Waiting consumes a lot of our time. Consumes is a particular word for it. We think of waiting as a drain, as a waste of time. At least I did for a while. Now I don't mind waiting. I just bring a notebook and a pen with me wherever I go and let waiting absorb my time. Sort of a roundabout way at an introduction, but I'll leave it at that. Wait. No, never mind.
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. I await patiently... Well, not that patiently.
The Window by AJ Hess
“One, two, three, four, I declare thumb wa..”
Before either could finish, Chuck and Sara lunged towards each other, each jabbing at the other’s thumb.
“You two need to settle down in there! That trash isn’t gonna take itself out,“ their mother called from the living room couch. Undistracted, the two continued to duel until Chuck slammed his thumb down onto Sara’s.
“One-two-three-four-I-win-thumb-war, “ Chuck spat, grinning widely as he let go of Sara’s hand and made his way from the kitchen table to the living room.
“Dang it Chuck,” Sara mumbled to herself while she got up to grab the trash and make her way outside. She hated taking the trash out at night. Chuck always told her scary stories about people living in the woods just beyond their house, practicing witchcraft and making sacrifices to the devil. While she knew her brother made these up just to scare her, she didn’t want to stick around outside at night long enough to find out if they were true. She hurried outside to the trashcan, flung the last bag of trash in with the rest, and made her way towards the dirt road leading from her house to the main road.
As Sara descended down the hill with the trashcan behind her, she kept seeing movement over in the woods, but as soon as she would stop to look, it would stop. She continued down slowly, eyes peeled. The sound of twigs snapping in the brush startled her. “Probably just some animals,” she told herself as she picked up the pace.
Sara broke out into a jog until she hit the main road, stopping just long enough to set the trash can down, then she ran back towards the house
until she heard the scream.
Her heart skipped as she stopped in her tracks, too afraid to turn around. It seemed so close. She tried telling herself it was just an owl while she broke out into a full sprint towards her house. Just as she hit the top of the hill, a wave of relief washed over her. Soon she would be home watching TV with her mom and brother.
Sara came to a full stop at the top of the hill; face white and eyes wide in horror. They were staring at her through the window. She was too far away to make out an expression on either of them, but they were just standing there, her mother and brother side-by-side, motionless. She walked closer to the house slowly.
“Mom? Chuck? Come on guys, this isn’t funny.” Sara called out. She stopped just as she could see their faces. They continued to stare, not flinching a muscle, their empty gaze made chills run down Sara’s spine.
“Come on you guys, you’re really scaring me. Stop that, please!” she screamed out, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Nothing. They just stood there staring at her. Waiting.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
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