A couple of weeks ago I posted the beginnings of a short story about Daffodil and her brother Mortimer, who were in the midst of week two of quarantine. Kay added a bit more to the story in the comments, sending a very bored Daffodil up to the attics of the house for a little exploring, where she encountered what might have been a genie from a lamp. When I took a look at Friday’s story prompt and random words, they seemed just right to use for continuation of that story.
If you want to read (or re-read) the beginning of the story, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, check out the Short Story Play Along post.
Anyway, without further ado, here is another bit of story featuring a stranger and including the words captured, wisdom, sparkle, sleep, home, barricade, glossy, ivy, headache, preserve, mistaken, ginger, blowgun, visitor, blubber, and raspberry.
A Stranger Comes to Town
Daffodil covered her mouth and nose to block out the worst of the smoke and blinked rapidly to clear her vision.
What the hell was that?
It looked like a tall, bearded, fat man, wearing a turban and some nightgown-thingy sitting cross-legged on the floor, yawning.
What was in that Rose Petal wine I had earlier, she briefly wondered. Leaning forward she peered at the man—or whatever it was—more closely. The mouth was still open in a yawn and the eyes hadn’t yet blinked. Either she’d fallen asleep and was now dreaming or . . .
“Mortimer!” she bellowed as she turned and thundered down the steep narrow staircase, a headache growing with each step. She grabbed a blowgun as she passed the armament room, barely even slowing down. “When I catch you . . . “
When she burst into the library, Mortimer was just finishing his FaceTime playtime with session with the lovely Marguerite; her glossy dark hair was in disarray and her eyes were sparkling, while his face wore a self-satisfied smile.
Daffodil had no idea what they’d been doing and no desire to find out. She aimed the blowgun at Mortimer and glared.
“I see you found my little surprise,” he said as he powered down his iPad and collapsed the tripod. “Didn’t you like it?”
Daffodil continued to glare. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?
“Ah, come on, Daff. Lighten up,” he said as he drew back the drapes and threw open the wide windows to let in the balmy afternoon air. “You have to admit, it was pretty clever.”
“Maybe a little,” she agreed eventually with a hrmmph. “But this time you’re cleaning up the mess. I still have raspberry stains on my favorite jeans from that last prank you pulled with the mixed fruit and whale blubber.” Daffodil leaned the blowgun against the doorjamb. “Are you even listening to me?”
Mortimer, his back to her, waved her quiet and peered intently out the window. Daffodil walked forward and looked out too, trying to see what had captured his attention. “What are you looking at?” she finally asked, unable to see anything in the ornate, well-preserved landscape that was cause for such concentration.
“There,” he said pointing, “beyond the ivy patch. There’s a man climbing over the temporary barricade at the end of the drive.”
As she watched, the ginger-haired man reached back over the barricade for a satchel, swung it over his shoulder and started up the driveway, bold as you please. Not even any attempt at stealth. Apparently, he hadn’t gotten the stay-at-home message.
Mortimer was still starring. “Daff . . . “
Daffodil transferred her gaze from the stranger to her brother. “What’s the matter?”
“Does he look like . . .” Mortimer shook his head like he was trying to get rid of a crazy thought.
“Like who?” Daffodil asked, tilting her head and trying to see whatever it was that Mortimer was seeing. Then she had it. “But that looks like—”
“But it can’t be—” Mortimer said at the same time.
Daffodil gave her own head a shake. Apparently, they’d been stuck here at home so long they were starting to imagine things. “What should we do?”
“Well, I guess we better go roll out the welcome wagon,” Mortimer answered with his typical devil-may-care grin.
As she followed him to the massive oaken front doors, Daffodil briefly wondered at the wisdom of inviting a stranger into their home in the midst of a pandemic.
What the hell, she thought. What could possibly go wrong?
# # #
So, what happens next?
Anyone up for the challenge of continuing the story?