Two Days After

I got to the house about four PM on the second day of November. The Halloween stuff in the yard gave me an odd feeling.

It had been a few years since I’d seen him. We hadn’t had a falling out, exactly. We’d just stopped talking.

His wife answered the door, eyes puffy. “Thanks for coming,” she said.

“Of course.” I looked at the couch, the pillows and blankets.

“The bedroom is sealed,” she said. “I guess it’s a crime scene.”

“Are you going to move?” I asked, regretting it.

Her swollen eyes pooled. “The kids,” she said. “The kids.”


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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    Like Sandra said, so many unanswered questions. Not sure I’d still sleep in the house if I were her. Eerie chill to this one. And you’re so good at that.



    • J Hardy Carroll

      Thanks! I was thinking about the brother needing to take down the Halloween stuff after a suicide, which prompted the story. 100 words means implying a lot, so it’s always interesting to see what sorts of things the readers glean from the situation.

  2. Jan Morrill

    Well done, Josh. The title made me wonder about the story behind the story, and now, reading your earlier comment, I understand, though I do like the opportunity to complete the story ourselves that flash fiction so often offers.

  3. pennygadd51

    The first time I read this, I linked ‘We hadn’t had a falling out, exactly. We’d just stopped talking’ with ‘“Are you going to move?” I asked, regretting it.’ It made me wonder if the attraction between the narrator and the wife had been a little too intense, even if it was never consummated.

  4. 4963andypop

    I totally missed the implication of suicide on my first pass through your story. I thought maybe the man had harmed or murdered his own children and been taken away by the cops. And my first impression of the narrator was that he was going to rapaciously buy the house from the grieving mother for a song.

    How’s that for reading into it?

  5. granonine

    Chilling, to say the least. The bedroom being a crime scene makes me wonder if the police suspect her. . . there are lots of fascinating possibilities here. Well done.

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