Bad News

Once again this week we revisit the Kinter house. If you haven’t read the other stories in this series, be sure to check them out here before reading this week’s flash fiction. (Start at the bottom and read them in the order they were posted.) The prompt for this story comes from the gang over at the 500 Club, and it fit quite nicely with where the story left off last week. (As an aside, the 500 Club is hosted by The Parking Lot Confessional and I had the honor of writing a guest post for them which was published earlier today. If you’d like to read my thoughts on the craft of exposition, you can find that post here.)

Now, on to the prompt:

Write a scene in which a character is given the worse news ever. Avoid clichés. Avoid being overly sentimental.

I do believe this story manages to fulfill the prompt in a way that is not cliché and not at all overly sentimental, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Tell me what you think, of this installment and of the series, in the comments. Any one out there rooting for Mr. Kinter?

bad news

Kevin awoke to some startlingly bad news. It was, he believed, the worst news he could have possibly gotten. Had he known how the next 2 minutes would play out, he would have been grateful for how good he had it, but he didn’t know the future so he woke up believing he was already pretty damn close to rock-bottom.

The first thing he noticed was Carrie’s voice. It was strong, even demanding, and still somehow beautiful. She was urging him to wake up, and the idea that she wanted him in any state at all made him smile lazily. The next thing he noticed was a cooling sensation radiating from his crotch. For the briefest of moments, he thought maybe Carrie was touching him there, but then his nose caught the scent and he felt the moisture and he knew what it was. His joy evaporated. He plunged headlong into the deepest pits of shame.

He’d pissed himself, and now here was Carrie shaking him awake–seeing him for the little baby she surely thought he was.

He opened his eyes, already prepared for things to be bad, and took in his surroundings. There was Carrie, her face frantic, and Max a few feet behind staring over his shoulder. They were both jumpy. The room was strange to him. Foreign. It smelled of cabbage soup, like his grandmother’s house, and half the stuff looked like it belonged in a museum.

Then it hit him. Holy fuck–Mr. Kinter! Mr. Kinter saw him outside the window. He said he was going to rip him open and look at his spleen. His spleen! Oh, God!

“He’s awake,” Carrie whisper-yelled.

“Get him on his feet and let’s get the hell out of here. I can hear Kinter moving upstairs.”

Carrie pulled Kevin to his feet. In spite of his embarrassment, he knew the most important thing at that moment was to get out of the house. Mr. Kinter scared, well, the piss out of him, and whether he meant his dissection threat or not, Kevin had no desire to encounter him again. He stood and, following Carrie’s lead, moved toward the kitchen.

That was when all three kids realized Max’s mistake. They hadn’t heard Mr. Kinter moving upstairs, but rather down the stairs, only he wasn’t coming down the front staircase that led into the living room. He was coming down the back staircase. His shadow was already big on the kitchen floor and from the sounds of his footfalls he would arrive in the room before they could cross to the back door and make their escape. Looking for an alternate path to safety, Kevin discovered they were standing next to a door. It was open only a crack, but he could see stairs leading down.

The basement.

Without another thought, he swung the door open and rushed down the stairs. Carrie and Max followed. At the bottom of the stairs Kevin discovered just how bad his day had gotten.