, please.”

Victoria smiled again and Anna pursed her lips together worriedly. This was not how she expected their pumpkin picking adventure to go.

“Alright, but…” Anna started.

Parker groaned. “Now what?”

“Well… You know they charge by the pound, right?”

Parker closed his eyes and sighed loudly. He wanted to complain, but he also wanted to let Victoria get whichever pumpkin she wanted to get. It was the first one she picked out all by herself.

“It’s just one pumpkin, Anna. We can deal with it.” Parker said.

“If you say so,” Anna shrugged. She took Victoria’s hand and together she and her daughter pushed the stroller over towards the cash register.

After Anna had paid for the pumpkin, Parker stretched out his arms and then squatted again to pick up the pumpkin. Before he stood up, he looked up at Anna.

“Why don’t you go on ahead and bring the kids to the car?”

“But shouldn’t we stay with you in case you fall over?” Anna asked.

Parker sighed. “Anna, just bring the kids to the car, please.”

Anna shrugged and turned away without another word.

Parker lugged the pumpkin all the way out to the parking lot. Anna was in the driver’s seat with the engine running in front of the general store just outside the pumpkin patch. He smiled, grateful that Anna had brought the car around for him. The trunk automatically opened and Parker dropped the pumpkin in as gently as he could. He let out a big sigh and held onto his back as he closed the trunk door.

He walked around the car and sat down in the passenger seat.

“Are you okay?” Anna asked.

Parker nodded still trying to catch his breath.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Victoria said sweetly from her car seat in the back.

Parker smiled. The back pain was suddenly worth it.

Words: 1,269

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Short Story Sunday 169: Open

Short Story: "Open" | Flash Fiction

            When Caitlyn arrived home from work, she didn’t expect anything else to go wrong that day. It had been a long work day and she was glad to finally be home. She left her work back at the office not wanting to think about it anymore. She was thankful it was Friday because now she had the entire weekend to rest up, relax, and forget about all the damage her team had done that day.

She shut off her cell phone hoping that none of her group members would try to contact her later on in the night and try to discuss what happened that day. She refused to talk about it, refused to dwell on it more than she already had.

Caitlyn put her phone back into her purse and then stepped out of the driver’s seat. She closed the door walking around and opening the passenger side of her car. She picked up her purse and work bag along with her water bottle and lunch box. Her arms were already full, but she managed to close the door and lock it. She walked down to the end of her driveway and opened the mailbox. She grunted at the amount of bills that were in there. She barely got any mail each day. Now that her arms were full, there were quite a few letters as well as a small package.

She picked up the mail little by little and dropped them into her tote bag. The letters were going to end up wrinkled and bent, but she didn’t care. Caitlyn assumed most of them were bills anyway, so how important were they really?

She closed the mailbox and walked back up the driveway. She tried to balance everything she was holding onto while fiddling with her keys trying to pick out her house key.

Caitlyn walked up the steps to the front porch. She managed to open the storm door and stopped it from closing on her by sticking her leg out. Then she stuck her house key out in front of her, but there was nothing for it to go in.

She paused, realizing that the front door was already open.

Why was the front door open?

Caitlyn looked all around her with her brows furrowed in confusion. She started to sweat on the fall afternoon wondering what was going on. She lived alone and if her parents or sisters had stopped by, there would be another car in the driveway. Not to mention they probably wouldn’t have left the front door wide open even if they were home.

Taking a deep breath, Caitlyn stepped through the doorframe. She gently put her things down on the floor in the mudroom trying to be as quiet as she possibly could. She reached into her purse and took out her cell phone turning it back on, just in case. Then she turned around taking the storm door handle and pulling it closed hoping it wouldn’t slam and make a loud noise.

Of course, she didn’t want to think that there was anyone inside her house, but she couldn’t be too careful either.

Caitlyn tip-toed out of the mudroom, leaving the front door open. She didn’t want to make too much noise and she also wanted to be able to run away quickly if there happened to be someone in the house.

She poked her head around the wall and peered into the living room. There, on the couch, laid her cat. Caitlyn relaxed her tense body, but she was still confused and felt she needed to be cautious.

If her cat was just sleeping on the couch, then nothing must have been wrong, right? No one was in the house but Caitlyn and her cat?

Caitlyn shook her head. No, her cat wasn’t a guard dog. Her cat wasn’t going to care if a stranger entered the house without permission. She turned back around and looked at the wide open door. How did someone get into the house anyway? They clearly didn’t break in, but if they didn’t have a key, then how did they get in? Unless… Did she leave the door unlocked by accident when she left for work that morning?

She stepped farther into the house, her cat resting his head back down on the couch again. He didn’t seem to even really care that she was home, so he definitely wouldn’t care if a stranger waltzed right through.

She had checked around the whole house, but she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. There was no one hiding out in the house so Caitlyn assumed if someone came by they had left already. There was nothing missing or out of place, either. So, she must not have been robbed.

Caitlyn walked back through the living room and into the mudroom. She moved her things out of the way pushing them with her foot so she could close the front door. She put a hand on the doorknob and twisted it. Sure enough, it was locked.

Caitlyn furrowed her brows at the door. What in the world had happened today? No one must have come into her house if they didn’t have a key because there was no break in. Nothing was touched or anything, either, so…

Caitlyn closed the front door and thought real hard about that morning. She looked down at the ground at all of her stuff and then it clicked in her head.

She remembered carrying all that, plus a box of things for her project at work, and she didn’t have enough hands to close the door. She had put everything into the car telling herself that she would run back up the front steps to shut the door after she had loaded the car. However, she was already running late and was panicking about traffic so once she put everything into the car, she just hopped into the driver’s seat and left.

Caitlyn left her stuff in the mudroom and sat down on the couch beside the cat. She closed her eyes taking a few deep breaths. She had just left her home completely wide open for the world to see and enter if they wished.

What a day.

Words: 1,040

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Short Story Sunday 168: Hot

Short Story: "Hot" | Flash Fiction

            “Careful. It’s hot.” Connor warned holding onto something large wrapped in a white sheet in the palms of his hands. He held it out to his little sister and smiled at her as she took it into her own hands.

Rose stumbled at the weight as soon as her brother handed her the item.

“Sorry, it’s heavy too.” He said.

Rose stared at the sheet and squeezed the object trying to figure out what it was.

“Be gentle. You don’t want to break it. It will open at any moment now.” Connor said folding his arms over his chest. He leaned his back against the wall and watched Rose with the object proud.

“What is it?” Rose asked. She loosened her grip on the smooth, round object, but held it tight enough so that she wouldn’t drop it. If a gentle squeeze was enough to break the fragile object, she certainly didn’t want to drop it on the brick flooring.

“You’ll see.” Connor grinned from ear to ear. He clearly couldn’t wait for Rose to find out what it was. “I think you’re ready for this. You’re old enough to understand.”

Rose raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?” she asked.

Connor chuckled.

At that very moment, the object began to shake slightly in Rose’s grip. She gasped suddenly afraid of what was going to happened. She held out her arms trying to give it back to brother.

“Connor, what is this? What’s going on?”

“You’re fine,” Connor reassured her.

“I’m going to drop it!”

“No you won’t.”

“Please, take it back. I’m going to drop it and then you’ll be mad at me.” Rose whimpered.

Connor shook his head. “I promise you’re not going to drop it. You would have done so by now. Rose, if I take it then it won’t be yours.”

“What are you talking about…?” Rose asked, her voice trailing off as the object shook so much that the white sheet fell off the object.

Rose gasped recognizing what it was. It was a shiny, gray oval with brown speckled spots all over it. It shook more violently now and Rose held it closer to her as she tried to keep it from jumping out of her arms.

“A dragon egg?” she looked up at her brother.

Connor nodded with a smile. “You’re hatching it and because of that, it will recognize you as its master.”

“But I didn’t hatch it.” Rose said.

“Well, I warmed it and took care of it for you, yes, but you’re holding it right now. The dragon will assume it was you.” Connor shrugged his shoulders.

Before Rose could say anything else, a piece of the egg shell cracked and dropped to the ground. A tail poked out through the hallow shell. Rose’s mouth gaped open in shock. Another piece broke off and fell to the floor as a claw poked out of the egg. She smiled. She was about to have her very own dragon!

Finally, the top of the egg cracked open and a long neck emerged. A small head slowly rose from the top and immediately turned to face Rose. Its mouth gaped open and its tongue lolled out of the corner playfully.

“It’s a Serpentail dragon.” Connor said. “It’s best known for its extremely long, powerful tail.”

Rose brought the egg over to the table and placed it down on the surface. The dragon stumbled out of the egg and fell flat on the table. Rose chuckled as he tried to pick himself up and stagger closer to Rose.

“His tail doesn’t look so long right now.” Rose observed. The dragon itself was pretty long, even though he was no bigger than Rose’s foot. His tail, however, was a stub.

“He’s a baby.” Connor replied. “The tail will grow as he grows. His tail will be the last thing to be fully grown because it’ll grow so long.”

Rose didn’t respond as she rested her arms on the table and put her chin down. She observed the dragon carefully taking in its smoky gray scales and bright yellow eyes. It tried to stand up on its hind legs, but fell forward immediately, thus resulting in crawling towards Rose. She could hear it purr louder as it got closer. She giggled.

“I think he recognizes you.” Connor said. “What are you going to name him?”

“How can you tell it’s a boy?” Rose asked.

“The stubby tail. Female Serpantails don’t have a tail at all when they’re first hatched.” Connor explained.

Rose sat up about to respond when the dragon leaned forward off the table. “Whoa!” Rose exclaimed catching him in the palms of her hands.

Connor laughed. “I think he was trying to make skin to skin contact, but you moved out of the way.”

“Oops,” Rose giggled. She lifted the dragon higher in her hands up to her face. He licked her nose and she laughed bringing him closer to her cheek where he head-butted her playfully before rubbing against her lovingly.

“For the first week or so, he’s going to need a lot of skin to skin with you. He recognizes you as your master giving you guys a good bond, but you two will grow closer the more you’re with him and handle him.” Connor said.

“Can he sleep in bed with me tonight?” Rose asked hopefully.

“Uh,” Connor stammered, “we’ll see. He’s going to need to get used to sleeping on his own.”

“But it’s a newborn. I don’t want him to get lonely.”

“I also don’t want him to discover his fire breath and set the house on fire.”

“Oh,” Rose slouched in her chair. She put the dragon back on top of the table and he waddled away on all fours exploring the surface of the rectangle table.

“So, what are you going to name him?” Connor asked again.

Rose leaned back in her chair again and watched her dragon with curiosity. “Well… he’s a smoky color. And you said he has fire breath?”

Connor shrugged. “Judging by his color, I assume he has fire breath. Some Serpentails have ice or water.”

“Water?”

“That one is rare.” Connor nodded. “We won’t know his powers and strengths until he discovers them himself, which could take a couple of weeks. But, as I said, his coloring hints at what his powers are. It’s very uncommon to have a gray dragon that shoots ice.”

“Cool,” Rose said amazed. “Connor, I want to be a Dragon Tamer just like you when I grow up!”

Connor grinned and patted his little sister’s shoulder. “If that’s what you really want, then I’m sure you’ll get there someday.”

Rose stood up from her seat. “I can’t wait to tell my friends that I have my very own dragon!”

“Hold up there, Rose.” Connor said frowning. He held up his hands trying to calm her. “You’re only 14-years-old. You’re not allowed to have a dragon until you’re 17. Until then, we’re going to have to pretend that he’s mine.” He pointed to the small dragon on the table.

The gray baby sat up straight on the table watching Rose and Connor as though he was listening and understood every word they were saying to each other.

Rose titled her head to the side puzzled. “So… Why did you give me a dragon if I’m not allowed to have one for another three years?”

Connor stared at her as though he was trying to think of a good enough answer. He finally sighed and then cracked a small smile. “I have my reasons, Rose. You’ll just have to trust me on that one.”

Rose narrowed her eyes and looked at her brother skeptically. “Connor… Is something wrong?”

“Not at all.” He said smiling bigger now. “I can’t explain it to you now, but I know you’re going to need this dragon as soon as you’re able to own one. By the time you need one, he’ll already be fully grown and you’ll have a wonderful bond with him.”

“I don’t understand.” Rose shook her head.

“I know and I don’t expect you to.” Connor said. “Enjoy him, Rose. You guys are going to make a wonderful team someday.”

“A team for what?”

Connor sighed. “You ask too many questions.”

“I’m entitled.” She said stiffly.

Connor chuckled. “I suppose so…” he grew serious again. “I’m not always going to be here to take care of you, Rose. You know that now I’m 18, I can be drafted at any time. The only reason the king won’t draft me is because I need to take care of you.”

Rose bowed her head. After their parents had died, Connor had to fight for his rights to take care of her. He had to fight to stick around long enough to watch her grow up until she was able to take care of herself. As soon as Rose turned 17, Connor would be 21 and for sure would be shipped off to fight for their kingdom.

“This dragon will protect you. You’ll take care of each other.” Connor said.

“But you’ll be back.” Rose said somberly. She sniffled, feeling the tears coming on, but she fought them back. “And you’re not leaving for a long time.”

Connor brought her into a hug. “No, I won’t be leaving for another four years. And of course I’ll be back. No enemy of our kingdom is going to get rid of me that easily.”

Rose couldn’t help but smile at her brother’s optimism. She wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head against his hard chest. She didn’t respond knowing there was no sense in worrying about something that was still four years away. Maybe the war would be over by then? Their kingdom has been fighting with the neighboring kingdoms for years now. Everyone in the village assumed the war would continue on for centuries. But, one could hope.

Connor rested his chin on the top of Rose’s head and rubbed her back. They remained like that for a little while, silent.

It wasn’t until Rose’s dragon managed to leap off the edge of the table, it’s small wings flapping frantically in the air in his attempt to reach Rose. He managed to land on her shoulder, but barely. He began to fall and Connor laughed, catching the baby in his palm. He lifted the dragon back onto Rose’s shoulder and pulled away from his sister.

“He wants to be included in this hug, I guess.”

Rose laughed shifting her gaze to her shoulder. “It would appear so.”

“So,” Connor folded his arms across his chest again, “for the third time, what do you plan on naming him?”

Rose looked up at the ceiling tapping her chin with her index finger deep in thought. Then she smiled wide and looked her brother in the eye. “I have the perfect name for him!”

Connor leaned forward silently prompting her to tell him. Rose, her smile growing, looked away from her brother and down at her dragon.

“Tyson. His name is Tyson.”

Tyson opened his mouth, his tongue flopping out, as though he was smiling as well. Rose and Connor laughed.

“I think he likes it.” Connor approved.

“Welcome to the family, Tyson!” Rose cheered.

Tyson squealed in response.

Words: 1,886

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Short Story Sunday 167: New

Short Story: New | Flash Fiction

            It was a long process. It was a process that Lacey didn’t know anything about. She was thankful that she had her father with her because if this was something she had to do alone, she wouldn’t have been able to make it.

Harry, her father, held open the door to the car dealership for his daughter and stepped aside. Lacey walked through the threshold first and then immediately stopped. Desks were lined up along the perimeter of the large room and in the middle were four cars lined up being showcased.

Where were they supposed to start?

“Well, go ahead.” Her father prompted as stepped beside her.

Lacey shrugged her shoulders. “What are we supposed to do?”

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you knew what you were doing?” Lacey asked.

“To a point,”

Lacey groaned. She was here to buy her very first car. She had been saving her paychecks for months and had enough for a deposit on a brand new one. Lacey got her driver’s license two months ago and she had been switching back and forth between driving her mother’s car and her father’s. She wanted so bad to have a brand new car of her own and now she finally had enough money to treat herself. She even figured out her monthly paychecks knowing how much of a car payment she would be able to afford each month.

A man came up to Lacey and her father and introduced himself as Andrew.

“Can I help you guys with anything?” he asked.

Lacey looked up at her father expecting him to respond, but he looked down at her. She sighed knowing that he purposefully wasn’t answering for her. She wanted the car, she was going to have to try to get one herself. He was teaching her a life lesson, which she should have seen coming.

She didn’t mind doing it, of course, but everything was easier when her parents just did it for her.

“I’m looking to buy a new car.” Lacey said.

“Great,” Andrew smiled. “Are you thinking of replacing your old one or is this your first car?”

“First one,”

“Okay, what did you have in mind?”

Lacey frowned and slowly turned her head to look at her father again. Harry was looking in the opposite direction staring at the bright red Mercedes that was shining in the middle of the room. She sighed knowing that was the type of car he wanted if he was ever to win the lottery.

“I, uh, don’t really know what kind of car I want.” Lacey rubbed the back of her neck.

She was a bit embarrassed for not having a type of car in mind to buy. She had looked up some cars on the Internet and the dealership’s website, but nothing really jumped out at her. Sure, there were some cars that looked great on the outside, but she had no idea what any of the specs meant. Lacey wasn’t sure which brands were supposedly the best.

“Right now I drive the cars my mom and dad have. Mom has a minivan and dad has a pick-up truck.” Lacey explained. She didn’t really know anything about any other types of cars. Her mother’s van was pretty old, too. Lacey was sure they didn’t make those kinds anymore.

“Would you be interested in either of those, then? Or were you thinking of something different?” Andrew asked.

“I don’t really know.” Lacey shrugged and then chuckled. “Sorry, I didn’t really think this one through.”

“Maybe we can just look around and see what jumps out at you.” Harry suggested.

Lacey looked over at her father. She had realized that he was paying attention to the conversation.

“Sure. If there’s anything that catches your eye I can take it out and you can test drive it and let me know what you think.” Andrew said nodding his head. He pointed to the door behind them and started walking towards it. “Follow me to the lot. I can tell you about some of the cars.”

The three of them walked around the mass of brand new cars. Harry pointed some out and Andrew would explain it model, make, and year along with some cool features it came with. Andrew would also point out some cars and talk about them as well. Lacey didn’t say too much. She mostly just nodded her head and tried to take in everything Andrew was telling them about the cars. She really had no idea what he was saying half of the time, though.

As they walked further down the lot, Lacey spotted a silver station wagon. She pointed to it. “Andrew, what about that one?”

Andrew explained that was one of the newest cars they just got in recently. It was considered a minivan, but it only held six people. Lacey shrugged saying that she wasn’t going to be driving very many people around. It would mainly just be herself.

Andrew pulled the car out of its spot and Lacey sat down in the driver’s seat. She rubbed her hands against the steering wheel and smiled. It was comfortable and she fit perfectly in it. She loved it!

“I’ll take it.” She laughed.

“Let’s drive it, first.” Harry chuckled.

Lacey drove it around the town for about fifteen minutes before driving it back to the dealership. As soon as she pulled it back into the spot she looked at her dad. “I want this.”

“Really?” Harry asked raising an eyebrow.

“I know it’s the first one I’ve tried, but I know I want this car.”

“Well, when you know, you know.” Harry shrugged his shoulders and looked at Andrew in the backseat. “I guess we’ll take this.”

Andrew unbuckled himself and smiled. “Well, then. Let’s head inside and fill out the paperwork.”

Lacey clapped and then jumped out of the car. “I can’t believe I have my very own car!”

“Congratulations, Lacey.” Harry wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “You’re finally a big kid now.”

Lacey shook her head, but she giggled. “It doesn’t sound that great when you put it like that.”

Words: 1,021

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Short Story Sunday 166: Explanation (Part Four)

Short Story Sunday: "Explantion" (Part four) | Mystery

DID YOU READ PARTS ONE, TWO, AND THREE?  

Nadine entered the room once more, but this time with the maid right behind her. “Detective,” Nadine said, “this is our maid, Vicky.”

Lilah took George’s lead and stood up once the maid entered the room. She looked the maid up and down trying to get a good read on her before they started talking.

Vicky was on the younger side. She stood taller than Nadine, despite her boss wearing three-inch heels. Her make-up was heavy on her face and her expression claimed boredom.

When George stretched out his hand to her, Nadine stepped aside and Vicky took a step back. George remained where he was waiting, but Lilah had a feeling she wasn’t going to willingly cooperate.

“Well, the pleasure’s mine.” George finally said bringing his arm back down by his side.

Vicky glared at him and Lilah narrowed her eyes at her. George must have suspected her of something, otherwise he wouldn’t have wanted to talk to her. She had a feeling Vicky knew that as well. The only thing was, Lilah couldn’t tell if Vicky was being defensive because she was nervous or if it was because she knew she was about to get caught.

“Could I have a moment alone with the detective, please?” Vicky asked politely to her boss.

“Oh,” Nadine looked over at George, who nodded. After a disappointed sigh, Nadine ushered her kids out of the room and followed closely behind them.

When they were out of earshot, Vicky snapped her attention back to George and Lilah. “Well, get to it. I don’t have all day.”

“Surely you know what I’m about to say.” George replied.

Vicky folded her arms across her chest and held her chin up high. “Whatever you have to say isn’t true. And, I want a lawyer present if I’m going to talk to you.”

“You want a witness, yet you just kicked your boss out of the room?” George commented.

“Oh, please. Nadine can’t help me.” Vicky looked him up and down looking disgusted.

“And why would you need the help?”

“Because you’re asking too many questions,”

“We’ve barely begun.”

There was a sudden standstill. Vicky didn’t have a good enough comeback and George remained calm under pressure as always. Lilah found herself relaxing her shoulders. Vicky didn’t seem to be much of a threat despite her clearly having something to hide.

Vicky drew in a sharp breath. “I want a lawyer first.”

“If you want a lawyer, then I’m to assume you have something to hide.” George remarked.

Vicky narrowed her eyes. She opened her mouth to say something, but Nadine entered the room.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said looking at Vicky, “but there’s a couple of police officers here.” She turned to look at George. “An Officer Florence? He said you called him.”

“Ah, perfect timing. Send him in.” George smiled.

“What’s your brother doing here?” Lilah whispered.

“I texted him. This case is about to be over.” George whispered back.

Nadine stepped to the side and Barney entered the room. He put his hands on his hips and stared at George expectantly.

“Ms. Vicky would like a lawyer before she says anything. Which is perfect since we’ll have to take her down to the station anyway.”

Vicky glared at George again and Barney sighed. “Is this your disappearing and reappearing car case?”

George nodded. “I had a hunch that Vicky had something to do with it, but then, while we were talking to Nadine’s children, I saw Vicky outside the window talking to a woman over the fence in the garden.”

Lilah looked to her left. She didn’t pay too much attention to outside the window, but sure enough, there was the garden. And no one was around there now.

“I had a hunch that I recognized the woman. Vicky, who were you talking to?” George asked.

“My… sister.” She reluctantly replied once Nadine stared her down.

“Does she work here?”

“No,”

“Why was she here?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“Well,” George continued, “why did you guys have to talk in hushed tones over the fence where no one could see you? Why didn’t she come in?”

“Yes, why didn’t she? You know she’s welcome anytime.” Nadine added. Vicky stared at Nadine, but didn’t respond.

“She didn’t want you guys to recognize her right away.” George said. “She was the woman in the video with your car.”

Nadine chuckled. “We all know her very well. There’s no way she stole the car and brought it back.”

“Because she had to boyfriends, husband, friend, whatever you want to call him do it. None of you recognize him, so it would be easy for Vicky and her sister to cover for him.” George explained.

Nadine held her hand up as though she was a young kid in school. “But our gardener…”

“Hasn’t been seen since the car was taken, correct?” George asked.

Nadine pressed her lips together.

“You forgot to tell me about the gardener the first time I spoke to you.” George said to Vicky. “I thought it was strange Lilah had notes about her and I didn’t. Now it’s becoming clear why you guys really took the car. You couldn’t do it because you’d be missed. Your sister couldn’t do it because everyone, including the kids, recognize her.

“You had your sister’s friend get friendly with the kids to trick them into letting him in the garage. It looked like a stranger broke in to steal from a rich family.” George explained.

“Why?” Barney asked.

George sighed looking at his brother. “Well, that’s where I pass this case off to you. It seems to me that this has turned into a missing person’s case… possibly homicide.”

Barney sighed shaking his head. He looked at Vicky and took out his handcuffs.

Words: 967

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Short Story Sunday 165: Explanation (Part Three)

Short Story Sunday: Explanation (Part Three)

DID YOU READ PARTS ONE AND TWO?            

Lilah leaned against the railing at the bottom of the front steps of the largest house in town. George stood on the porch waiting for someone to answer the doorbell’s call. The two were silent as Lilah stared at the back of George’s head trying to figure him out. He wouldn’t give her any hints as to what his theory was about the mysterious man and woman who supposedly stole one of cars that belonged to this household.

All she knew was that George was suspecting the two children, but she couldn’t think of any reason as to why that would be.

The front door opened breaking Lilah out of her thoughts. She walked up the few steps to the porch and placed herself next to George as he greeted the woman on the other side of the door.

“Good morning, sorry to bother you at this house.” He said.

“It’s no trouble, Detective Florence.” The woman stepped to the said holding the door open wide. “Please come in. Have you figured it out?”

“Not quite,” George stepped to the side allowing Lilah to enter the house first. When she crossed through the threshold, George followed. “We want to ask a few more questions.”

Lilah turned around and watched the woman, the owner’s wife, and George lock eyes. The lady, Lilah was having a hard time remembering her name—there were so many people who they had talked to in that house—closed the door and absentmindedly shrugged her shoulders.

“Of course. I’ll try to answer anything new you’ve thought of. But I’m not sure how much help I’ll be.” She answered.

George smiled politely. “Thank you, but no. We’d like to talk to your children, if you don’t mind.”

Lilah noticed the woman stiffen, but her face remained unchanged. After a moment, she cracked a smile, awkward smile, and pointed to the couches on their left.

“Sit down and I’ll get them. Would you like me to have the cook make you some coffee or anything?” she asked as she walked away into the other room.

Lilah began to raise her hand, but George pushed it back down to her side.

“We’re all set, thank you.” He answered. The woman nodded disappearing into the other room while Lilah glared at George.

Lilah snorted watching George sit down on one of the couches. “Why can’t I have a coffee?”

“You just had one.” He replied calmly.

“Yeah, like an hour ago.”

“You drink too much caffeine.”

“You’re bossy.”

“Lilah, sit down and be quiet.” George said harshly, but he had a smile on his face.

Rolling her eyes, Lilah obeyed. She sat down in an armchair next to the couch. But as soon as she did, George stood up straightening his dress shirt as the kids entered the room. Lilah too stood up and smiled to greet them.

“Here they are.” Their mother walked them a hand on each of their shoulder.

Lilah looked down at the kids, a boy and a girl. She recalled their mother mentioning that they were twins, but she couldn’t remember how old they were. They looked to be about six or seven years.

“I’d like to stay while you chat with them.”

“Of course, Nadine,” George nodded.

Lilah snapped her fingers. Nadine, that was her name! When she brought herself back to reality, she noticed everyone was staring at her. She cleared her throat. “Sorry, I had just remembered something, but… Don’t worry about it.”

George ignored her and he squatted down to be eye level with the kids. “Hi Tom, hello Angie. How are you both today?”

Neither one of them said a word. Nadine nudged them both after a minute or two and then they both monotonously said in unison, “Hi.”

“Kids, go sit,” Nadine brought them over to one couch and sat down on the other end of it. Lilah and George sat down on the couch opposite of them.

“I’ll get right to the point so you kids can go back and play, okay?” George said. He cleared his throat and then began. “You guys were playing with the butler the other day, right?”

Both kids nodded.

“Hide-and-seek, correct?”

They nodded again.

Lilah kept a steady gaze on both kids though she was wondering what George was trying to get at.

“Do you play with the butler a lot?” George asked.

They shook their heads.

George nodded leaning back a bit. “I thought so… What made you guys decide to play with the butler that day?”

“Excuse me, but are you suggesting Jerry had something to do with my husband’s car going missing?” Nadine interrupted.

George held up a finger, keeping his eyes on the kids. “Please, let them talk.”

Nadine nudged her kids again.

Tom and Angie looked at each other as though they were deciding what exactly they should say. Finally, Angie recoiled back against the couch and Tom sighed.

“They told us to.” He said.

Lilah widened her eyes. She opened her notebook and started jotting down some notes.

“The butler told you to?” Nadine asked shocked.

Tom shook his head. “The other guy.”

“What other guy, Honey?” Nadine continued as though George and Lilah weren’t even there.

Tom shrugged and looked at Angie. “I don’t know. She talked to him first.”

Angie sat straight up glaring at her brother. “Only because you wouldn’t play with me!”

Nadine snapped her neck to look at George, her expression fraught with worry. She stared at him as though he knew exactly what the kids were talking about.

“I believe,” George began, “the man the kids are referring to is the man who stole your husband’s car.”

“But we don’t know that man.” Nadine protested.

“And they’re two young children who apparently haven’t learned not to talk to strangers.” George countered.

Lilah bit her lower lip, her grip on her pen tightening.

Nadine looked back at her kids, her brows furrowed, demanding an explanation.

“I was playing outside when a man came up to the back fence.” Angie said. “He said he wanted to play with me and Tom wouldn’t, so I told him he could.”

Nadine closed her eyes and turned the other way exasperated. Angie put a hand on her mother’s knee.

“Are you mad…?” she asked.

“Keep talking, Angie.” George pressed. Nadine still couldn’t look at anyone.

“He told me he wanted to play hide-and-seek, but no one else could know. He told me to hide first, in the garage.” Angie explained.

Tom rolled his eyes. “You’re supposed to hide in a spot he doesn’t know about and then he has to find you. He can’t tell you where to hide. Don’t know how to play games right?”

Angie shrugged, seemingly unfazed by her brother mocking her.

“Angie, please keep going.” George pressed further.

“He told me to ask the butler to play with us, but not to tell him he was playing. So I asked the butler and Tom, they both said yes. Then I hid in the garage.”

“And did the butler find you?”

“Yes,”

“Did he find you through the garage door or through the door to the house?”

“He opened the garage door.”

George nodded. “Did he remember to close it?”

Angie shrugged.

Nadine covered her mouth with her hand and gasped.

“So you think the strange man knew that would happen and wanted to steal the car.” Lilah stated.

“Yes, and he succeeded.” George said.

“But why bring the car back?” Nadine asked.

“And what about the unknown woman?” Lilah whispered.

“I have suspicions…” George smiled. He looked at Nadine. “May we speak to the maid, please?”

Words: 1,275

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Short Story Sunday 164: Explanation (Part Two)

Short Story Sunday: "Explanation" (Part Two) | Mystery Flash Fiction

Did you read part one first? Find it HERE.

            “You want to go back to the house? Why?” Lilah asked appalled. She was leaning her back against the counter in the kitchen with a mug of coffee in hand. She stared at George from across the room as though he was an alien.

George was sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of orange juice. After taking a sip, he shrugged his shoulders. “I was up late last night thinking. There is definitely something we’re missing and I think we should go there and solve this case once and for all.”

Lilah cocked an eyebrow up and remained silent. She took a sip from her coffee and continued to stare at George as though he had lost his mind.

“Are you with me, Lilah?” George asked after the elongated silence.

Lilah shrugged peering into her now empty coffee mug. She walked over to the sink and rinsed out her mug. “I’m just confused, I guess. We’ve been humming and hammering over this case for weeks; we tried to finally piece everything together last night and failed. So, after I went to bed, you stayed up and magically figured everything out?”

George grinned and nodded.

Lilah rolled her eyes. She was sick of this case and hoped that George had indeed figured it all out, but he didn’t have to be cocky about it. Plus, she had a feeling that whatever he figured out was too good to be true.

“I tried to go to bed the same time you did, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the case. I felt as though we got so close last night that I wanted to continue trying to piece everything together.” George explained.

“Sometimes that helps, but sometimes that just makes everything worse, George.” Lilah said. She turned back around from the sink and leaned against the counter again folding her arms across her chest.

“I agree,” George said nodding, “but I feel as though it helped this time.”

“So, what have you got, then?”

“I realized that we talked about every single person in that house trying to figure out if they could have been the culprit or not, but we forgot two people that also live in the house.” George stated.

He paused for which, Lilah assumed, was for dramatic effect. She leaned her neck forward a little trying to coax him to continue without trying to encourage his cliffhanger.

“The two children,” George said quietly.

Lilah narrowed her eyes at George and then she threw her head back and began to laugh. “What are you talking about?” she asked through chuckles. She lifted her head again to look at George with a wide smirk on her face. “You think the two kids had anything to do with a stranger stealing their car and then a strange woman doing something the man and then bringing the car back to the house?”

George leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest. He shrugged, still with the smirk across his face. “We’ve tried everything else and suspected everyone else in the house. I don’t think asking the kids a few questions would be a bad idea.”

“But they’re just kids, George. How old are they?” Lilah asked.

“I’m not entirely sure.”

“Well, they’re too young.”

“What makes you say that?”

“They were playing hide-and-seek with the butler. I think they’re pretty young.” Lilah scoffed.

George stood up from his seat and headed for the door. “Well, I’m going to go back to the house and ask to speak to the children about it. You can come with me if you want.”

Lilah opened her mouth to reply, but George had already stepped out into the hallway. She dashed after him and followed him down the hall and through the front door of their house.

“I’m with you, of course. But I still think this is very far-fetched.” She said.

George closed and locked the front door as soon as Lilah stepped down the front steps. He then walked off the front porch and stepped in front of her, Lilah following closely behind.

“It is, but it’s the only explanation I can think of. And trust me, it will all make sense once I explain everything to everyone.” George stated.

“Why can’t you explain it to me right now?” Lilah asked.

They made it to the sidewalk and George looked both ways down the street. As a tazi approached them, George waved his hand in the air and the yellow car pulled over to the side of the road. George opened the back seat door for Lilah, stepping aside to let her in first.

“Tell you now and ruin the big reveal? I wouldn’t dream of it.”

Words: 789

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Short Story Sunday 163: Explanation (Part One)

Mystery Month Short Story: "Explanation" (Part One) | Flash Fiction

            “Well, when you explain it like that…” Lilah tapped her chin with the back end of her pen. She rolled her eyes up to the ceiling deep in thought taking in the few words George had just explained to her.

            George sat on the other side of the room at his desk. He pushed his laptop to the side and folded his hands neatly on the surface of his desk. He stared patiently and curiously at Lilah as though waiting for her to respond.

            Lilah glanced back at George. She really had no idea what to say. She hoped he would say something else instead. When she noticed him staring at her, she inhaled and exhaled through her nose sharply.

            “I mean, do you really think so?” Lilah asked.

            George nodded.

            Well, this conversation was going nowhere fast.

            “What are your thoughts on the matter, Lilah?” George asked.

            Lilah rubbed her lips together and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know what to think about anything. I think this whole case is nuts.”

            George cracked a smile. “Most cases are.” He finally looked away from her and turned his attention to the laptop screen to his right.

            Lilah got up from the couch and walked over to where he sat. She stood beside him and looked over his shoulder at the computer screen. “What are you looking at?”

            “This is the security footage from the night of the incident.” George explained.

            “What are you watching it again for?”

            “I want to be sure that my hunches are correct.”

            Lilah stared hard at the video on screen. Both she and George had watched the footage from the security cameras just outside the town’s most popular Italian restaurant. They were the only business that happened to have a camera outside their business as well. It just so happened to catch part of the busy main street out front.

            A car whizzed by in black and white from the left side of the screen to the right side until it came to an abrupt halt. The front end of the car was off-screen and the passenger side was facing the camera. It was hard to tell who got in and out of the driver’s seat, but one thing was for sure. It was a different person.

            After the car stopped, a man stepped out of the driver’s side. He ran around to the front of the car as though panicked. Almost immediately as he ran off screen, a woman came from off screen, where the man ran off to, and hopped in the driver’s side. The car revved off in the same direction the man was originally driving, except he is not seen again.

            The owner of the Italian restaurant called the police as he was at home watching the security cameras when the incident occurred. No leads could come from the video, but the license plate was visible at the beginning of the video and it was traced back to a home outside of town.

            “You still think that woman there is the maid for the owner of the car?” Lilah asked.

            George nodded his head, but he was leaning his head against the palm of his hand. “That has to be the only explanation, isn’t it?”

            “I don’t know,”

            “You’re usually more helpful than this.”

            Lilah sighed rubbing the back of her neck. “I’m tired. This case has had us running around in circles. We can’t tell who the people are and the car has magically ended up back at the house where it belongs. Everyone at the house is accounted for and no one claimed to have been out and driving that day. No one noticed it was gone if it was stolen. The maid claims to have been home all day and everyone says they saw someone at the house that day.”

            “Someone, or multiple people, is lying.” George said glaring at his laptop screen, which was paused at the woman getting into the car. Only the top of her head was visible as she stood behind the car, but it was clear that she had long hair tied into a high ponytail.

            “That would be the logical thing to think, yes. But how are we supposed to prove that?” Lilah asked with a grunt. She walked back around to the other side of George’s desk and sat down in the client’s chair directly across from him.

            George clicked out of the video and shut off the monitor. “I don’t know…”

            Both were silent. George closed his eyes pinching the bridge of his nose. Lilah stared at him and waited for him to get out of his deep thought. She knew he was aggressively thinking and didn’t want to interrupt the flow of his thought process.

            Or, he very well could have just been resting from all the headache the case has caused both of them over the past couple of weeks.

            Lilah leaned backward and reached her arm behind her to snatch her notebook off of the coffee table. She was just barely able to grab it, but she managed to poke it a little closer to her without having to get up. She picked it up and brought it onto her lap. She opened the front cover and flipped through a mass of pages at the beginning, which were notes from the previous case. She grunted looking for the current case realizing that she really needed to start bookmarking her pages whenever they shifted cases.

            When she finally got to the page where she first started taking notes on what happened, she stared at the words she wrote. She didn’t read anything, she just stared at the ink-filled page. What exactly was she looking for?

            “What are you doing?” George asked.

            “I don’t really know.” Lilah said without taking her eyes off of her notebook. She flipped to the next page and continued to skim through her notes.

            “Well, let me know if you find something that you’re not looking for.” George replied.

            “I wrote down their statements somewhere in here.” Lilah said.

            George straightened up. “So did I. What’s your point?”

            “You mentioned that someone is lying or multiple people in the house are lying. They’re trying to cover for themselves and some are probably trying to cover up for someone else. But no one is admitting who did it. No one will take the fall whether they were the culprit or someone else was.” Lilah explained.

            George nodded his head. He opened his own notebook and flipped through a few pages to find the statements he took from the tenants in the house that owned the car.

            “So the man who was originally driving the car disappeared once that woman hopped into the driver’s seat. We don’t know where he was driving to or why he got out of the car.” Lilah said.

            “My first thought was maybe the woman stopped him and she stole the car from him.” George replied. “But then he’s never seen again so I wonder if she did something to him.”

            Lilah shuddered. “Well, if he was a man who lived in the house, then someone should have said that he was missing, right?”

            George shook his head. “Not if everyone was in on it.”

            “There are too many people in the house. How could they all be against that one man? Besides, as far as we know, everyone is accounted for in the house.” Lilah said.

            “I know. He probably doesn’t live there. Which means he must have stolen the car,” George stated.

            “So we don’t know the man’s identity, why he had the car, where he was going, and why he stopped and got out in the middle of the street. And we have no idea what happened to him after that.” Lilah said as she wrote it all down in her notebook. She was sure it was written down somewhere, but it helped her to remember. When it was all down on the paper, she looked back up at George.

            “Wow, we really have figured nothing out on this case, have we?”

            George scratched the top of his head. “Well, no one is giving us anything to go on.” He flipped over to the next page in his notebook and pointed to a line near the middle. “I spoke to the maid the other day and she told me that she, the butler, the cook, and the chauffeur were home all day the day of the incident.”

            Lilah scanned her pages for the statements that she copied down. “What about the gardener?”

            “What about him?”

            “Her,”

            “What?”

            “The gardener is a girl.” Lilah said looking away from her notebook.

            “I didn’t know they had a gardener.” George stated and then he rolled his eyes. “Geez, you would think that these people lived in a mansion and were the most important people on the earth.”

            “They have a lot of money. Why not use it?” Lilah shrugged her shoulders. “Anyway, when I spoke to the maid, she told me those same people were accounted for, including the gardener.”

            George sighed. “Well, I might have forgotten to write down the gardener’s name or the maid didn’t mention her at all. I don’t think I knew there was a gardener.”

            “So that may be an inconsistency right there.” Lilah pointed to her paper. “The maid might be covering for the gardener. The woman who got into the car after the man got out could have been the gardener.”

            George nodded his head. He took out another piece of paper and wrote that down. “What else do we have?”

            “That’s not enough?” Lilah sighed.

            George shook his head. “No, of course not,”

            “We can’t just go in there and point fingers at people at this point? We’ve been at this for weeks…”

            George sighed. “I know, I’m frustrated too,”

            “Especially since no one cares because as far as they’re all concerned, everyone is innocent and no one left the house and the car was in the garage all day long.” Lilah said grunting. She leaned back in her chair shaking her head slightly.

            “Let’s keep going down the list of what everyone said to us.” George suggested. “The cook told me that during the time of the accident he was in the kitchen preparing lunch for everyone in the house, which included the owner of the house and his wife, their two children, the maid, the butler, the gardener, the chauffeur, and himself, the cook.” George shrugged. “Apparently I did know the gardener… I don’t remember speaking to her, though.”

            “I have the same thing.” Lilah agreed. “So both the cook and the maid claim everyone was home at the time of the incident. But no one mentioned about whether the car was in the garage or not.”

            “I don’t think they would check on the car, though. It was in the locked garage and one would hear the door open and close as someone took the car out, wouldn’t you think?” George said with a smirk realizing that he was making a valid point.

            Lilah nodded in agreement. “So what in the world happened then?”

            “According to the butler, he was playing hide and seek with the two children. I asked the kids and they confirmed that he was a very good hider.” George said.

            “How long did he hide for?”

            “Not long enough for people in the house to realize that he had disappeared. The kids certainly would have said something, I’m sure, if they weren’t able to find him after a while.” George explained.

            “Or they could have just gotten bored with searching and ran off to play with their toys. That’s what I used to do with the neighbor kids when we played hide-and-seek.” Lilah suggested.

            “Good point, but I don’t think so. These two kids seem to have high spirits and are energetic. I believe they were search for the butler until the very end.” George chuckled.

            “What’s so funny?”

            “Are you sure the neighborhood kids just didn’t feel like playing with you?”

            Lilah glared at him. “Oh, you always think you’re funny…”

            “I thought that was a good one.”

            “Well, did you hear the one about the detective who couldn’t solve anything?” Lilah asked.

            George sighed, still smiling. “Touché,”

Words: 2,053

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Short Story Sunday 162: We’re Getting A Kitty [Dear Diary]

Short Story Sunday: "We're Getting a Kitty" [Dear Diary story] | Flash Non-Fiction

            Hunter was our ragdoll cat who chose us when a house on the other side of my neighborhood released all their cats to the wild after getting a puppy. I was 12-years-old at the time, my aunt had just unexpectedly passed away two days after my birthday, and two weeks after that we ended up putting our dog, a 13-years-old English Springer Spaniel, to sleep.

I found Hunter in my yard a few weeks prior. Not bothering with the whole “stray animal caution” thing, I walked right up to him and pet him, picked him up, and played with him. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to love the attention.

We played together every day in my yard around the same time. He grew more comfortable with me and even came into the house a couple of times. I brought him in one night during a thunderstorm because I didn’t want him out there alone. He left the following morning, but we continued to feed him and he would visit us every day.

On the day we said goodbye to our dog, Casey, Hunter arrived and watched as my parents loaded Casey into the car. They pulled out of the driveway while my sisters and I, in tears, went back into the house. Hunter followed us inside and he never left after that.

We were all devastated as age and illness took over Hunter’s body and we had to put him down in November 2015.

I didn’t want to replace Hunter and I didn’t want to get another cat too soon after Hunter passed away. I also didn’t want to make Chip, our current little Chihuahua mix, jealous. Yet, I did miss having a cat around and wanted to get another one.

In August 2016, we finally adopted one from a shelter.

We were worried that Chip would be angry if we brought a cat home, but we hoped for the best. Hunter was living with us for a couple of years because Chip was brought to us at the tender age of three months old. Chip grew up with a cat as an older brother and learned a lot from him. Seriously, I sometimes think she’s a cat herself.

So yes, we were worried Chip would be jealous, angry, or even a little bit sad upon us bringing home a cat. Chip was always the baby of the family.

We wanted an older cat because they need love too, but also because we wanted one to be mostly house broken. Then again, we wanted a cat on the younger side because we didn’t want it to be territorial and believe it was in charge of Chip.

There weren’t too many cats at the shelter when we got there, but there was a ten-month-old gray tabby. He was curled up in a ball in the back corner of his cage. When we opened the door to let him sniff us and pet him, he completely snubbed us. He turned his back and laid back down as though he didn’t see us. It took some coaxing with toys, but he finally allowed us to pet him and even pick him up for a moment.

We ended up getting him. His name was Wayne, but we changed it to Chase. Of course, when I chose that name I didn’t think it would ring so true with his personality.

A few days before going to the shelter, we kept asking Chip, “Do you want a kitty? We’re getting a kitty! Kitty’s coming!”

We called Hunter “Kitty” a lot and Chip knew the word better than “come.” We thought that maybe if we gave her the idea that a new cat was coming into the family, she wouldn’t be so surprised when we brought the cat home.

We were shocked when we brought Chase home. He immediately put him into the bathroom so not to overwhelm him with the whole house and the dog right away. Chip could smell him and definitely knew there was a “kitty” around and she was extremely excited.

We were all relieved to see how excited Chip was that we had a cat. She kept trying to poke her head under the bathroom door and kept crying wanting to see him.

The workers at the shelter told us to introduce Chase and Chip slowly to each other. They suggested keeping Chip on her leash and being in a small room, such as the bathroom, to let them sniff each other and get to know one another.

Of course, we didn’t end up doing that.

We had enough confidence that Chip would be fine with the way she was reacting. Chase was shy (at first), but we kept him in the bathroom so he could get used to his surroundings and smells. We gave him Chip’s blanket and we gave Chip Chase’s blanket from the shelter so they could sniff each other before meeting.

After a little bit, we finally gave into Chip’s wishes and allowed her to see Chase for the first time.

My heart broke a little when Chip first saw Chase. She loved him, nothing bad happened, but she was definitely confused.

To us, there are many “kitties” in the world. There are many kinds of cats. Chip has only seen and known one cat in her entire life, Hunter. So every time we said “kitty,” who would she think of?

When we opened the bathroom door and let her in, Chip darted in excitedly. She stopped short and peered at Chase, who was sitting in the bathtub, with her ears flat and her head cocked to the side, one thing was clear.

She was obviously thinking, “You’re not Hunter!”

After nine months of not having Hunter around, and I have no idea if Chip had any idea of what happened to him. For all she knew, he was on vacation somewhere. When we told her we were getting a kitty, she must have assumed we were bringing Hunter home.

Chip got over the initial shock and it took them a little while to get used to each other. Chase was extremely shy and is a bit of a scaredy-cat and Chip just doesn’t want him coming near her bones (which he enjoys playing with because I think he knows it bothers her).

We were very lucky to find a cat like Chase and we’re blessed to have a wonderful dog like Chip. They’re both brats, but I love them to death and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans they’ll get into together.

Words: 1,100

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Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 161: Memories

Short Story Sunday: "Memories" | Flash Fiction

            When you’re having a good time with friends or family, that’s all you think about in the moment. You’re having fun; you’re having a great day. You never realize that you’re actually making memories.

Sophia stood in the middle of the cemetery wearing her black dress, the same outfit she wore just a year ago to Camille’s funeral. She held onto her black clutch with her arms down in front of her. Her head was bowed as though she was saying a silent, sweet prayer, but she wasn’t thinking about anything at all. Sophia just read the gravestone over and over again in her head.

Camille Maria Andrews, 1990-2010. A loving daughter, sister, and friend.

Sophia shook her head at the dates. They were having a wonderful time that night, but neither one of them had any idea that one of them would wind up six feet under. They were young and stupid… Really stupid.

Sophia blamed herself for what happened. Her other friends and her family tried to convince her otherwise, but she knew they were just trying to be nice. They pitied her and didn’t want herself to go through life believing she had killed her best friend since kindergarten. Even though Sophia didn’t directly kill Camille, she might as well have. She just only wished that it had been her because Camille didn’t do anything wrong.

Being a year older than Camille, Sophia had turned 21 excited that she was able to legally drink. Neither one of them had ever taken a sip of alcohol underage before. When Sophia had her first taste of a cold beer, she licked her lips not believing that she had been missing out on so much for the first 21 years of her life.

She wanted to go out and celebrate her birthday with friends, but Camille wasn’t allowed to drink. She didn’t want to drink, either. Camille knew it was a bad idea. She was patient enough to wait until she was 21.

“But I can’t celebrate my birthday without you!” Sophia had whined.

“You and I will go out together this weekend. It’s not a big deal.” Camille had said.

“It is a big deal. I’m 21-years-old now. I’m an adult. I can drink. This is a big one and you should be there with me.” Sophia had continued to argue and whine causing a few eye rolls from Camille.

“Fine, but I’m not going to stay late.” Camille had finally given in, like she usually did whenever Sophia complained.

Sophia cheered and handed Camille a fake ID. She had already contacted a guy from their high school and had one made for her. Camille was angry with Sophia for doing that. She didn’t want to break any laws.

“I’ll go to the bar with you, but I’ll just order a soda. I don’t need that.” Camille shoved the identification back at Sophia and turned to walk away.

Sophia tucked the card into her purse. She respected Camille’s wishes, but she wasn’t about to leave it behind. Just in case.

Camille was the designated driver for herself and Sophia since she wasn’t allowed to drink and therefore didn’t plan on drinking. Yet, Sophia took it upon herself to order two beers when Camille went off to the ladies room to freshen up.

When Camille came back, Sophia pushed one of the bottles towards her.

“I’ll drink both, but please just have a sip. You won’t regret it, I promise.” Sophia had explained.

Camille rolled her eyes. “Only because it’s your birthday. But if you drink both of these beers, that would make three for you. So you’re all done after these two, okay?”

Sophia nodded eagerly. She had been willing to make any kind of deal with Camille since Camilla had been willing to come out to the bar with her and to even take a sip of beer.

Of course, Camille loved the taste so much that she ended up drinking the whole bottle herself. Before she or Sophia knew it, they had both drunk a lot. Camille was confident that she was sober enough to drive the both of them. Sophia kept getting sick and couldn’t tell the difference between up and down, so she definitely couldn’t drive let alone be able to tell Camille that she too was too drunk to drive.

So they left the bar with an underage drunken Camille behind the wheel. Neither one of them ever saw that guardrail on the side of the road coming.

Sophia closed her eyes and thought back to that moment, but she couldn’t remember it. She only knew what the nurses and police officers had told her. Sophia tried to remember, but all she could think about was when she woke up in the hospital two days after the accident. Camille had already been pronounced dead.

Swallowing a lump in her throat, Sophia sniffed back some tears. She couldn’t believe that it had already been a year. As she stood in front of Camille’s grave, she had no idea what to say. She wanted to apologize, wanted to talk about what has been going on since she’s been gone, wanted to let Camille know that she missed her dearly. But no words would come out.

She didn’t like her birthday anymore now that could barely remember her 21st birthday. The only thing she remembered from it was that her best friend died.

“Happy birthday to me,” Sophia muttered. She dreaded this birthday since it marked a year and Sophia knew that she would dread her birthday every year for the rest of her life.

She blew a kiss to Camille gravestone and headed back to her car with her head bowed.

Sophia had never had anything else to drink after that day. It didn’t feel right since it was the cause of her friend’s death all because of her.

She didn’t think it was fair if she continued to drink and live while Camille would never get the chance to turn 21.

Words: 1,006

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