Fiction440: The Lender

Since I’m taking so long to get the video up, here is my latest story, written for an event called Fiction440. We had to use the words, freaky, owl, and thief and the story had to be 440 words or less.

Enjoy!

The Lender-

The light from the window washes over me as I observe the nightly routine of the house, waiting for the right moment. It would have to be soon. They are settling in for the night, the child already tucked safely into bed. The female shuffles around the kitchen in her slippers preparing tea but the male…he is waiting too.

He paces the living room; glancing at the door then the window. The rough October winds rattle their windowpanes, and he jumps at every creak, every scratch of a branch across glass.

The female comes into the room and touches her uneasy husband’s shoulder. Another gust of wind shakes the tree I wait under and an indignant owl voices his annoyance.

I step into the beam of the front porch light and push open the door.

The couple jumps at the sound and soon they appear in the hall, the man in front of his bride, his arm shielding her from the harm he knows is coming.

Before either of them can speak, I proceed.

“I am here to collect.”

“Collect? Who are…” but her husband cuts her off.

“You can’t have him.”

“It was part of our deal, sir. I most certainly can.”

“Deal?” her voice is shrill, panic rising as she watches me approach the stairs. “What…”

“He’s going to try to take Danny!” He steps in front of the staircase, “He’s nothing more than a thief!”

“Sir!” I keep my voice low, but he jumps anyway. “I am no thief. I am a Lender. I am simply taking back what is rightfully mine.” I put my hand to his shoulder, my long fingers reaching his back. “You will give me my property.”

“He is not property, he is my son!”

I sigh. They never believe I will be back.

“Ten years ago, you made a deal. In your desperation for a child, you asked for help. I delivered a child…on loan. That loan has expired, it is time to repay it.”

The woman gasps and then sobs. He hadn’t told her of the deal. Never mind, though. They would not remember this exchange in the morning.

I push past the man and, despite being a head shorter than him, he can’t stop me. He falls to the ground and the woman collapses next to him. They stare after me, already grieving.

They will wake up in their beds tomorrow, convinced  a mysterious illness has taken their child and that I was nothing more than the freaky-fingered hand of death that took him. They will remember grief, they will remember fear but they will not remember me.

Fiction 440: The Final Light

My latest Fiction 440 piece: For this event, we are given 3 words and asked to write a story in 440 words or less. This time, the words were- meteor, Ceasar, and neon.

It was also the first time I organized and led the event, borrowing the idea (with permission) from my friends in Lansing and bringing it to Grand Rapids. It was small, but a lot of fun.

So, here is my story.

____

She paused and looked around the quiet stretch of land, dotted with the proof of life once lived. No one else had chosen this spot for this night, and she supposed that made sense. But, for her, the lines separating the living and the dead had always been thin, and they were getting thinner with each passing moment. She’d always preferred the company of the dead anyway, why should now be any different?

Final spot chosen, she turned and watched for his approaching figure. He’d been close behind the whole walk here but she couldn’t make out his frame in the last of the light. The very last of it actually, she thought and chuckled.  He should have caught up by now and she called into the falling darkness. Nothing.

Her skin prickled but she refused to let herself panic. There was still time, she thought, let him enjoy himself. That was the whole point of their meeting, after all. Comfort, enjoyment…

The rest of the world had paired off immediately after the announcement, contacting loved ones, holeling up with families, or running off to be with friends. But, ten years as a coroner’s assistant had given her a certain aversion to the living. So, after the announcement, she’d had no one to turn to for comfort, until she saw him. He was alone too and his deep brown eyes caught her attention immediately. He shouldn’t have to spend this time alone, and neither should she.

They’d gone home together.

She turned again, squinting through the now complete darkness. She said his name. Then again, louder. “Caesar! C’mere boy!” Only silence answered her call and her stomach clenched. It was getting close and she was suddenly very aware of how badly she did not want to be alone. It was why she’d been drawn to him on the street. Why she’d chosen this place for their last moments. She’d been alone most of her life, she couldn’t stand the thought of being alone in death.

“Caesar!”

She looked up to the sky.

The moon shown neon bright, catching the stones around her and bouncing back into the charged atmosphere. Then, the light was gone.

It was here. She fell to her knees in the pitch black night, the last night, and reached out into the nothingness around her. She called again, one last time. This time though, there was a bark. Soft fur brushed her hands and a cold nose pressed against her cheek. Her arms closed around his solid form and he sighed against her as the meteor met the Earth and the last darkness met the final light.