Leaving Home, The Alternate Version #prompt #shortstory

‘Thank goodness. Home at last.’ Dresden Ontime slumped back in the driver’s seat and clicked his neck. ‘I need a cup of tea, a plate of cheese and a bath.’

‘Haribo is asleep at last. Is your back up to carrying him in? Be a shame to wake the little lozenge.’ Dentine Ontime began collecting the detritus of a seven hour drive from the footwell. ‘I’ll make the tea.’

Dresden tried to suppress the yawn but his jaw hinged involuntarily. ‘I guess.’ He twisted to look up at the gables. ‘You think the old place will be pleased to see us?’

Dentine tipped the rancid residues of a fruit lube onto the pebbles. ‘Of course. It’s only been the weekend.’

‘I know.’ Dresden unclipped his son’s harness and hefted him onto his shoulder, receiving a belch and a small splash of undigested hobnob for his pains. ‘But we’ve never been away this long without a house sitter before.’

While Dentine dug into her purse, he gently bounced the four year old, matching the rhythm of his breathing.

With a push and an expellation of air, Dentine opened the front door. ‘We’re h… Oh no!’

Dresden looked up from dabbing away some drool on his left pectoral. ‘What?’

Dresden and Dentine Ontime stood on the doormat and blinked. Behind them the door swung closed.  ‘Where’s she gone?’ Dresden tried to calm his breathing and keep his voice level so as not to disturb his son. He didn’t need to panic the little boy.

‘I told you we shouldn’t have left her alone. She was clingy all last week. And the storm spooked her. They said at the agency, the day we got her that she became skittish if there was lightening about.’

Dresden was grateful his wife couldn’t see his face, sure the guilt would be obvious. ‘I don’t think anyone would blame us. How often do houses run away? And the front wall’s still here.’

Dentine spun, fury suffusing her features. ‘Imagine how desperate she must have been to rip herself away from her front footings. Last week all her windows stuck. I should have realised she was trying to tell me not to go.’

‘You think she was trying to keep you here?’

‘What else could it mean?’

‘The frames need sanding?’

‘Don’t be facetious. Oh why didn’t we pay for deeper foundations, she couldn’t have escaped so easily then.’

Dresden peered at the corner of the front wall. ‘You don’t think someone took her.’

‘She wouldn’t go off with a stranger.’

‘She might if they tempted her. Maybe new carpets, a cleaner.’

‘You think I should have got another cleaner? She seemed fine with me doing it all.’

‘But the Johnsons said how much better she looked and felt after their annual deep clean. Maybe she missed a good spring sprucing.’

‘Dad…’ A sleepy voice distracted them. ‘Where’s Dunmoaning? Why isn’t she here?’

Dentine pulled her son to her. ‘She’ll be back soon. She’s just popped out.’

‘Why?’

Dentine looked at Dresden pulling a ‘help me here’ face.

‘She’s…’

‘…gone…’

‘…to…’

‘…to…’

‘…to…’

Dresden looked helplessly at Dentine and shrugged.

The little boy hopped out of his mother’s arms and began mimicking an aeroplane. He stopped and looked up at his parents. ‘You said she’d look better with if she had her face painted…’

‘Fascia…’

‘Maybe she gone to see Sheila!’

Dresden looked at Dentine. ‘Sheila?’

‘My stylist.’

‘Does she do houses?’

‘Don’t be ridiculous. Come on, where might she have gone?’

‘We should call the authorities. You can’t have a house wandered the streets, without foundations. She might accidentally crush someone.’

‘She’ll not get far. She’s missing her front wall.’

Dentine clapped her hands. ‘That’s it. She’ll be shedding furniture. Come on, there’ll be a trail.’

‘I hope so. It’ll be so embarrassing to explain to the neighbours. It’s one thing to lose your home, quite another for your home to run away of its own accord…’

This story was written in response to Esther’s prompt picture above

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Leaving Home, The Alternate Version #prompt #shortstory

  1. How do you think of these things, Geoff. Hysterical.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Extremely clever 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice. 🙂

    And it’s “lightning…”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ritu says:

    Brilliant take!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As I was saying at the weekend, you really do have a phenomenal talent at thinking outside the box!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I visited a movie studio full of these houses with no insides. I love the thought that they ran off with each other instead of staying put.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha! Fantastic. I mean, how else could that story have gone!? Well done, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    Perhaps the house was kidnapped!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant again!! ‘Dunmoaning’ 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

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