Writing Prompts: Story Time [Scene Stealers]

    Try Your Hand at Writing a Genre Story!

    Welcome to Scene Stealers, our series of writing prompts designed to flex your creative muscles.

    We’re thrilled that so many of you are participating in our writing prompt series. (Read the other Scene Stealers here and add one of your own.)

     

    In case you’re not familiar with Scene Stealers, here’s how it works:

    • We set the scene
    • You steal it, make it your own, and
    • Share your creation in the comments section of this post

    Of course, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to share your work, but we hope you’ll do the exercise anyway.

     

    Now for the ground rules:

    • You must use the exact wording we provide—in this case, it must appear in the beginning of your story.
    • Your story must be 350 words or less.
    • Your work must be original and not previously published.
    • WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.
    • We reserve the right to delete any comments or entries we deem inappropriate and those that do not meet the specifications above.

    Story time is designed to develop your ability to write a complete short story that belongs to a specific genre. You can choose to write mystery, romance, thriller, science fiction, humor, fantasy or any other genre, but you must write a complete story.

     

    Scene Stealer #16

    He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.

     

    Now steal this and make it your own.

    We can’t wait to read what you come up with, so please add your submission to the comments section of this post.

     

    By Vinita Zutshi, Guest Post Editor at Write to Done. Vinita also blogs at Carefree Parenting.

     

    Image: What’s his story? courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Christian king says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. As he stood there at the threshold of the hospital room he watched a horrible scene unfold. He couldn’t speak, he could barely muster up the strength to move his arms. It took a great amount of will to even raise his hands to his open mouth to stifle a scream. A fifty something year old man stood over a hospital bed holding a pillow over someone’s face. The suffocating victim flailed their withered arms uselessly and batted at the arms of the killer with the strength of a toddler. His own breath seemed labored ,almost as if he was the one suffocating.
      The victims arms had almost stopped moving completely when he called out to the assailant to stop. The killer didn’t even let up a little at the sound of his voice. Johnathan shouted louder, still nothing. Along with his breathing his vision was a little impaired as well. Finally the victims arms came to a stop and their fingers did a final twitching dance. The pillow remained over the persons face for another minute to make sure there was no breath left. Satisfied the killer put the pillow back under the deceased’s head, stared a moment then turned and walked towards him. The blurred silhouette of the killer got closer to him in the doorway. There was no surprise on his face, not even a hint of acknowledgment that he stood there barring the escape. In place of the surprise however, was a wet face and teary eyes. The killer got closer still then stopped to turn and look back at the corpse on the bed, then turned back and instead of stopping he stepped right through him. Johnathan turned and watched the blurred killer walk away till he was an unrecognizable smudge in the distance. He looked over to the right at the chart next to the door. He raised his withered arms to point at the text and squinted to read the blurry name which read, Reilly, Johnathan.

    • Nita Couch says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. His mouth dropped open and he rubbed his eyes to be sure he was actually seeing what he thought he was seeing. Instead of a dark and dense cave that required a lantern to see with, there before his eyes was the most beautiful room he had ever seen. The woodwork was of shined and polished oak. The floors were carpeted with hand woven luxurious wool carpet that was obviously from India.

      The furniture was upholstered with brilliantly colored crushed velvet.

      The walls were decorated with lavish paintings and pieces of art were everywhere.

      He was in a state of shock and felt he must be dreaming. How could a place like this exist in this deep dense forest of trees and vines that required a machete to hack your way through.

      The room was so clean that he knew there must be someone here.

      “Hello! Is anyone here?”

      There was no answer. So he repeated the question.

      “I think I had better go get my dad. No one will ever believe this unless I have a witness.”

      He turned and closed the door tightly behind him. He ran as quickly as he could through the entanglement until he reached the old barn that his father was renovating.

      “Dad, you have to see what I just found. Come quickly.”

      “What on earth could you find so interesting in this forgotten forest?”

      “Just wait, you will see.”

      When they reached the doorway, he quickly opened it.

      He heard his father’s voice calling him, “What are you going to sleep all day. We have a lot of chores to get done before dark.”

      He rubbed his eyes and looked all over for the door. He was leaning up against a huge oak tree in the front yard of his home.

      “Wow!! That was quite a dream.”

    • Kay says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. It was the last thing I expected. It was the last thing any of ‘us’ would’ve expected. Sadè had been in her room all day so with Segun leading the way, we had gone to check on her only to meet her crying. But she was not the one to cry! She was the “tough” type.
      “What’s wrong?” Segun asked in a whisper. I sat on the floor next to her and tried to get the reason she was crying out of her. She wanted to say but her convulsive weeping caused her to stutter unmanageably.
      I thought the situation awkward so I looked up to Segun,
      “Segun, allow me talk to her alone”.
      “Okay” he said and with a pat on Sadè’s back, he left.
      I stroked her messy hair. Her eyes were swollen. The sight of her made my heart plummet.
      To think of it, did anyone ever have time for her? She was only fourteen! No. Ours wasn’t a home, was just a house. Sort of a dorm. And with Mom and Dad working from sunrise to sundown!
      I felt like the worst older sister on earth. I never created time to actually talk with her. She began softly, interrupting my thoughts,
      “Sèyi, Tochi has a terminal disease..”
      “W-w-what!?”
      Tochi was Sadè’s best, no, only friend.
      But Tochi was always so lively. I felt Sadè’s tears wet my back as I embraced her.
      That night, Sadè and I in profound silence had better communication than ever before.
      Each day I watched Sadè grow thinner and depression take over her face.
      The day Tochi died, Sadè fainted in school. Mum was phoned and had to bring her home. I rushed down the moment Segun called. Immediately I saw Sadè, I knew.
      I realized two things at that point; first, that Sadè was never going to be the same again and second, she was never going to be without a sister anymore.
      Our relationship was never going to be the same either.

    • Beatrice says:

      LOL!!! That was funny and clever!

      You hit me three ways – I’m a writer and who understands that characters do often have a life of their own, I do negotiate with them, and I was once the type unable to resist predators in my quest to ‘find out what it was all about’. Nice work!

      • L L Nappari says:

        Thank you, Beatrice! I’m so glad you enjoyed it – and identified with it. 🙂

    • L L Nappari says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The main character from his current book-in-progress — a young girl named July — was walking down a school hallway. In the book, she would not have made it to school, but here she was with other students, shuffling their way to home room.

      “I have soccer practice, I have to change,” she said to another girl, and then stepped into an alcove. She looked across the hall at a man in a janitorial uniform — an older, shorter version of Adam Levine — and called out, “Mr. Jacobs, can you open the girls locker rooms?” Jacobs nodded. He approached, took her by the elbow with his left hand and with his right, unlocked the door and led her through, telling her how pretty she looked.

      He watched this scene unfold before him between July and the Jacobs guy, shaking his head slightly, his eyebrows drawn together, lips pursed. He considered the implications for a few minutes.

      When the characters came out of the locker room, Jacobs was tucking money into July’s hand. “Okay, you two, enough,” he said, stepping between them, “I realize characters like to go their own way in a story sometimes, but there are limits. July, if you want to have the scene with this guy instead of the old man on the bus stop bench, we can do that. But you have to stay on plot, which is about young girls RESISTING sexual predators.”

      When he turned to tell Jacobs how very different the antagonist’s role would actually be, the janitor quickly snatched the bills from July’s hand and took off down the hallway.

      He put an arm around July’s shoulder. “I know. It’s hard for a character as strong as you not to go off on her own. We’ll work on letting you have more creative input.” July rested her head against his arm. She finally believed she could trust him to take her where she needed to go.

      • Sydney M says:

        I liked this . . . it made me think, find more perspective.
        Thanks. (I liked the writer walking down the hall with his character, talking with her. My favorite is the last paragraph. Awesome job!)

        • L L Nappari says:

          Thank you so much. This was fun for me. The interesting thing is, I originally thought of having July and Jacobs simply huddled together, whispering about things, but even in this case, the characters seemed to have their an ideas about things. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
          L.

    • Sydney M says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.
      Nothing had changed. In all the years Randolph had been gone, he had expected his parents to redecorate the house of his childhood, but to his surprise, they hadn’t. To the left was the formal living room with its grand piano never played and a china cabinet opened only three times a year. Stepping further into the house, he followed familiar steps toward the kitchen and placed a hand against the swinging door to open it. Inside was the same as well.
      White cabinets with splintering wood, a stainless sink against a small window haloed in blue curtains his mother had made the day they bought the house. His mother rarely cooked but when she did, angels gathered to see the event and smell the sweet spices of pepper, cayenne and cinnamon sprinkled over that year’s Thanksgiving turkey. His father always forgot the cranberry sauce, though Randolph suspected it was a hint that his father liked only homemade food; they still had their milk delivered in glass bottles until he was in his teens. The world was always changing.
      Leaving the kitchen, Randolph headed upstairs. As a child he had taken steps two at a time, sometimes three. But now, in his forties, he didn’t mind the slower pace.
      His heart squeezed for a long moment when his fingers caressed the silver doorknob of his bedroom. Holding his breath, not sure what he’d find, he pushed forward and went inside.
      Cold sunlight filtered through a window and his eyes scanned the room.
      Trophies lined the dresser, the drawers full of clothes he had left when college took him. A radio sat on his old desk and his bed had the same blue sheets.
      Sitting down on the mattress, a sigh from deep in his spirit escaped, the pull in his chest a continuing stretch of his heart. Nostalgia was sometimes painful.
      He stared out the fogged window, still trying to grasp what his mind revealed:
      Nothing here had changed . . . except him.

      • Beatrice says:

        Oh that was nice – I was expecting something horrible… and you delivered it in a breathless kind of relaxing way. So glad i can never go back to where I grew up!! Nicely done!

        • Sydney M says:

          Thank you so much!

    • Tomiwa says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. He had heard her laugh; a kind of mechanical laughter, cold, kind of mocking. He had dismissed it at first. He knew his sister could be melodramatic at times. He had been busy finishing up his seminar presentation for the next day. His supervisor had been on his neck all summer, pressuring him to research and present on the most controversial topic of the school year; “The effect of Nitrilosides on HeLa cell lines”. His effort has almost been futile, but his supervisor had persisted. So he had no time for his Ella’s theatrics. He had thought she was probably imitating a scene from a movie.
      The laughter had continued, cold and haunting, he felt his skin crawl, and a cold shiver went down his spine. So stood up to go and tell her he was disturbing his work. Then the laughter stopped abruptly. He went back to his study. So, when he pushed the door to her room open, seeing Ella sprawled on the floor, mouth foaming, with a bottle of Tylenol flung across the room was the last thing he expected.

    • Bev Houser says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. There were no
      Rand McNallys, brochures or folded maps, like soldiers waiting to be unfurled.
      What kind of tourist shop was this?
      The air glowed beige and smelled of ship-born parchment, dust and the unknown. Space was
      meted out sparingly as counters squared the room weighed down by centuries of searching,
      finding and its tools.
      Maps and curios covered every careful inch.
      Out of the room’s thickness, I heard a voice. “Would you like to know where you’re going?”
      A small bookish man dressed like he had just lunched with Dickens stood blinking behind
      thick finger-rubbed glasses.
      “I saw your shop and thought I’d pick up some brochures. I never knew there
      was a tourist office by the British Museum.”
      He picked up a map so old that it crackled and greeted us with a wisp of salt-tanged air.
      “Not many find us. Secrets are meant, after all to be just that.” He smiled and began working
      rosin into the inked vellum.
      A sudden feeling of danger came over me, like I was walking on a fog rimed cliff. I stepped
      back, moving toward the door.
      “You feel it, don’t you? I knew you’d be the one, the minute I sensed you. That’s why I drew
      you.”
      “Drew me?” The room began to sway. I staggered into a counter knocking maps onto the
      floor.
      “Not to worry, you’ll bear up after a bit.” Handing me the map, he said, “This’ll see you
      right.”
      I unrolled it on the counter, gripping the blackened oak as the room bowled under me. An
      inscription illuminated on the top. “Here be the Way.”
      “Way to where?”
      “Well, now, that would be telling wouldn’t it?”
      I leant into the beige, brackish air and lunged for the door. I had to get out of here. I fell out
      of the door and grabbed the railing to break my fall.
      I stood and gaped an ocean raged around me as the ship I was on shrunk to the size of my
      hope.

      • Beatrice says:

        This was very interesting though I’ll confess I had to read it three times (on different days!) to finally get it… I think. LOL!

        I love the eerie setting and circumstances – very descriptive and served to lure me into your world – it was the last line I never understood completely… still might not understand, but all the rest of it is very well done and sucked me right in!

        • Bev Houser says:

          Thanks, The last line manifested because of lack of time and the elimination of 50 words. 🙂 You won’t be able to understand it because it doesn’t make any sense on further investigation. But it does sound
          poignant doesn’t it? The person in the story, which will become part of my YA fantasy book can recall memories from some personal items- experience what they experienced. It will help them solve a centuries old mystery and of course, save the world.

          • Beatrice says:

            Oh that’s wonderful! And yes, it sounds very poignant and immersive and mysterious and creepy. That this is for a YA is wonderful – I can so ‘see’ it, you know! Best of everything to you in getting that to a publisher – sounds like a great premise and what I would have loved at that age!

            Bea 🙂

    • John Swiftly says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.
      Actually, it wasn’t something Jeremy could expect at all; the whole situation was THAT unbelievable.
      Standing on top of his bed, with her hands on her hips, was his once-girlfriend, Jennifer Haley. Instead of her usual business outfit, she was sporting bright bubble gum pink lingerie. For a half a second she just stood there, looking hungerly towards the bathroom, as though watching something delicious. Then she noticed Jeremy gaping in the door.
      “AH! Jeremy!” she yelped, going bright red in the face.
      Jeremy cleared his throat.
      “Hhem, Hi Jen,” he said haughtily “umm…whatcha ya doin?”
      Then another thing he never expected happened; his boss, Mr. Jorgun burst out of the bathroom in a towel.
      “Who’s here?” he boomed happily. His fat body gleamed with moisture; apparently he’d taken a shower. Then, like Jennifer, he spotted Jeremy gaping in the door. This gape was different, however, Jeremy’s mouth had more of a horrified ‘O’ shape.
      “Excellent! Well Jeremy, I’ve got some good news and bad news. Which do you want to here first?” he asked. Without waiting for Jeremy to answer he plowed on merrily. “Here’s the good news: if you switch to Deri-co Auto-Insurance you can save up to 30%!”
      Jeremy continued gape. What the hell was going on?
      “Here’s the bad news Jeremy, I clogged your drain!” he said over-exuberantly. As if on cue, Jennifer lept down from the bed, giggling girlishly as she clung to Mr. Jorgun.
      “OOoooh, you’re so bad, Mr. Jorgun,” she crooned.
      “Not as bad as…” here they turned to the corner and spoke in unison “MOTOR WHEEL INSURANCE. GET DERI-CO AUTO-INSURANCE NOW!”
      This was when Jeremy noticed the third last thing he’d expect: his best friend, Harry, grinning devilishly at him over a movie camera and tripod.
      Harry poked a button on the back of the camera.
      “That’s a wrap,” he said. Jennifer immediately detached herself from Mr. Jorgun, the latter of which instantly regained his characteristic scowl. He trotted grumpily back into the bathroom, where Jeremy could only assume he would get dressed. Meanwhile, Harry walked up and placed his hand on Jeremy’s shoulder.
      “So Jeremy, that’ll make a good commercial, don’t you think?”

    • Judith Krouse says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.
      “I thought you were dead,” starring, unbelievingly at Martha.
      “I am quite alive,” she resonded, amusingly.
      John just stood there not able to say a word. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he couldn’t stop them. His emotions were beyond anything he ever felt before.
      “They told me that you died in that diaster in Ireland. They were so sure. What happened?” he asked as he gently put his arms around his beautiful wife, Martha, a reporter for a large international newspaper.
      “Yes, well, I was there and someone stole my purse with everything in it that identified who I am. Whoever took it must have had my identity, and had it with her,” Martha began.
      “How did you get home?” John asked.
      “That is a whole other story and you will be able to read it in tomorrow’s paper,” she said excitedly

    • princessnina96 says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. His Brazilian apartment had been transfored into a winter wonderland. Two women sat curled up on the couch. The redhead had her back to him, but the blonde flashed him a radiant smile.

      “Merry Christmas, Darcy.” Scnes of the reason he had tried to disappear flitted across his mind.

      “How did you find me?”

      “I’m a professional. This is what I do. I’m also your sister. I could find you anywhere. Its been two and a half years, but I did find you. Being in the FBI has advantages.”

      “Why did you get her involved?”

      “I didn’t. She called me.”

      The red-head turned to him. “It’s good to see you again, honey.”

      Fear and guilt slashed through him. “You don’t know why I left.”

      “Of course I do. I’m your wife. Don’t you think I”d catch on when you’re having multiple affairs at a time?”

      “Then why would you look for me? I left you everything. You don’t need someone like me. Why would you do this?”

      Her quiet, assured answer took his breath away.

      “Because I love you.”

      • Beatrice says:

        Now this needs a novel to go with it! Well done – great premise!

    • Nathalie says:

      Doreen Smith rented out the apartment, above hers, to the man she called the angel of death. He was well above six feet, and wore black shoes, grey paints, shirt, tie, and long trench coach: he was more apt to be living in the fifties, than the new millennium. But it wasn’t his clothes that had captured her attention, it was the emptiness and great sadness that she saw in his eyes whenever he allowed he allowed himself a brief moment of human contact.

      Ever since that first eye contact, Doreen had finally found her life’s purpose: she would do whatever it takes to turn the angel of death into the angel of the living. She had done plenty: dinner invitations, pair of slippers for Christmas – all of which had been gracefully declined with a shutter of the header. Even without the slightest encouragements, she’d continued on her purpose – knowing that one day she know what to do.

      And the answer had come to her in a dream – the night before. And she always trusted her dreams! And this was it, she just knew it.
      The door unlock, and her heart skipped a bit. She couldn’t help but lip her lower lip.
      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.
      Doreen was lying on his living room floor spread eagle – bare of clothes. Guiltity, he wondered on how earth his 4 feet 2, 300 pound, land lady had made it up the stairs. He approached, smiled, and put his hand on her earth. She smiled, and for the first time since they’d met: he allowed himself to smile back at her. He gave her what she had wanted most: purpose.

      It was only a moment, a brief moment later that she was dead. Sometimes, he hated his job!

    • He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. He thought the room was simply empty until he realized he was facing Emptiness. And she was together with her old friend Silence.
      Emptiness was beautiful, totally different from Nothingness, that the man had met before. Emptiness had an infinite potential, while Nothingness was the end of the road.
      Silence created the space that allowed Emptiness to show the infinite ways leading to the future.
      The man sat cross-legged on the floor and watched Emptiness for a long time, while Silence cleaned his soul.
      When he left the room he knew himself and he knew what he wanted to do. He smiled and went away.

    • Cindra says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. There in the corner of the room was a body. The dim light filtering from the hallway revealed that it was a woman. Cautiously he crossed the room and knelt down beside her. He felt for a pulse. Yes, there it was, although very faint. Turning her over, he saw a gash in the temple of her head. Seeing the pool of blood underneath her, Howard was surprised to find her alive. She must have fallen. Or had she been attacked? Well, whatever happened, he needed to call 911.

      Suddenly a huge silhouette filled the open doorway. “Who are you?” questioned the angry man. “What have you done to my wife?”

      Howard jumped up, “Call 911, she’s…”

      “You killed her!” the man interrupted.

      “No, she’s not dead, but she will be if she doesn’t get some help.”

      “What do you mean she’s not dead? The bewildered man asked. “Look at her head.”

      Howard sensed something wrong. “Are you going to call 911?

      “Oh, sure…sure,” the husband said kneeling down to check his wife. “You go on; I’ll take care of this.”

    • Mona says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The room was empty except for a chair and a naked-looking lamp that dangled above it.
      “Sit down, Daniel.” A hard voice came from the darkness. Daniel saw a dark figure standing against the wall. He was dressed in black and wore a mask.
      “Sit down.” He repeated. Daniel reluctantly walked to the chair and sat down. Soon there were three of these masked men around him, one holding a bat.
      “What do you want?” Daniel asked slowly.
      “We want to send a message.” The hard voice again. “We want the world to know that corruption isn’t acceptable. That people like you are evil and that they should rise up against the fascists that run this world.”
      Daniels heart stopped in his chest. The man with the bat took a step towards him.
      “But I’m not corrupt!” Daniel screamed in terror.
      “STOP!” a new voice. The three men turned around, at the door there was a woman dressed in a long black dress with a mask as the others. She marched towards them.
      “Are you out of your mind?!” she roared. “This is not what we do!”
      “But he is one of them.” Said the man irritated. “He is a corrupt politician.”
      “He is one of the good guys.” She turned towards Daniel and he could feel the gaze she gave him behind the mask.
      “So far, anyway” She added. “Leave.” The men left hurriedly while muttering between themselves.
      “Did they hurt you, Dan?” she asked gently. Daniel shook his head. “I’d heard they’d taken you, I was afraid that I might be too late to stop them.”
      “Who are you?” Daniel asked. The woman started to laugh.
      “Wow, I guess I didn’t do a very good impression on you.” She said gaily and took her mask off. Daniel choked. It was Eva. His brother’s ex-girlfriend.
      “What? How? Why?” gasped Daniel. Eva smiled warmly at him.
      “I’m trying to change the world, just like you.”

    • Neil says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. There standing in the hallway was the misty figure of his dead father, Jason did not believe in ghosts but he knew what he was seeing, his father who was dead for ten years was standing in front of him in his spirit form. Jason was still a young boy when his father had passed away due to a reckless driver; he missed his father deeply and was pleased that the driver who murdered his father was in jail.
      “Dad?” Jason asked, his voice trembling.
      The ghost did not move or make a sound.
      Jason wondered what was going on; his father was here for a reason, but for what he wasn’t sure.
      The ghost of the dead man moved slowly forward, toward Jason, the movement was as if the spirit was not walking but was just floating, soon it was in front of the young man, holding out his translucent hand for Jason, his son tried to take hold of it but his hand just slipped through as you slip into a bath of water.
      Jason asked again; “dad?”
      This time the ghost pointed to a mirror on the wall, lights flashed for a millisecond and on the mirror the words “I love you son” appeared. Jason read the message and turned to look at his father again but the spirit was gone, vaporised into thin air.
      All Jason could mutter was; “I love you too dad!”

    • He pushed the door open and went in .It was the last thing he expected.”Why could you hold me knocking sevral times without your answering? Have I become less important to you? Who is this standhing by and holding your hand?” She asked in a row.The questions seemed beyond his reasoning power. They were meant to make him reveal his feelings and betrayal. He was overpowered, dizzy and helpless. Nothing good was there for him to boast about, but fall down and apologise.May be, Nazu would forgive and forget.

      Evil had overcome rigteousness. Love had been compromised with hatred. Evura was now caught in action.Sharing his love to an illegitimate woman.

    • Sue says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The kitchen was like a time capsule of the 1950’s, everything was as if it had been untouched since then. He had lived next door to Mrs Merrick for 30 years and this was the first time he had set foot in her home. “How can anyone live like this he wondered”, quickly followed by the thought “you could make a fortune out of this stuff on eBay”. Worried that he might be caught snooping, he called out “Mrs Merrick?” ….silence…”Mrs Merrick, it’s Tim from next door, are you OK?”. He paused for a while desperately hoping for a response while his heart started to thump in his chest as he imagined that he might find her body, or worse still, her decomposing body. He hadn’t seen her for several days, and her mail was piling up in the porch. He had wondered at first if she had gone away, but then he noticed the back door slightly ajar.

      After a quick scout of the ground floor he made his way upstairs. All the doors were open and the rooms empty except one. He knocked on it … no answer. His heart was racing faster now and wishing he could be somewhere else, he bullied himself to ‘man up’ before tentatively opening the door. “Oh Bobby I knew you’d come back!” Mrs Merrick threw her arms around him. “Mrs Merrick, it’s Tim from next door” said Tim. “Don’t be silly Bobby, I know it’s you!” …. “They said you were missing in action, but I knew you wouldn’t let me down, I always knew you’d come home”. Tim knew her husband had died during the war and always wondered why she never married again. Now he knew why; she was still waiting for him. “You must be hungry” she said “I will make you a lovely dinner”. “I’ll help you” said Tim. He knew she had waited her whole life for this moment and he wasn’t going to spoil it for her now.

      • Beatrice says:

        What a wonderfully unexpected and sweet story! Very well written and very evocative – I was right there with his thoughts about wow, 1950’s and then wondering how much it would fetch on eBay. Great inner thoughts and a surprising ending. Thanks for posting!

        • Sue says:

          Thank you, that means a lot.

    • Sharon says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected….
      Horror, everywhere, the floor,the stovetop, the walls, never before seen and hopefully never to be seen again.
      There he was, standing inside the newly opened door. His tongue useless, hanging, slack inside his wide open mouth. Eyes stretched to their limit in disbelief!
      Totally polarized, incoherent thoughts racing through his head. “where to start? what to do?” Why? oh why?
      The morning had started well, very well in fact. Sunday, languishing in bed, enjoying the peace, the quiet of the day. The cuddles, momentarily caught up in the magic of the world.
      “Oh my god!”
      Calling to his wife “you have got to come and see this”.
      His wife lazily getting up out of the bed, padding down the hall, sound was exagerated as his body reacted to the situation with extra adrenalin coursing through his system. Time appearing to slow down.
      His wife walked through the now opened door. Her jaw dropping also, in shock at the scene confronting her.
      It was absolutely everywhere! The windows hazy. The sight indescribable. The smell, wow, the smell!
      Seeing the look on his wifes face spurred him to action. Laughing at the absurdity of it all.
      Hahaha, hahaha, hahaha, doubled over, side splitting laughter.
      In the midst of it all two sets of eyes, a pair of smiles grinning from ear to ear.
      Two of the most adorable urchins, proudly presenting their creation, faces smeared with a brown paste. They obviously had been eating their concoction!
      “we made you breakfast” they say in unison. Innocently asking their parents to sit down to eat.
      What to do, all semblance of sanity having been left at the kitchen door.
      A breakfast made with love not so easily denied!
      A camera found, photo’s taken, to further validate a sight imprinted forever in the mind!
      Buckets, mops, brooms and baths, laughing instead of crying, the kitchen and children all cleaned up, normalacy was once again established.
      The lingering smell the only evidence of the mayhem which seemingly, moments ago reigned.

      Rich and intense, the earthy aroma, permeating the whole house!
      DEVINE!
      CHOCOLATE!

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected….
      Horror, everywhere, the floor,the stovetop, the walls, never before seen and hopefully never to be seen again.
      There he was, standing inside the newly opened door. His tongue useless, hanging, slack inside his wide open mouth. Eyes stretched to their limit in disbelief!
      Totally polarized, incoherent thoughts racing through his head. “where to start? what to do?” Why? oh why?
      The morning had started well, very well in fact. Sunday, languishing in bed, enjoying the peace, the quiet of the day. The cuddles, momentarily caught up in the magic of the world.
      “Oh my god!”
      Calling to his wife “you have got to come and see this”.
      His wife lazily getting up out of the bed, padding down the hall, sound was exagerated as his body reacted to the situation with extra adrenalin coursing through his system. Time appearing to slow down.
      His wife walked through the now opened door. Her jaw dropping also, in shock at the scene confronting her.
      It was absolutely everywhere! The windows hazy. The sight indescribable. The smell, wow, the smell!
      Seeing the look on his wifes face spurred him to action. Laughing at the absurdity of it all.
      Hahaha, hahaha, hahaha, doubled over, side splitting laughter.
      In the midst of it all two sets of eyes, a pair of smiles grinning from ear to ear.
      Two of the most adorable urchins, proudly presenting their creation, faces smeared with a brown paste. They obviously had been eating their concoction!
      “we made you breakfast” they say in unison. Innocently asking their parents to sit down to eat.
      What to do, all semblance of sanity having been left at the kitchen door.
      A breakfast made with love not so easily denied!
      A camera found, photo’s taken, to further validate a sight imprinted forever in the mind!
      Buckets, mops, brooms and baths, laughing instead of crying, the kitchen and children all cleaned up, normalacy was once again established.
      The lingering smell the only evidence of the mayhem which seemingly, moments ago reigned.

      Rich and intense, the earthy aroma, permeating the whole house!
      DEVINE!
      CHOCOLATE!

      • Beatrice says:

        Oh such a familiar theme well written! I’ve lived through these nightmares! 😀

    • Matt C says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The man had told him opening the door would be the most significant act of his life, and he had believed him. He was a normal man, extraordinary in no way to speak of, but he had believed him as if he had no other choice.
      The encounter had happened suddenly and quickly, and he had not had time to adjust. He was a meticulous person, one who spent considerable time agonizing over inconsequential decisions, and this, of course, was anything but. He had asked the man for time, time to ponder over a multitude of potential repercussions that seemed to loom over the arched doorway like a suffocating fog, but he was given no time to think. He was given the choice to open the door or to leave it shut, as well as the advice that either choice would alter his world forever.
      The questions had popped like wildfire: Why was he chosen for this task? How could the simple act of opening this door change the world forever? Would people be hurt? Families destroyed? Nations abolished? How did he reach this mandatory crossroads, and what cosmic entity did the man before him represent? Was the meeting preordained, or would the task have fallen to another on a different day?
      The questions were not voiced, and the man beside him had remained silent. There was simply no time, and his hand had shaken from the lack of it as it grasped the knob, turned, and released it to let the door fall back.
      Standing there, in the doorway, he immediately saw he had misunderstood, and beneath the involuntary rush of exhilaration, a small kernel of contriteness took root. He felt foolish and wise all at once. This was no noble gesture for mankind, no grand act that would significantly shape the future for all. What stood before him held significance for no one but himself, and as his foot fell forward in the first of many steps, there was no question it was enough.

    • Mihaela says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.
      His mother was there. She was there and she was talking to Roxanne. And she held a photograph of Annie.
      Annie, his kid sister, who was now buried in a foreign country because she had preferred to die in the arms of her lover rather than spend her last days with her family.
      But where did his mother find that photograph and why was she showing it to Roxanne? They had agreed to never speak of Annie again, to pretend as if she had never existed. They threw away everything that reminded them about her. In fact, he had forced his mother into this. He could no longer bear to see her suffer so much. And he hoped that by taking this extreme step he himself could maybe breathe normally again one day without fearing that his heart would break. And for two years now, it had worked.
      And now this woman, this Roxanne, who he had known for only 2 weeks, was in his living room with her eyes fixed on the photograph of Annie. And not just a photograph, but the one he had hidden at the bottom of a drawer he rarely used.
      – Hello, Adrian – he heard his mother say. I told Roxanne about Annie. I had to. She has to know why you are so bitter all the time. I like her and I don’t want you to blow this one chance you have with her. I found this picture in your room a few days ago. And this time, when I looked at her, I didn’t cry. I just remembered her the way she was, beautiful and happy. And I want you to do the same… I’ll leave you two now. I think you have a lot to talk about.
      His mother opened the door and before closing it she smiled once again at the photograph and then at Roxanne. And Roxanne smiled back. She understood…
      And suddenly he, too, felt the urge to smile. And to let go…

    • iFaith says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected.

      He felt odd, half afraid and half excited of what he thought was in there, was beyond that blasted door.

      The very door that for years was kept closed and no one not even him ever entered or saw a glimpse of who or what was inside. The very door that haunted his dreams for as long as he could remember.

      And he was afraid, very afraid to his very bones. He was hot and cold at the same time, his mouth was dry and he could not seem to breathe properly.

      Just moments ago, he had told himself, “what the heck, better now than never. I will only get this one chance and one chance only. “

      One step and another, he took what seemed like almost forever to do…until the door was ajar and all he could seem to do was hold himself straight, trying not to faint. His childhood memories came all flooding back as smells of freshly baked cookies and something like cough syrup floated by.

      “No it can’t be, it can’t be, “ he repeated out loud. “It was just a dream, just a dream.”

      But it was too late. He was already inside. The light was off and all he could see was shadows and dark curtains on the windows. It took the last ounce of his courage to finally take the final step as he walked further into the room .

      And as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw them.. cookies and purple goo, everywhere…. on the floor and on the walls, stuck and unmoving, seemingly held by an invisible force. The smell of something nice and something bad was potent and made him cough as he tried to make sense of it all.

      And then he saw it or what can only be described as gray and old and not right. And he walked straight for it, and then all hell broke loose….cookies and goo on his person, coming at him from all sides, like pulling and pushing hands of something, bigger and sinister than…

    • He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he had expected. According to what the 911 dispatcher had told him – a small child was alone in the house and had called for help. What he saw, however, was something entirely different.

      Hanging from the ceiling – with a string attached to it – was a note that said: DO NOT TAKE YOUR FEET OFF THE DOOR MAT. THERE IS A BOMB WIRED TO IT!

      His heart began pounding. After all the years of police training he had, nothing had prepared him for something like this. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then quickly scanned the room. On every piece of furniture, there was another note fastened to it – with a number.

      READ THE NOTE ON THE COUCH FIRST! said the note closest to him. He did. It said: YOU HAVE EXACTLY 2-MINUTES BEFORE THE BOMB GOES OFF! SEE NOTE #2!

      In a panic, he scanned the room then found note #2. It said: ONE MINUTE AND 40-SECONDS LEFT. FIND NOTE #3.

      As his heart pounded faster, and his legs began to tremble, he quickly found note number three. It said: NOTE # 4 WILL GIVE YOU MORE TIME. FIND IT NOW!

      His breathing raced and his chest began to tighten. He felt as if he was going to faint. Note # 4 was across the far side of the room. It said: THERE IS C4 WIRED TO A PRESSURE SWITCH UNDER THE MAT. YOU ACTIVATED IT. IF YOU MOVE IT WILL BLOW YOU AND THE ENTIRE HOUSE UP. FIND NOTE #5 NOW!

      Everything in front of him began to blur. It seemed as if there were notes all over. He was losing control quickly. He found note #5. It said: YOU HAVE 45-SECONDS LEFT. NOT ENOUGH TIME TO STAY ALIVE! CLOSE YOUR EYES AND SAY GOODBYE!

      He closed his eyes. All he could see now was his wife and his two little girls playing in the yard behind his house. “I love you!” he screamed.

      “SURPRISE!”

      He opened his eyes. The entire Bomb Squad was standing there with a birthday cake for him…laughing hysterically.

      • Beatrice says:

        Oh this was great! What a great idea for a prank!!! Truly inspired and fun to read!

        • L L Nappari says:

          I agree with Beatrice. A prank only a group of cops would conceive, I think. But definitely creative and unexpected. Nice work.

    • Leena says:

      Here’s my 350 wd. version

      He opened and went in. It was the last thing he expected. He gripped the handle of his bowie, and pressed his back against the door he had just closed. The sight took his breath away holding him locked and frozen.
      The shock began to wear off, but his grip on the knife remained firm as his eyes scanned the dark corners of the cabin while averting the obscene tableau hanging in the center of the room.
      Two bodies, fully clothed clung together with their arms unnaturally braided, and reaching high above their heads in a motionless pledge.
      The old abandoned cabin had been in his family since his great, great uncle Phillip lived and trapped in the wilds of the mountains.
      The only reason he had made the twelve hour trek up the back country logging roads, was to establish his ownership of the cabin and the land. According to Phillip’s last known will, the cabin was to be handed down each generation to the oldest male child when he became of legal age. Michele had just turned 19, and as the first male child born to Phillip’s descendants the land was his.
      Knowing the cabin had been deserted for all those years, he had expected a rotting shelter at best. The idea of using the ancient map to locate it was for the sheer adventure of it. He had not expected to even find it, and had come prepared to camp out if need be.
      The dim light of the cool fall sun filtered through the weather stained windowpanes stroking the hair of the female form. Michael turned his head away from the horror just a few feet away from him. He waited expecting something, anything. The police? The hangman?
      Somebody had to come. Someone had to deal with this. No one dies like this. Not in his world.
      Anger at his helplessness welled up inside him until he tore out of the cabin screaming into the vastness of the forest until he felt calm enough, felt mature enough to deal with what had to be done.

    • Beatrice says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. Leave it to Jimmy to lie about that too. Three dead bodies lay sprawled around him. The klaxons sounded and the evacuation recording began. He fell against the bulkhead as the ship suddenly listed to port.

      “Gavin, Rick,” he shouted, “get the damned stretcher, extra med kits.” The smell was a familiar one and made him want to hurl.

      “Coming,” Gavin replied, “how bad is it Quinn?”

      “Bad.” He put pressure on the two wounds that seemed the worst, he needed more hands. Jimmy, don’t do this to me.

      “Hurry, he’s bleeding out,” he screamed as blood bubbled through his fingers. ” This simply couldn’t be happening. Not now. “Jimmy!”

      Gavin and Rick ran in, loaded down with all the gear they had left. Devil Doc got to work, Rick handed him what he needed. Quinn kept his hands on the wounds until Gavin could get to them, Jimmy’s blood slowly wicked up his sleeves. Gavin finally pushed him out of the way after what seemed an eternity but was probably all of one really long minute.

      “You’re clear,” Gavin ground out as he continued to work with Rick, sweat beading his brow.

      Quinn was up in a flash and bolted out the door as he drew his .45. Gavin hadn’t even told him not to do it.

      Two decks later, he found Mitchell trying to leave on the helicopter which was miraculously still on deck despite the list of the ship. “You fucking son of a bitch,” he screamed out as he leveled his pistol and shot the rotor until five rounds hit their mark and the helo whipped off the deck, scattering the few men Mitchell had left, and fell into the icy water of the Arctic Ocean.

      Mitchell stood there, like a deer trapped in headlights, his eyes begged for mercy.

      Quinn raised his pistol, and squeezed the trigger. The ship lurched and threw them both to the deck.
      Quinn raised his pistol again, “So that others may live,” and pulled the trigger.

      • L L Nappari says:

        Lots of good action! Felt like I stepped into the middle of a military spy movie. Very well done!

        • Beatrice says:

          Thanks LL Nappari! I was beginning to wonder if anyone ever commented on these offerings – so glad you took the time to do so!

    • niko says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The room was filled with rolling racks laden with sparkly gowns and women’s lingerie. Stiletto heels lined the walls. To his left was a table full of accessories and makeup.

      “Behind that door is my payback,” she had said.

      He had smirked at her knowing that there was nothing she would be able to think of that he couldn’t handle. After all at this school he was king and she was nothing.

      Sure, Principal Jones took her stupid side in this whole thing, but he knew deep down that she was only doing it to seem politically correct. She knew as much as he did, hell as much as everyone did that Darlene was a total lesbian. So what was the big deal about using a Sharpie on her locker to advertise it? Gay pride, right?

      “Darlene gets to choose your punishment.” Principal Jones had said and he was relieved. So much so that he gave Darlene a wink as he exited the office.

      He was annoyed that she waited so long to come up with her payback. Even more annoyed that she waited until the day of prom. He was anxious to get it over with so he could start getting ready. He was a lock for Prom King and having the head cheerleader on his arm only bolstered his excitement.

      Slowly the realization started to hit him and all of the excitement began to melt away.

      He had waited anxiously for a prom that he would never forget and it seemed that Darlene was going to make his dream come true.

      • JP Johnson says:

        ECHOES THROUGH the LOOKING GLASS

        The simple routine act of entering the attic seemed ordinary enough yet today; right now it was almost too much. He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. Who would be up in the attic at this time of night?
        Speaking softly Jean called out into the gloom, “Hello, is there anyone there? I heard you calling.”
        His expression of fear reflected the pounding in his chest while he waved his arms about attempting to find the string hanging from the light.
        “Hello!” he said again as the smell of dusty old blankets washed over him.
        Finally something lightly brushed his arm. Reaching back to catch the swinging line a wave of confidence washed through him as he trapped the string between his fat little fingers. With a quick tug the room was transformed into a wondrous world of strange and interesting objects. Old pieces of furniture lie stacked with ancient chests and bizarre looking machines. Jean made his way through the room looking closely behind every object large enough to hide a person until he faced the wall with the window.
        Startled at his reflection, Jean then realizing that he was not alone in the image. Spinning around to confront the man in the image; there was no one there. Looking back to the window he saw the man again.
        What is this? He asked looking back and forth, taking a tentative step forward, he watched as the kindly old man pointed to his left. Following his direction he found an old mirror partially covered hidden behind a stack of dilapidated cardboard boxes. Pulling the cover off the looking glass he was amazed to find the man standing in the same attic but different, everything was clean and all the equipment and furniture where arranged into what looked like an old science lab.
        “Who are you?” he asked
        “I am your Great Grandfather,” he smiled, “and I have waited for you for a very, very long time!”

        The effects of that day would change his life forever.

        • L L Nappari says:

          Intriguing. Made me want to know what Grandpa had been up to in his hidden lab and what he was going to reveal to his grandson. Nice work.

    • He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The house had always seemed so impressive from across the street. So orderly, almost intimidating.
      Since he was a young boy, he’d always wondered what it would be like to live in a house like that. So many evenings he’d spent looking at it from his bedroom window. He loved to watch the distorted reflection of the moon in the shiny black roof tiles and dream up cosy family stories of gathering around the warm fireplace, talking about stuff that really mattered. Feeling safe.
      On Wednesday afternoons he’d watch Claire’s mom clean the windows and the brass on the large double door. On Saturdays, biking to basketball, he’d say hi to mister Gant who was cleaning his Toyota with a battery powered vacuum cleaner and Best Buy Moist Car Cleaning Cloths. Mr. Gant would smile and raise his thumb but not speak. He always assumed that was because of the noise of the vacuum cleaner.
      (At Saturday evening dinners, his mom would complain that Mr Gant shouldn’t use those throw away cloths and that he should get an extension cord and a normal vacuum cleaner. That too many people just didn’t think about the obvious anymore and that all those disposable things were made in China and so it wasn’t American to use them.
      Dad would say that Mr Gants’ car almost never broke down and that those Chinese must have done something right because his own Ford needed to go to Jim’s every other month.)
      This all went through his head while he stood in the hallway looking at what once used to be a house. A home.
      What he saw reminded him of that he once wanted to go to Art School, years before he actually went to the University of Maryland.
      The walls were covered with bizarre drawings, notes, clippings and photographs. And while all these things were placed in an utmost orderly manner, the collage screamed “chaos”. And Mr Gant was lying in the middle of it, face down, dead.

    • DianeW says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. Bruce became enveloped in a sandwich of cold and darkness.

      “Abbie?” His voice echoed.

      Arms outstretched, he groped for the light switch.

      Crunch. He stepped again. Crunch.

      “What the hell?”

      Bruce bent down to touch hard, thin objects. He picked one up and sniffed. He placed it in his mouth. A potato chip. Strange, the dog should have licked the floor clean. The violent rattle of the windows startled him.

      “Bruce, get a grip.”

      Dark shadows moved around him as headlights reflected through the windows. A shiver crawled up his spine. Determined, he strode to the basement door.

      He turned the doorknob. A clanging sound came from below. He felt a rush of cold air and heard a soft pounding noise when Jasper leaped onto his chest. They both fell.

      The golden retriever licked Bruce’s face until he caught the scent of potato chips and proceeded to clean the floor. Jasper returned to lick Bruce’s face with a salty, dirty tongue.

      Bruce stood and wiped his face with his shirtsleeve. “Where’s Abbie?”

      Jasper nudged the opened basement door and bounded down the stairs.

      Both man and dog disappeared into the dark, damp basement. Jasper growled. Bruce groped around for a weapon. His fingers found something solid. He lifted it above his head. The object felt light, so he tapped his head with it. Whiffle bat. He searched again. Still light, at least the aluminum bat would create some damage upon contact.

      Bruce bit his lip as he kept bumping into things and silently cursed when he walked into the washing machine. A muffled sound came from his left.

      He lifted the bat high above his head. Ready to strike, he began his downward swing when he became blinded by a light.

      “Arrgh!”

      “Bruce?”

      “Abbie? What the hell?”

      “I thought you were a burglar.”

      “Why are the lights off?”

      The flashlight beam scanned the room. “I can’t find the circuit breakers.”

      “That’s because it’s upstairs in the pantry.”

      “Oh.” A bag crinkled between them. “Potato chips?”

      • Beatrice says:

        LOL! Potato chips rock! Fun little story, lots of suspense! So glad it was a lights out thing rather than some grisly murder or something like that. Nicely done, fun and brought to mind my own adventures with circuit breakers! 😀

        • L L Nappari says:

          Yep, what Beatrice said. Fun and entertaining. Thumbs up!

    • Kimberly Hill says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. Shauna sat on the couch, face perfectly composed. Even with the lights off, he could see her calm expression. What was she doing here? It was nearly midnight.
      Damian had spent the night before with her – in her house, thirty miles from his own. He might have spoken, and asked her that question. And where was Melody, his wife? She wasn’t likely to let his mistress into the house. Not that she knew he had a mistress.
      He turned on the light. Shauna looked at him and smiled. There was a knife in her lap and the blood on her hands.
      “Why are you here? Where is Melody?”
      “I’ve been waiting for you.” Gracefully, Shauna rose from the couch and crossed the room. The knife dangled from her left hand. She reached up with her right and touched Damian’s face, smearing blood.
      He could smell the coppery scent of blood now along with something sweetly floral. Lilies, maybe. Damian wanted to run from the house and never return. But he had to know what she’d done, and where was Melody?
      Shauna had been a mistake. He knew that now. He’d seen it in her controlling ways and her stubborn refusal to accept his decision to return to his wife.
      “Where is Melody?” He asked again, trying to breathe through his mouth.
      Shauna smiled and rose on her toes to kiss him. Damian lifted his hands to push her away and felt the tip of the knife press under his chin.
      “Come with me,” she whispered. “You can join her.”
      What choice did he have? Damian let Shauna lead him through his own house to the bedroom. He looked at the bed, seeing what had been his wife, now just ribbons of flesh. He hoped Melody had been asleep.
      He didn’t see the knife jab into his neck. The last thing Damian heard was Shauna’s laughter. He died before the laughter turned to sobs and she plunged the knife through her own neck.

    • Troy Whitmarsh says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. He paused for a moment as his long floppy ears brushed against the door frame, taking in the scene. His nose gave the tiniest wiggle. Upon assessing the scene and determining that it was more or less safe, he edged further into the open space at the centre of the room. His whiskers drooped in dismay as he realised that his prize was missing. The carrot he had been nibbling so happily on earlier, had been swept out of his life just like so many other things which gave his existence meaning. A calm exterior helped to hide the cacophony of deafening thoughts which swirled through his mind. He wriggled his nose again, ever so slightly. As he hopped across to the spot where the carrot had been sitting his heart sank even further. He sniffed the ground where it had been sitting and could still detect the slightest hint of the carrots scent lingering, reminding him of better times. As he meandered slowly back towards his bed, he wished for the thousandth time that he could be free of this hostile, regimented environment. He said a silent prayer and curled up into a ball, shivering slightly. After several hours he managed to slip into a nightmare ravaged sleep.
      He awoke the next day, still feeling anxious about what might have been. There was a fresh stick of celery not far from his bed, but the hurt from yesterdays loss was still too near to his heart for him to feel anything but anguish. He went back to sleep, feeling unfulfilled and alone.

      • L L Nappari says:

        Wow. My first glimpse of life through the eyes of a caged rabbit. Unexpected and quite compelling. Nice work.

    • Pedro says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. He found his dog that had been dead for 2 years now laying on his bed and barking. But that was not possible. He saw his little pet losing the breath two years ago and dying after 30 minutes. He himself lifted up the breathless body and buried it in a lonely field 1 mile away from his home.

      His family had gathered that day to spend the whole weekend at the house having and having fun. Unfortunately it was a disaster. When they arrived in front of the house, the pet started coughing and coughing and coughing. Deep down their souls they knew the 15 year old dog was gonna die that exact day. But they fought, cried, screamed, prayed, lost faith in life and accepted it after all.
      So as the second man of the house, his father was first, he gave the idea to bury the animal and let it rest in peace. So they did.

      But there she was. In his bed, eyes up and tail spinning around happy to see him after 2 years. But why now? What happened? It didn´t matter, he was so happy to see her again. Took in her arms and started playing like the old times.

      And then he felt the pain. His shoulder was broken, he knew. He had broken it once and recognized the pain. He opened his eyes slowly and saw the smoke in front of his brand new car. Tried to unfasten the seat belt but couldn´t find the strength. In a blur he saw a man slapping his face, not hard, and asking:
      “Hey, are you ok?”

      “I don´t know.” he said.

      “ I think he is dead ” he heard a few voices saying it.

      “ Dead? So where am I?” he was scared. So this is heaven, he thought. And it hurts.

      “Not you, boy.” the man pointed to a wall blotched with blood. “They are talking about the little dog you hit.”

      “Oh, no “ he muttured. “Anything but a dog.” A tear went down his chest and he fainted thinking about the two dead dogs he had buried.

    • He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. A woman he had never seen before was standing in the corner, wailing, her hands reaching up to heaven.

      “Where’s my chair? My favorite chair?” he called out. On a couch that had no pillows was a baby sitting on the lap of a child drinking from an empty bottle.

      “That f-ing wife of mine. She really got me now. In the four hours I was gone, she moved out and a new family moved in. I thought it was just her empty threat. Where did that horror of a wife put my stuff?”

      As he threw his attaché case down and took three steps across the room, the child and woman yelled,

      “Help! Call the police!”

      “This is my house. Why are you here?” he said

      “I smell alcohol and cigarette smoke and I don’t know who he is”, she yelled into the phone.

      He got to the door as the police arrived, and they asked him what he was doing in this house.

      “My f-ing wife. She got rid of my chair and of herself and now these people are squatting in my house!”
      “License?” said the cop.

      He reached into his back pocket and handed over his wallet.

      “288 South Park Street. This is 286. You, sir, must live next door”.

      “Oh. Great, so my chair isn’t gone after all”. He said as stumbled out the door.
      “I’m gonna kill that b.” he shouted.

      The cop turned and followed him home.
      The door opened and, a wisp of a woman opened her arms to the approaching men.

      “Thank you for bringing my beloved man home. I’ll see that he gets to bed”.

      She closed the door and he fell onto the arm chair, asleep in 2 minuets.

      She grabbed her coat and the suitcase in the closet, and tiptoed out the door.

      • Beatrice says:

        Oh that was unexpected! LOL! I was wondering all the while if he had dementia, or if he was being gas-lighted, if he’d fallen into a parallel universe or something… and still the ending surprised me. Well done! 🙂

    • He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. She smiled. It was a real smile, upturned mouth with wrinkles emanating and eyelids pulled down and creases like star bursts. She was truly happy to see him again. It had been nearly 4 years since he stormed out on her sister and left her holding the back for the wedding. It wasn’t at the altar but two weeks before the date was pretty inconsiderate and he expected that would cloud the interview.
      Fate seemed to be raining down on him. After two sessions with recruiters, this was the final barrier to his life goal and now it was in the hands of someone whose family he had hurt badly.
      The smile dropped and her eyes went down to the folder open in front of her on the table. Her arms crossed across her chest and she leaned back ever so slightly. “Is she messing with my emotions?” he thought. He almost hadn’t accepted the appointment when he found out that Erin would be conducting the final session. In the seconds between opening the door and sitting down in the empty chair, he had gone from anxious to relaxed, confident to deflated, terrified to hopeful to terrified again. Maybe he should have bailed.
      “Welcome Mr. Caton. I only have a couple questions for you today.” Erin said confidently and professionally.
      “ How committed are you to the roles and responsibilities of Director of Communications?” and “ Are you be prepared to sign a long-term binding contract, if we make you an offer?”
      There it was, laid out with brevity and clarity. Was he ready and willing to commit? He knew he was a different person than when he was 28 years old. He knew that he had learned hard lessons about himself and his world.
      He knew that this was the career he had chosen and the position was exactly what he wanted. He was ready and willing and he humbly let Erin know that and put the decision back in her court.

      • “…and creases like star bursts.” I love that simile. Great prompt Bob!

    • Nancy Elizabeth says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. And yet, he felt as if he should have known something like this would happen.
      “Hi Mom.” Was all he could manage, as he tried to take it in. So this was the big surprise.
      His mother was the same, she hadn’t changed a bit since the last time he’d seen her. The same long, brown hair pulled into a ponytail, like she was a teenager, not a close-to-middle-aged woman who’d divorced her husband of twenty years and left her two teenage children without a mother. He’d seen her two times in the past six months, and every time she acted as if nothing had happened. As if she hadn’t turned their lives upside down.
      “Come in, Andrew.” She said with a big smile, after giving him a hug. He tried to force his legs to move, and found himself sitting on the couch facing a clean-cut man in a T-shirt and sweatpants. Holding a baby.
      “Andrew, this is Christian. My soon-to be husband.” My mother smiled at me like it was the best news anyone had ever told me. “And this,” she said, leaning down, and touching the baby on his nose. “is your new brother.”
      He stared at the three people in front of him, looking so happy and fulfilled. And he couldn’t take it anymore. It all spilled out before he could stop it. “Is this why you left Dad? Left us?”
      The woman in front of him, his mother, looked stunned. She looked at her fiancé, and then back at me. “Aren’t you happy for us? I thought you’d like our surprise.”
      “Mom, you left us without an explanation and disappeared out of our lives. And now you show me the reason why. How can you expect me to be happy?”
      He stood up. He couldn’t stay in that house any longer. As he walked out of the room, he turned back and said, “Have a nice life, Mom.” And closed the door.

    • Leonardo says:

      He pushed the door open and went in. It was the last thing he expected. The figure with a face like squid and a gown that resembled that of a priest watched him curiously, began to advance towards him and it does not have the same luck in trying to close the door.


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