For the first time, I tried a three noun prompt. The words are:
holiday – watch – moth
“These prices are ridiculous!” Laura sighed in frustration. Her husband, Phil, sat next to her at the kitchen table. Their search for an affordable holiday destination had started with high energies. Looking at the price tags had sobered them up quickly.
“I don’t understand how anyone can afford anything like that,” Laura said.
“Rich parents?” Phil offered jokingly.
“Do you think we can make it work?”
Phil noticed how Laura got tenser and quickly dropped the silly act. “I don’t know. We’re both already working overtime, and our budget doesn’t even come close…”
“But a vacation would be so important to the kids,” Said Laura interrupting him mid-sentence. “Also, we could also need some time off.”
Phil pressed his lips together, forming the all to familiar frown he had shown more often lately. It made him look much older than he actually was. But he nodded. “Maybe I can ask the manager at the restaurant if I can get my paycheck earlier… And I can make a few extra hours at the call center. What about your clients?”
“I have to take some work with me, anyways. A few more won’t hurt.” Laura looked over the results the search engine had given them again. “What’s with that one?” Excited, she raised her voice and pointed at the screen.
Surprised, Phil raised his eyebrows. “Looks too good to be true. There’s gotta be a hook.”
The housekeeper was a nice old lady named Phyllis. She had greeted the young family upon their arrival with a fresh batch of cookies in hand. Phyllis reminded Laura of her grandmother. She wore casual but practical clothes that would be considered out of fashion in the city. Her warm smile when she greeted them on the front porch left Laura feeling instantly at home.
“Do you like the place?” she asked at the end of the tour around their house and garden for the next weeks.
“It’s incredible!” Laura said.
Phil nodded while he checked the carefully carved details of the woodworks in the hall.
“This place is a dump. There’s no wifi upstairs.” Abby had spent the entire tour typing on her phone and given her trademark sigh to almost anything Phyllis had shown them. “How am I supposed to talk to my friends?”
“Maybe we can do more stuff together as a family?”
Abby rolled her eyes at her mother’s offer.
Laura pointed out the hall window to Tommy, who was playing on the swing in front of the house. “See, your brother seems to enjoy himself just fine.”
Before Abby could answer, Phil jumped in before the situation escalated. “How about you settle into your room first, and later we will see what we can do about the wifi issue. Okay, sweetie?”
“Whatever,” Abby answered and went upstairs.
“I’m sorry about it…,” Laura said to Phyllis. Still, the housekeeper gave her a warm and understanding smile and waved the issue off.
“Don’t worry about it. Teens, am I right?” But then she got a little bit uneasy. Her next question made her visibly uncomfortable.
“Did you see the information on our site?” They nodded. “Did you… read all of it?”
“Sure, we know about…” Phil took a moment to find the right description. “Your special circumstances around here.”
Phyllis gave a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God. You wouldn’t guess how many people just don’t take the time to read it. Then they show up and act all surprised.”
“So, what do we… how do we…?” Laura was looking for the right words to form her question but didn’t find them.
“It’s really easy. During the day, you don’t have to worry about anything.” She pointed at the digital watch on the wall. “If the yellow light flashes, it means you got one our to settle in for the night. That’s around 8 pm. Don’t stay out longer. The house goes automatically into total lockdown, barring doors and windows during the night.”
She nodded. “If you need anything else, or have any doubt, let me know.”
“Thank you so much.”
At night, Laura lay wide awake in their bed. All lights had been out since sundown. She stared at the dark ceiling above her while outside their only bedroom window a storm roared. The metal shutters screamed as something surged against it in an endless gush.
“No one will believe us back home,” Phil whispered.
“Yeah. I thought it would be less noisy, honestly.”
“We’ll get used to it. You’ll see in two days you won’t notice it anymore.”
“Rather sooner than later.”
The bedroom gave a little squeak as it slowly opened, and Tommy stood crying at their bed. “Mommy, I’m scared.”
Laura moved over to make some space for him and lifted the blanket. Tommy didn’t hesitate and snuggled into his mother’s arms.
Abby must have heard Tommy leaving his room because shortly after, she also entered her parent’s bedroom.
“Can I stay with you guys?” She tried to sound casual about it, but she clearly felt insecure about it. She hadn’t slept in their bed in years.
“Where are these noises coming from?” Tommy asked.
“It’s the swarm of flesh-eating killer moths we told you about,” Laura answered in a soft voice. “They only come out at night.”
“Can they come in here?”
“No, they can’t. We’re safe here.”
That was enough to convince Tommy to relax.
Abby had found some space between her brother and father and pulled the blanket up to her chin. “I still don’t get why we came to this place.”
“It was the only way we could afford a vacation. It was either that or stay the summer in the city, sweetie.”
Abby remained silent for a moment. Laura half expected one of her outbursts, but instead, her teenage daughter surprised her. “I guess that’s better.”
For a while, they listened to the sound of the hungry swarm, crashing against the house, gnawing on the metal, trying desperately to find food.
“Let’s go to the lake tomorrow.”, said Phil finally.
“Sounds great,” said Abby.
Tommy’s soft breathing showed her that he fell asleep. Laura smiled. She couldn’t believe that those terrifying beasts brought her little family closer together. She was sure that none of them would ever forget that summer.
Interested in my thoughts on this prompt? Read about them here.
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