Someone Else is Living Here

$120 later, Jack & Jill have a new Jr. Detective Forensic Starter Kit. Mommy wasn’t pleased about spending it, but it seems this CSI phase is becoming a habit. As opposed to the spacemen, the firemen, the archaeologists, the dinosaurs (Mommy’s favorite), and the mad scientists (Mommy’s not-favorite). Daddy… went to sleep and had to go away for a while, so this mega-purchase is Mommy’s way of helping Jack & Jill wait.

The next day, Mommy comes home from work to a slightly different garage. The shovel isn’t where it’s supposed to be and it’s a little dirty. She runs with worry to the lawns and gardens, and relaxes when she sees that her rabbits didn’t burrow. When she goes inside the house, she doesn’t get a chance to ask about the shovel. She’s snatched by Jack & Jill and led to the living room. They’re strangely clean, for children.

They ask Mommy to help them solve a crime. Before they go on, she remembers her part of their deal and puts on her sunglasses with a bad joke. The tots shout “YEAH!” and start talking about the crime. A very elaborate tale of intrigue, broken hearts, and Jack’s stuffed bear. At least, that’s the story after piecing together their scattered thoughts and exaggerations. For instance, the ceiling didn’t get smashed by “a thousand-trillion birdies”.

Jack & Jill tell Mommy that she has to dust for prints while they tape off the crime scene. As she makes her way to the light switch, she makes a mental note to buy more floral tape. Jill tells her that Daddy’s fingerprints are the ones that’re barely there. Mommy picks up the pink brush with a sense of melancholy and dusts around the switch. She sees her faded husband’s, sees hers, sees Jack’s, sees Jill’s… and sees a fresh stranger’s.

Mommy asks if anyone’s been here today. Jack giggles and Jill smacks him, warning him that he’s ruining the fun. Mommy goes full-mommy and asks who’s been here. And why the shovel was moved. Jack starts crying under pressure and Jill explains. They wanted to play a game with Mommy so right after they got out of school, they went to the garage and got a shovel. Then they snuck into the place with all the stone and statues, and came back with new fingerprints. Jack chimes in with a smile and says that they took a bath when they got back so they wouldn’t make a mess. Then shows off his clean, clean hands.

Mommy’s very confused about how they got fingerprints and what place has stone and stat– The graveyard. She demands to know how they got fingerprints, dreading each syllable. Jack & Jill look at each other, argue something about not wanting to touch it again, and Jill begrudgingly going because Jack touched it last time. Mommy watches as she gets “it” from under the couch: a corpse’s hand. Mommy yells for her to drop it and she does.

Jack & Jill are confused because they didn’t hurt anyone and they did it to make Mommy happy. She’s been so sad since Daddy went away. Mommy drops to the floor and cries. Jill, not knowing what to do, goes to Mommy and cries with her. Jack goes to Jill and gives her Teddy, then tells Mommy not to cry. The two fairers wipe their faces and Mommy takes a deep breath, then tells them the truth about Daddy.

If you enjoyed that, you should give the first four chapters of my novel, “Lie”, a try on Goodreads. It’s a surreal dramedy about four women who go on vacation to help one cope with a life-changing situation. And if you wanna know how it ends, the rest of the novel’s only $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. Thanks for readin’.

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