Saturday, August 6, 2016

Short Story: The New Neighbors

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By: Abigail M.

Who do they think they are? Just waltzing in there with their kid claiming her room as his own. No matter what anyone says it’s not their house, and it never will be. It’s Jenny’s house and she’s going to come back and tell me it was a mistake and she was joking when she moved in with her dad. That family is just the house’s temporary tenants.
“Go welcome the new family. They have a kid your age. You’ll get along fine,” my mom said.
Walking to the house, I kick a pebble on the sidewalk. I go up to the door and ring the doorbell, hoping no one was home. Fate went against my wishes and their son opens the door, with his annoying rodent of a dog trotting behind him. Sighing, I say,” My mom told me to welcome you to the neighborhood, but you’re not gonna stay here long, Jenny will be back.”
“Jenny?” The new boy says, looking confused. “I don’t think I know anyone named Jenny but I’m Kurt. Its nice to meet you.”
“I’m Charlotte and you’ve been welcomed. So goodbye,” I say as I turn and start to leave. As I’m walking back down the sidewalk, watching cars pass I hear Kurt and his dog behind me. When they catch up, Kurt tries to make small talk, but I ignore him. Glare at the dog skipping in the road. He follows my gaze and says,” I guess you don’t like Stevie, huh?”
“You gave that rat a name?” I reply,” And of all the names you chose Stevie?” I glance over to the dog to see it skipping after a butterfly or something as equally eye-roll worthy.
Then it happened. As unexpected as it could be, a car appeared out of nowhere. It swerved, trying to avoid the dog, but failed.
Everything freezes. Kurt runs over to Stevie. I’m rooted to my spot in shock, and all I can see is an unmoving fluff and a freaked out kid.
“Run,” He shouts,” Go get someone! We need help!” Then, he notices my inability to move and seems to decide it’s better if he gets help. He runs straight to his house. It is only about 300 feet away.
I snap back to reality and walk to the lump on the road. I gently pick him up and place him on the sidewalk. Kurt’s mom comes over with a first aid kit. She does not quite knowing what to do. I could tell just by looking at the dog that he won’t recover from this. I could tell just from looking at him that he wont make it to the vet no matter how fast Kurt’s mom drives. Someone starts to cry.
I look up and stare at the sky. It’s a very pretty day, I notice. There are a couple of clouds in the big, clear blue. It looks like a happy day. I feel like Mother Nature is laughing at her cruel irony. I look down at the dog as nearby sniffles turn into sobs and I see he isn’t breathing.
Once the crying has stopped, I start walking to my house. I am sort of confused about what had happened. Later, I give Stevie’s owners some flowers. If it were a human death the neighbors would be bringing in the letters in wheelbarrows. In a way, the dog was human to them I guess. People with pets always say the dog is part of the family. I want to help but I am so rude to them, and I don’t know them well.
My family gets a German Shepherd later that year, a real dog, not some rodent, and Kurt and his family seem to like her. So we get them a dog. They move on from Stevie’s death and live in their house with a growing puppy, who hops around.

If anyone were to look back on it, they would realize that I no longer think of them as temporary. Now they are my neighbors and we talk about neighborly things like borrowing sugar and cookouts every once in a while and of course the fourth of July fireworks. I don't really know when I stopped thinking of them as temporary residents in Jenny’s house but instead a family living in their own house.

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