Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Photo by Aftab Asghar on Unsplash

Leopold took a swig of his beer as he finally sat down after a day of garden work. He had raked leaves from the lawn, cut the grass and weeded the borders. Why in the world he always allowed the garden to be a total mess before he finally did something about it was beyond him.

He brought the beer bottle to his mouth again as he thought: instead of working myself close to death once every couple of months, it might be better to just do a bit every weekend.

Leopold knew why he didn’t do that. His challenging job kept him busy until late every evening, and mostly also on the weekends.

Maybe it’s a better idea to hire someone to do the job for you.

He swallowed another gulp of beer.

Nah, only me here, so no one I’m doing it for.

He leaned back in the lawn chair, tilted his head and looked up at the huge tree offering him shade after the exertion of the day. He enjoyed the cool breeze as much as he did the cold beer.

Leopold looked at the empty bottle in his hand, got up, went into the house and came out with another beer to reclaim his spot. He put the bottle on the ground next to him, balancing it in the grass, leaned back and closed his eyes.

“If I could just jump this fence, you’d be my dinner.”

His eyes flew open and fixed on the fence.

What the…?

“Who’s there?” Leopold asked.

The last time he had checked, the house next to his still had no new tenants. In fact, in his frenzy of tidying up his garden, he had cut several of the plants from the neighboring plot that grew over the fence into his garden.

“Hello?” he tried again.

No one answered, and all was quiet on the other side.

Maybe I have drifted off to sleep?

Leopold settled back in his chair, grabbed the bottle of beer and drank from it, suspiciously eyeing the fence. There was no movement; no sound.

Soon his always-busy mind thought about work as he phrased sentences in his head to write a report.

“If I could just jump this fence, you’d be my dinner.”

This time when he heard those words, Leopold jumped up and rapidly moved to the fence. He quickly walked up and down alongside it while banging on the wood.

“Show yourself, whoever you are!”

No matter how hard he banged, and how many times he called out, there was no one.

It stayed quiet after that.

Hours after Leopold had gone to bed, he suddenly sat upright in bed. Something had woken him. At first, he lay in bed listening, but there was no sound in the house or outside. He got up, walked to the window, and peered through the blinds. Nothing.

Quietly, he pulled on gym pants and a T-shirt. He sneaked out his own backdoor, and from the corner of the house, looked at the fence. It wasn’t enough. He needed to see the house next door. Leopold tiptoed to the fence, found an opening and peeked through. Everything was dark.

For too long, he walked up and down the fence, as quietly as possible, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Feeling ridiculous, and convinced he probably had a dream, Leopold returned to bed and slept for the rest of the night.

The next day — Leopold could just not get rid of the feeling there was someone in that overgrown garden next door — he sat down on the lawn chair again, and waited.

Glanced at the fence, and waited.

Closed his eyes as if he was sleeping, and listened.

Waited and listened. Listened and waited.

Nothing.

It was only when he felt himself drifting off when he heard it again.

“If I could just jump this fence, you’d be my dinner.”

Leopold didn’t move. He didn’t open his eyes. Didn’t acknowledge he had heard those words.

The words came again, and still he waited.

It was quiet for a long while, and still Leopold didn’t move.

The words came again, this time followed by a scraping sound. His heart raced in his chest, and now he didn’t keep his eyes closed, pretending not to have heard those words, but because of fear.

The last time those words sounded, the voice was deep, guttural, unearthly.

Demonic.

A shadow fell across Leopold’s face, and his eyes shot open. Now, even if he wanted to move, he couldn’t. A large shadow loomed over him, blocking the sun, and leaving the figure’s face a big black hole. But Leopold didn’t even try to distinguish the being’s face. He stared at the two protrusions on top of the silhouetted head — horns!

Whimpers cut through the silence.

Leopold’s whimpers.

He wanted to scramble backwards, but didn’t dare move.

“I jumped the fence. Now you’re my dinner.”

Leopold frowned.

Somehow, the demonic voice sounded less scary now. Almost familiar.

“Lo… Lor… Loretta?” he stammered.

The crystalline laughter of his sister instantly had him swearing. She had scared the living daylights out of him. He jumped from his chair, almost knocking her over, but broke her fall by wrapping her in his arms.

“Sis! You and your stupid pranks! You almost scared me to death!”

She laughed, kissed his cheek and told him how she had flown in the day before, and wanted to surprise him. When he overreacted the day before, she couldn’t resist planning and playing the prank on him. She grabbed hold of the horns and pulled the cape over her head, threw it on an empty lawn chair.

Leopold, finally over the shock and surprise, went inside to get them drinks.

Walking back to his sister, he smiled at her, but stumbled when he missed a step.

He could’ve sworn that, for only a moment, her eyes had glowed bright red when he approached.

© Rebel’s Notes


This post first appeared on my Medium profile, where you can read more of my work that is exclusive to Medium. You can read three stories for free on Medium each month, but for just $5 a month (less if you sign up for a year) you can read everything on Medium, and support me, and other writers you like.


Wicked Wednesday stops at the end of the year. Currently, there’s a challenge to complete 25 prompts by 31 December. Following the clever example of others, here you see the prompts I have already completed. My goal is to write for every one of the Wicked Wednesday Bingo Prompts. Join in!
This story answers to the prompt: family life

My stories for the prompts are:

  1. Harmony In Flowers (language of flowers)
  2. Listening To Her Inner Voice (intimacy and self-esteem)
  3. Annual Meeting On Summer Solstice (summer solstice)
  4. The Healing Power Of A Penis Masturbator (phases of life)
  5. To Love Is A Choice (to love is a choice)
  6. Live The Life You Want (scary stuff)
  7. Dinner With Caren (career success)
  8. Snippets of Kindness (magical power)
  9. The Future Express (morals)
  10. The African Sunrise & Heartbeat (music memoir)
  11. The Last Moments Of A Decaying Life (redemption)
  12. Therapy Needed; Camping It Is (addiction)
  13. Voice Of Victory (loving yourself)
  14. Climbing To The Summit Of Mount Everest (nature’s beauty)
  15. The Magic of Marriage (being you)
  16. The story above (family life)

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