The feud started months ago.
Neighbourly pettiness, all too common. The aggravation of those that didn’t choose to share a fence, and things thrown over it.
Couple against couple. Both draped in their own righteousness.
But one couple doesn’t want to carry on. So they bow out; “It’s not worth it,” they decide.
But the ceasefire doesn’t stop the war and from the other side of the fence the offensives carry on.
“Pathetic,” they mutter, while they sweep the broken flowerpots off the ground, piece together their shredded mail. And they shrug their shoulders and move on.
But at night she’s wide awake, the desire of revenge nibbling her dreams, pecking away at her mind.
That evening she sits on the sofa, clutching the small box in her hands. “Don’t,” he says. But it’s useless.
She slips out at dusk, and he lets her.
The allotment where the wife grows her prize-winning vegetables is just down the road. Why grow turnips when you already look like one? The small dishevelled shadow giggles into the darkness.
A spark and the smell of sulphur crowds her nostrils.
The small hiccupping flame grows.
Soon the entire neighbourhood bustles and scrambles while sirens fill the night. What has happened? Where is it coming from? But it’s promptly all over, only the acrid smell of roasted turnips a fading testimonial of the incident.
She shoves the box back in the kitchen drawer and sits on the sofa. He can hear her knuckles cracking.
“Nobody saw me.”
That night her dreams are stolen from her once again.
The next morning there is a knock on the door. Is it them?
“Don’t open it.” In her eyes, sleeplessness and fear.
Let’s not open the door. Not now. Not ever.
B F Jones lives in Surrey with her husband, 3 children, and cat. She has stories in (or soon in) STORGY magazine, The Cabinet of Heed and Spelk Fiction.