Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Behind the shed

By Janet Yung

It would be easy not to tell anybody about what happened behind the shed in the overgrown backyard of the next door neighbor. She was old, should’ve been dead by now the way the kids reckoned and, yet, here she was plodding along scaring everybody even when it wasn’t Halloween.

“Do you think she saw anything?” Jasper asked. Rachel shook her head.

“She’s as blind as a bat,” she said, confident the rumors the old lady had x-ray vision were completely unfounded.

“But are you sure?” His voice quivered slightly at the notion they would be discovered, the news spreading along the block with lightning speed the way most bad news did in the small community.

“Yes,” she laughed and darted away from him, towards her own house where her mother would be putting supper on the table.

“Do you know what the problem is with summer vacation?” her mother constantly asked after the Fourth of July. Rachel never needed to ask “what?” because her mother was quick to reply, “you have too much time on your hands.” A whiff of what had transpired behind the shed would only confirm that long held belief.

“What’s the matter with you?” her mother asked the minute the screen door slammed behind Rachel.

“Nothing,” Rachel smiled, her flushed cheeks causing her mother to quit stirring the contents of the pot simmering on the stove, heating up an already warm kitchen.

“Your face is all red,” her mother stood directly in front of Rachel, eyes boring into her flesh as if she could penetrate the deepest regions of her soul.

“It’s hot outside,” Rachel responded, brushing aside both her mother and her comment.

“Not that hot.” Her mother returned to the stove. “Where are you going?” she asked her daughter’s retreating back.

“To take a shower.” She didn’t bother responding to the admonition not to take too long, dinner being served in twenty minutes.

Cloistered in the confines of the bathroom, Rachel stared at her reflection in the mirror. “You can’t tell anybody.” She barely recognized the image staring back at her. What did it matter anyway? It wasn’t anyone’s business but their own, feeling less confident now within her own four walls. “No one saw anything.”

They’d barely sat down at the kitchen table when the phone rang. “Just ignore it,” her father said, scooping an extra helping of mashed potatoes on his plate as his wife jumped up from the chair, responding to the trilling.

“I see,” Rachel heard her mother’s voice from the hall. A shiver ran up her spine. “Thank you for calling” ended the conversation. Returning to the kitchen, her mother sat down and spread her napkin across her lap.

“Who was it?” her father asked.

“Mrs. Hill.” Her pursed lips didn’t bode well. Without waiting for her husband to inquire “what about” she turned to Rachel. “Is there something you’d like to tell me?”

Rachel wished the floor would open up.

Copyright ©2012 Janet Yung. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Janet Yung lives and writes in St. Louis, MO. Short fiction has appeared in several on-line publications including, Sparkbright, Milk Sugar, and Record Magazine.

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