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The Uninvited (standard:science fiction, 1540 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Dec 29 2006Views/Reads: 2309/1224Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A short story by Ian Hobson and Dianne Herring. We wrote this via the Internet, adding a few lines and e-mailing it back and forth.

The Uninvited 

©2006 Dianne Herring & Ian Hobson 

Dorothy wiped her hands on her apron and stepped out onto the porch,
shading her eyes against the glare of the evening sun.  "Dinner's in 
five minutes!"  The hood of Jim's pickup was still up, and she could 
see his friend Steve standing on the other side of the pickup talking 
to him. 

Dorothy was surprised. The last time she heard anything about Steve, he
was in prison for embezzling money from the job he had with the State 
Highway Department. Dorothy wondered if his wife knew he was out.  The 
last she had heard of her, she was working as a stripper at the Rococo 
Club downtown. 

“We got room for one more for dinner, Honey?”  Jim closed the hood on
the pickup, then took a rag from his overall pocket and wiped his hands 
as he and Steve walked towards the porch. 

“Hi, Dorothy.”  Steve was as handsome as ever, and his smile just as
disarming.  “I guess I'm a little late for dinner.” 

Steve gave Dorothy that little wink in his eye but of course Jim didn't
see it.  This reminded her of when they were in high school. Steve 
always thought he was a lady's man but he certainly was not to Dorothy. 
She always thought he was a crook, and even that he might be connected 
to the Mafia.  But southern hospitality prevailed and she he said, "Oh 
no, we have plenty to eat. I've cooked some veggies from the garden, 
and I fixed a country fried steak and some cornbread." 


Dorothy sat there and listened as Steve and Jim talked - feeling pleased
when Steve remarked that he hadn't had such good food in a long time.  
Steve had divorced his wife Mary Lynn just before he went to prison - 
after he had caught her down at the Rococo Club one night. They had 
never had any children, as Steve had made it clear from the beginning 
that he did not want any kids. Apparently Mary Lynn had moved down to 
the coast, and he had not seen or heard from her since. 

So that was two relationships down the can, or maybe three: Before Mary
Lynn, Steve had lived with an older woman called Julie.  She had two 
teenage daughters, and the talk was that they fussed and fought the 
short time they were together, and when Julie caught Steve making out 
with one of her daughters, she had had enough of Steve, and had 
promptly kicked him out. 

As Dorothy listened to the conversation she studied the two men,
thinking that they were as different as chalk and cheese: One solid and 
reliable, and the other a womanizing crook - yet she couldn't help 
finding Steve attractive. 

Something caught Dorothy's eye and she looked out of the kitchen window
and saw smoke bellowing up from the truck. She screamed and Jim and 
Steve got up and ran outside, telling her to call 911 on their way out 
of the door. As she made the call she couldn't believe her eyes when 
she saw the truck explode and Jim and Steve being lifted off their feet 
and blow across the yard. 

“Jim!”  Dorothy ran out and knelt beside her husband.  Steve was shakily
getting to his feet, but Jim had been blown back towards the porch and 
lay unmoving.  His head lay against the corner of the porch step and as 
Dorothy gently lifted it she felt the palm of her hand fill with blood. 
 Steve staggered over and dropped to his knees beside them, and it was 
then that the first of the shots rang out and splinters flew from the 
pine trees that surrounded Jim and Dorothy's home. 

Dorothy hovered over Jim, yelling at him to hang on, there was help on
the way.  Then she heard the sirens screaming toward them, and as a 
fire engine followed by an ambulance arrived, Steve stood up and waved 
to attract their attention. 

The fire engine took care of the truck fire, and before she knew it,
Dorothy was jumping up into the ambulance with Jim and looking around 

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