“There’s a squatter.”
She looked up from the plans spread out on the living room floor.
“What?” Serena asked in confusion.
Her father loomed over her, and she tipped her head way back, laughing. “I feel like a kid again.”
He grinned down at her. “You look like a kid. Playing building blocks.”
“I’m excited!” She leaned back on her hands, carefully untangling her legs without rumpling the big papers she had been drawing on. “But what did you say?”
“There’s a squatter in the house you just bought.” He turned and headed for a chair. “I don’t know how you can bend like that. Makes me hurt looking at you.”
“What?” She ignored his complaint. Her father was not that old, no matter what he said. “How?”
“Well, honey, it’s been empty for I don’t know how long. The bank hasn’t been checking on it. Someone probably broke in a window…” He shrugged from his comfortable seat.
“Oh, no. What am I going to do? And how did you find out?” She got up from the floor. “Oh, that tingles. My foot’s asleep.”
“Neighbors told me. I went poking around, wanted to see what kind of a ‘hood you were going to be living in. They say there are lights at night, like candles. But no one I talked to had seen ’em.”
“Should I call the cops?” She shook her foot, then started clumping around the room to get her circulation flowing again.
He shook his head. “First thing, how about we ask politely if they’d mind moving on?”
That seemed reasonable.
“Now, dinner. Tomorrow, eviction.” He grunted. “Give me a hand out of this. I’m old.”
“You’re trying to get out of cooking, aren’t you?”
“Got me.” He popped up on his own.
The next morning, they drove over to the little house she had bought almost sight unseen.
“I still like it.” She said as he parked.
He just laughed and shook his head. “You have keys?”
“I don’t think you get keys, a place like that. I think you… go in a window. Like the squatter.”
“Me, first.” Her father squared his shoulders. “Which window?”
“Let’s look at the back?” She shrugged.
The house was nearly buried in bushes. They picked their way around on what had been a path, but was almost completely overgrown. The backyard, shaded with a massive wolf pine, was gloomy. The back of the house was covered in white siding, which was covered in green algae and snail tracks.
“Ugh.” She peered into a window. “I don’t see anything?”
“Um.” Her father tapped her shoulder, and she turned around.
There was a strange gleam in the shadows, and a flicker of movement. The elf under the pine tree had glow-in-the-dark pink hair, fluorescent green and purple camo tights and vest, and gleaming silver boots. She looked at them, sneered, and said, “I am true punk. Want to make something of it?”
“Er.” The young homeowner was caught off guard. Of all the ideas she had, concerning what a squatter would look like, this was… “Punk?”
The elf put her hands on her hips and puffed out her chest like a pigeon. A iridescent chest just like a pigeon. “True punk, chica, you dig, man?”
“You’re mixing your slang.” Serena’s father sounded like he was about to laugh. “Some of those words haven’t been used since I was a boy.”
The elf looked him up and down. “Like that’s been a long time, kid?”
“Wait.” Serena put her fingertips to her forehead. “You’re an elf. And you’ve been living in my house? Why?”
“Your place?” The elf gestured. “This dump?”
“Hey!” Serena protested. “It has a lot of potential!”
The elf looked at her, narrowing her glowing violet eyes. “You have potential. Ever considered going punk?”
“No.” Serena folded her arms over her chest. “Punk is…”
“Punk is old-school.” Her father interrupted gently. “I’m sorry.”
“Man!” The elf threw her arms up into the air. “I take a nap, and the language changes!”
My prompt for this week 53 of Odd Prompts came from ‘Nother Mike with “The elf under the pine tree had glow-in-the-dark pink hair, fluorescent green and purple camo tights and vest, and gleaming silver boots. She looked at us, sneered, and said, “I am true punk. Want to make something of it?”
I prompted Leigh Kimmel with “no one leaves the Brownies milk any more. What has become of the House Spirits?”
Join us in welcoming the new year with a creative prompt! Or come over and grab a spare to spark your imagination.