I never intended to make any sort of continuing series out of these flash fictions, but the idea I got from today's prompt put me back with Evie and her family from "Warning Tremors." Today's story is set about three days later.
The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive. Steven wiped his brow with his sleeve as he searched near the gravel drive.
Steven looked back to where Evie stood with Nadine and the boys. “No ‘for sale’ sign,” he said. “Maybe it’s abandoned.”
“You and Nathan check the front; Aden, Nadine, and I check around back?” Evie offered.
Steven nodded and waved for Nathan to come with him. He turned back to the house and frowned, not liking the idea of splitting up but knowing time was short. Dusk was already painting the western sky with brilliant reds and violets. It’d be dark within the hour, and the car sat useless on the side of the road four miles back.
“What are we doing?” Nathan asked as they picked their way through the high grass. “Skipping school, and now we’re about to break into someone’s house!”
“If there’s someone here, we’ll ask if we can stay,” Steven said. He peered in one of the windows. Everything looked dark inside, but it was next to impossible to tell anything for certain with the thick layer of grime clinging to the inner glass. “I’m pretty sure no one’s lived here in a long time though.”
“Doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong to someone,” Nathan answered. “It’s not right, Dad.”
Steven sighed. “I know.” He tried knocking on the weatherworn, wooden door. They waited a minute in silence. Steven strained to hear anything from inside, but the home was quiet. He reached out and tried the doorknob. To his surprise, it turned.
A shiver skittered up his spine, and his heart started beating double time. Who would leave a house alone and unlocked in this day and age?
“Hello,” Steven called as he pushed the door open. The smell of damp and decay wafted from inside, making both of them gag.
“Something died in there!” Nathan groaned. “That’s why it’s abandoned. We should go!”
Steven pushed the door open all the way before turning back to his oldest son. Nathan’s eyes were huge with fear, and he’d been tense and confused since they’d “bugged out” three days ago. He was just nine, but Nathan was bright, observant, and scared.
Steven grasped Nathan by the shoulders and got down on his eye level. “Even if something did die in there, it’s dead and can’t hurt us,” he said. “It’s sunset, and we’ll never make it back to the car before dark. We need somewhere to spend the night. Just one night. Okay?”
Nathan gulped, but he nodded.
“No way in, but we found a couple old pear trees around back,” Evie said as she and the other kids came back around the house.
Steve looked up to find all three with their arms full of pears. He grinned until he caught sight of something moving across the sky. Steven felt himself blanch as he watched a chemtrail streak toward the ground miles away.
I hope you enjoyed today's story.
Each Flash Fiction Friday story is 500 words or less and based off a first line prompt. So far, I've been using a random first line generator, but I want to make this an interactive series. I think reader suggestions as prompts would be much more fun than the rather limited and derivative prompts I can get from the generator.
If you have a first line you'd like to see done, leave it in a comment below. I'll screenshot it, write it, and post it for you.
You can also find the audio version of this story over on my YouTube channel.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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