Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Present Tense or Past Imperfect?

by Dan Hollifield

Bob was feeling the Holiday spirit as he carefully navigated through afternoon rush hour traffic on his way home from work on the Friday before New Years. He knew his wife Eva would be enjoying his extra day off from work on the upcoming three-day weekend.

He grinned to himself as he allowed the speeding hotheads to fly by him in the interstate's fast lane. He'd made two quick stops on the way home, one at the grocery store for the cage-free eggs that his wife liked, plus a special treat of a bargain bag of the exact assorted Christmas candies that Eva so loved and reminded her of her childhood in Southern England. The other stop was to fill up at the gas station so that they had fuel in the car for any spur of the moment jaunt out shopping, which they both enjoyed on his few days off. He added one final stop for a pair of bottles of bubbly for midnight on New Year's Eve, and Bob was on the final stretch of his commute home.

Arriving home, he noticed that Eva had been baking bread. The scent of fresh-backed loaves and muffins filled the house like a security blanket clutched by a small child.

Bob and Eva kissed warmly, their passion even after a decade of wedded bliss obvious to any who might happen to see. With a thankful sigh, Bob settled into his favorite chair and relaxed as Eva related the details of her day alone at home whilst awaiting his return from work. Popping open an ice-cold can of beer, Bob relaxed even further, knowing that Eva and he were free from any worries other than a quick trip on Saturday for some cat food and munchies for themselves to last the long weekend ahead.

After a while, Bob nodded off and dreamed pleasant dreams. All the while, the blazing amber eyes of his feline overlord studied Bob's sleeping form. Suddenly, the cat in question leapt in an almost supernatural display of acrobatics from the kitchen table into Bob's lap--some eight feet in distance, one from the other. "WROOLLALLL!" The cat shouted. "Hasus Christos!" Bob awoke with a start. "Diddles! What the hell are you up to?" Bob added, anger large in his voice. "I was dancing with Betty Paige at my High School Prom, and you have the nerve to wake me up! That's it, I've had enough! Release the Kraken!"

Bob savagely pressed the hidden button on his TV remote that unleashed the ultimate end of the world.

"Stupid cat," he muttered, as if in apology...


2017 Dan Hollifield

Bio: Dan is the very cool cat who pays to provide the stories you're reading here. Check out Dan's Promo Page to find out more about our publisher and his works.

E-mail: Dan Hollifield

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.