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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1, 2013 Short Story Challenge_"Patience's Venture"

Day 1 of the January 2013 Short Story Challenge at: She Writes Books

January 1, 2013 Writing Prompt:

An old saying takes on new meaning when a woman sees, literally, 'what the cat dragged in.'"

“Patience’s Venture”

    Hepzibah patted the white lace antimacassar back into place on top of the cushioned armchair. Life flowed so much more smoothly when everything knew its place, and stayed in it. She glanced out the window behind the chair, noticed a spot of smudge, and lifted her apron to wipe at it. Crouching on the window seat and angling her head to check that the smudge had dissolved, Hepzibah heard a scratching noise from across the room. “Old age--hearing noises that don’t exist,” she thought to herself. At eighty, she occasionally saw shadows in corners, even foggy mists in the hall sometimes after she had climbed into bed. Well, she was an elderly woman, long-widowed, living in a house built before the 19th century’s “fin de siècle.” Old houses settled; so do old people, she thought.

     Nevertheless, she stood up creakingly, vanished smudge now forgotten, and in the process of unkinking those pesky knee joints, glanced back out the window. Something just out of reach at the left side of the back garden caught her eye, a smidgen of colour. As she turned her head, she realized whatever lay in the back left corner was far more than just a smidgen; a whole wide streak of different colours lay in the grass, near the neglected side border of perennials she had not had the energy to replant this season. 

     Predominantly red, the splash looked rather like one of the abstract paintings she sometimes viewed on a public broadcasting channel. Creakily, she stepped toward the door, determined to see what Patience, her tomcattish Persian, had dragged into their yard this time, when her attention was again caught by that intermittent but now more determined scratching. Hepzibah noticed now it came from the inside of the closet door, the outdoors closet she had not opened in years, since she last dusted Arnold’s golf club set, right after he’d passed eight years earlier. Could Patience have managed to open the closet door, and then get himself stuck when the door blew shut? It didn’t seem likely, as the windows and doors had been closed, but Patience did have a cat door in the kitchen, so maybe a breeze could have entered.

    As she reached for the closet’s door knob, Hepzibah suddenly realized that the colours and shape on the back lawn, even at that distance (her house had been blessed with a very long rear lawn) so much resembled a film scene she had once inadvertently seen, a preview she thought, while returning from the kitchen one evening with a cup of tea, intending to settle in to watch “Coronation Street.” A shiver ran down her spine, but she bravely turned the knob of the closet on her left, yanking open the door to find Patience, indeed—crouched over the bloody remains.


  1. This rocks! I love it. :) Great work Mallory!

    1. Thank you tremendously! Lori, you might not believe this-but this is the first time, other than posting in my Portfolio at that I have EVER "come out of the closet" and let anyone read my writing! How freeing! What a New Year resolution! and all thanks to your Challenge!

  2. Enjoyed your response to the prompt! It's quite fun, and I expect many different ideas to pop up!