Surprise on the Doorstep

The doorbell rings. You check the alarm clock and notice it’s way too early for someone to be visiting. You crawl out of the warm bed and scuffle across the house to the front door. You crack it open and no one is there. Upon opening the door, you notice an unmarked package on the step. A strange scratching sound is coming from inside, so you decide to lift the lid and investigate. What do you find in the box, and who left this for you?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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91 thoughts on “Surprise on the Doorstep

  1. jazzywilliams

    I look down at the box, my hands are shaking a little and a thousand questions are running through my mind who sent this? How did they find my address, what the hell is in this box. If it’s someone i know why did they leave it unmarked? I decide to open it.
    I walk outside and look around alittle, I pick it up, it was pretty heavy, and it seemed as if it was moving. The scratching sound came and went.

    I take it to my living room and grab a knife from the kitchen. I look at it a little, but decide to just open it. I cut into it and before i could open the flaps, it jumps out.

    A PUPPY!!!!! A puppy? I smile as it jumps in my lap, unfortunately smelling like pee. It had a cute fanny pack attached to it? It starts to lick my cheek,
    “AWE stop this is too much cuteness!!” I say while trying to open the fanny pack.

    Wait who would send me an adorable husky, with a fanny pack….
    “Harry!!” I call out, knowing he would be the only one to do something this sweet.
    I finally get to unzip the fanny pack and grab the black velvet box.
    Oh my god I open the box revealing a beautiful diamond ring

    “Jasmine…” I hear harry say behind me, I quickly turn around with tears flowing down my eyes, and see him on one knee.

    “These 2 years have been the best years of my life, you’re the love of my life, and although we act like a married couple already I need to make this offical. Marry me?”

    “Oh my goodness Harry, YES!” I say while jumping on him

  2. darkstarshining

    Scene 1
    (thump thump thump a pounding comes from the door)
    (startled awake, glances at alarm clock and notices it’s a minute after midnight its her birthday)
    (thump thump thump someone pounds on the door again)
    (she stumbles through her room in the dark and arrives at the front door)
    Who is it?
    (pauses and listens for response)
    Hello? Is anyone there?
    (slowly opens door and peers out into the night but there’s no one there)
    That’s odd I wonder who it could have been.
    (steps out into the night to look around only to trip over a small package)
    What’s this? I wonder if it’s a present there isn’t any note or return address all it has is my name on it. Lyra.
    (brings the box inside and shuts the door and turns the light on)
    (the box begins to shake and rattle)
    (LYRA screams, stumbles and nearly falls while managing to not drop the box)
    What is that!?!?!?
    (the box begins to shake again and a scratching sound can be heard)
    Oh what should I do?!?! I don’t want to leave it if its an animal but it could be a rat or something!?!
    (the box continues to shake and more scratching noises can be heard)
    I guess all I can do is open it an hope for the best this is the oddest birthday ever.
    (LYRA takes the box to the kitchen table and hesitantly begins to open the box suddenly a cat jumps out of the box and onto the table)
    What were you doing in there? You are a pretty cat aren’t you.
    (LYRA begins to pet the cat)
    Thank you.
    Who said that?!?! Who’s there?
    I did.
    (LYRA looks around to try and determine who is speaking finally stopping on the cat)
    Did you just talk?!?!
    Of course I did do you see anyone else here?
    (LYRA screams)
    Oh my gosh it’s a talking cat! Oh my gosh what do I do?! Clearly I’ve gone crazy!
    You’re not crazy I can really talk I’m what’s called a familiar and my name is Lune. I was sent to you because today is your 21st birthday and you have inherited your powers and are ready to begin your training.
    Training? Training for what? What powers? What are you talking about?
    Training to become a witch of course! Every witch gets their powers at midnight on their 21st birthday and that night is tonight for you.
    That’s crazy I’m not a witch this must be some kind of mistake I’m perfectly ordinary in fact I’m just plain, boring even I have a boring job and a boring family and a boring life. If I was a witch wouldn’t my family be witches too?
    Well ordinarily yes your family would have several witches in it and you would have started your basic training as a child and would have been preparing for this night your whole life but in your case you’re different. Every witch who has ever been has been related to a witch but you aren’t your birth has been foretold for centuries the magic born from nothing and now you’re here. And trust me you’re a witch otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation because familiars can only talk to their masters and their masters can only be witches. And that is why I’m here tonight because all familiars appear to their masters when they gain their powers to help guide them and help them on their way to becoming masters.
    What does that mean the magic born from nothing? And why me why am I special?
    The prophecy goes, born on midnight of the lunar eclipse magic is born from nothing and shall determine the worlds fate. And that’s you Lyra you are the worlds future you will determine if good or evil shall prevail.
    This is all too much I don’t think I can handle this. I can barely decide what I want for diner let alone the worlds fate!! And why is it up to me and what does that even mean how can one person decide the worlds fate.
    There has been a war waging for centuries between the good witches and the ones who wish to enslave mankind and make the world a place where only magic remains and what you do will determine which side shall prevail. And unfortunately for you you don’t have much time because now that you have your powers the others can sense you and will come for you soon so we need to get going.
    What do you mean their coming for me? Where are we going?
    Both sides will want to obtain you in order to win this war so we’re going someplace safe someplace where you can begin your training and can decide what you want to do. We’re going to the library of the mages. And you’re going to get us there.
    Me? How am I going to get us there? And where is that?
    It’s a hidden library in a place that was long ago forgotten and only the true chosen one can enter which is you and you’re going to get us there by flying once you’re in the air all you have to do is think of a safe place in your mind and you’ll know what direction to go.
    Fly!?! I can’t fly! This is just so crazy, and to think all I wanted for my birthday was a quite day at home.
    You can fly and you can do it all you have to do is believe. Now first you need to get a broomstick and then you need to go outside and just believe.
    Alright if you say so.
    (LYRA grabs an old wooden broom from her closet and steps outside in the night grabbing a messenger bag for LUNE to ride in)
    now get on and believe and you’ll be on your way.
    (LYRA gets on the broom and closes her eyes and concentrates really hard slowly they begin to rise into the night sky)
    Open your eyes Lyra and look at the beginning of your new life and the end of everything you’ve known.

  3. WriteWish83

    Hello everyone. I’m new on here and this will be my first post. I just wanted to say that I have been on the website pretty regularly reading all your posts and I am truly in awe and inspired by all of your posts. Such creativity and imaginations. This will actually be my first posting of any of my writing anywhere, so I would really appreciate any feedback that you could give me. Thanks!

    Ding, dong, doooonnngg! The obnoxious doorbell pulls me from a wonderland of colorful dreams and playful friends. I roll over to look blearily at the alarm clock. Five a.m. Who in the goddess is calling at such an awful hour? Ding, dong, dooonnnggg! The bell screams at me again. “Ok, ok, ok. I’m coming. Hold your horses!” I yell back at the persistent bell. Throwing back the covers, I shove my feet into my piggy slippers that wait patiently beside the bed. I shuffle down the halls, waving my arms in front of me like a zombie at a rave. I navigate through my tiny one bedroom duplex and glare through the peep hole. No one. Not a soul in sight. Grumbling, I slide open the chain lock and disengage the bolt lock. Pulling the door open, I poke my head out and look around. No one on the porch. I step out of the door and nearly break my neck as I trip over a package sitting on my door mat. It’s a small box, plainly wrapped in brown paper with no return address, just my name written on the top. I pick it up, surprised by the featherweight of the box. This better not be a joke. I glance toward the road expecting a car to be waiting with some sadistic prankster waiting for me to open the box for a scare of a lifetime. No cars on the road. At least none, which would have a clear view of my porch. Shaking my head, I step back into my home with the strange box.
    I flip on a light and look down at the box debating on whether to open it or put it in a bag for someone of an authority to investigate before I expose myself to some potential terrorist threat. I don’t recognize the hand writing that my name is written in. They always say curiosity killed the cat. “But satisfaction brought him back,” I mumble to myself as I slide my finger under the seam of the paper. I undo the tape holding the paper together. The paper comes off easily to reveal a box about the size of a children’s shoe box. Still no markings, just a plain black box. I open the box to see a burlap bag about the size of an antique coin purse and a folded piece of paper. I set the box down, more intrigued now, and pick up the bag. It has a little weight to it. I undo the twine string tying it closed and pour the contents out onto my palm. A single gold coin rolls out of the bag and lands in the middle of my hand. I toss the bag back into the box and flip the coin over, studying the foreign writing on the back. I don’t recognize the language and certainly not the figure on it. It doesn’t appear to be a coin from any modern country. Maybe it’s a coin from an ancient culture? I set it on top of the bag inside the box and turn my attention to the folded paper. It opens up to reveal a map with a red X marked off the coast of an island. What the heck is this? I feel like I’m in an Indiana Jones movie or something. The area on the map seems familiar. Then I recognize the land mass jutting out into the water. That is Florida. The island appears to be in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. But last time I saw a map of the Triangle, I don’t recall seeing any islands in the middle of the Triangle. Perhaps it is an uncharted island. Hmmm, curiouser and curiouser. I’m pretty sure I have some vacation time saved up. Perhaps I will see where this map leads…

  4. XChen

    I saw Ethan again. He was giggling and clapping his hands to the beats of this nursery song I often hummed to him. Everything seemed natural, as if he had always been my baby. I was so completely happy. As I wished to hum to him like this forever, I had tears in my eyes. Then everything suddenly evaporated, leaving only my eyes still moist. That was when I woke up to the sound of the doorbell.

    4:44am. I was just lying there, feeling the same kind of anguish every single time I woke up from seeing my little boy in the dream. A year had passed since he disappeared. I must have dreamed of him more than 200 times.

    The doorbell rang again. I had initially thought it was some mistake. I wanted to ignore it, but it would not let me. I got up and started walking towards the front door.

    No one was there. I looked out into the darkness that surrounded my house. All I could see were the silhouettes of countless treetops against the darkly lit evening sky. There were no other houses near mine except for the Downs’s. Ever since they moved away almost a year ago, it had been unoccupied.

    I knew that house too well. I had physically and mentally walked around that property from bottom to top for God knows how many times. It was all in the police reports – the first floor kitchen where Mrs. Downs fed Ethan some strawberries that morning; Mr. Downs’s study on the second floor which Mrs. Downs had baby-proofed and transformed into Ethan’s playroom whenever she babysat him; finally, the backyard porch where Ethan was last seen riding on the wooden rocking horse that Mr. Downs made for him.

    They were the sweetest and kindest people I knew. The guilt and pain for losing Ethan must have been tremendous for them, as they had to move out of the house they had lived for more than 20 years…

    Suddenly, some sort of unusual scratching sound came from a few steps below the front door. There, for the first time, I saw a box. My heart sank as I realized someone had been here. I picked up the box and quickly closed the door.

    A walkie-talkie. I stared at it as it sat on my kitchen table making more noises. I did not know what to say, so I just listened. A few minutes must have passed, and slowly, I started to recognize some beats – the nursery song I used to sing to Ethan.

    “Ethan! Oh my baby. Is that you? Ethan, please talk to mommy.” I frantically repeated these few words in different order, but got no answer from the other side.

    “Hello. My name is Eden.” A boyish voice finally spoke.

    “You mean Ethan? Are you my boy, Ethan?”

    I felt something was about to explode from my chest.

    “No. My name is Eden.”

    An image suddenly struck my head. I sprinted out as fast as I could to the Downs’s backyard. I kneeled down to this tombstone that read “Eden Downs.” As I plucked out the weeds around the stone, more words appeared –

    “2000 – 2004
    You will always be our baby.”

  5. Anna Golova

    Theresa wasn’t in a good mood. It was Saturday and she had hoped to relax after working for a long week, but her plans were ruined when the doorbell woke her up early in the morning. It rang. Another time and then again. Theresa tried to ignore it, but the person behind the door must have been eager to see her.
    “Chill out, I’m coming!” she yelled, not wanting to get out off bed. She slowly stood up and walked to the bathroom.
    “God, I look terrible,” she said when she saw herself in the mirror. Fine, the person behind the door must accept that she looked bad. To not be completely naked she put on a bathrobe and walked towards the door. It took her a long a long time to get there, the hallway was dark and besides also a mess. It felt as if she was walking trough an obsticle course, having to watch out for all the things she could trip on.
    “What do you want?” she yelled and opened the door. But there wasn’t anyone there. She stepped forward to look around but tripped on a box.
    “What the…” What was a box doing here? There wasn’t any name on it. She wondered what could be inside of it, when suddendly she heard scratching. There was something living inside the box. She had to make a decision, give it to the neighbours or keep it? What if it was an animal? Or even worse, a baby… But it could also be a space creacher. Theresa was to curious not to open the box. She ripped the tape away and opened the box. In the box she only saw two bigs eyes, the rest was dark. She tried to reach into the darkness. Her hand touched the darkness’, hair? The “darkness” was actually a kitten. It jumped out off the box in Theresa’s hands. Theresa was stunned. She had no idea what to do.
    “What are you doing here?” she asked the cat. It purred back. “Yeah, that helps me a lot”. She still couldn’t believe what just happened. Did she own a cat now? The kitten jumped of Theresa’s hands and went into her apartment.
    “Hey, who said you could go in there?” Theresa yelled angrily, but the kitten didn’t respond. “Sure, invite yourself in.” Theresa sighed. Her mind went all places. Did this mean she owned a cat? Does she have to like feed it? Does she have to pay bills for it. She cried in terror. In the mean while the cat had found the kitchen and meowing.
    “So you already found where the food is, he?”
    Theresa didn’t know what cats eat.
    “Do you like raw chicken?” she said. The cat approved. Theresa took a plate and put the chicken on it.
    “Here, eat.” The cat ate the chicken greedy. When he was done he walked to the couch, jumped on it and fell asleep.
    “Good night Darkness.” Theresa said and smiled.

  6. Nakysha

    She was soaring through the clouds, up, up, up and away! She had never felt so free before, her life was finally taking flight into this sky of a thousand possibilities! She was about to collide with a fluffy cloud when-
    Ding Dong.
    The cheery tune woke her from a dead sleep. She rubbed her eyes hastily, launching herself upwards in a sorry attempt to answer the door. She shivered a little from the crisp, fresh air as she opened the door, and was more than a little shocked to find that there was nobody before her at all. The girl rubbed her eyes again, feeling more awake than before. She also realized that she was in a revealing tank top and underwear – giving the neighbours plenty to look at. Great. Just great. A ding dong ditch first thing in the morning and public embarrassment. She could tell it was going to be an interesting day.
    She was about to retreat when she saw a small, rectangular package waiting on the doorstep. It couldn’t be holding anything overly spacious in there, given its size. She bent down and grabbed the box. It fit comfortably in two hands. She backed in, closing the door with her foot, and headed towards her discount, yet comfy, couch. The cushion practically sucked her in butt first as she collapsed into it, but she hardly noticed. Instead, she took to inspecting the box. The front side had a vertical strip of tape in the middle, and three horizontal strips to seal the deal.
    The girl grabbed a pair of scissors that sat on her coffee table, and began to cut off the tape. She opened the box, and was confused for but a second. A red light flickered as she opened the box, and suddenly a puff of smoke exploded in front of her face. She let out a piercing shriek, throwing the box across the room. Her hair tangled in front of her face, her heart racing, a thousand thoughts scrambling in her mind. All was interrupted by an unfamiliar voice.
    “That means you’re dead, soldier.” A man in an army uniform stood in the doorway, a clever smirk outlining several years of experience on his face.
    “Sorry?” The girl asked.
    “Dead. D-E-A-D. You receive a package in the mail, nobody there to sign it off or anything, and naturally open it. Did it ever occur to you that it might be something dangerous?”
    “Why are you in my house?” She dodged the remark.
    “You signed up for the army, didn’t you?”
    “That’s still a month away-“
    “A soldier must always be prepared for what could happen, on duty or not. You signed up for-“
    “This is absurd-“
    “Are you going to take this seriously?” The girl felt her mouth run dry. He continued, “Then, Ms. Mira Knightly, get dressed. Your training begins now.” Mira stood and marched away. She stopped, almost out the door.
    “And what may I call you?”

  7. wshenderson

    Shattering my dream that morning, the doorbell stunned me awake. I lay there wondering if I actually heard the bell and didn’t dream it. The clock on the wall ticked its way through the seconds, the furnace hummed its warm embrace through the registers, but not another sound reached my ears.
    “Well, crud,” I thought to myself. Unable to resume slumber I padded down the hallway and peered out the door to verify if I was only imagining things or not.
    The snow was crisp and sparkling and yielded evidence to confirm two things. First, someone had been there, the scuffled tracks through the snow on the sidewalk and tire tracks in the driveway confirmed that. And second, who ever it was, that person was gone now. One set of prints to the door and one leading away, to the where the driver’s side car door would have been only moments ago.
    Opening the door to peer down the street I never saw what I tripped over until I caught myself on the railing. A box. And it was alive.
    Well, something inside was alive. At least it wasn’t ticking, that I would have expected!
    Carefully opening the lid a cuddly creature mewed. A cat! Who leaves a cat on a doorstep in frigid weather? A mystery to be sure.
    We already have three cats and the inquisitive pair, Sugar & Booger, were already investigating the intruder. They were not happy! But the dependent gaze of the frail creature tugged at heart strings. What do I do now?

  8. Pete

    Myron Mace awoke to a thump at his door. He bolted to his feet, being accustomed to people calling at all hours of the night. A sliver of pale light on his windows, he cracked the door and found a box his feet.

    Myron’s heart accelerated, for even through the years of research and discovery, of living in the warring factions of the village and witnessing the destruction and malice that had dulled his eyes and calloused his brain, his heart never wavered. It thumped with such urgency at times that he thought it might just beat right through his chest with its desire to grasp him.

    After some deep breathing, Myron heard the scratching, which relieved him because a bomb would tick, not scratch. Bombs detonated. This box was clawing. Something was fighting to get out.

    Another look around. His bungalow was in a remote part of the countryside. His nearest neighbor was two miles away, a distance he’d walked in his mind several times with his legs and a million times in his head. Myron knelt, touching the lid, his heart clanging around again. Then he opened the box.

    Maria Lavinia picked up on the first ring. She sounded remarkably awake and clear, and Myron pushed away thoughts of her watching the sunrise, taking a stroll along the beach. Or she could just be working. He cleared his throat.

    “Miss Lavinia, I need you to come look at something.”

    “Myron, I’m sure it’s probably just a spider.”

    Myron shook his head. He’d never live that one down. “No, Maria, it’s something else.”

    Ten minutes later she arrived, hardly out of breath as she set her bicycle down and smiled at her colleague. Her smile did little to calm Myron’s urgent heart.

    “Okay, so what have you found this morning, Myron?” she said, one part teasing, one part professional. Her smirk fell. “Myron? What is it?”

    Myron led her inside, where the box lay on the floor. Her eyes widened. Myron nodded.

    “I think it’s…”

    The box was nearly pulsing by then, seemingly stronger as the sun climbed to the windows outside the house. Maria fell to her knees, and after a quick look back to Myron, she cracked the lid on the box.

    The glow lit her face, found her cheekbones and swam in the gleam of her eyes. Myron wiped his face, finding his own tears. A lifetime of work within reach.

    “It’s beautiful. It’s…”


    Maria shut the box. The room seemed to radiate, still washed in the glow of their joy. Myron nodded.

    “So, how do we use it?”

    “We have to share it.”

    “Yes, but do you think it’s too late?”

    Maria looked down. Myron found that he was holding her hand. She squeezed it and gushed, euphoric at the discovery. Thought to be lost hundreds of years ago, deemed extinct but now it was there, clawing and fighting to get out. Sitting in Myron’s living room.

    They’d spent the past five years combing the continents for Cs12, an elusive element once known as Common Sense. And now it had found them. And with that first discovery came a second, as Myron leaned in, and kissed the girl who made his heart thump so urgently in his chest.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Wow Pete! this is a great story. The suspense was almost overwhelming and teasing at the same time. Do you think it might be too late to release it in our political theatre?

  9. Ddesbrat

    The doorbell rang, I opened my eyes and it was still dark outside. I looked at the clock on the nightstand; four fifteen.
    I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs wondering why someone would be here, now. Nothing good came to mind.
    When I reached the door, I pulled back the curtain only to find no one there.
    I opened the door, stepped onto the porch and kicked a small box that was sitting on the welcome mat.
    I picked it up and carried it with me to the end of the porch while I looked around for who could have left it.
    Nothing stirred.
    I turned to head back inside, and as I stepped through the doorway, I felt something scratching the inside of the box.
    Of course, being a picture of self control, I half dropped / half threw the box across the hallway. It landed and the lid popped off but nothing fell out.
    I bent down and peered inside – a pair of big green eyes peered back.
    “Well who do we have here?” I said as I reached inside to retrieve my new friend. The growling chuckle that answered me sent a chill down my spine.
    “I have many names.” It said with a voice so deep I could barely understand. “Step back if you do not wish to be crushed.”
    Ice was forming in my stomach as I complied.
    I backed away as far as I could to let the creature out, and was completely in awe of what emerged.
    “Did I say awe?” I meant, “Awwww!”
    The most adorable little ball of fluff I have ever seen was sitting on my dining room floor, trying his best to look menacing.
    I reached down, picked him up and carried him into the kitchen.
    “Unhand me!” He said. “Lest you feel my wrath!”
    I turned on the light and set him on the table.
    He didn’t look like any animal I’ve ever seen before. He was round and furry, with arms and legs about three inches long and small triangle ears that folded down on themselves. He had BIG green eyes and a tiny black nose. His eyes and nose seemed to be the only things that didn’t change color. The rest of him shimmered and rippled as though it couldn’t decide WHAT color to be. It made him nearly invisible.
    “What ARE you?” I asked, my face rudely close to his.
    “I have many names. Genie, leprechaun, fairy; but we are known among our people as wisps. You’ve been gifted a wish. Once you have made yours it will be granted within a day as long as you pass me on anonymously. If you fail, I’m free again until someone catches me.
    “Speak not your desire, but hold it in your heart as you give me to another.” He said.
    I did exactly as instructed.
    So, if your doorbell rings at four a.m. and no one is there, look for a box….
    And make a wish.

  10. igonzales81

    When the knock came, it was all I could do to roll over in bed and peer blearily at the clock beside my bed. Three in the morning. This couldn’t be happening. I’d been at work until midnight, then come home and collapsed into bed, so tired I didn’t even kick off my shoes.

    Slowly, I rolled to a sitting position, letting my feet hit the floor with a thump. For a moment, I wondered if I could manage to stand up.

    Then the knock came again, more insistent this time.

    Maybe it was the landlord, deciding that this was the only time he could catch me at home, with yet another reminder that I was behind on the rent. Rent that I had to work three jobs just to make, in a crummy joint that was about two steps away from being condemned.

    The knock came again.

    “All right, already!” I yelled, then winced. My poor head…

    I rose to my feet and made my way across the room, nearly tripping over the uneven floorboards. This place was such a dump, but so much was wrong in my life, it hardly mattered. What I wouldn’t have given to get out…of everything.

    Another knock, hard enough to make the door rattle in its frame.

    I grabbed the handle and yanked the door open. “What?”

    No one was there.

    Pranksters, was the first thought that crossed my mind. I stepped out into the hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever idiot that this was a funny gag. Instead, I tripped over a box sitting right in front of my door.

    Catching my balance, I looked down at the box, then up and down the corridor. There was no sign of who had left it there. I peered more closely at the box. It was just a plain cardboard box, about the size of a shoebox. It was dark in the hall; I couldn’t make out any more details.

    Grumbling under my breath I picked it up; a second later, I nearly dropped it again as something inside scratched against the lid. I held it away from my body for a second, then I tapped lightly on the lid. After a second, something tapped back. Slowly and carefully, I stepped back inside, closed the door behind me, hit the light switch.

    In the faint glow, I could see that only a few words were written on the box.
    “Here you go.”

    There was no address, or return address. Not even a name. Weird.

    Maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I opened the box.
    A mirror sat at the bottom of the box. I could see my own face, looking up at me, and behind that the ceiling of my apartment.

    I just stared at my reflection for a long moment, wondering what was going on.

    Then the face looking up at me smiled, a slow, lazy grin stretching the lips. “You want out, right? Well, this is your chance.” The face leaned closer, and I felt a strong sense of vertigo, as if I was falling into the box.

    “Because I want in.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I doubt it or most of mine would’nt make it. Change the title slightly, put a three digrt number under it. That way the computer won’t post. “I think you’ve already said that.”

  11. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Girl Saga continues
    (Mildred and Edna are Sarah’s aunts)

    “Sister?” Mildred whispered from the doorway. “You be awake?”

    In the moonlight she saw Edna sit up and reach for her robe at the foot of the bed.

    “Heard the automobile from the highway,” she said. “Grove worker, this time a night, comin’ for help ain’t got no car. Figured it for a courtin’ couple what don’t know the road.”

    The women moved slowly to the window. At the edge of the clearing, close to the big oak, they could see an open roadster, a man slumped over the wheel, shoulders heaving. They watched as he seemed to make a great shudder, straighten up, and climb down, his face toward the moon.

    Mildred clutched her sister’s arm.

    “Horace,” she hissed through clinched teeth as the man reached back to retrieve a large package. “What is he…” she started, but stopped as she watched him carefully approach the house.

    The light knocking stopped by the time the sisters came downstairs. When Mildred opened the front door, they saw the package on their porch and Horace nearly back to the car.

    “Horace!” Edna pulled away from Mildred. “What this foolishness be?” The man stopped and turned, moonlight flickered on his wet cheeks. At the sound of her voice the top of the package seemed to move a bit.

    “Don’t know what else to do, where to go, they say Jacksonville, they say Tampa, they…” he let out a great sob as a wail erupted from the package. Edna turned to see Mildred kneeling on the rough pine boards, ripping paper off an orange crate.

    “Sarah’s baby,” Mildred lifted the now squalling infant. Edna went down the steps to Horace.

    “Where be Sarah?” She grabbed the front of his coat as he tried to move, smelled alcohol. “Why you be leavin’ this chile in the middle of the night, leavin’ her like trash at our door. Where be Sarah?”

    “She’s gone, Sarah’s left, thought she might be…”

    “What you mean, Jacksonville, Tampa?” Edna could hear Mildred making schussing sounds.

    “Three days back I come home from Ocala, growers meetin’, find my house dark, note on table says Desi got baby. Desi says she shows up for work, no Sarah, baby screamin’, she wrote the note, took baby home with her.” Horace sobbed. “I been lookin’, lookin’. Folks say she run off, my Sarah run off with a railroad man she met comin’ here, say they heard tell she’s in Jacksonville, some place else.” He pulled away.

    “I gotta go, gotta find her. Baby’s been screamin’, won’t stop ‘less I rub whiskey on her gums.” He looked toward the porch. “Take care a Sarah’s baby. I’ll come get her when I find…” He ran to the car.

    In the house Mildred carefully undressed the still crying infant in front of the stove while Edna poured warm water into a basin.

    “Least he brung some things, Desi musta found a bottle. Good we had that can a milk, she musta been starvin’ way she took it.” Mildred bathed the little girl, then wrapped her in an old, soft lap quilt. “Got that sop done?”

    She gently slipped her little finger into the tiny mouth, rubbed the swollen gums, upper and lower, then felt the slight protrusions along the upper gum line.

    “Know’d it,” Mildred said with a smile as she took the handkerchief Edna had twisted around the piece of raw potato dipped in a bit of honey. “Here you be. No more whiskey.”

    Later, the sisters drank coffee and watched the baby, tucked in a blanket lined dresser drawer, drowse as she chewed.

    “I was afeared. Been havin’ dreams,” Edna said. “Tomorrow I’ll hitch up the wagon, go into town. Baby needs things,” she laughed. “You reckon they ain’t never give her her name?”

    “I been studyin’ on that,” Mildred tucked the sop back between the rosy lips. “Remember Sarah always singin’ she first got here, ‘fore Horace took her off? Ole song, took me back.” She leaned forward in her chair and softly sang.

    “Like the Mountain Laurel in the grove dear/My love is, is ever green/
    Like the Mountain Laurel finds the grove dear/I’ll find you again.”

    “Sounds to me,” Edna said, “Sarah done named this here baby.”

    She stood.

    “Laurel, Sarah’s Laurel, welcome home. Mildred, sing us the rest a that song whilst I go write this girl’s name in the bible, ‘long side her birth date.”

    “Where the mountain breezes blow,” Mildred sang. “There’s a place I long to go/
    You’ll be waiting there I know/In the pine and we’ll climb.”

    Laurel’s eyelids fluttered, then were still.

    “Into the hills we knew in days gone by/When your heart was gay and so was I/
    And we’ll find a love we left behind/Long ago, long ago.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is so touching and magnificent at the same time. It done spum me back to the time period. I thing this may be the finest chapter you’ve written of this saga. Beautiful job Reatha.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Reatha!

      Just so you know, I love the Mountain Laurel song. It’s so lovely and sad all at once. Especially this part: “Into the hills we knew in days gone by/When your heart was gay and so was I/And we’ll find a love we left behind/Long ago, long ago.”

      Is it okay that I still feel bad for Horace? 🙁

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, cosi. I’d decided on Granny’s name some tine ago, was waiting for the right time. I also vaguely remembered this old song, and when I found it, it seems to fit, and foretell the conclusion of everything. Horace is deserving of pity.

  12. Hiba Gardezi

    Her eyes are open now and she hears a ringing at the door.
    Could it be?
    She sniffs and lies in bed a few more seconds as the beeping continues.
    She throws her legs over the side of the bed and her feet slip onto the floor.
    Her head. Ohh, oh her head.
    She grasp the coat hook for support.
    And walks slowly to the door her hands caressing walls wet with paint. Never mind.
    Never mind.
    Who minds?
    No one does.
    No one minds.
    These thoughts swim across her mind as tears begin to moisten her eyes and uncontrollable fear sets into her heart.
    If they….
    If they….
    She screams and falls onto the floor.
    What a miserable creature she is!
    She may never be miserable.
    Slowly she begin to stand up. First a crouch.
    Then a little further up till she is only bending.
    Finally he stands.
    Now a feeble step.
    Next is one that’s a tad bit bigger. By the time she’s at the door she is walking normally.
    She looks out through the little window above the door to see only a sleepless sky spread with stars and surrounded by conifers. No one.
    Where are they?
    She swings the door open.
    What lies before her on the doorstep of her cottage is a brown paper package, unmarked and peppered with droplets of water as though it has been through the rain.
    She sits cross legged on the step with the door wide open to examine this bizarre parcel.
    A scratching sound. She hears a scratching sound coming from it.
    She decides to open it.
    However she finds the decision to be unnecessary.
    A hand shoots through the paper, ripping the package and grabbing her arm.
    She gets a hold of the fingers, pulling at them to release herself.
    At the same time the paper dissolves around what now stands before her— the quester.
    She should’ve known… water spray, mid night, brown. All his signature moves.
    Arms and hands like a humans with a robotic body and head the size of a baby’s he stands before her.
    “Why are you here?” she asks, trying to sound confident yet her voice seems shaky.
    He laughs and throws his head back.
    “You don’t know?” He asks, pouting. “What about the deal we made that fine winter morning when you turned 18?”
    She slips her fingers in to her coat to bring out a dagger.
    Again his laughter fills the air.
    “You agreed, my child. Now, come. Let us not break any promises.”
    She shouts for help. And that is the last time she says anything in the skin of a human.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I really liked the way you wrote this
      It made the story powerful and interesting. So many deal with the future as if it will never come to pass. The story here is …. “You always have to pay the Piper”.

  13. Kerry Charlton



    At three thirty in the morning, John Murphy’s front doorbell rang, not once but four times. He hated that time of morning ever since he found it was the death hour that more people die than any other. At his age he expected to run into the grim reaper at any given moment. With high anxiety he cracked the door to see a small cradle decorated with a ribbon, sitting on his front porch.

    When he uncovered the blanket tucked around the cushion, a small calico kitten looked up at him with her green jade eyes. Love entered John’s life as soon as he set his eyes on her. He guessed her age at six weeks or so and decided to name her ’Miss Kitty’.
    John was officially retired as chief detective on the Miami police department. However he worked special assignments that the department felt he was uniquely qualified for.

    Miss Kitty, even at the age of twelve weeks became an eager student of murder and vice. Training films, she absorbed in multiple doses while John laboriously went over details and clues he had witnessed during his tenure as chief inspector. Miss Kitty was trained to look for the unusual at the scene of murder.

    At first, the city complained that rules were not followed by allowing a cat to inspect scenes of murder and malice. But by this time, Miss Kitty weighed an impressive eighteen pounds and with her training and senses hundreds of times more acute then man, she began finding obscure clues the detectives missed. The communication between Miss Kitty and John took on a mystic awareness and silent communication took over.

    It wasn’t that John could read Miss Kitty’s intentions but the opposite was true. At a special award service at the Miami Police Department, Miss Kitty was deemed and awarded the title of Mystery Chief Inspector, in front of the press and television cameras. Next day national news picked up the story and Miss Kitty’s portrait hit the news stands across the country.

    Scotland Yard showed interest in her talents and invited her along with John to fly across the pond to England for an interview. She was awarded the title in England as ‘Dame Miss Kitty.’ At that point, John received a call from the Secretary Of The Interior in Washington. Upon reaching the capitol city, she was whished to the pentagon along with John, and interviewed by the Secretary Of Defense.

    John was exhausted by this time and Miss Kitty had started to lose weight and her coat lost some of it’s brightness.

    “It’s time we took a vacation, Miss Kitty. Where would you like to go?”

    Miss Kitty trotted over to John’s computer and typed in ‘Disney World’. John knew that might be a serious problem for the park allowed only service animals in the public area. When he got off the phone with a friend who had a management position, he was faced with a no decision, but the next day he received great news. He and Miss Kitty were to be greeted by Mickey Mouse and Pluto and fifty some reporters.

    At Disney World, Miss Kitty appeared anxious and restless and John began to wonder,

    ‘She’s never been shy in public before, there has to be a good reason. I’ll put my phone down for her to type’.

    The press was quite amused but when John read what she had typed, he swallowed his reaction and calmly asked for security.

    “You say your cat typed this message on your computer?”

    The security official began to laugh.

    “Let me see that message please.” came from the vice president of Disney World.

    “Evacuate the park,” he told security, “follow procedures but be quick about it“

    John reread the message his ryes at first had trouble believing,

    “I can sense explosives in several areas.”

    “I’ll turn her lose,” John said, “but we need to be quick. It won’t be easy keeping up with her.”

    An hour went by, bomb squads has diffused six areas of explosives that if set off could have caused the lives of hundreds of visitors.

    Next morning Miss Kitty again reigned supreme on front pages around the world.

    “You are one magnificent cat, Miss Kitty,” John announced.

    “Thank you,” she typed. “does that mean fresh salmon for dinner?”

    “You bet!”

    [Look for future stories of Miss Kitty]

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Kerry!

      I totally look forward to more Miss Kitty stories. 🙂 And, just so you know, I really like this line: “Miss Kitty, even at the age of twelve weeks became an eager student of murder and vice.” It makes me think about my own cat. 😀

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Cosi, I am going to post a photo of Miss Kitty along with this story on my blog, I’m happy you enjoyed it. By the way, Miss Kitty was sprawled out on my desk while I was writing this. Every few minutes, she would raise her head, “Meow”.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Thank you UP. She really a sweetheart and very shy. She is quite large for a calico cat. Showed up at the back door a year and a half ago. We opened the door and she moved in.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        That’s a riot, Reatha! Maybe she’s waiting to be called as a supreme court judge. Once a cat makes their mind up, you can’t change them. Miss Kitty is asking me for a bullet proof vest and a BAR to go with it. she’s up tp three meals a day now and I’m broke running to the grocery story and buying seven pounds of dry food and 32 cans of friskies.

  14. UnclePizza

    The old woman heard footsteps approaching her doorway. Soft and gentle, but loud enough to wake her. She lay quietly in the dark waiting for the knock, and after it came she listened as her visitor scurried off into the night. She slowly moved the heavy deer-hide covers aside (it seemed as if everything she did was slow now) and sat up, reaching for the oil lamp on the table by her bed. She found it, and soon there was enough light in the small stone dwelling that she could see.

    She wrapped herself in a leather robe that she had dyed red and decorated with blue leather stitching. Since it was still cold she pulled the hood over her head before adding some sticks to the embers in her stove. Finally, she lit a small lantern, made her way to the door, and opened it. The small box was waiting in front of the door, as always. And as always, there was no one in sight.

    The woman leaned over, again slowly, and lifted the box. As she moved it she heard scurrying and scratching noises coming from inside. They seemed louder than usual. Oh, she thinks as she carries the box inside, this one must be from someone terrible.

    She set the box on the table and examined it carefully. Yes, she can see now that this one is special. Many of the boxes left at her door are simple; plain in fact. Others are carved, painted, or decorated in many ways. Over the years, she has learned that she can tell something about the person that she is about to cleanse by how much effort they put into decorating the box. Most folk had simple boxes, but the more evil they were the more they tried to make the box special. And this box was the most special she had ever seen: it was intricately carved, made with gold hinges, and inlaid with colorful stones. The woman sighed as she prepared to open the box. She was not looking forward to consuming this person’s evil deeds.

    The scurrying and scratching stopped as soon as the woman opened the lid. The small lizard stood frozen in place and looked past the woman toward the open room. Just as it decided to leap from the box, the woman’s hand swooped in and snatched it up with practiced speed. She held it close to her face while it moved its head left to right looking for another way of escape. She did not like to let the lizards suffer any longer than they already had. She did not know how the mystics were able to transfer the sins of the dying villager into the lizard – that was their job. Hers was to consume the life of lizard, and with it the dying person’s sins so that they would not be punished by the gods who tended the dead.

    As quickly as she had snatched it from the box, the old woman bit the head off the lizard and swallowed it whole. Then, as she sucked the cool blood from the small reptile, she could feel the sins flow into her own soul. Yes, she thought as she set the drained carcass back into the box, these were the sins of a very bad person. But now their way is clear.

    As she felt the fresh sins blend with those of countless others, the woman took the three gold pieces from the box, closed the lid, and set it in the stove to burn. It would keep the cabin warm as she settled back into bed and slept the sleep of the dead.

    1. igonzales81

      This was a very good job of giving the reader an impression of the world of the story. You did a great job putting atmosphere into such a short piece of writing.

  15. ShamelessHack

    “Wake up.”
    “Huh? What? What is it, Theresa?”
    “Wake up. There’s someone at the door.”
    “Ugh. It’s so early.”
    “Move it. Lower your fat self to the floor and go see who it is. I don’t have a good feeling about this.”
    “You’re very nervous, you know that, Theresa?”
    “Chalk it up to genetics, Mr. Critic. Now go see who it is!”

    Sigh. After all these years of marriage, I know she’s just being herself. Ugh, my legs are so stiff in the morning. OK, let’s see what’s bothering her so much.
    Hmm. No one here. Wait, a package.

    “Theresa, there’s a package here!”
    “Wait for me, I’m on my way. And make sure you close the door. Heat isn’t free, you know.”

    You believe we’ve been married for 37 years? I should get a medal. Not only that but— Wait a minute, there’s a scratching coming from this box. There’s something moving inside.

    “Who’s it from?”
    “Oh, you’re here, Theresa. Hmm. No return address. And it’s so small. Here, I’ll put it on the kitchen table.”
    “Something’s inside!”
    “Calm down, Theresa. Here, I’ll just open it. Just. Like. This…”
    “Eeeeek! A mouse!”
    “Now, now, calm down, Theresa. It’s so tiny and—oops! It jumped down to the floor.”
    “Kill it! Stomp on it!”
    “But it’s like an innocent little person. And a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
    “Enough philosophizing! Now quick! STOMP ON IT!”
    “It went under the sink. I don’t think I’ll be able to get it there.”
    “You idiot! You know I’m petrified of mice.”
    “How can I forget? We never do.”
    “The least you could have done was smash it with your trunk.”
    “That’s it! I’m spending tonight at my mother’s, Horton. Goodbye!”
    “But, Theresa…”

    Well, she’ll be back tomorrow. I know her so well. After all, I gave her my wedding vow 37 years ago.
    And at that time I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.
    And an elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Leave it to you Larry to write something as cool as this is. I loved the last part
        Now if you could weave Dumbo into the story, we’d have another classic. Loved it!

  16. Beebles

    Not my best, just a quick fire comment on recent events.

    Nigel had been looking forward to Friday morning. Little did he know it would be better than he could ever have expected.

    It hadn’t been easy over the past few months. His mates from the golf club, Boris and Michael had acted a little embarrassed about his involvement in the whole scheme, even though it was his idea in the first place. Michael, the slender man of the greens, who played the course as if it was some giant game of chess, had been more enthusiastic. Boris, a big blond haired rumbustious sort of a bloke, had been taken a little longer to come around. In fact it had been quite late in the day by the time Boris had nailed his colours to the mast, but when he did he set to with gusto. Nigel suspected it had more to do with his candidacy for the presidency of the club than the cause.

    The cause had begun with a few turned heads and tutting behind hands. Most people hadn’t noticed, getting on with their rounds of golf and drinks and networking as if nothing had ever happened. But Nigel had seen it, and the problems it would cause.

    You might not have known if it hadn’t been for the accent, oh and the dress sense. Northerners had no idea how to dress for a golf club. A Yorkshire entrepreneur makes a killing and the next thing you know he’s bought his club membership for a black pudding and and a dozen Eccles cakes and he turns up with his loud jumper and his brash wife. ‘By gum’ this, and ‘bar tat’ that. Just their presence wound Nigel up so much he wanted to lay their heads down on the driving range and send them eighty yards with a nine iron.

    Then the Irish turned up, all bling and blarney. That’s when Nigel decided something had to be done. He needed seconders to propose the motion at the members meeting of course. That was where Michael and Boris came in. He hadn’t told them everything naturally. The less they knew the better. All they need to know was that it was going to benefit the security of the club. It was passed 52 votes to 48.

    That Friday morning the van arrived and Nigel’s contact took him to the rear to see the box. It was made of steel, sounds of scratching coming from within.

    ‘I prepared ‘im exactly as you asked.’

    ‘Any problems?’

    ‘Well,’ the contact said rubbing at his tattooed arm, ‘We did ‘ave a bit of trouble when he went off a bit early and savaged this woman, but we managed to cover that up. Said it was a mad dog. ‘Ere, give us an ‘and.’

    Together they got the box out of the van and placed it before the doors of the club’s reception area. It was only 11.00am, but already there were plenty of the members in the bar. A car rolled into the carpark. Its number plate read ILS2 Y0RKS.

    ‘Perfect timing.’ Nigel smiled a big frog of a smile and lit a cigarette.

    ‘Ey up, Nigel. What’s to do?’ the friendly Northerner asked as he locked his car.

    ‘This,’ Nigel answered and flipped the catch on the box.

    The brown beast, as large as a bear, leapt slavering from inside. It skidded to a halt on the tarmac, looked around and spotted the Yorkshireman and his wife.

    ‘Kill,’ said Nigel. And it did.

    When the victims were spread between the president’s parking bay and those reserved for visitors, blood dripping from its maw, the beast, looked back to its master. Nigel nodded to the door and the monster disappeared inside the club. Soon the screaming began and Nigel watched with pleasure the pandemonium within the windows.

    Boris and Michael appeared in the foyer, panicked, searching blindly for the door. Boris still held a pint glass in his hand. Seeing Nigel they ran to him.

    ‘What the hell was that?’ Michael cried, his eyes wide. ‘It’s savaging everyone inside, not just the bloody oiks! It’s destroying the club! What on earth have you done?!’

    Nigel calmly removed the pint glass from Boris’s hand and drained the dregs.

    ‘Made a start, chaps. Made a start.’

  17. Witt.Stanton

    I sat under the ice cream parlor’s multicolored umbrella, contemplating the existential futility to life. My travel companion who, by some mistake undoubtedly caused by a calculation error far beyond my skill set, had been morphed into a tiny human child. She stared up at me and I down at her. She was useless in this form.

    Humans passed us by, talking rapidly to each other and to themselves. My companion stood next to me, holding her human telephone device and watching the lights flash when she smacked the screen with her chubby fingers. She made a frustrated noise, and I hushed her.

    I took the device from her, turning it over in my not-yet-familiar human hands, and wished I knew how to revert her to normal size. Our mission wasn’t going as planned. This meant that my companion and I would soon would be given the signal to abort. The thought depressed me, and i blamed my newfound human brain chemistry for this; it was more unstable than it was in my natural form.

    I was pulled from the depths of my mind when a real, not-female human child (if I remembered the manuals correctly) ran up to my companion, and began blabbering unintelligibly to her. I slowly picked up my companion and walked away, never once turning my back on the human-not-female child.

    I hurried away from the ice cream parlor and the multicolored umbrella. The planet named The Earth held a proximity to the sun that was much farther than what I was accustomed to. My companion and I shivered. I already felt the effects of the 21% oxygen levels, and my hands shook. We slowed to a walk.

    An automotive vehicle raced past us, it’s lower rotational orbs producing a strange, high-pitched noise when it moved around us. I blinked at it, lifting my companion higher so she too could observe the strange happening, her tiny legs dangling in front of my face. A human had sat inside the vehicle, and upon its aging continuance it had worn a rather complex facial expression similar to fear. I tilted my head, wondering if the vehicle had scared the human sitting inside. I still had much to learn.

    Eventually my companion and I made it to our dwelling unit. We made use of the roof, storing the telephone device there so it would have a stronger connection, then explored the interior of the unit.

    A strange ringing noise reverberated in the dwelling, and my companion, after tracking the noise over to the front entrance, tottled over to the door. She couldn’t reach the handle, so I pulled the entrance open for her. A human stood in front of the door, clothed in a strange uniform. I assumed he was part of a lower class system. He spoke in a gravely voice, making it difficult to understand. His shirt read the letters UPS, an acronym that confused me.

    The human shoved a small box into my hands, and then a metallic writing utensil attached to a board with a piece of paper clamped on it. I gave the box to my companion, who looked delighted, then I squinted at the chain connecting the two not-yet-familiars together. The human bearing the letters UPS said another word, gesturing to the paper. My companion offered no assistance, so I did what seemed natural. I ripped the paper off the board, and began to pull at the writing utensil until it too came off.

    The transaction complete, I offered the human UPS the board, leaning forward to show him my teeth, a friendly expression meant to create friendship between humans, and shut the door. I lifted my companion onto a table so we were the same height, then looked inside the box.

    A vibrating, circular holographic device sat inside, nestled in familiar packaging meant to insulate and protect during time and space travel, which was customary on our planet. I looked at my companion and smiled, hiding the pang of sadness I felt. We were going home.

  18. cosi van tutte

    I opened the front door at five-thirty in the morning. Ungodly hour for someone to go about, ringing doorbells. I was all set to sell them a whole big world of hurtin’ what, but no one was there.

    But I heard a sound.

    A strange.

    A very subtle.


    I turned on my porch light.

    And I saw it.

    A box.

    A box unlike any other box I’d ever seen.

    A box made out of interlocking white and purple lilac petals.

    Oh! Well. This was a surprise indeed.

    I carefully picked it up.

    It was so soft and beautiful in my hands. I almost cried.

    But then I heard that sound again.

    Oh, but it was a strange sound.

    Yet, it was a familiar sound.

    It was a sound that I’ve missed hearing in my many years of city life.

    It was the soft, hopeful sound of life trying to break free, trying so hard to break out of its cold hard shell.

    But this shell was unlike any eggshell I had ever seen.

    I took it into my house. Over to the kitchen table.
    I was so careful.

    So very gentle with it.

    I set it on the table and watched it through the rest of the early morning.

    I’d been alone for so long. No one came to visit me. No phone calls. Never any letters.

    Now, I had a guest.

    Maybe it was something evil disguised as beauty.

    Maybe it was a bomb.

    Maybe it was death come to steal me away as he had stolen my family and friends.


    I didn’t want to finish that thought. It was too hurtful.

    But maybe it was only a prank. A pie would launch out in a few minutes, hitting me in the face. Or some other cruel trick.

    But who would trick an old lady like me at this time in the morning? It didn’t make any sense to me.

    Oh, but those mean-spirited jokes never did make sense to me. Not even when I was young enough to play them. I never did play them, though. I didn’t understand the humor in hurting someone’s feelings.




    Suddenly, ten forty-five.

    I opened my eyes and raised my head.

    I watched in wonder as a thin line ruptured the lilacs. Petals fluttered and soft fell.

    I suppose I should have been frightened. But my curiosity…well. It always was stronger than my fears.

    The line widened into a fissure, into a deep crevice. More and more petals fell.
    Something small and lizard-like slithered out of the box. Really, it made me think of the skinks my brothers used to catch when we were all so very young.

    Fluid shaped body.

    Short, delicate legs.

    Four thin fingers on each leg.

    Cherry-wood brown body with bumps right on the shoulders. Well. The skinks in my youth hadn’t quite looked like that. They had been a smooth walnut color with white racer stripes along their sides. And no shoulder bumps. I certainly would have remembered that detail.

    Then, it looked up at me. Its eyes were wide and innocent. So like a child’s.

    And I heard a voice in my head say, “Mama?”

    My heart melted. I had no idea what sort of creature it was or even how it wound up on my doorstep. Such details didn’t matter.

    It looked at the mess of petals and ate them one at a time.

    I stroked the top of its warm, bare head.

    It squinched its eyes and seemed to smile.

    “Mama.” Its voice sounded happy and relieved.

    “Yes. Mama.” After so many years of loneliness, I finally had someone to love and care for.

  19. nawphoo

    ‘Ding Dong’
    What the hell? I feel really furious . . . This is the third time ringing the bell . . . I couldn’t sleep last night really well. So, I don’t want to get up. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning . . . Who would it be?
    ‘Ding Dong’
    Ah!!!! again! Why Mom not go and open the door? Usually, she’s the only one who wakes up early such kind of time. Oh!I just remember. My mom was not at home today. Yesterday, she went quickly back to her home town as my grandfather is not feeling well.

    So, I have to go and open the door? eek. . .

    My way of overthinking is flowing in my mind. What if it is robber? What if I go open the door and. . . . I saw a ghost??? Arrrrrr . . . No way. I shouldn’t watch thriller movies this evening. Now, I feel scared . . . . .

    ‘Ding Dong. . Ding Dong’

    eek. Ok.Ok. whatever i must go. I pick up a bat and walking slowly toward the door and open it quickly.


    I shout and close my eyes. I saw white thing is sitting in front of our house! after a while i open my one eye and then another. . . . Fuuu!! It just a white box.

    No one outside. that box is also shaking. . . What if it is a bomb?? I hestitate whether I should open it or not. Then, I open the box. ‘ Oh my God!’ Something jumping out!! I shut my eyes again!

    Some creepy cold feeling is touching hand again and again. So, when i peep a little bit , Wow!! What a cute baby Golden Retrier!! It is licking my hand. Oh, so cute!!

    By the way, who send this box to me? No note or card inside the box. Well, I smile. May be from Kate, my best friend. She said he wanted to make me feel surprised on my birthday. Though my birthday has not arrived yet . . may be the delivery send on the wrong date. ha ha. Whatever I’ll keep this baby as I fall in love with it. Now baby. please stay here. I’ll give you food and things when morning come.

    And I call to Kate.

    ‘darling. . What’s up? this late at night?’
    ‘I want to thanks for your gift.It’s so cute.’
    ‘What gift?’
    ‘The puppy you’ve sent to me’
    ‘I haven’t sent anythings to you’

    So, Who??

    ‘Ding Dong’
    I saw dark hair handsome guy. He is staring at me. What is he doing in front of my door?

    ‘ Hello? Who do you want to meet?’
    ‘I’m sorry.’
    ‘For what?’
    ‘Fall for you at first sight’
    Beat . . . My heart beat . . . . really fast . . .

    ***** ****** ***** ***** ****** *********

    ‘I hate you’
    ‘Why are you saying those words by smiling? What kind of photo you are watching?? Oh, Baby, that Golden Retriever.’
    ‘Yes, if you have sent it to the correct address, your wife wouldn’t be me.’
    ‘Ha ha, are you jealous?’
    I don’t say anything and smile..

    Actually.He had sent that puppy to his first love was Lilia, my neighbour. And he put it wrong place in front of my door WRONGLY and when he realized he came back and pick it back. But ( this is as he said) after seeing me hugging this little puppy, he thought that he’s now met with his life partner. What a funny story!

    ‘Well, well don’t be drawn in the past , Granny. This Grandpa, me has already proved that I only love you so much with these past 30 years. Don’t you believe me?’

    No answer is needed. Just my smile is enough as i also have already shown him that I have believed him with my whole life devoting for him.

    ‘Ding Dong’

    We smiles whenever we hear the door bell rings.

    12:20 am

    ( i’m so sorry . it’s a little bit long ) 🙂

  20. tward09

    My heart races as I’m torn from sleep. After taking a few deep breaths, the doorbell rings again. So it wasn’t a dream, I think. I look at the clock and see that it’s only four in the morning. My wife snores softly the way she always has. She can sleep through anything. Equal parts nervous and curious, I make my way through the house, flipping light switches as I go. At the door, I look through the peephole, wondering who would be at my house this early in the morning, but see no one. “Kids,” I think, laughing to myself because, though annoyed, I did the same kinds of things when I was a kid. I open the door in hopes of seeing them in the dim light and scaring them away, as adults do, only to notice a small wooden box sitting on the step. It’s a well-crafted receptacle, and though I don’t know much about woodworking, I can tell that someone spent a lot of time making it. It has no nails, no screws, no glue that I can see; each edge of the box is perfectly carved to fit together, much like a puzzle. Looking around and again seeing no one, I pick up the box and begin to take it into the kitchen. I would have made it all the way, too, but the scratching that came from inside the box scared me too much to hold on. With a deafening slam, both the box and I fell to the floor.

    “What are you doing,” Grace forces through a yawn, looking at me from the hallway, “and what’s that?”

    “I don’t know. Someone left it at our door. I think there’s something moving inside it,” I tell her as I lift myself back to my feet. I feel embarrassed and bruised as I pick it up and make my way to the kitchen. “It scared the hell out of me.”

    “Is there a note or something? Why would someone just leave a box on our doorstep,” she asks.

    “I’d say that’s the weird part, but I think the noise that it made wins that contest.” When I set it down on the kitchen table and turn on the light, I notice just how strange the box actually is. Writing from all different languages covers the entirety of it, and as I spin it in my hands, I recognize that some of the writing is Chinese, some is Arabic, some even look like hieroglyphs, though none I can read. On the top of the box is a circle of writing in what looks like Latin.

    “Can you open it?” Grace asks as she starts brewing coffee.

    “I don’t see how I could.” Though not totally solid, there’s no perceivable opening to it. I press on the sides of it and twist it and shake it, but nothing indicates an opening. “Maybe it’s some kind of puzzle. Like a trick box or something. Wait, the scratching is starting again. Come listen.”

    Grace makes her way over to the box as the scratching grows louder. We lean in closer when we both notice that the scratching isn’t coming from just one part of the box. Countless small scratches seem to come from every inch of it, all separate though all together. I put my hands on it and can feel hundreds of small scratches all over it.

    “Let me try,” Grace commands, though she has no luck. “Wow, there’s a lot of weird writing on here.”

    “Yeah, I have no idea what it says,” I reply. She starts reading it aloud as I make my way to the coffee.

    “Tu autem in perpetuum vivent, et tu non effigies,” Grace mutters, just before I hear a sharp snap, like whipping a wet towel, followed by a small tap on the chair. I turn around and see her shoe settle on the floor.

    “Grace? Grace, where are you?” my heart starts beating faster as I look down the hall, in the living room, everywhere. “Grace!” When I run back to the kitchen I stop at the box, the scratching growing louder and louder, until a faint scream rises from inside it.

    I see movement on the side of the box, letters becoming engraved, as if being branded without heat.


    1. igonzales81

      That was awesome. A very good take on the prompt. I like how you describe the sound of Grace’s disappearance. Descriptions like that really draw the reader in, I find.

  21. Not-Only But-Also Riley


    When the rapping of bony knuckles against wood brought me out of sleep, the sky was still dark. I had to light a candle just to find my way to the door. Keeping my dagger in a white-knuckled fist I stood at the closed door and called out into the darkness.

    “Who is it? Make yourself known visitor or this is trespassing.”

    But I got no response. After waiting a while longer, I made the assumption my visitor had left, so I opened the door.

    A small package, complete with a note resting on top of it sat in the grass in front of my door. I looked from side to side, but saw nothing but the darkness. So, I picked the note off of the package and unfolded it.

    “Many would kill for what I’ve given you. Many will die when you open it,” the note read in a delicate handwriting. The message was not followed by a signature or even a guild symbol. Only the odd words and the box.

    Now I set the note aside and looked down at the box. It suddenly rustled and a small scratching sound came from the inside. It startled me, and I stepped back from it. But giving into temptation, I picked the box up and opened it.

    It flew from my hands and fell onto my wooden floor. In the light of the candle I had set down on a table I saw a black mist begin pouring from the box. I backed up and my grip on the dagger grew tighter. Words began to hiss from the box as a figure seemingly made of shadow rose out of it.

    “Worry not stranger. For I have not a reason to kill you besides my own hunger. And it is much past time for my dinner,” the voice tittered a disgusting laugh as the figure grew to its own height.

    Made entirely of what seemed to be black mist the creature stood at what had to have been seven feet, despite the small package it had risen from. It had the outline of a face, and within the mist I could see a face with large bloodshot eyes, a sharp, curved nose with a tiny bone poking through it, and small pointed ears. Red hair poured from its head in patches. Faintly, through the mist that surrounded it, I could see its mouth move with its words.

    “You are the one, I suppose? Oh my friend, what you must have done wrong to deserve this I know not, but that is not my business. No, my business tonight is this.”

    A long hand with talons on the end rose from the mist. It was clutching a small bottle filled with a glowing white liquid. It lit through the mist pouring off the creature enough for me to get a good view of its claws. I wondered if this was on purpose.

    “I don’t take potions from goblins,” I sneered at the beast, “it matters not be it a goblin witch.” The creature smiled a smile of awful crooked fangs as thin as needles and as smooth as the glass surrounding the potion.

    “Oh. But you will. And when you sip of the elixir I have stirred for you, you will know a pleasure like no other. A pleasure that can only be felt if others feel grief.”

    “Leave,” I said, the hand with my dagger beginning to rise. The goblin tittered its terrible laugh again and was gone.

    The box was now empty and the black mist cleared.

    But as I stepped forward I learned the box wasn’t entirely empty. Yes, the goblin was gone, but the potion remained glowing in the center of the box.

  22. Amala

    It was a particularly gloomy morning, when I woke up that day having heard the doorbell ring. I removed the blanket that surrounded me that had kept me warm, and made my way through the hallway, up to the door. ‘Who might it be?’ ,I thought to myself,unable to bring up anything into my sleepy mind. I opened the door, and no one was there. I imagined that it might have been the naughty kids around my block, playing tricks on me and tried to look around for the hiding kids.As soon as I made my way out onto the steps,there it was ,’the wrapped – up box’ . It was covered in a brown sheet. I tried to pick it up . It was unsually heavy. It didn’t contain any name,neither my name nor the name of a sender. At first, I thought of discarding it,thinking it might be a bomb or my enemies might have sent me a ‘virus’ . No sooner had i thought about doing that, did i start hearing strange sounds emanating from the box. I almost squealed in sudden fear. I then went inside my home,shut the door and had strange imaginations as to what might be inside the box. I tried to make sense of the noises from the box. ‘Is it a baby?’ , I imagined. But the noise was dominated by scratching noises. So I thought it must be either a cat or a dog. I carefully opened up the package.’Did my boyfriend wanted to surprise me?’, I thought.But, I atleast wanted to get some fresh air for any poor animal ,inside that poorly packaged box. Ahha!! What a surprise!

    As soon as i opened the box, something jumped onto me. I was shocked. It was a beautiful white lion cub. How on earth!! She was small and active .She looked hungry,so I lifted her up and tried looking inside the refrigerator for milk. I poured the milk onto a small vessel and made her drink. She reminded me of Lion King. She was too damn cute. So then , i tried to play with her with cotton wool and named her ‘Simba’ .She was too adorable. But, i just knew that she doesn’t belong here with me and i can’t care for her as much as she receives care from the jungle. So, I decided to visit the local zoo and give her away. I got myself ready, and bought Simba a nice small cage, got both of us in the car ,and we made our way to the zoo.

    I parked the vehicle and made my way out, took Simba out and straight away saw a board ‘ Zoo official ‘ and went inside to meet the official. The person looked friendly at the same time , strict looking. I told as to how Simba ended up with me and as to how i wanted Simba to find a good home for himself. He replied that some poachers might have mistakenly left the package at my home thinking it to be a dealer’s place. I was a shocked. Some people kill animals for a living!!

    The official then told me that the whole bunch of poaching criminals can be caught with my help if I was alert and brave enough. I replied that I would do anything to help out poor animals from death.
    He then whispered the plan out for me. It sounded optimistic.

    The next day , at the same time, I parked myself outside my home, and was on the lookout for anyone outside my home carrying a package. Nobody came. I disappointedly went back inside through the back door,just in case. I heard a doorbell ring, so I carefully came out through the back door and tried to gauge a person ringing. It was my boyfriend, I came inside and opened the main door. He was happy. I invited him to have breakfast,but he was very inquisitive about whether I had received a package the other day. I immediately got alarmed. He then told that the package was wrongly delivered to me as he had accidentally given my address to the mailmen.

    I then cautiously told that I haven’t received any such box. But he enquired again and again. The more i refused,the more he was angry. He told that he had invested in it a lot. He even started verbally abusing me. I immediately went up into my room, escaped through the back door,shut by boyfriend from the outside, so he can’t escape and called my the zoo official . He came within 15 minutes along with a bunch of policemen and started enquiring my boyfriend and took him away.

    I then came to know that my boyfriend was in fact an undercover poacher and a local mafia .

    Even though i felt bad about my position, I was happy that i was able to help out Simba and such other beautiful animals from death or even worse..extinction!!

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Amala!

      This story was fun to read. Your main character was so sweet and innocent and likable. I love that she initially thought that there was a baby in the box until it started scratching.

      This line made me smile “I then came to know that my boyfriend was in fact an undercover poacher and a local mafia .” She sure managed to pick the wrong guy for a boyfriend. 😀


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