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Writing Prompt 17

Find a photograph. 
Write a story about what's going on outside the frame.

Claire turned the volume up on her iPhone. The music drowned out the voices of the kids playing next door. They were cute, when they were quite, and right now they were anything but quite. She had needed to get out of the house and since she technically was grounded the back yard was as far as she could go, not that it was a big yard. She was only about 100 feet from the back porch, but it was still outside.

Claire leaned back and watched as some ducks made the turn to swim down their section of the lagoon.  She should have grabbed some bread to feed to them. They kept a bag of stale bread in the microwave just for feeding the ducks. She was debating on going to get some when the kids next door threw something into the lagoon. The ducks scattered and Claire swung her head around to look.

Just as she turned her head another projectile launched towards the ducks. It was a rock!

“Hey!” Claire stood up, ripped her ear buds out of her ears and ran towards the end of the dock that border their lots. “Stop throwing those rocks!”

The kids stopped and looked at her. Two of the three had guilty looks but one had a gleam in her eye. She slowly bent down, picked up another rock and with her eyes locked onto Claire threw it into the water. She smirked at Claire.  This was a little girl she had never seen before, clearly a friend or relative of the two children who knew better and were now staring at their feet.

“Don’t throw rocks at the ducks.” Claire said with as stern a voice as she could muster. “It’s against the law and I will come over there and speak to your parents.”

“You can’t tell me what to do. I do what I want, when I want.” The tone in her voice told Claire this was a child who was used to doing what she wanted with no one to tell her no.

Claire raised an eyebrow. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and typed out a quick text. A few seconds later she heard the back door open and the heavy tread of her father walking out onto the deck. Claire raised both eyebrows at the cocky little girl as her father’s footsteps approached.

“What’s going on?” His deep voice sounded. Claire’s two next door neighbors both took steps back, leaving their friend standing on her own.

“She’s throwing rocks at the ducks.”

“Hmm, I see.” Claire turned to look at her father. He was dressed for work, minus his jacket. As a detective he didn’t wear a uniform but a suit. His badge was clipped to his belt and he still had his gun holster on, minus his gun.  “That’s a clear violation of Code 162-7. You could do jail time.”

Claire looked back at the girl and the color was draining from her face. “MOM!”

The back door flew open and three adults rushed out of the house. Claire’s neighbors came right up to the dock while the third woman ran to the child. There was a brief exchange between her father and the parents. With the mother denying her child would do something like that, it must have been the other children. Quickly the children were ushered inside while the parents all spoke harshly and quietly with each other.

“Is that even a real code?” Claire followed her father back across the dock and up into their back yard.

“Probably, but don’t ask me what it would be for,” he turned back to look at his daughter, “I never memorized the code book.”

As they reached the porch, Claire made to sit on the porch swing while he father moved towards the back door.

“How long did the warden give you?”

“Two weeks, starting today.”

“I think I can spring you for good behavior if you want to go grab a burger. I’m starving. Missed lunch.”

Claire sprang up and followed her dad into the house.  She stripped off his holster and hug it by the front door as he grabbed his coat and walked out the front door. “Can I drive?”

“No. I’m sure she’d see that is violation of probation.”

“I barely scratched the bumper.” Claire got into the truck.

“You weren’t supposed to have her car out to begin with.”


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