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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2274334
Daily Flash Fiction Entry 6/6/22
“Mom, I’m really hungry.”

His knees are to his chest, knotted hair draping over his face and shoulders. She’s across the room still sweeping up glass shards over the unfinished oak floor.

“Just stay there hon’, I’ll get dinner ready.” The boy’s pencil-thin leg sticks out from the tablecloth enveloping his body. A pop and metallic tearing from the other room. Salted brown sugar wafts upward; a can appears in front of his nose. Behind is a pair of familiar, soft blue eyes.

“It’s the last one,” she smiles, “so I figured we could share.”

He tilts the can, drinking and chewing half the baked beans. She wipes some spilled juice off his chin. Floorboards creak from above.

“Mom? I don’t wanna stay here.”

She sighs, moving to cradle him from behind. In his ear he hears, “I love you, Max. Things will get better soon.”

Beyond the broken window, rustling in the grass. Then voices.

“Man, I can’t deal with these abandoned homes. See the crows up there? This place is haunted.”

“Shhh! Someone saw him enter here. These homeless kids scare easy–and I can’t blame ‘em.”

A flashlight shines through the window frame, scanning the room. The beam lands on him, freezing.

“Hey buddy…can you understand me? We’re with the police department. Stay there–we’ll be right in. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

The boy’s too weak to stand. When they lift him he looks back, searching. His imaginary friend is gone; he’s finally safe.
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