Monday, 27 April 2009

TUCKED AWAY by Jeanette Cheezum

Welcome to Jeanette on her debut...

Tucked Away

Mid nineteen fifties

The closet door slammed shut. It wouldn’t do any good for little Cathy to cry, stomp,
or scream. Grandma would cut a switch and use it when she returned. She wouldn’t do anything
now because Grandma didn’t like to get sweaty. She wanted to make a nice impression when
she met the preacher’s wife

“How long will you be gone this time?” Cathy asked through the closet door.

“As long as it takes, now be quiet.” Her grandmother grabbed her things and left the house.
She could hear the key banging metal against metal locking the closet…and…the front door.

Perspiration beaded on her top lip and she had a sick feeling in her stomach.

Her imaginary friends always waited in the dark closet, and were happy to see her.

Not able to remember when it first started, Cathy had become accustomed to this ritual.
She lay on her back and tried to adjust her eyes to the miserable darkness that enveloped the tiny closet.

Impatient, her friends called out to her.

A deep breath filled her lungs and escaped over her tongue and out her lips, “Today my friends, we’re going on a trip to the zoo. You must line up and stay close so you won’t get lost. We’ll feed the ducks first and then see the monkeys. Take a seat quickly and don’t be noisy.”

“We’re here, they yelled. Can we get off the bus?”

“I want to eat the bread, I’m hungry,” an imaginary friend said.

Cathy shook her finger side to side, “No, it’s not allowed. We can’t eat until Grandma says.”

“Ah, the park is beautiful,” She lied, only to wish she knew what it really looked like.

“Now wasn’t that fun? Let’s go home before it gets too dark.”

“I’m getting thirsty!” someone said.

“Remember . . . , we just have to wait,” she said.

* * * *

“What’s that smell?” Cathy sniffed the stuffy closet air. Was something burning? “There’s a fire nearby! Be calm!” She brushed her bangs out of her eyes and held up her tiny hands. “Don’t worry. We’re safe here. This is our secret hideaway.”

She lined up her Grandma’s shoes. “Let’s play Anne Frank.” Clomp, clomp, “Do you hear the soldiers marching? Hide, children, the soldiers are coming.”

She coughed. “It’s hard to breathe . . . so much smoke.

“Grandma, where are you?” She whispered.

“We’re getting scared. Hush children. Don’t cry. I’m sure Grandma is nearby.”

She placed her face as close as she could to the large crack under the door, the light had disappeared. There was nothing to see . . . , only smoke filled the room. Cathy grabbed a coat from above and quickly tucked it against the bottom of the door.

“Everyone, scream as loud as you,” she said. “Even if Grandma switches us, we must get away from the smoke.” She started to cough and reached for a shirt hanging above her head and covered her nose. “Grandma, please come home. I’ve been good. The smoke--everyone scream.”

* * * *

Someone had banged on Grandma’s front door. When no one answered she yelled for someone to call the fire department. That smoke was pouring out the Jacobs windows.

Flames reached out to consume the air . . . attacked the curtains, rugs and anything in their path.

Upon arrival, the firemen broke the door down and sprayed from the ceiling to the walls and down to the floor. They stopped the fire, but didn’t look for Cathy.

She couldn’t call out to them. Her body lay still in the closet.

* * * *

“Mrs.Joyner, Thank God, you’re safe and weren’t in the fire. We called the fire department and they came right away,” the neighbor said.

“Thank you, for saving my house.” She stepped on her cigarette, so no one would suspect.

“Where is your granddaughter? Is she with friends?”

“As a matter of fact she is,” letting the corners of her mouth rise into a smile.

Grandma thanked her neighbor then hurried into the house. She couldn’t let anyone find out her secret. They wouldn’t understand. She opened the closet and reached in. She must have forgotten before she left to put that last cigarette out? But after all, she was in a hurry to meet the preacher’s wife.

Unbeknownst to Grandma the neighbor came in right behind her and saw what she’d done. “Oh, no, didn’t you say she was with friends?”

* * * *

The funeral was held that week, but Grandma didn’t attend. She now spends her time locked in a room, where no one pays any attention when she screams.

She doesn’t have any friends to talk to, and everyone knows her secret.


  1. Hi Jeanette, just thought I'd get the comments rolling by thanking and welcoming you to TKnC. Thought provoking little tale, this one. Well done. Matt

  2. Thanks Matt, I honored to be here.

  3. Jeanette, great to see you here! Paul

  4. Jeanette,
    Good to see you here!
    This is a wonderful, atmospheric tale, I enjoyed reading it, your love of language shines through every word!


  5. Cheezy..scaring up the folks over here..eerily good one that!

  6. Thanks fellows. It looks like there are many good stories over here. Nice to be in such good company.

    Jeanette Cheezum

  7. Jeanette... You seem so nice. Excellent story, gave me goosebumps and all! Congrats. Peace, Linda

  8. grandma gets her come-uppance - love it!

  9. Nice to see that Grandma got what was coming to her.

  10. This made me feel very claustrophobic. Really liked it, Jeanette, and what a horrible woman Grandma was.

  11. Thanks everyone. I respect your opinion.