Today is short. I'm not sure what I did here. :) The opening idea occurred to me as I was avoiding getting out of bed this morning because I had two warm dogs cuddled by me.

The Nots

The door opened, but the woman who stepped out was not her mother. In the darkness of the open arch, she saw nothing. If her mother was still in there, she did not know. In the hallway, the woman who was not her mother, but looked just like her, smiled. Last night had been the same thing. The night before she did not know because she had not been home.

Casey worried at a hangnail and wondered if she should go into her mother’s room. Would knowing for sure be better? Indecision trapped her in her bedroom. The same as last night, she closed her door and pushed her dresser against it. Better to not know. Better to be safe. A smart move, not a cowardly one.

Silence resumed in the house. The thick walls did not allow her to hear her brother’s breathing, her mother’s wandering, or anyone who might need help. Not that she could help them. A flashlight, her phone, and a lava lamp gave her the only light she dared use. What she wanted was to turn on every light in her room. Her fear was, it would give her away. Feet tucked under the blankets she sat in the middle of her bed and debated what to do.

Perhaps, she should go out her window. Away from home would be safer. Where to go was the question. She could only think of a few friends who might take her in tonight. Two of them lived too far away. Once more, indecision kept her in bed. The dresser kept her not mother from getting into her room. Tonight, it would have to be good enough.

Tomorrow was Friday and she would find someone to let her spend the night. Maybe the whole weekend if she could work the situation. Better than being home. That is what she would do. Stay up tonight, keep the door blocked, and find someone at school tomorrow to let her stay away. Her not mother, whatever her plan, would not capture her.


“But she’s not my daughter.” Becky stood on the back porch, cigarette lighting the darkness as she spoke on the phone. “I’m sure. She stares at me, plotting something. Why don’t I come over there this weekend?”

Her boyfriend allowed himself to be convinced. Becky would just stay out here all night. If she sat facing the door into the kitchen she would know if her not daughter came for her. The light of her phone and the glow of her cigarette was the only light she dared.