The Neighbors

I rarely sleep through the night anymore. Sometimes I cannot get to sleep, other times a wake up early. When this happens I usually end up in the front room so I do not disturb the rest of the house. I will read occasionally, but typically I will sit in the dark and watch the nights activities. This night I was watching.

The Johnson’s were the most active late night house on our quiet street. I had been watching their marriage fall apart for some time now. He had stated coming home late once every other week or so. No big deal; everything seemed normal the next morning. He would leave for work at the normal time with her waving from the door.

Once every other week soon turned into a couple of times a week. I would see her standing in the window watching for him. Initially, she would wait there until he came home. Many a silent night was shattered by loud arguments from their garage. After a few weeks she started going to bed before he got home. Sse was not visible when he left for work anymore.

Something was different tonight. She had left earlier with the kids, did not come back with them. Not too unusual; they frequently stayed with her mother. She was also back at the window. Even from here I could tell she had been crying. She was also still dressed as she was earlier; no robe or nightgown as was normal for this time of night.

I saw the headlights of his car out of the corner of my eye, but I could not turn away from her. Her eyes got a little wider and her back seemed to straighten a bit. Other than that she did not move until he had pulled into the garage, then she slowly turned and headed back into the house.

It was less than a minute later that I heard the muffled explosion of a gunshot. I did not jump, no surprised intake of breath; I guess I was actually expecting it. There was no sound of an argument, no shouting, no screaming; just a single shot.

I suppose I should call the police, but I think I will give her a few minutes more.

Written for Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday Prompt.


Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Short Story

11 responses to “The Neighbors

  1. wow! now this reminds me of a country song! cheatin husband gets blown away with a 12 gauge shotgun lol! Love it! Happy to have you back this week! I have RTd this for you! Thanks so much for playing again! xoxoxox

  2. Oh, my gosh. Wow. I literally caught my breath with this. I love that you took this from an outside perspective. Fascinating.

  3. Man this was epic…. I love the point of view of this piece 🙂 The next door neighour… and I love the ending, “Maybe I’ll give her a few minutes more….”

  4. Dark doings in the dark. A well-paced story building the anticipation in small increments. Then wham.

  5. rickdstokes

    Very interesting…and chilling.
    I like the way you kept the suspense semi-tight. Then BLAM. But the neighbor kept cool. Expected it.

  6. Shawna

    “I had been watching their marriage fall apart for some time now. ” Great line.

    Your ending didn’t have its usually “bang”; just one of a different sort. 🙂 But I thought it was appropriately uneventful, considering the speaker’s disinterested response to such a horrific event. I think this is a great capture of how people disengage from reality, normalcy, and people. … “Someone gets shot? Eh. Whatever.”

  7. Shawna

    And not only does the final line express the speaker’s unconcerned response, but it also conveys his support of her decision. He totally saw it coming and thought the guy got what he deserved.

  8. I would imagine that most would think he deserved what he got and maybe just a few in the neighborhood would rethink about how they are treating their spouses. I guess some people are driven to do desperate acts, but at least she made sure the kids were safe, some would not.

    I like stories that make us think and the part about giving her time was a good one but then again you could have heard another shot. Thanks for a great story.

    Hope your weekend is treating you well. Happy Theme Thursday.

    God bless.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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