Day 4 of 30 days of Fiction: “4) Prompt: a hostage situation”
I came home from the library to find my husband and our oldest child watching what we affectionately called “the grown-up TV,” the one we didn’t allow the younger children to watch. They were both frowning, their shoulders curled forward in identical postures of unhappiness (if I didn’t have the evidence of my own senses to rely on, I would doubt that our oldest had any of me at all, so close was the resemblance to my husband). They had been fighting a lot lately, so it had to be something monumental to get them this close, this mutually tensed.
“What is it?” I asked, already dreading the answer.
“Hostage situation downtown,” my husband answered tensely. “The baddie’s claiming if they don’t meet his demands, he’ll eat the hostages.”
“What are his demands?”
“Ketchup,” my oldest answered darkly. My glare got a shrug and an aggrieved “what? I mean, it’s not what they’re saying, but even the ogres didn’t like to eat raw meat without some sort of flavor.”
I turned my attention to my spouse, who is generally more rational than our children. “They’re not telling us, actually. I have a feeling it’s bad.” There was a keening in the back of his throat, like a dog eager to hunt. He might have retired from the force, but they tell me the urges and habits never really fade.
“It’s not a dragon, is it?” I liked the Smiths, and they took that sort of thing hard.
Both of them looked at me oddly. It was my oldest, voice choked, who answered me.
“It’s a human.”
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