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- 1000 words max
- fictional tale (or true if you really want)
- PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
- Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
- Go for the entertainment value!
- State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
- Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
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- Have fun!
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Choices – Part 3
Victoria shut off the hallway light at the top of the stairs, and hesitated. She tiptoed to the bedroom window, the way illuminated by the streetlight across the road. Nerves tighter than a cat’s, she giggled and slapped a hand over her mouth. She crept to the window, but couldn’t see a living being through lazy rivulets of dark rain. No matter how she smooshed her face against the glass, it wasn’t possible to see straight down.
She drew the curtains and felt around for the bedside light switch. Except for the tick-tock of her wind-up clock, no other sounds came within hearing range. Heartbeat slowed to match the clock, she collapsed on the bed. Victoria stared at the ceiling oblivious of its existence.
A small displacement on the mattress beside her shoulder interrupted her reverie. Time had stood still for only a couple minutes. It was 7:37 p.m. “Marmaduke. See anything out there?” The tom settled on all fours as if ready to pounce, blinked and wiggled his ears. His head moved back and forth not unlike someone searching for the right words to announce bad news. “Guess I’m the only ‘fraidy cat here.” The cat stretched a hind leg and groomed himself.
“I might as well get into bed and catch up on my reading. Be right back.” Victoria rolled off the bed with the cat at her heels.
While brushing her teeth, the day’s latter events crossed her mind. She’d called a taxi to deliver her key to the auto club. By day’s end, two young studs, driving in tandem, delivered the car to the office after closing. Gold Membership had its merits. At last she smiled into the mirror, toothpaste trailing down her chin. Marmaduke turned tail and sashayed away, tail high in the air.
An insistent pounding on the side door erased the smile. Now what? She grabbed a towel, stumbled down the stairs, and stopped. The cat already waited below the stairs by the side door. She peered around the corner though a yellow cotton curtain covered the door’s upper window.
“Please help me.” A voice muffled and sobbing pleaded.
Victoria sprang into action, seized the cat, and wrenched open the door. “What’s wrong? Come in. Come in. I thought you were at the school. I didn’t hear your car return.”
The wind carried the baby’s bawling from next door. “We didn’t go. Steve’s not home. My baby’s sick and a cab’s coming… to the hospital. Can you please watch my girls? They’re already in bed…”
“Sure, sure. Here’s the cab. I’ll hurry.” Victoria charged upstairs for her cell and purse. She yanked her coat out of the hall closet. Tenting it over her head against the fine mist, she slammed the door. What was the clunk when the door banged shut?
She noted the driver had parked too close to the house. The neighbor’s side door wide open, she raced inside and up the stairs. The layout different here, she stepped into the kitchen. Mother and howling baby careened towards her. “Careful. You don’t want to trip.”
“ThankyouI’mCarol. You’re a life-savor. Can’t reach my mother either.” The women held on to each other, one cradling her baby, the other supporting his mother. The cab driver didn’t exit the car to help the struggling women. Or open the back door. “Get in on the driver’s side.” Victoria rushed back to the house. The taxi reversed down the drive.
I’m in a stranger’s house whose husband gives me the creeps. What if he comes back before she does? The thought stuck like a scar.
She’d kicked off her wet shoes at the door. Barefoot in the center of the kitchen, she surveyed her surroundings. The furnishing was neat, but in need of serious updating. The kitchen cabinets begged sanding and repainting or complete replacement. Chipped paint and cracked doors frowned in embarrassment. Countertops showed wear past their due date and the floor tiles were of the old asbestos type. The sense of someone watching jolted her heartbeat. No-one else in the house but the girls, right?
A glance over her shoulder triggered an involuntary gasp. “Sylvie. I thought you were asleep.” Except for worried hands clutching and unclutching each other, the girl stood rooted to the spot, eyes glazed and unblinking.
“You remember me, right? You and Sarah came to visit the day I moved in?”
Her nod, though slight, proved she understood.
“You wonder why the baby stopped crying and why I’m in your house?”
Another slight nod. Eyes blinked shut for an instant and flicked open. The hands slowed their twisting. “Your momma took a taxi to the hospital with your brother. He’s sick. Want me to tuck you in?”
The girl gaped about as if looking for something. Or someone.
“Your daddy isn’t home either. That’s why I’m here.”
The girl tilted her head, brow furled in thought. Victoria held her breath and waited. I don’t know a thing about kids. Hope I don’t spook her.
Sylvie loosened her hands, smoothed her long pink princess nightie, with tiny steps approached her and grabbed her hand. With a shy smile to break many hearts to come, she tugged till Victoria followed. In the bedroom’s doorway, a long forgotten question popped into her head. “Do you need the bathroom before bed?
The girl shook her head.
“No school Saturday but a girl needs her beauty sleep.” Victoria smiled and pulled back the covers. The girl slipped in, eyes wide and searching. “Don’t worry. I’ll be here till someone comes home. Sleep tight. Maybe you and sister Sarah will visit again soon.”
Sylvie smiled. Sarah twitched and sighed in her sleep in the other bed.
The long-suffering roar of a mutilated tailpipe shredded the quiet night.
To be continued
© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.