Short Stories

Daisies- Part 1

Rebecca shrugged off her rain jacket and looked around the dusty old farmhouse.  She smiled to herself, hands on hips, and nodded in satisfaction.  This was it, a dream come true for her.  She had been imagining herself in a house like this one, far away from civilization.  Her phone buzzed in her back pocket where she had stowed it as she struggled through the door, arms full, hair wet from the rain.

“Well, maybe not completely away from civilization,” she muttered pulling her phone out and looking at the screen.

A new text from her friend Isabelle popped up. “Lovin it?”

She smiled and sent back an emoji with heart-shaped eyes.

A soft mew at her feet reminded her that Mouse, her cat was still locked up in kitty jail.  She reached down to the cat carrier that she had wrestled him into earlier that morning and opened the door.  In typical Mouse fashion, he made a mad dash from his cat carrier, free at last.  He disappeared from view around the corner.

Rebecca was an interior designer, she was fortunate to have landed a fantastic job out of college seven years earlier.  She was good at what she did and she had risen quickly within Mcnaught and Reed.  M&R worked with some of the most prestigious people in the nation.  Rumor had it that Mr. Mcnaught had even helped one of the First Ladies put her touch on the White House.

Rebecca had interned with them and her work had caught the eye of one of the senior designers.  Now she was working with clients that people only read about in magazines.  She pulled her laptop out of her bag and opened it doing a quick check of her email, she typed out a hasty reply to a few of her best clients even though she had taken the week off.

A clap of thunder made her jump and she laughed at herself, peering out the window at the field of daisies behind the house.  The sky was overcast but the rain had moved on.  Mouse, who wasn’t particularly fond of storms, jumped up onto the table next to her.

She scratched his head, “It’s OK you big chicken.”  She eyed the paint cans in the living room.

“No time like the present,” she said to the cat.  He eyed her disdainfully.  She ruffled his fur as she headed for the paint supplies she had brought in.

Rebecca spent the next few hours getting the room ready for the cheerful yellow paint she had chosen for the room.  A knock at the door gave her an excuse to take a break.  She looked at her watch surprised to see it was already 4PM before hurrying to the back door, Mouse underfoot.

A woman with greying hair stood at the door.  She was looking around almost nervously.

“Hi,” greeted her as she opened the door.  The woman took her in for a moment then smiled.

“I’m sorry, I saw a light on and just came by to check on the place,” the woman responded.  Rebecca blinked in confusion.

She stuck her hand out, “I’m Rebecca St. Clair, I just moved in.”  The woman sucked in a breath and stared at her wide-eyed.  She let out a sort of snorting laugh but didn’t take Rebecca’s outstretched hand.

“You must be mistaken, this house was taken off the market years ago,” the woman argued.

Rebecca was very confused now.   “Well actually, it was listed last week and I jumped at the opportunity to own such a great property.  I love to flip big old houses like this one,” Rebecca said looking around lovingly at the place.

“No,” the woman murmured looking as if someone had just told her unbelievable news.

“I’m sorry, who did you say you were?” Rebecca asked beginning to feel uneasy.  The woman smoothed her dress down and scanned the field behind her nervously.

“I’m Maggie, I’ve lived next door for 30 years,” she said pointing at some trees in the distance.  Rebecca could just make out the impression of a roof on the other side.

“Well Maggie, it looks like we are going to be neighbors,” Rebecca said firmly.

Maggie was shaking her head adamantly.

“Sooooo, nice to meet you but now I really have a lot to get done.  Stop by again soon,” Rebecca said as she started to shut the door.  Suddenly Maggie grabbed the door.

“Has she been here yet?” she asked her eyes wild.

“You’re the only person I have met so far,” Rebecca replied reaching out to try to pry her fingers off the door.

“Don’t take anything from her, whatever you do,” Maggie whispered then let go and hastily disappeared off the porch practically running towards the driveway.

“O-K, cue the Twighlight Zone music,” Rebecca said as she shut the door.

She grabbed her phone and typed a quick text to Isabelle. Just met one of the neighbors, total weirdo #YIKES.

Daisies- Part II

That night Rebecca climbed into her big old-fashioned bed and stared at the gauzy material she had stretched across the top.  A sudden movement made her jump until she realized it was just Mouse getting up onto the bed.  She laughed nervously, her heart hammering in her chest.  She had to admit the neighbor had gotten her a bit spooked.

She took a couple of deep breaths, “nothing to be afraid of,” she said to herself.  Mouse, who was purring next to her, gave her a sleepy half open-eyed look.  Rebecca listened to the creaks and groans of the old place and the happy cacophony of insects and the like outside.  Finally, she drifted off to sleep.

The next day she was up early with the sunrise and bustled about making herself a coffee and singing a Taylor Swift song that had been stuck in her head.  She was surprised to hear a knock on the back door just before lunch and rolled her eyes imagining it was the neighbor lady again.

Instead, a beautiful blonde girl stood on her porch.  She couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10.  She was gangly in the way kids are at that age and her hair was down to her waist falling in soft waves and ringlets.  She looked nervous and kept twisting the bottom of the dress she was wearing.

Rebecca opened the door with a smile, “Well, hello there!”  The girl beamed up at Rebecca pulling some of the daisies out from behind her back she held them up to her.

“Thank you!” Rebecca exclaimed taking them from her.  Before she could say much more the girl turned and ran for the field behind the house.  Rebecca laughed and shrugged, shutting the door.

She put the daisies in a glass with water, she would have to figure out where she had packed the vase later.  There was a pile of boxes all marked fragile and after surveying them she decided the flowers would be just fine in a cup for a while.

She checked her phone for the millionth time surprised that Isabelle had not responded to her text from the day before or the “hello?” she had sent earlier that morning.