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Someone Else Is Living Here

Writer’s Prompt

Your kids love watching CSI, so you buy them a forensic starter’s kit for Christmas. They begin running simple, fake experiments, collecting DNA, and dusting for fingerprints around the house. When you look at all of the powder and prints they pull, you find there are more fingerprints there then just you and your family’s. Whose are they?

My Story

Janet was preparing her living room for her monthly book club meeting. She was so excited to be the host for the evening. Everything was almost in order except she noticed that yet again her mother’s urn, that was sitting on her coffee table, was slightly off centered. She simply pushed the urn back to the center again and continued her inspection. This seemed to happen quite often but Janet always assumed one of her children must have bumped it.

Meanwhile, upstairs her twin sons, Aiden and Max were playing with their new forensics kit that she had bought for them. They loved watching crime shows and they loved having the opportunity to put their crime solving skills to work. At some point, pretty much every inch of their home had been dusted for fingerprints. There was even a handy little kit that allowed the boys to take the fingerprints of all of their family members. That way, they could compare the fingerprints found throughout the house to the ones taken from themselves and both of their parents.

After a successful book club meeting, Janet instructed the boys to get ready for bed for the night. While they put on their pajamas and brushed their teeth, she began picking up some toys in their room. She came across their fingerprint kit. She noticed how all of the fingerprints they collected via dusting were neatly matched up to the fingerprints collected from each family member. She smiled as she thought about how passionate her boys were about their new skills. Then she noticed something odd. One fingerprint was labeled with a question mark. That must be the print of a family friend she thought to herself. She tried to forget about it, but something kept telling her to find out where this mysterious fingerprint came from.

“Boys!” she called out to them, “This fingerprint with the question mark next to it: Where did it come from?”

“Oh” Aiden said, “I think it was on grandma’s urn.”

“Yeah it was really weird”, Max continued, “It didn’t match us, you or dad.”

“That’s weird” she said.

She put her boys to bed and settled down in the living room with her husband. As they sat together and watched television, she couldn’t help but wonder why in the world there would be strange prints on her mother’s urn. Why would any of her friends ever touch her mother’s urn? As she sat there staring at the urn she started thinking about fond memories of her mother. When she was a child, she and her mother were really close and she couldn’t help but remember how her mother used to tease her about her obsessive compulsiveness.

When Janet was a young girl she had a cute little tea set. Six tiny white tea cups lined with pink roses across the top would be arranged in a perfect circle around a little tea-pot. The tea-pot always needed to be perfectly centered. Janet couldn’t stand it when her tea-pot was moved. She remembered how every now and then her mother would come in and slightly push the tea-pot off-center.

“Moooooom!!!” Janet would whine as she pushed the tea-pot back to the center.

WAIT A MINUTE! Could it be? No way! Janet shook her head and continued watching television with her husband.

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