Retro Thursday 7-22-2021

JULY 11, 2016 BY ATHLING2001
Daily Post One Word Prompt 7-8-2016
False

The Neighbors, Part 1
There are those among us who live false lives. Nasty men. Vicious women. Forgotten children. You will never see them. They pretend normalcy; friends and neighbors and co-workers. Inside they are monsters.

Am I one? Some things are best discovered on your own.

They moved in in late July, one rusty truck filled with rickety furniture, broken plastic toys and a mangy dog tied to the tailgate. I watched for an hour, until the truck was unloaded, before heading out to welcome them to the neighborhood.

James, Jane and little Janice. Could smell them half my yard away.

I introduced myself without offering to shake hands. Who knew what I’d come back with that I hadn’t had before.

“You come a long ways?”

“From Phoenix.”

“Nice place, Phoenix. So I’ve been told.”

He shrugged, bored already.

Janice ran over tugging the dog behind her. I stepped back just enough to keep her from grabbing my slacks.

“Do you have a dog?”

“No. I don’t.”

“Did you used to have one?”

I shook my head. “Don’t like dogs.”

Her face fell. The dog snuffed the grass, lift his leg.

Least he was on their yard. I’d need a fence, I decided. And soon.

Response – Prompt 7-19-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

You wouldn’t of believed it, but it’s true. Scrappy was the kind of hamster who won my heart with his cut little nose and whiskers and the funny way he had of peeking out of his soup can whenever I came home as if he was just making sure I was back and safe. Funny little guy.

Until I came home and found this black-robed figure standing over his cage.

“Hey, back away from the hamster.”

The Reaper turned, shifting her scythe from one hand to the other. “I can’t and you know that.”

“I know nothing,” I shot back. “Scrappy is too young to die.”

“I come at all times,” she said, “whenever the call comes.”

“Well, Scrappy was not calling.”

She made a noise almost of sympathy. “The call came.” Gently she reached into the cage and picked up my little guy.

Scrappy’s spirit came out of his body, squirming and sniffing at the unfamiliar hand.

“Oh,” I choked out, blinking back tears. “Scrappy.”

She held out her gloved hand. “Would you like to say goodbye?”

Tearful now, I nodded, taking a step forward. Gingerly, I reached out, feeling his cool fur beneath my fingertips.

“Goodbye, little buddy,” I said softly, wiping away the tears.

Scrappy sniffed my fingers, scratched his head against my thumb and then turned around.

Closing her hand gently, the Reaper turned away, walking across my apartment, fading gently into the night beyond.

JSW Prompt 7-19-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.