fiction ShortStory wriashorstorwe
He went upstairs to find a place to change. The bathroom was noisily occupied so he went into an empty bedroom, one of the girls’ rooms, and hung his wet trousers on a doorknob.
Just then the door opened and his niece came in from the roof, a dog on a leash in her hand. He scurried around a corner of the low dresser on one side of the room. She was wrapped in a plaid flannel bathrobe which came down to her knees.
He gave a little cough. “Sorry, could you hand me my slacks over there, Liana?”
She looked at him, not moving. “What are you doing there, Uncle Sid?”
“Liana, please, the pants.” She picked up his cords by one of the belt loops. “You can just toss them over here.”
“Why are they all wet? Did you do something?” She held the pants out away from herself and experimentally tried swinging them, but they seemed to be a little heavier than she expected. The small dog, freed from her grasp during this, started sniffing at the drops of water coming down from the pant leg.
“Yeah, well, there seems to be some kind of leak in the seat, ah, that is, around the toilet seat downstairs, and they got a little moist. It's just water. I, uh, was just going to change into something else.” Sid's voice did a funny thing like it was going to crack.
Liana swung the heavy pants again and let go this time, so they kind of plopped down a little way from where he was crouching. Some items fell out of the pockets, his wallet, some small change, and his belt buckle clanked heavily when it hit the floor. He reached out for the nearest pant leg, missed. The dog gave a little jump and made a sound in its throat, like an experimental sort of bark, but then just stood stiffly staring at Sid.
“You were going to change? Into what? There aren't any clothes in my room for you.”
“Well no, I know that, I wasn't going to take anything of yours. I thought that maybe you had some old pants of your Daddy's around still that I could use.” Sid got down on all fours, his hindquarters still pushed up behind the dresser, and this time he was able to snag the damp corduroys with the tips of his fingers and drag them towards himself. More stuff spilled from the pockets, keys, something wrapped in plastic.
Liana sat down on the floor, reaching out toward the dog who ignored her. Sid noticed a long black and blue mark on the side of her pale calf almost as dark as the bathrobe. “No. There's nothing of his left. Some of his things we burnt.”
“Really?” He started to straighten out the trousers which had gotten twisted and partly inside-out, still kneeling kind of doubled-over on the floor. The dog came forward one, two steps, with its head and tail down.
He started to stand up to put the pants on but stopped and knelt back down. “Okay. Well then. So, ah, yeah, I was just looking, thinking of looking for something dry, and came up here, and that's it. That's where we are.” Liana was looking at him now, not at the dog, and looked like she might have been just about to say something, as he held the pants up in front of himself half-squatting. “That's exactly it. What?”
“Nothing, I just thought you were going to say….”
“He was bigger than you. His clothes wouldn't have fit, and it's all burnt.”
“Oh, right, Brent, that is, your Daddy. Wouldn't have fit.” He coughed again, twice, and when he sniffled, the dog began to growl suddenly.
Liana pulled at the belt of her plaid robe bathrobe. “I'll turn around, so you can get your wet pants back on, and then we're going to go down and mop that bathroom, and then….”
He waited, looking back into her eyes so dark they looked almost black. “Then?”
“I haven't decided yet.”