Life in progress


#JusJoJan prompt the 7th – “Caught”

(FICTION) (Thanks to Di at for the idea for the story.)


Icy fingers of fear skittered up Petra’s spine as she turned toward the sound in the dark corner of the wine cellar. The gurgle was followed by a quiet laugh. Definitely not a mouse.

“This wine is crappy,” came a deep voice from the direction of the far corner.

Petra turned slowly to find a bearded man in a dirty gray-green raincoat and pants to match. He was drinking “Mother’s” wine. “Don’t hurt me,” Petra squeaked.

“I’m not going to hurt you. Just came in here to get outta the cold.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but you have to get out of here,” Petra said, sounding braver than she felt. She started edging back in the direction of the stairs.

“Nonsense,” the man said. “Why don’t you come and join me. You look like you could use a drink.” He held the bottle at arm’s length.

“No,” Petra said. “Get out of here or I’ll … “I’ll …”

“Tell ‘Mother’?”

Petra’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know ‘Mother’?”

“Pfft. I worked here years ago.” He hoisted the bottle again. “Worst twenty years of my life, my employment in this house was.”

“Why do you come back, then?”

The man laughed. “To piss off ‘Mother.’”

“That’s it,” Petra said, balling her fists and turning once again for the stairs. “I’m going to call the police.”

“Good luck with that!” The man called out from behind her. The last thing she heard before she closed the cellar door was gurgling from the back corner of the wine cellar.

She ran into Geeves on the way through the kitchen to find the man of the house.

“Where’s the bottle of wine for ‘Mother’?” he asked.

“It’s all gone! And there’s a man—”

Geeves headed for the stairs before she finished her sentence. She followed him and waited at the top of the staircase, listening for the inevitable scuffle.

And she waited. And waited. A couple of minutes later, Geeves appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

As he climbed them, he said, “There’s no one here. And all the wine is gone.” Geeves looked her right in the eye. “But I did find an empty bottle. And you. are. fired,” he said, poking Petra in the collarbone with every syllable of her dismissal.

(To be continued on Friday.)

(Di’s prompt was “Petra as a name, wine cellar as a setting, and ‘getting caught’ as your what if. “)

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