Prompt donated by Albert LaFarge,
LaFarge Literary Agency

As I pulled away from the intersection at Clyde Street in Brookline, I felt the menacing presence of a driver too close behind me. Glancing in the rearview mirror I was not at all startled to find a black sedan with tinted windows—she had come to collect her debt. The debt that had been bugging me for three long years, three long years of waiting, dreading, and lust.

Even as my gaze remained locked on the dark silhouette of the woman in the sedan, my hand wandered unconsciously to the envelope in my front pocket. The envelope: the one containing the photo of the mysterious child—the one I couldn’t forget. I had found the photo in a rather strange place while exploring an old house.

This was not just an old house, for me it would always be known as the old house. The old house may well be haunted—dare I enter and risk life and limb? I shivered, and then tried the doorknob—it was unlocked. “Why,” I thought, “am I so nervous about this old house, when in fact it’s just like the one I grew up in?” Now that home—my childhood home with my childhood memories and my childhood hopes, dreams, and fears—now that was a beautiful place. So I quickly braked and felt my heart thumping in my throat. I could feel it pulsating and blocking any breathing I tried to do.

I pulled the car to the side of the road, but hesitated to reach for the door to exit the car. I pulled the photo out, both dreading and relishing the momentary comparison to come. My heart stopped when I remembered why I was traveling.

Bumbum. Bumbum.

Contributors: Anne M. Kostyo, Brighton; Circuda, Brookline; Margo Downey, Brighton; Lisa McNulty, Allston; Eric L. Marsh, Belmont NH; Rebecca Teng, Dallas TX; Erica Hirshler, Boston; Charna Westervelt, Natick; Rachel M. C., Allston; Derika, Boston; Felicia Lipari, Boston.