This is as far as I got with the “game”. Hoping to explore this little fic a bit more in the near future.
Night birds stop singing mid-trill. The unexpected appearance of a man stepping from the cover of deep shadows stalls their music. He doesn’t consider them witnesses, the birds, as he ambles away from the backdoor of a quiet little cottage, crosses a well-kept lawn canopied by sycamores and dogwoods and crepe myrtles.
The man halts middle of the winding lane before the house, strikes a match and stoops slightly toward his cupped hands to light a cigarette. For precisely two minutes he stands middle of the lane. He turns his head left, right, takes a drag off the cigarette, then resumes his casual pace toward a white sedan parked beneath a dim stream of lamplight.
This is a nice neighborhood. Nice and quiet, with old-fashioned street lamps meandering alongside that narrow lane. The occasional wrought iron bench, flanked by fat pots of daisies, glints beneath vintage light – the effect is charming. This is a nice neighborhood.
He doesn’t belong here.
“Will you stop making up shit!” Dalton glares at me. I’m not scared of him. Even if he is older and brawnier, and a lot madder than I’ll ever be. It sucks that he thinks I should be scared of him, just because I’m his kid brother.
“Yell all ya want, D. I’m not making nothin’ up. Some guy has been sneaking into Mrs. Baker’s house for the last three nights – well, mornings. He leaves by four o’clock on the dot, every time.
“As if you’re awake then! Curled up sucking your thumb at that hour, ya little mutt. I’d bet money. Leave me alone with all this bullshit. Go find a coloring book or something.”
“I haven’t had coloring books since I was six! Come with me, D. We should go check on Mrs. Baker.”
“Don’t be an idiot, Frankie. Even you’re old enough to realize that women like Mrs. Baker have boyfriends. Lots, probably. We’re not going over there… I’m not going over there. If you do, I’ll tell Mom that you’re being a snoopy perv.”
“I’m not a perv! And all of Mrs. Baker’s boyfriends have big fancy cars and they’re loud and obnoxious and show up before dark. When she has a boyfriend, she invites Mom to parties. Ask Mom!”
Dalton pushes me away so hard I fall back and land hard on my butt. “I’m tellin’ Mom you pushed me! I swear to God, D.! “ Dalton just shakes his head and looks down at me with a hateful smirk. “You’re going to get in trouble for being mean to me and you’re going to find out I’m right! Something is wrong over there!”
“Little mutt.” He leaves the room. Leaves me all by myself as I try not to cry.
Things haven’t been good here for a long time, not since Mom started working all hours and leaving Dalton in charge. She thinks we’re too old for babysitters. I wish we had a nice old lady babysitter … maybe she would listen to me.