Day 18: Best Served Cold

Today’s prompt: write this story(the first paragraph is already provided) in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: Build this twelve-year-old as a character.

The neighbourhood has seen better days for Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone remembered. She raised a family of six boys, who’d all grown up and moved away. Mr. Pauley had passed away three months ago. With no source of income, she fell back on her rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police came to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Or so they say. It could even be more. I never knew them personally, save two reasons. My dad used to work with Mr. Pauley. And I used to live with them.

My dad used to work with him until half a year ago. He never got to quit the job though. He jumped in front of a train. That was the official statement, but no one took me seriously when I said that Mr. Pauley had pushed him onto the tracks in the first place. His death was written off as suicide because he couldn’t handle the death of his wife and my mother.

They had adopted me right after that. But I never was able to shake off the suspicion that they had played a hand in my mother’s death because of food poisoning. The food poisoning was attributed to improper cooking of some mushrooms which had been gifted by Mrs. Pauley. But that didn’t make much sense though, mother had been cooking mushrooms for ages.

Twelve year old me had decided to take revenge from that moment when the nobleman, my father, was pushed in front of the train. At an age when kids didn’t know to spell out vengeance, here I was, planning it.

Mr. Pauley ended up dying three months ago because he accidentally consumed some poisonous mushrooms. The police didn’t look too deep into the issue as they felt that it was a problem with food poisoning. Didn’t something like that happen about a year ago to someone else? Must be the food habits of the people here, right?

Since his death, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind on rent. The landlord had promised a visit along with a few police officers. I knew that she couldn’t bear imprisonment. First, it would break her heart to be arrested. Next, her health would deteriorate. And she would slowly rot away.

I see the cars approaching in the distance. The landlord, accompanied by the police, had come over to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years. Revenge. The dish best served cold. They’ve even brought an ambulance – I  guess she was old. Maybe they brought it in in case she fainted. But that didn’t sound right. That’s when I saw them pointing at me.

And then it strikes me. It’s them! They’ve me cornered and helpless. I turn around – they’ve caught me. I’m in an ambush. I scream. The doctor injects something into my arm – all I feel is a jab. And then, I can’t even hear my own voice. But I see my parents; I See Mrs. And Mr. Paul. I must be stark raving mad. Or haunted. And the world darkens out, as I am carried into the ambulance.

An old man, who sold balloons walked past the TV showroom, decked with a wide variety of television sets. All of them showing the same news anchor talking. He felt a hint of pride at how much women have moved out of their homes. Strange, she resembled his daughter. Maybe it was because he felt the same pride at both of them.

“…has been caught and returned to the hospital. The doctors thank the public for a quick notification to the authorities. The inmate had observed the deaths of his parents – due to suicide and food poisoning – which made deranged the 12-year-old. The young patient would claim anyone he met to be the perpetrator behind the deaths of his parents. Proper medication and counselling have been prescribed by the medical team. They also say that…”

The old man walked on with his wares. He wondered why the father would commit suicide and abandon his kid. He wondered why the mother had to die, making an orphan of the child. He felt bad for the boy – in whose head there was trouble when other kids of his age had nothing but fun. Well, he mused, it takes all kinds to make the world.

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Jack of many trades, master of none

13 thoughts on “Day 18: Best Served Cold”

  1. I thought your take on it was very interesting, and I liked that it was way different than all the others. After all, the prompt didn’t really say the kid was all that sorry about it. I’m still amazed at how many different ways there are to interpret the basic information. Probably as many different ways as there are writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly right. Each one has his/her own stream of thought. No wonder there is a budding writer in each of us. Thing is some stick to FB updates and some go to write novels.


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