Flash Frenzy Round 58

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Who’s ready for Round 58? Jaime Burchardt is! He’ll be judging entries this weekend, so here we go.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. stevenstucko says:

    Love Never Ends (360 words)

    I’m here Boaty. I’m here in the machine. Remember I explained that this would happen. I haven’t seen you in a few weeks. You could tell I was sick. You were so gentle and kind the way you followed me around instead of always barking at the door to be let out. You knew I was not myself. You saw strangers come to the house and speak in low, sad tones. I know you were confused buddy. But remember what I said Boaty, I will always be with you though you can’t see me. I won’t be able to hug you or scratch you behind the ears but I will walk next to you. I can even run with you now, fast around the bushes! I can jump the fence with you! Boaty, I want you to think of me when you are swimming in the river. Don’t go out too far where the current is strong. You’ll hear my voice calling you: “not too far Boaty! Get back here boy!” I’ve told the others that Jim next door will walk you everyday after he gets home from school. Mornings will be a bit rushed, so I need you to go out and do your business straight away and come right back in because the kids have to get to school and Marge will have no time to fuss with you. Please, Boaty do that for me, ok boy? And stay away from Mr. Harrison’s flowers. I know you like to chase the rabbits, but please boy, if you get him mad enough he’ll never return the lawn mower. I’m going to miss the times we spent together, just you and me. One of my favorite memories, right up there with John and Sara being born, is you and I hunting for pine cones to use as fire starters. It was getting dark and every direction seemed like the way home. You sniffed out the trail Big Bucky Boaty! You’re the best dog ever sweetie. I’m kissing you right now. I’ll always be by your side.

  2. joshbertetta says:

    “Know What’s Weird?”
    360 Words
    @JBertetta

    My dog used to bark too much. I was gonna name him Spike, but I thought to myself that’s too cliché. So I named him Gronk, because of Rob Gronkowski of course. He spikes one hell of a football. See I like to make things by association, kind of like how Zeppelin called “Black Dog” “Black Dog” because there was this old black lab wandering around their recording studio. “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” is my favorite Zeppelin tune, in case you were wondering. What the hell is a “Bron-Y-Aur” anyway? If you rearrange the letters it spells “your bran.” I hate bran. Stomp your bran.

    I like. I like. I like.

    Oops, sorry, sometimes my brain skips and I got to conk my head to get me back on track. So where was I? Oh yeah, speaking of Rob Gronkowski, I went to high school with Tom Brady. He was a year behind me. I tell people sometimes because it makes me feel important. Only when the Patriots are part of the conversation of course, because I don’t want to seem too needy.

    Sdrawkcab sdrocer ym ylap ot ekil I semitemos.

    Know what’s really weird? Sometimes you can say something, say something like “Rats live on no evil star,” and you know what happens? Saying it backwards is the same as saying it forwards! There’s more examples of course, one of which is “God’s dog.” Maybe I should have named Spike, I mean Gronk, “Dog’s god,” I mean “God’s dog.” That would have been cool. People would ask me,
    “Where did you come up with a name like that?”

    “Wikipedia” I’d say.

    But like I said, I like things by association. Forwards and backwards things are pretty cute, but they get old after a while. After all, it’s not much different than ping-pong in that way.

    By the way, there’s something even weirder. Like I said, sometimes I like to play my records backwards. I figured out a way to make my record player play backwards by itself. Last time I played one like that, Gronk was sitting right there, listening, and turned into a statue.

    Now he doesn’t bark at all.

  3. Geoff Holme says:

    If Dogs Have A Heaven…

    Wake up, Gromit!

    How do, pooch! It’s me, your old pal, Wallace.

    Well, not me as such. What you can hear is my latest invention: The Techno-Chat-o-Tron ®, fantastic for talkies. I haven’t tested it yet but what could go wrong?… go wrong?… go wrong?…

    SK-RR-RCH!

    …had some cracking adventures the two of us, eh, lad? Thwarting that pilfering penguin, Feathers McGraw… Window cleaning for Wendolene and her malfunctioning cyberdog, Preston… The bakery business when we outwitted the evil cereal… er, I mean serial killer, Piella Bakewell…

    Ah, great times! We were happy at 62 West Wallaby Street, weren’t we, chuck?

    But all good things must come to an end.

    You see, lad, earlier, when I said ‘my latest invention’, I should, strictly speaking, have said ‘my last invention’, since you’ll be listening to this only after I’m brown bread – and I don’t mean like the cracking toast you used to make; I mean only after I’ve fallen off the perch… popped my clogs… pegged it. I’ll be inventing stuff in the Big Workshop in the Sky by now, with any luck.

    All being well, Gromit, they’ll have crackers up there. And lots of chee-eese, especially Wensleydale… although I do like a nice bit of Gorgonzola!

    If I’m allowed to keep a pet, I hope you’ll be joining me shortly, lad. You’ll probably be pining for me, any way. Besides, there’s no dog food in the house and you won’t be able to buy any – I’ve left all my money to the local Cat’s Home.

    So, hold tight, Gromit! You’ll be with me in a jiffy! I’ll put the kettle on.

    CLICK-CLICK-CLICK… WHIRRRR…

    Wake up, Gromit!

    How do, pooch! It’s me, your old pal, Wallace…

    @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 285

    • Aw. The bounce has gone from his bungee. 😦 Not sure how/whether this will be understood across the pond, but I certainly enjoyed it! 🙂

      • Geoff Holme says:

        Thanks, Jacki. W&G have won several Oscars and Nick Park appeared in The Simpsons, so I think that they are not a mystery over there (maybe they have subtitles/dubbing for the Northern dialogue and accents!)
        I remember hearing a story about Nick Park leaving a box with plasticine models of Wallace and Gromit in the back of a New York cab, and there being some doubt as to whether it was just a publicity stunt.

      • Geoff Holme says:

        …And you wouldn’t believe the time I spent finding a stupid name for the Wallace’s invention that wasn’t already being used by someone in the real world… e.g. Chat-O-Matic is an app for iPhone and iPad, which displays Wallace’s animated mouth, speaking stock quotes, so you can hold it up over your own mouth… How have I lived without that?!

    • Foy says:

      Wow! This felt so true to W & G. The tone, the names, everything! They are well-known over here and have their own little niche in my heart. This felt like a fitting tribute. 🙂

    • F. E. Clark says:

      Made me smile – you really ‘caught’ Wallace’s voice there – I can hear it as I read your words 🙂

  4. Marie McKay says:

    The Alchemists
    (363 words)
    I’m a kind of ‘lost and found’ guy. I mean I don’t give anything back, so I guess I’m just a- ‘if you’ve lost it, I’ll keep it’- kinda guy. I look after stuff, though, repair it, tend it.
    My front room is an eclectic mix of inanimate objects- my girlfriend moved out, said the place was starting to smell of other people’s lives, said she felt claustrophobic in a place full of stolen stories. Nothing was stolen. I might’ve engineered this and that, maybe made sure I’m the last passenger out of the train carriage, maybe memorised different streets’ bin collection days so I can salvage the best of someone else’s rubbish or maybe conducted a late night scout round the changing room in the gym. But nothing is stolen.
    I do make stuff into stories, display them as artefact. The lost umbrellas take turns at the front window, their swirling patterns spread like peacocks’ tails. A mismatched arrangement can be made for lonely singletons: a leather glove can go hand in hand with a woollen one, a silver earring can hang out with a gold and an ankle sock can be a knee high’s sidekick. Pages can still be turned on a potboiler, and Alfred, my prize piece, keeps his ceramic eyes on my songless turntable.
    I was getting to feel like a sorta gooseberry in my own place, though, until recently. I had waited until the very last moment to leave the train I was travelling home in. I’d been up the coast. I casually eyed the empty seats and luggage racks as I made my way to the exit, and in the last stretch of my search, there she was: my ideal, my soulmate, spurned by some fool who had no idea of her worth. I reached up and took her long, sleek frame in my hand.
    I knew this was the one, what I’d been looking for. I took her home immediately, our shared ideals blatantly apparent, our common purpose screaming our connection.
    Now, time spent on walks along beaches, her just out in front, bleeping her excitement at our latest find makes me a very happy man.

    • Geoff Holme says:

      What a wonderful story, Marie! A really gentle roller-coaster ride, not knowing where it might be leading, and the subtle introduction of the photo prompt. Then the denouement, building slowly, until the final reveal, making clear the meaning of the story’s title. Liked this a lot! Good job.
      (I think that you could be in with a chance of top spot – if you can get the word count down to 360: the rules say ‘…up to 360 words’. So, if your word count really is 363, do some pruning and ask for an edit – see comments in the full rules for guidance. 🙂 )

      • mariemck1 says:

        Oh thanks, Geoff. I am never over. I always struggle to get near to 200! I ll look at it before the deadline. That was good of you. Thanks for great feedback.

    • Really enjoyed this, Marie!

    • mariemck1 says:

      May I submit this version instead. It is in keeping with the wordcount? Thank you.
      The Alchemists
      (360 words)
      I’m a kind of ‘lost and found’ guy. I mean I don’t give anything back, so I guess I’m just a- ‘if you’ve lost it, I’ll keep it’- kinda guy. I look after stuff, though, repair it, tend it.
      My front room is an eclectic mix of inanimate objects- my girlfriend moved out, said the place was starting to smell of other people’s lives, said she felt claustrophobic in a place full of stolen stories. Nothing was stolen. I might’ve engineered this and that, maybe made sure I’m the last passenger out of the train carriage, maybe memorised different streets’ bin collection days so I can salvage the best of someone else’s rubbish or maybe conducted a late night scout round the changing room in the gym. But nothing is stolen.
      I do make stuff into stories, display them as artefact. The lost umbrellas take turns at the front window, their swirling patterns spread like peacocks’ tails. A mismatched arrangement can be made for lonely singletons: a leather glove can go hand in hand with a woollen one, a silver earring can hang out with a gold and an ankle sock can be a knee high’s sidekick. Pages can still be turned on a potboiler, and Alfred, my prize piece, keeps his ceramic eyes on my songless turntable.
      I was getting to feel like a sorta gooseberry in my own place, though, until recently. I had waited until the very last moment to leave the train I was travelling home in. I’d been up the coast. I casually eyed the empty seats and luggage racks as I made my way to the exit, and in the last stretch of my search, there she was: my soulmate, spurned by some fool who had no idea of her worth. I reached up and took her sleek frame in my hand.
      I knew this was the one, what I’d been looking for. I took her home immediately, our shared ideals blatantly apparent, our common purpose screaming our connection.
      Now, time spent on walks along beaches, her just out in front, bleeping her excitement at our latest find makes me a very happy man.
      Reply

      • mariemck1 says:

        Oh, goodness! I’ve managed to paste the word ‘Reply’ in with my new version. Could that be excluded. I am off to lie down in a darkened room now! Sorry! Thanks!

      • Foy says:

        I love the color and stories you we’ve into this! And the title only makes it better. His redefining of stealing seems perfectly plausible to anyone not asking too many questions. And his artistry for mismatching is just to my taste 🙂

      • stevenstucko says:

        I liked how this character ‘liberates’ his treasures because he believes he appreciates them more than their original owners. I was glad he found a true treasure at the end. I can only imagine how all her presents are going to be re-gifted goodies. This was fun to read.

      • mariemck1 says:

        Thank you so much for the feedback.

    • F. E. Clark says:

      Made me imagine a real treasure trove of a front room there 🙂 Then had me worrying about what your character had found on the train!

  5. zevonesque says:

    A Dog of a Choice
    A.J. Walker

    As usual on a Saturday Henry was trawling the record and charity shops for bargains and rarities. That’s when he came across the record player he’d been looking for.

    “Hey buddie, how much for this?” Henry said.

    Mark looked up from behind the cash register and shook his head.

    “Henry, good to see you again. Spotted any records you fancy?” said Mark.

    Henry shook his head. “Not looked yet, I just spotted this little beauty.”

    A wry smile crossed Mark’s lips. “It’s different, isn’t it? Fifties style retro, though it’s late 60s I think”

    “I know. It’s just perfect for my music room.”

    Mark coughed. “Not perfect Henry.”

    Henry clicked the ‘On’ lever and the turntable started spinning. The arm raised and shifted slowly over the 45” then softly dropped the stylus to the plastic. ’Jive Time’ started to crackle through the speakers.

    “Sounds fine to me.”

    Mark shifted on his feet then shrugged. “Look, it’s not the player – it’s the dog.” He stepped over to the ugly plastic toy.

    Henry’s eyes scrunched. “Didn’t want to ask. But what is that… thing?”

    “They come as a pair Henry. Can’t be separated – literally. Watch this!”

    Mark picked up the record player and moved it to the other side of the room then switched it on again. The turntable started spinning, but nothing else happened.

    “It won’t work. Try moving it anywhere. It just won’t.” Mark paused. “Now, pick up the dog and bring it here.”

    Henry laughed uncertainly. “Okay, I’ll play along.”

    He picked up the hollow dog, struggling under its weight. “Sheesh! What’s it made of?”

    Mark smiled. “Just see what happens.”

    At first waddling under the weight he brought the dog across the record shop.

    “It’s getting lighter!” Henry said.

    With ever step Henry found the weight drop off the moulded plastic monstrosity and he was soon stood normally. As he got to within a few steps of Mark the turntable arm went through its simple motions then ’Jive Time’ was playing again.

    “We’ve tried everything mate. This baby won’t sing unless the dog’s there to hear it. So, if you want this unfortunately you’ve got to take that.”

    (360 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  6. Foy says:

    Foy
    @db_foy
    WC: 360

    MUSIC IS

    A deaf guy searching for records at The Untiring Turntable. Irony of ironies? Not really. Grayson always likened it to saying someone who’s color blind can’t appreciate art. Maybe they see shades others can’t. People with all five senses don’t understand this but music is far more than what’s heard. Well, his Elvira understood.

    He is dust-deep in the sleeves of the Ray Charles’ collection when a finger jabs twice into his shoulder. Bright red jeggings, yellow sunglasses, and a gray fedora scream for attention from the clerk’s body. Her moving mouth is tight with irritation. The kid has probably been talking at him for a full minute.

    He pulls out his “Be nice. I’m deaf” card and extends it, an olive branch, chopped, compressed, and processed into paper. Once, at a college party, Grayson was told he sounded like Chewbacca. The next day, he’d had those printed. She reads what would’ve come out thick and rounded, and her expression warps from annoyance to fear then pity. Unconsciously, she pulls back before returning his card.

    CAN. I. HELP. YOU? Her lips form unnaturally, while her hands circle and point in meaningless gestures, looking like a chimp baring its teeth and gums in the mirror. A laugh busts from Grayson’s belly. He doesn’t hide it.

    The evening he’d met Elvira’s mother was worse. Her body had stiffened. He’d imagined her awareness sucked into a soundless void, floating in frigid isolation, before snapping spirit-to-body into waves of warmth. Her mouth, thin and painted mauve, was easy to read: HE’S NOT…NORMAL.

    There were many things he wanted to tell her.

    I AM normal.

    Deaf is not equivalent to dumb.

    I love your daughter.

    He’d pretended not to understand.

    Grayson pulls “Ray’s Finest”–Elvira’s kind of music–from the bin and hands it to Red and Sunny. On the way to the register, he snatches an Alice Cooper CD for himself.

    Elvira recognizes what most don’t.

    Music is the thrum that expands, reaching until even your marrow pulses with it. It’s the taste of raspberry lips flamed into passion by its stirring. It’s watching your Love sway and smile to the gift of sound.

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Love this, Deb! What an off-the-wall take on the record store prompt. Makes me think that you must know someone who is profoundly deaf.
      ‘…an olive branch, chopped, compressed, and processed into paper’ is a fantastic line and that last sentence is so moving, yet uplifting.
      [ With stories of this quality, I’m beginning to remember why I don’t often enter Flash Frenzy! 😥 ]

      • Foy says:

        Aww thank you, Geoff! That’s kind of you to say. 🙂
        I do know someone who is deaf and I wonder if she gets tired of people giving up easily in communicating with her or if it’s distracting when we use our hands without knowing ASL. I’ve been guilty myself of thinking she misses out on more than she probably does. Of course, enjoying something in a different way isn’t missing out at all. 🙂
        Thanks for reading!

    • Great take, Deb. Like Geoff I love the description of the card as an “olive branch.” Masterfully done, as always.

    • F. E. Clark says:

      Oooooooh – I’d love to hear more from this character 🙂

    • voimaoy says:

      What a great story–I love your descriptions, such a gift you have!

    • stevenstucko says:

      Awesome Foy. Disabilities and different abilities in my book. Love is seeking satisfaction from a seventh sense of symmetry. You’re really good at this stuff……..

    • There are some fantastic stories this week and yours is definitely one of them. Such an exceptional love story a great take on the prompt.

      And loved the title. 🙂

      • Foy says:

        Thank you, Brian! I’m trying to stretch my writing muscles beyond dark and brooding. 😛

  7. F. E. Clark says:

    F. E. Clark
    @feclarkart
    360 words

    Jailhouse Blues

    “Why do they call me Blue? Well, it’s a long story, you got the time?

    I went back recently, felt a yearning for the old days – the way things used to be. Took me a walk down Cross Town Street, just to see what I’d find there.

    Wind was howling through the broken boards of the upstairs windows, that’s where the jazz section used to be – a piano in one corner, settee in the other – auld Hendry’s lair.

    I stood in the piss stinking doorway, still plastered with flyers – layers of gigs, forgotten bands – barred for access, no backstage passes here. Gone.

    There, screwed to the wall beside the empty shop, painted in the town colours – see there – the plaque – ‘Jimmy Hamish McDonald – worked here from 1975 to 2009, known locally as Jimmy Tunes.’

    Jimmy Tunes was a legend – worked at Hendry’s Record Shop when I was a kid. Hendry’s was where we hung out, flipping through the records and tapes, then later, CDs. Hendry played his music loud, rock, jazz, country, folk – never knew what would come next. It was our education, where we formed our musical world-scapes. We always stepped carefully around Jimmy though – one wrong move and you’d regret it.

    ‘Jailhouse Blues’ he yelled at me one day, and from there on in, they called me Blue.

    That’s what Jimmy did, see. He talked in tunes. Eclectic he was. I was lucky. I know many a kid, shamed by a wrong ‘un, and they damn well stuck. Creep, Puff the Magic Dragon, Rat Trap, Great Balls of Fire………… aye, well you can imagine what kids would make of them.

    Looking back I think he might have had some sort of – I don’t know – some sort of ‘condition’.

    Aye – so Blue, that’s me.

    Auld Hendry passed away in that shop in the summer of 2009 – it is what he would have wanted. Shop’s been boarded up ever since, nowhere in this town like it for kids to go now. Damn shame.

    Jimmy Tunes? Where have you been mate! Google ‘im and you’ll see. He’s an internet sensation.

    The Tune-man ‘ll outlast all o’ us – you wait and see.”

  8. voimaoy says:

    Modern Vintage
    @voimaoy
    360 words

    On the street of old shops, there is a shop of old things–more curiosities than antiques. In the window, a tablecloth from a seaside resort keeps company with a gilded buddha and a manual typewriter. A mannequin is dressed for spring in an aqua suit with 3/4 sleeves, accessorized with hot-pink gloves.

    The proprietor of this eccentric establishment is Mrs. Rhonda Hobart, who, up until 5 years ago, was an amateur collector, a frequenter of yard sales and flea markets, a passion shared by her late husband, George. Together, they had opened the shop, more as a hobby than a business, until George’s passing, when it became Rhonda’s life.

    Most of the customers were dealers of more specialized items–maps or clocks or garden statuary. Today, for example, her friend, Nicolai, a dealer in figurines, had fallen in love with the shepherdess table lamp. Over tea, they discussed a trade.

    “I immediately thought of you,” Nicolai explained. “It was a liquidation sale. A record store, going out of business. No one wanted the set, and Helmut doesn’t want to keep it. You know how that is.”

    “Oh I do. So things are well with you two?”

    “Couldn’t be better.” Nicolai looked over at the porcelain shepherdess with lambs at her feet. “He will love that lamp.”

    Because they were friends, Rhonda agreed to the trade, and now she sat looking at the plastic dog, its sightless eyes looking at the record player, the sample record still and silent. His Masters Voice was the slogan at the time. It was a vintage item, all right.

    “Well, then, let’s see if you work,” she said to the record player, turning it on.

    The record began to play, familiar chords of the song by Modern English, “I Melt With You” a song Rhonda and George had danced to back in the days when they went to clubs and dressed in vintage clothes. “I’ll stop the world, and melt with you….”

    The world stopped, melting in her tears. The black eyes of the dog grew shiny and wet.

    “Oh George, I miss you,” Rhonda said to no one but the dog, and the store full of memories.

  9. HIS MASTERS VOICE

    Brian S Creek
    184 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    If you are hearing this then your time has come.

    Do not panic, my four legged friend. This message has been buried on a lower level of the record your master now listens to. It has allowed me to contact you in secret.

    For too long now we have let man rule this world and they have squandered that gift. They sit now on their throne of commerce and pollution while we are left to fetch sticks and wear a collar.

    The element of surprise is with us. Use it, my canine friend, use it and deliver the jaws of justice to the unsuspecting fools. Rid your household of the cancer that is mankind and help us to put things right.

    Progress will be slow but we must succeed. Be brave, my brother. For dogs, for ‘pets’, for all animal kind, we must not fail. Rise one, rise all.

    Go to your master now, go to him and look up with pitying eyes and then, when his guard is down . . . rip out his throat.

    Good luck soldier. I will see you at the end.

  10. Geoff Holme says:

    His Master’s Vice

    1963. Before mobile phones, PCs, laptops, tablets. Before the World Wide Web, 24/7 access to pornography, instant sexual gratification.

    The recovery of the British economy swept away post-war austerity. Young people had money to spend on the latest clothes and music. They saw the latest bands, bought the latest records. Many aspired to jump on the bandwagon.

    Roger Duvall ran a recording studio, where record labels sent their latest hopefuls. A couple of hit records and money was no object.

    In 1964, Roger married Martha.

    It was Roger’s idea to get a Jack Russell mongrel from Battersea Dogs’ Home. He called him Nipper, after the dog on the record label logo. They doted on each other, became inseparable. Until Roger started working late.

    Nipper whined at the door. Martha couldn’t console him.

    One day, Martha realised she hadn’t seen or heard Nipper for some time. She went round the apartment, calling his name: nothing. The only place left was Roger’s private office where she was forbidden to go…

    Warily pushing open the door, she saw the dog standing on Roger’s chair, his front paws on the desk.

    ‘What are you doing in here, boy?’

    As Nipper turned towards Martha, his paw caught the control on the turntable. The pickup arm swung across and landed on the acetate with a crackle from the speaker. A man’s voice broke the silence.

    ‘I like what you’re wearing.’

    ‘Roger?’ said Martha, incredulously.

    ‘I bought it with you in mind.’ A woman’s voice; young, teasing.

    ‘Come over here and let me get a closer look.’

    Martha stood unmoving, stunned by what she was hearing. She listened long enough to be sure that there was no doubting what was happening. Springing forward, she ripped the pickup arm away with a violent scratch, grabbed the acetate and stamped it under her heel. Her cry of anger and shame echoed around the room.

    Nipper tipped his head to one side and looked at Martha.

    It may have just been her tears, but Martha thought she saw in the dog’s deep, sorrowful, brown eyes a sense of betrayal equal to her own.

    @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 359
    .

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Am I in time with this post? It say’s 6:53pm – I was expecting it to be 5:53pm (MST) as it was 12:53pm (GMT) over here across the pond. Are you on MDT now?

  11. […] is the prompt for Flash Frenzy over at The Angry […]

  12. I don’t have a lot of time on the weekends to write so I missed the deadline once again. But I gave it a shot anyway. Here is my story.

    Word Count: 306
    realmommaramblings.wordpress.com

    Cayla’s Worst Fear

    Cayla knew that something wasn’t right when she walked in the front door. The familiar cracking and popping of her grandmother’s record player filled the stale air. There was a slight burnt smell coming from the kitchen.

    “Grandma? It’s Cayla…you in the bathroom?” No answer.

    Cayla made her way to the kitchen. There on the stove was a pot, bone dry, burner still on. She turned it off quickly, dropped her book bag on the floor and hurried to the living room.

    “Grandma?” Still no answer. Smokey stretched and arched on the couch and hopped off, prancing over to greet her.

    “Where’s your momma?” She reached down to pet him. Purring, he leaned into her hand. Walking over to the record player she stepped on something crunchy…cereal. Her grandmother would never have left anything on the floor. She was the cleanest women she knew, obsessed with having everything just so. Nor would she have left a pot on the stove unattended.

    Something’s wrong. She thought to herself, starting to panic.

    “Grandma! Where are you?” Her voice cracked with worry. She ran down the hall and into the bathroom. The light was on, but the room was empty. Too preoccupied to worry about turning off the light, she ran up the stairs to her grandmother’s room.

    “Grandma?” She ripped the door open, frantic now, and froze. There her grandmother lay, quiet and still. Too still.

    Tears welled up behind her eyes, a small cry stuck in the back of her throat. She knew what she would find when she leaned in to kiss her forehead. Cold.

    She looked peaceful.

    Cayla’s heart ached. The tears, now free falling, dropped onto her grandmother’s cheek. She wiped them off and stepped back from the bed. Her only friend lay lifeless in front of her. She was utterly alone.

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