Throwing Stones

Throwing Stones

Often times I threw stones at them, running away when they’d give chase, but today… today I was throwing stones at them so I would get caught. Figures they would ignore me.

The twins were pale and identical. They didn’t go to school but we knew they lived in the house by Grover’s Pond. It was only a few blocks from Main Street, out by the factories and the train tracks that cut through the woods. Me and my friends, we’d go down there and mess around. We’d look for tadpoles and poke at the crap lying around under the railway trestle. Kyle almost picked up a condom one time, thinking it was a balloon. Eric laughed and made gagging noises. He should have waited a little longer -- I think we could have gotten Kyle to try and blow it up.

Only the twins lived out that way. Their house was little, and the lawn was weeds. Still, I guess it was neat enough, and the twins always wore matching blue and white pinafores that were always clean. Maybe they had a mom somewhere. I didn’t, and the one thing my dad didn’t yell at me about was the dirt crusted on my jeans.

One Saturday afternoon we saw them crouched at the water’s edge.

“Those girls are so weird,” muttered Kyle.

I crept closer to see what they were doing. Their attention was on something wet and furry, splayed amongst the stones.

Eric threw the first rock. They turned simultaneously. They had these big blue eyes that bulged a bit too much to be pretty, and long, silvery blonde hair.

I backed up a few steps, real quick, and fell on my ass. As I stood, I picked up a stone of my own and threw it. Kyle tossed one as well, and Eric was a stone-throwing machine. Mostly we missed. Then one of the guys scored with a big chunk that might have been a brick. That’s when they came at us, and we ran.

You’d think we wouldn’t run from a couple of girls, but you haven’t seen these girls.

We ran through the woods with them right behind us. I looked back. One was close, and I could see into her mouth. It was ringed with pointed teeth, going all the way down her throat. Or that’s what it looked like. She snagged the hood on my sweater and I nearly pissed my pants before it yanked free.

We got out to the street and stopped, gasping. Eric’s face was red and Kyle was doubled over. I looked at the path behind us. It was empty.

“They’re afraid of us,” said Kyle, panting.

“As if,” Eric said. “You missed every shot.”

“I would have got one, if you guys hadn’t run off like pussies,” said Kyle. Me and Eric howled at that one. He had the worst arm of all of us.

So it was a thing after that. I pretended the girls didn’t scare me. And so did Kyle and Eric, at least until they caught Kyle. That day we ran, like before. Eric was cackling with laughter—he’d managed to get one of them in the head with a big clod of dirt. He’d already turned to run, didn’t see her bare those pointed teeth and hiss. He didn’t see her grab Kyle, either, but I did. I kept running.

We waited for a while on the road, but I had to go home because it was getting late and my dad had taken the sheets from my bed when I was late the night before. If I wasn’t in by dark I’d probably lose the mattress, too.

The next day Kyle wasn’t at school. When they asked when we saw him last, we told them about the woods and the twins. I made the girls sound normal. It didn’t matter, my dad still called me a liar and locked me out for two days. I actually saw where he was coming from, since when we went to the pond with the adults we didn’t even see the old house, let alone the twins.

It’s weird that I went back by myself, I guess. I didn’t want to go home and Eric had soccer practice. I just sort of walked around until I was back at the pond. It wasn’t hard to find the house, I don’t know why we couldn’t do it before. I thought about going to find someone, but if I found Kyle myself I wouldn’t need to go back.

Kyle was there all right. I peeked in the window and watched him set the table for just one person. The twins came in carrying dishes of food. There was roast beef and mashed potatoes, peas and crusty loaves of bread. My stomach grumbled and I thought about the sandwiches I made when my dad didn’t come home, or the TV dinners he did when he was around. The twins didn’t eat, they just piled more food up for Kyle. Even chocolate cake. He ate two slices. I banged on the window and Kyle looked up. He waved and went back to eating.

The window wouldn’t open, or the door. When Kyle was done stuffing himself, the twins sat on either side of him and lifted his wrists to their mouths. He looked at me and shrugged, then didn’t look back. He seemed to be okay. Kyle got up from the table and went into another room. It was getting dark, and he lay down on a fluffy bed and watched TV. I watched through the window until it got too cold, then I went home to sleep in my treehouse, where I kept a sleeping bag.

It took most of the night for me to make up my mind. That was yesterday. Today I’m throwing stones again, thinking about chocolate cake. They’re ignoring me so far, but my aim is getting better, and I have all night.

Author Commentary

This story comes courtesy of Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog, where he’s thrown out a couple of writing challenges, and Stephen Seibert, who came up with the first line. The challenge, in brief, was to write a piece of flash fiction (no more than 1000 words) using a first line written by someone else. Stephen’s line conjured an idea right away; I found the word limit to be the greater challenge. It’s a little more constrained than I would have gone with, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.