October Frights 2023 Spawn of a Lesser Imp Part 1
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And now to Part I of the story:
“Draven.” His mother called to him. “Please answer the door. Hopefully that will be the rest of the furniture.”
Draven saved his homework and closed the lid of his laptop. It wouldn’t do any good to complain. His siblings should be equally capable of such a task, but no. It fell to him. Inevitably, they were off playing video games or plotting the downfall of some poor kid in their respective classes instead of unpacking. “Yes, mother.” He muttered back.
Sliding to the floor from the wooden kitchen chair, he made his way to the foyer, and the front door. Turning the handle, he was greeted by a middle aged blonde woman in too-tight yoga pants whose helmet hair hadn’t seen its natural color in decades. Next to her stood a portly gray haired gentleman in a patterned gray cardigan, and equally boring slate slacks. The pair seemed to be tugging and struggling with a small wicker fruit basket and bickering over who was in charge.
The child, just shy of thirteen going on ninety-seven folded his arms. “Yes? May I help you?”
“We are your neighborhood welcoming committee.” The pair glared at each other, plastic smiles covering gritted teeth. “Are your parents home?”
“One moment, and I shall see if Mother cares to pretend she is not.” He guided the door closed and pivoted for the stairwell. Ascending to the second floor, he found his mother in a thermal catsuit climbing into the attic through the ceiling vent, her legs kicking in the air. “The neighborhood welcoming committee has come to reconnoiter the household. Should I ask they return later?”
“Ugh. No. One minute.” Her voice echoed in the claustrophobic metallic space. She wiggled and dropped to the floor with barely a sound. She placed a small electronic box he knew was used to sweep for electronics on a small table covered in other tools. “It’s our first time living in a company neighborhood. No need to give them any more reason to be nosy than busybodies like this always are. Tell them I’ll be down in a moment, but don’t let them in the house.”
The bickering outside escalated. Something about who was in charge. To Draven, they were as bad, if not worse, than the ‘people his age’ he was forced to join for what they referred to as education.
Trotting back down the stairs to the door, he opened it, the duo freezing in place with the blonde having taken possession of the wicker gift basket, the man with one hand still touching a torn place where a bag of candied nuts spilled contents on the ground.
A metallic voice chimed from the ground, “I’m here too , you know.”
Through a forced grin, the blonde chirped, “Then do what you’re good for.”
A whooshing sound drew Draven’s attention. An octagonal cleaning robot tried using a vacuuming arm to suck up the spilled nuts. He sighed, “She will be with you momentarily, please wait here.”
“We’d love to see what you’ve done with the place.” The blonde stepped forward.
Draven stuck out his hand at the end of a too short arm. “I’m certain you would.”
The man snickered while she debated plowing over Draven.
“No need for that.” His mother had pulled jeans and a sweater over the catsuit, and stuck out her hand. “I’m Claudia. Colvin.”
The blonde stepped back and shoved the basket at the man so she would shoot hers out in return. “Carenn Mallory. Soon to be president of your neighborhood association.”
The man offered the basket. “Brent Delano, your current president. Happy to help you however you need. And planning to remain president over our little corner of paradise.”
Angry whooshing came from the spinning robot. “I’m chair of the welcoming committee. Please call me Zilla.”
Claudia took the basket, and handed it to Draven, who immediately dropped it on top of a nearby box, spilling more nuts and some of the red packing materials.
Zilla tried to climb over the threshold to clean it up, but Carenn swept the robot off the stair into the bushes with her foot. “Been with the Company long? What neighborhood did you move from?”
“Actually our first time in a Company neighborhood. We were with an associated organization in Chicago.”
“Ah, Chicago.” Delano nodded vigorously. “I got my start there myself. Liaison to the mayor when I left.”
“Yes, yes.” Carenn fought to not roll her left eye, lashes fluttering in the failed effort. “If you can’t make it there in graft and corruption, you can’t make it anywhere.”
Delano’s reply flowed like honey, “Better than not being able to sell sin or salvation in Vegas.”
“Lovely meeting you both, I’m sure.” Claudia nodded curtly. “I’m certain you’ll understand we’re quite busy unpacking.”
“Of course, and let us know if you need any help.” Carenn craned her neck for a deeper look in the house. “I’m assuming with three kids, you’ll be joining the PTA?”
Taking a deep breath Claudia perched her hand on her hip. “As an attorney for the Company, I have better things to do than listen to arguing busybodies that barely competent to bake canned cookies, much less direct the minds of our future.”
Carenn cocked her head, “Well, it does happen often enough that the less skilled, newer members of the Company need a little defensive help in court.”
“I wouldn’t know.” Claudia stated. “I’m due diligence. I’m here to guide decision making, not clean up mistakes.”
“Lovely to meet you, Ms. Colvin. And your son. Hopefully we get to meet the rest of the family soon.” Delano desperately tugged on Claudia’s arm, pulling her down the walkway. “Maybe at the Halloween festival this weekend? There’s an invitation in the basket, and a link to the neighborhood schedule.”
“We wouldn’t miss it.” Claudia returned a half hearted wave, noticing the upside down robot in the bushes trying to wave as well. Turning and closing the door and locking it behind her, she took a deep breath. “Suck it up Delano, you’re going to need a costume for this weekend.”
Continue for Part II.