Past Tense
By Tony Rauch

We pull up to our house. My wife gasps and points as we slow up next to the curb. I turn off the engine and look up.

Standing on our roof, silhouetted in the darkness, hopping up and down is a caveman. In his vague, dark outline we can make out his loin cloth flopping as he bobs up and down. We stare in disbelief at his long, dark, scraggly, matted hair, his long arms, hairy shoulders, his hunched posture.

Another appears in the darkness. And then another. All back-lit by the bright moon, clouds passing in front of them to cast waves of eerie light on our lawn and house.

I sigh, dejected. Defeated.

One of them holds out a club, and then begins banging it against the side of the house, rattling the gutters, bang bang bang, in a very confrontational manner. Another beats his chest with one fist, then lets out a wild, blood curdling howl. The third one just sits crouching up on the roof dumbly, staring vacantly at nothing.

My wife points, spotting another in a shadow by our boat, and I notice one hulking back and forth, loping up on the garage, another grunting behind a bush and maybe two more in the shadows up in a tree. “Oh, boy,” I sigh wearily. My wife sighs heavily too.

I start the ignition, rev the engine a few times, then step on the gas, flooring it. We jump forward, a plume of exhaust and shards of grass and dirt rain down behind us as we turn onto the soggy lawn and head straight for one of them, the back of the car swaying as we fish-tail in the mud, my wife reaching to clutch the dash, bracing herself . . .

“Not this again,” my wife groans, reaching to pull a club and a torch from under her seat. She straightens to light the torch as we hear a tremendous crash from inside our house.

- - -
Tony Rauch has three books of short stories published – “I’m right here” (spout press), “Laredo” (Eraserhead Press), “Eyeballs growing all over me . . . again” (Eraserhead Press). He has additional titles forthcoming in the next few months.

Help keep Smashed Cat alive! Visit our sponsors! :)

- - -

Older Weirdness