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Imaginary Friends – Chapter 12

Posted in erbooker by erbooker on 01/31/2016


Ten-year-old Paige Holley has made a new imaginary friend. A talking cricket named Chuck.

Chapter Twelve – Imaginary

“You did the right thing, kid.”

Chuck puffs the end of his tiny cigar, sitting on Paige Holley’s shoulder as she stares out catatonically at the snow-covered backyard.

“Now nobody will ever be able to tell you what to do. No teachers, no doctors, no cops, no parents. Grownups just get  in the way. They stifle the imagination. There is nothing more beautiful and free than a child’s imagination. And now yours is free to roam as far as the eye can see and the mind can dream.”

Sirens wail in the distance as the winds change and the steady stream of smoke floats above Paige & Chuck’s heads.

“You’re finally free, kid. All thanks to me, your buddy Chuck.”

Paige snaps out of it & murmurs, “Chuck.” The sirens are closer. She glances around the back deck, shivering, looks down to find herself still in her pajamas. And alone.

Det. Harry Schette steers up onto the curb, leaps out of his car and sprints toward the Holleys’ house now surrounded by emergency personnel. What was once the living room is now a smoked-out blackened husk still being hosed down by firemen.

Det. Schette grabs the nearest officer and shakes him. “What happened?”

The officer shakes his head and removes his cap. “Grisliest thing I’ve ever seen. Little girl killed her parents. Burned ’em alive. She’s confessed to a bunch of other murders, too. Damn shame.”

Det. Schette takes a few steps back to catch his breath. He sees Paige being hauled away shackled to a gurney and wrapped in blankets.

Schette races to the gurney as its being loaded onto an ambulance and grabs Paige’s hand. “What happened? Where’s Chuck? You didn’t do this, Chuck did this! Tell them Chuck did this!”

Paige turns to Harry, lids hanging heavy over her eyes and smiles. “Oh, detective. There’s no such thing as imaginary friends.”


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