by E E Coder
FLASH FICTION for contest
Despite my wife’s misgivings, I decided to ride the storm out and hopefully protect our home. After getting Beth and our daughter Katey packed and on their way to safety, I holed up as best as I could upstairs in our bedroom. The storm raged fierce and strong, but the old house held together as I curled up shivering under the covers. Sometime before dawn, in the deafening silence following the carnage, I was awakened by the sound of someone moving around downstairs.
I thought it wise to keep quiet and not let him know that anyone was home as I tried to carefully creep down the stairs. The bottom floor had been flooded completely, receding only recently. In fact, the floor still squished when walked on, the air thick with the smell of the mold that would soon follow. It would be just my luck to survive Hurricane Katrina only to be killed by a stupid looter. I had read of accounts of looters immediately going on the prowl after a natural disaster, but I never in a million years would have thought something like that could happen to me, not in this neighborhood. Yet here I crept about in my own house, scared out of my mind by an intruder up to who knows what.
At the sound of approaching footsteps I froze in place; hidden by the shadows, I waited. What little moonlight that was shining through the windows was so dim that I couldn’t tell what was in his hand as he felt his way along the wall. When he was about six feet away I flicked the flashlight beam on directly into his face, blinding and surprising my next door neighbor momentarily.
“BOB?” I called out, “What the hell? Bob, is that you?”
“Oh, SHIT! Arghhhhh!” he stepped back, dropping the flashlight he had been holding in his left hand. “Tom? Jesus God buddy, you about scared the life right out of me!”
“What the hell are you doing in my house, Bob?” I asked, relaxing only a little.
“Oh, just looking around. You know, making sure everything was safe and sound.” he laughed, self- consciously.
“Why didn’t you turn on your flashlight then?” I asked, my hand touching the gun butt in my waistband, “why fool around in the dark?”
“Oh, well, it seemed light enough to me I guess,” he chuckled softly, “I guess you have it all under control, huh?”
“Yeah Bob,” I said standing up, “everything is fine here.”
As he stepped back and my field of vision grew bigger, I spotted the gun and large cloth bag in his right hand before he quickly disappeared out the door.