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Happy Friendship Suspense

“Boo!” Said Claire, for the thousandth time today. James turned around and hit her on the head with his newspaper. 

“Would you stop that? I’m trying to read.” James showed Claire the inked piece of paper, with the same date on it as always: 1951. 

“After all these years, do you really need to read that again?” Claire said, grabbing the newspaper from his grasp. 

“It’s the only thing to do around here anyway.” James said, with a hint of boredom in his voice. 

“No! You could always play with me!” Claire screamed in his ear. “You’re always sitting on the couch, doing nothing. That’s not the reason we are here.” She encouraged. 

“There’s not a reason we are here. There is an issue, and no way to solve it.” He said, getting up and taking the newspaper back from his little sister. 

“You are always so negative. At least we are together. You know you are the only thing keeping me sane here.” She said, walking by him. 

James put the newspaper on the old, scraped up coffee table. Just as always. The coffee table had many layers of dust, but no matter how hard either one of them tried, it wouldn’t come off. Just like the rest of the dust in the house. Most likely imprinted on the pieces of furniture forever. 

“Look outside. Look at the sun, the flowers just blooming. Don’t you want to just breathe it in? I like standing by the windows, doing just that.” Claire said wistfully. 

“There is no point. I can’t go outside anyway. It just makes me miserable.” James said. 

“A girl can imagine.” Said Claire, sighing deeply. 

“I think we lost our imaginations, Claire. Now we're just shadows walking around this old house, aimlessly.” James walked to the kitchen. “We don’t need this anymore.” He walked to the bedroom, down the hall. “Or this.” 

“Yes, James. But you’re putting too much thought into it. I try not to think about...how things ended up.” Claire tugged on James shoulder, and directed him to the couch. 

“Sit.” James did so. And Claire soon followed. 

“I’ve lost hope. I’m scared.” Claire said. “That’s what my mind is saying. But, over the years I’ve learned to not listen to my mind, and instead my gut.”

“My gut right now is saying, ‘Everything is fine, and someone will move in. Sooner or later.’”

“What I’m trying to say is, stop worrying. Don’t think about how you can’t sleep, or eat, or even go outside. Just keep hoping.” Claire said, laying on James shoulder. 

“At least we can touch each other.” She said. 

In that moment, a single tear rolled down James' cheek, and onto the couch. The couch had springs and cotton pushing out of every corner, but somehow it was still comfortable to him. Maybe because of the memories he made on it. 

“I’m so glad that you are here to cheer me up.” Said James, patting his sister’s head. 

“Yes, yes I know. But did you already forget?” Asked Claire. 

“Forget what?”

“Why, it’s your birthday brother! I can’t believe you forgot. It’s not everyday you turn seventy!” Shouted Claire, getting up from the couch and jumping around. 

“Ugh, I don’t want to know I’m that old. How will we celebrate this year?” James asked, getting up as well. 

“Well, you know how we have been having problems with the rats?” She enthused. 

“Why, yes.” James said politely. 

“Well, I can’t do anything to get rid of them, but I did find where they are coming from!” 

“Really?” Said James, charged with excitement. 

“Yes, so this way we can watch them. They are so silly!” Claire said, walking all around the room. 

“Okay, follow me.” She said, calming down. 

Claire walked down to the basement, where the old furnace and weathered carpet was. She went to one of the walls, the corner more precisely, and showed James a small hole. Minutes went by, where Claire and James sat there, waiting. 

But, soon a small rat came out. Of course, the rat didn’t see them, so they could just stare and stare at the living thing. So warm and so alive. 

Weeks went by where James and Claire would observe the rats when they were bored, which was most of the time. And it seemed that James didn’t read the newspaper anymore. 

Late into June, they had spotted out an entire family of rats. Full of cousins, aunts, uncles. 

“I find them so interesting.” Said James, one day while he was watching the birds outside the window. 

“Yes, the birds are wonderful. I still don’t know how they can fly.” Claire commented. 

“Me neither.” James said. 

“It’s been a long time that we have been here.” 

“I think...I think we will be fine if no one moves in.” 

“Me too.”

They sat there in silence for hours. Watching the outside world was there television, a great source of joy and entertainment.

  Suddenly, a big crash came from the bushes, not far from their house. 

Terrified, the siblings went into eachothers arms. 

“What do you think it is, James?” Claire asked, worried. 

“A deer?” He even questioned himself. 

But it wasn’t a deer that awoke from the bushes, it was a person. A real life person!

The two looked at each other, thrilled. 

“And here we have a very quiet, homey place for you two to settle down. Maybe have kids. It is a two bed, three bath nice little country house. Even comes with a basement.” Said a lady, wearing very fancy clothing. 

Claire and James could now see the couple. A man and woman, holding each other's hand and looking at the house in awe. 

“I must warn you though, that this house will need a lot of repairs. It has been sitting here since the early 1940’s and will most likely need to be torn down. But do not worry, it comes at a cheap price.” The lady said. 

“I think this might be the one. Let’s look inside.” Said the man. The woman nodded at him. 

James and Claire had been training for this day for decades. A chance to move on. 

So, just as the couple and the lady walked in, they immediately ran out from seeing the two skeletons and the rats around them on the couch. 

“Oh, James! I’m so glad. We can finally move on!” Said Claire. 

“You kidding? I’m thrilled!” Said James. 

“Well, let’s get going!” Claire shot up from the couch. 

“Hold on, I want my newspaper!” Said James, grabbing the newspaper and reading the words out loud for one last time. 

“Breaking news. Horrible school bus accident near the school. Claire and James Smith were announced dead. Age 12 and 9!” 

James and Claire then went into the shining light that they had been waiting for. 

Never to come back and just be shadows. 

May 03, 2021 22:15

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