Friday, December 9, 2011

Red Writing Hood: The Doorbell Rang

The doorbell rang, barely audible above clanging pots in the kitchen, “Jingle Bell Rock” humming from the living room stereo, and the family’s chatter.  Nevertheless, Aunt Suz heard it chime and hurried to answer it.

Still wiping her hands on the Christmas red kitchen towel, she opened her front door.

“Craig!  Merry Chr…” Her voice dissipated when the look on her husband’s friend’s face reached her.  Dressed in uniform with another officer, he motioned for her to step outside.  The kitchen towel slid through her still damp hands, drifting to the ground.

“Suzanne.  Are your parents inside?”

“Of course, it’s Christmas.  Almost everyone is already here.”

Everyone was already at the house, everyone except Aunt Suz’s sister and her family – everyone except my parents and me.

“We need you to come with us.”

“I can’t leave.  I have a ham in the oven, potatoes on the stove…I…”

“Suz.  We need to go.  We need you to come.”

In a daze, Aunt Suz quietly passed off Christmas dinner instructions to her sister-in-law; slinging on her ivory wool coat, she slipped out door and into the night.

Watching out the window as the officers drove her to the hospital in the next town over, she jerked in the frigid air that refused to fill her lungs with anything but dread.  She dug her nails into the icy vinyl backseat of the patrol car, deeper with every mile traveled.

The other officer swung the car to the curb at the entrance and Craig helped her climb out of from back.  She focused on putting one foot in front of the other with her husband’s friend guiding her by the arm.  The Emergency Room’s automatic doors whirred open, catching the soft white reflection drift down, they looked back; it had begun to snow.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodIt's fiction day at  Write on Edge!  And I'm writing with a new story and characters today.  We were prompted to:  use the holiday season to inspire you to write a piece beginning with “The doorbell rang” and ending with “snow began to fall.”


  1. Oh, my. I got the chills. I was totally wrapped up in this story. I want to know what happens!!!

  2. Chilling! Please tell us what happens next! :)

  3. Oh boy... I just hate to think what she'll find when she gets inside. You got under my skin with this one for sure!! Good job!

  4. I said "oh no" out loud when I started reading. The sadness in my voice was plain enough that my friend sitting a few feet away was instantly concerned. I had to reassure her I was reading a well-written fiction piece.

    Way to just get in there, Karen. Whew!

  5. Ooh, good story! I got pulled in...great writing!

  6. Oh no! I am so worried for the whole family and wonder exactly what's happened. Great job on the details, as always. Also, though it's starting on a tense note, I am excited that you're starting something new :)

  7. I read this at work today and totally got sucked in. I was hoping to find out what happened. hint hint ;)

  8. but... but... what happened? wouldn't they have said *something?* like "there's been an accident." I can't not know!

    That aside (I am hideously impatient), I really enjoyed the quick portrait of holiday cacophony, and then the very audible quiet once the bad news arrived on the doorstep. It's a great contrast.

  9. Oh, I want to keep reading to find out what happened!!

    You sucked me right the image of the red towel drifting to the ground...great!!

    More! Please!!

  10. This doesn't sound like it is going to end happy. I hope there is a surprise ending!

  11. Ohhhh, nooooooo. Make it stop. Go back to holiday cooking and NO drama - I can't take it! {But your writing is infectious!} xoxo!


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