“Bereft,” the screamed and ran down the street. Neither really sure of the words meaning, but liking the way it sounded when it moved past their lives, and even more when the sound bounced of the clapboard faces of the homes built up almost just against the curb, and returned to their ears. They laughed and hollered and waited for the echo. Then did the same, again.
The sun set, directly behind them, straight down between the two rows of houses, and casted, or another word that means more than casted, their long darkening shadows ahead of them.
The river washed out the road, turning the point into an island, and isolating the inhabitants of the five homes built there. Then it really started raining. The neighbours built a ridge of sandbags twenty feet inland along the western edge of their island. Sheer stone walls protected the other three sides.
As the water rose, they emptied their homes of food and supplies and gathered in the easternmost building, a widower’s farmhouse, sitting higher on the point’s tip.
They stood around kitchen and dining room, completely soaked through, trying to catch their breath and wondering what would happen next.
Prompt courtesy of the Daily Post.
Patties done, cheese melted, Goat slid them from the grill to the serving platter. He hopped up the makeshift stairs and through the patio door. But not quite high enough. His right foot, following the left inside, swung hard, slamming into the frame. All toes except the big one stubbed. He pitched forward, plate held out before him. As he fell, Goat saw the burgers lift off from the plate and launch through the air.
His knees slammed to the floor, and Goat looked up, watched the meat sail through the air, down the hall, and land, cheese side down.
Prompt courtesy of the Daily Post.
Stan scrubbed the grill. Out front, his brother, Georgie, made change for the last of the day’s customers. The bell over the door chimed.
“Thank Christ,” his brother said, as he came through the swinging door to the kitchen. He pulled the mop and bucket from the corner, and kicked it when one of the wheels stuck in a rut. Brown water sloshed over the bucket’s edge. Ignoring the outburst, Stan wiped down his station.
“You wouldn’t believe those last ones,” Georgie said, wringing out the mop. “Swear to God. We never should have bought this place. Nothing but trouble.”
Henry built a home as best he could, and then went off to war.
When he finally returned, it was too large, too empty. Too many dark corners. He built a smaller cabin in the woods further along the river, and moved his rucksack there.
The house was not vacant for long. A storm broke the windows, letting the birds roost in the rafters. Raccoons settled in the cellar. A bear and her cubs occupied the master bedroom in the winter months.
Not very often, Henry would walk past it and imagine sheets drying on the line in the yard.
He thought, and said, he wouldn’t have any fun, but he did, and she did not gloat or hold his attitude against him. She thought it was nice.
The next morning, they decided to head out for breakfast. Neither of them felt like cooking. And no one had picked anything up from the grocery store. They both ordered extra crispy bacon, runny eggs and brown toast, buttered.
The couple at the next table ate and didn’t say anything.
Later, they each thought how easy it might be to get that way. Just a lot of little things you didn’t do.
After unplugging everything and moving the furniture from the living room, stacking it awkwardly in the hall and bedroom, we were still left with the couch. It wouldn’t fit anywhere. So we moved it away from the walls, to the middle of the room, and threw an old sheet over it.
We joked about it being a ghost, come back to haunt us for all the salsa and beer we’d spilt on it.
Sweeping up the fur and dust bunnies from the corners was harder than we thought. The place hardly even smelled like dog anymore. Imagine after we painted.