Emily pulled into the driveway and began removing groceries from the Range Rover. Six-year old Phoebe bounded out of the car. Something strange caught Emily’s eye. Somehow, Phoebe’s Penny-Farthing replica bicycle rested outside her bedroom window. Emily stared. The thing was heavy. How could Phoebe move it out there?
As they entered the house, Emily said, “Phoebe? How did your bike get outside?”
Phoebe answered matter-of-factly, “Mr. Hawkins put it there, Mummy. He said it would stop the demons.”
Emily smirked and began putting groceries away. Phoebe’s imaginary friend had occupied the rambunctious little girl for two years. Idly, she wondered if her daughter shouldn’t forget her imaginary friend soon. As she put away the noodles, she scolded herself. Hadn’t Nook been with her until she was eight? With a smile she recalled her own imaginary friend. The seven-foot tall, furry Nook always made her feel safe. His massive claws were proof of that. Luckily, she never needed protection in their safe community. Instead, Nook was an ever-present source of comfort.
Emily sighed. Life moved on and she forgot her invisible protector. She only hoped that Phoebe’s Mr Hawkins was as comforting as her own Nook.
A thump at the front door reminded her she forgot to lock the door. She entered the hallway and found a man standing there. He wore a mask and a long knife glinted in his hand. “Easy now, Missus,” he grated. Two more masked men stood behind him. “You keeps it quiet and me an’ the boys will manage our business. No fuss, no trouble.”
Phoebe gripped her leg from behind. “Mummy?” she quavered.
“Take anything you want,” said Emily. “Just don’t hurt us.”
The burglar ran his eyes down Emily’s body. She hadn’t lost the shape of her youth, and now the burglar’s unwanted gaze made her feel uncomfortably naked. The man smiled lasciviously and leaned against the wall. “Maybe, if ye don’t fight back.”
Emily felt her blood go cold. Still, if there was any chance, she was ready to sacrifice anything for her daughter. “Phoebe. Go to your room,” she grated.
Phoebe suddenly gripped her leg hard. “Get ‘im, Hawkins! Get ‘im!”
The burglar grinned. “Feisty ain’t…”
Four bloody lines suddenly streaked down the burglar. He had a moment to look shocked before his body fell apart. Vertical slices of him fell open like sliced bread. Four gouges in the wall proved where 30cm claws passed through his body and into the wall.
The other two burglars ran out the door screaming in terror.
Emily sagged to the floor. Phoebe enveloped her in a tight hug. “He did it,” crowed Phoebe. “Mr. Hawkins saved us!”
“Yes, he did,” sighed Emily. She smiled into thin air. “Thanks Nook.”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here to see the stories other folks wrote: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/sunday-photo-fiction-october-25th-2015/