This is a short story I wrote for a submission for thefirstline.com. This site gives a prompt called ‘the first line’ which for this particular submission period was, “Mrs.Morrison was too busy to die.” This story was declined but I am very fond of it. I also admire thefirstline.com for their ingenious prompts and amazing stories.
word count approx: 900
Mrs. Morrison’s Afternoon
by Alina Hansen
Mrs. Morrison was too busy to die. She could see a small pool of blood beginning to form on the carpet. The gun heavy in her hand Mrs. Morrison groaned; she needed a drink. What would she tell the kids when they got home?
A glass of scotch in hand, she shrugged off cleaning up the mess. She lit a cigarette while she put on her favorite jazz record. The carpet would have to be replaced. Surprised that no one had come knocking on her door about the gun shot, Mrs. Morrison sat facing the living room window so she could watch for cars.
Mrs. Morrison realized the logical thing to do would have been to call the police beforehand but it had never crossed her mind. It was an accident; she thought it had been a burglar. She poured herself another drink and flipped the record over to side B.
She had good aim though and now that she had a couple drinks, if she had to, she would say she was distraught. Stubbing her cigarette in the ash tray she wondered if anyone had even heard the shot. It had been about a half hour now and not a single car had even driven by.
Mrs. Morrison got up and peaked out the window to look next door. At this hour everyone had already left for work, all she expected was her elderly next door neighbor to be home but to her relief the driveway was empty.
Feeling a little buzzed, she decided she should clean up the mess. Surely there could not be that much blood. The record clicked, the needle swung back to the off position. Mrs. Morrison picked out a couple more jazz records trying to decide what she felt like.
It was a shame and she felt guilty. A catch in her throat, her eyes began to water. She put on another record, sniffling. It wasn’t her fault really when she thought about it. She had just been taken by surprise.
In her mind she went over the events; it was right after she had finished breakfast a door had shut down the hallway. There was no one home except her; she was convinced it was a burglar. Knowing where she kept her gun; she went to her bedroom to retrieve it, safely hidden where the kids would not find it.
She knew now how foolish it had been of her to not call the police but really it had worked out fine. Remembering that the safety was on she checked it, loaded and safety now off, she crept her way down the hall. Thoughts raced through her head, Was it just one burglar? Was he even a burglar? What if he was a murderer or a rapist? Her heart pounded in her chest but she remained calm enough to convince herself to walk up to the door.
Ear to the door, she made no sound, holding her breath for just a few seconds to listen in silence. She heard a bump and the sound of things falling onto the floor.
Slowly turning the knob until it clicked open, she took a breath and pushed the door open. The window was open; the curtains billowed in the wind. A shadow flinted across the room, Mrs. Morrison pulled the trigger; a shot rang out. Twinkles, the kid’s large fluffy black cat, was on the floor dead.
Mrs. Morrison was relieved it had not been a burglar. It was still horrible, what would she say to her kids? Should she even tell them? The cat had disappeared a few days ago anyway and they thought she had run away. She must have crawled through the open window and accidently shut the door.
It looked like some books had been knocked off the bookshelf that must have been what she had heard. Mrs. Morrison did not even like the damn cat in the first place. It had been a vagrant that just appeared about a year ago. The kids had taken him in and given him that ridiculous name.
If you are reading this, Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!