THE CAMPING TRIP

This one is under 300 words, and  so I classify it as  flash fiction.

Amanda listened, wide-eyed, to her elder brother’s report about his Boy Scout’s camping trip. He spoke of s’mores, ghost stories, flickering flames, camp-fire cooking, the aroma of wood smoke and the beauty of the stars. His discourse gave Amanda and her younger sister images of a cozy home-from-home, little wonder that Amanda begged her parents to give her a tent for her tenth birthday. 

When the tent arrived, Amanda requested a camping trip. Her parents weren’t excited by the thought of an out-of-town excursion, and hit on the idea of a camping trip in their premises. The weather forecast was good, no rain predicted.

Their father arrived home on the day of their camp to find that his daughters had already managed to erect their tent. They were blissfully playing house with an assortment of dolls and stuffed animals. He and their brother set up an adjacent tent. They cooked hot dogs on a portable BBQ and roasted marshmallows before a chimaera.

When it was time to sleep their mother kissed the children and told them that she was going inside to her very own comfortable bed. She invited anyone who wished to follow her indoors. An hour later, her son joined her. He explained that night sounds of coyotes, and distant traffic was eclipsed by his loud snoring father.

“Two fifths,” said his mother “Three to go.”

At midnight, the girls woke up with a shock for it was raining and wet inside their tent. They gathered up their wet toys and ran into the house.

“Four fifths,’ said their mother, “One to go.”

Before joining the family inside, their father, woken by the kafuffle, ran to the garage to turn off the irrigation system for the girls had pitched their tent on top of a lawn sprinkler.

 

Uninvited

This piece, at almost 500 words doesn’t classify as a 300 word ‘flash’ fiction but I don’t want to cut 40% so I’m calling it a short, short story.

The front door bell rang when Silvia was in the bathroom. She ignored it. She was alone while her husband was out buying groceries, and they were not expecting visitors. She rationalized that it was probably a delivery which she could retrieve on her own time. When the bell rang a second time accompanied by knocking Silvia was annoyed. She told herself that there was no way that she was going to answer the summons for she now deduced that the person or persons on her porch were sales-people or worse Jehovah Witnesses. The radio in the den was playing Mozart. She listened to the music and hummed along with the Clarinet Concerto letting the familiarity of the music help to soothe her annoyance. How she loved the Clarinet! She smiled as she thought of her husband’s reference to his high-school band playing days when the brass derogatorily referred to the clarinet as a “liquorish stick”. She moussed her hair and began to blow it dry

She was about to go into the den when she thought that she heard hushed voices inside the house, Mozart was still playing so she knew that it wasn’t a radio announcer. She shivered. Hadn’t she just read the neighborhood newsletter in which they reported a spate of daylight robberies with instructions to residents to call 911 to report any suspicious activities. The article had gone on to warn residents not to approach the thieves who were described as “armed and dangerous”. Silvia’s earlier annoyance morphed into fear.

She thought that she might be able to hide in the closet to mask her voice so that she could make a 911 call, or better silently text her alarm, but then she realized that her mobile phone was in the den. She strained and heard the voices coming closer. In no time they would be in her bedroom and she had nowhere to hide.

On the spur of the moment Silvia decided that the only weapon she had was an element of surprise. She walked slowly to her bedroom door, took a deep breath, and opened it. She saw her two uninvited intruders standing in front of the television. They both carried bags. The morning sun streamed in through the den windows casting bright patches of light across the room. Silvia stood with the sun behind her. She hoped that the shadow would disguise the fear on her face. She waved her arms dismissively,

“Gentlemen,” she said, “you found the key, that’s good; but we weren’t expecting you today. You’ve got the wrong day! We agreed on Wednesday, that’s tomorrow. You have to leave now, and come back tomorrow!”