Front Porch

It was a hot day in July when I witnessed the murder. I was laid up on my front porch that day on account of being a cat. With nothing else to do, I decided to keep an eye on the neighborhood. I was just dozing off when I saw a flash of orange across the street. It turned out to be the bully cat, Scat, who lived in the loud house across the street. He always tried to catch the birds from my yard. Often times, my servants were forced to chase him away making noises loud enough to raise the dead.

Today, however, he was on the run from his captors, Zed and Caliban. Those two were always sure to be bad news. They smoked like chimneys and if I didn’t know better, I’d say they were growing something illegal like catnip. I kept my eye open in case Scat tried anything funny. When I was sure he was on his way to the pond, I finally settled back in for a nap.


I was just starting to see mice on the back of my eyelids when suddenly,

Clang, Bang, Bounce!

The school boys down the hill were always tinkering with something. If there weren’t things to fix, then their favorite pastime was basketball. I craned my neck to get a glimpse of their action. One boy was playing basketball, but the other two were out of sight. Then there was a silence like I had never heard before in this neighborhood. I waited to hear hammering or a car racing up the hill.


A flock of every kind of bird flew out of the trees across the street. Like straight out of The Birds, I feared for my life (that movie was not what I thought it would be). Each winged creature sang a different song, but each just as terrifying as the next. They flew with all their might as I checked my blanket to make sure I hadn’t emptied my bladder.

Clang, Band, Bounce!

The boys were at it again.


My servant finally arrived to give me a well needed massage and I told her about all the crazy things happening in the neighborhood.

“Nothing good will come from spying,” she warned. Boy, was she right. She made me some tuna and then left me to my own devices.

I knew I should be resting since I wouldn’t be able to nap for a least another hour, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the action. The pesky squirrel was back on the tree. He was an addict. He discovered the hummingbird feeder this spring and it was downhill from there. Whenever he came around, he rubbed his little paws together as he sat jonesin’ for a fix. The other critters veered away from him fearing he would go nuts at any moment.

I kindly told him we didn’t have what he was looking for, but he insisted on sticking around in hope that we might put a new feeder out for him. Every chipmunk, dove, and woodpecker promptly turned around when they saw the guy. I was ready to go out there myself and take care of the problem when suddenly,


The squirrel ran and the sky darkened above as if night had fallen. Where the poor addict had been just seconds before was a scene I could barely believe.

A murder had landed before my very eyes. Savage and brutal, the black mass filled the yard. A cacophony of screams and caws made my blood run cold. I called to my servants,

“More seed out front!” The gang cawed in agreement and with the hope that they would be hungry nevermore.

I finally settled back in for a long needed rest, but I knew I would never forget this hot July day when I saw a murder from my front porch.

© Autumn and Emilita Siders 2016

#tbt Mad Lib Style

Thank you to everyone for your contributions. I hope this is a slightly better story now.

Go for the Win

Jon jumped over the fence with the grace of a burrito. He carefully watched the neighbor’s house to make sure that no one saw him. He carefully approached the back door and made sure to utilize the same burrito-like grace as when he apprehended the fence; he had done this before and knew that he had the skill to do it 2/3 of a time more.

The taco was setting and complete darkness was near. Jon’s footsteps barely could be heard on the soft, benevolent grass. Glancing around yet again, he stepped fluffily up to the patio; he was within feet of the back door. He slipped on a pair of gloves and reached for the nacho.


Jon looked down at his feet and realized that he had stepped on a tree branch. He moved quickly out of sight of the neighbors with his back up against the gnat. He paused a moment and listened carefully. Nobody had heard him; he was safe. He turned around and reached for the nacho again, this time he made contact. He turned the nacho slowly and thought to himself, I love how people leave their females unlocked.

Jon had done it once again; he would be in and be out within ten shoes. He thought how good he was at ogling people; at this rate, he would have robbed a hundred houses by the time he was twenty. He pushed the door open and started to step inside. Just then, he heard the one thing every thief dreads, sour cream.

The neighborhood Taco Bell arrived on the scene just before Jon leaped back over the fence. He started running down the street and just when he thought he had made it, a police car turned around the corner with its sirens blubbering. Tripping over his potatoes, he turned blithely the other way and started to run again, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t breathe. He started to cough, a very distinguishable smoker’s cough. He fell to the ground and gasped for air.

Meanwhile, one of the police officers made his way over to the pin-striped thief, his weapon drawn and pointed directly on Jon. He shouted from the road,

“Stay on the ground and let me see your hands!” Jon gave up, there was nothing left for him to do; he was loaded.


Drip, Drip, Drip…

The sound filled Xavier’s head as he slowly woke to find himself on the ground in his backyard. The closer he came back into reality, the more his body filled with dread. He opened his eyes and instantly his head ached like nothing he had ever felt before. He shut his eyes quickly and welcomed the darkness yet again. He dared not move knowing that if just opening his eyes hurt that badly, he most likely wouldn’t want to try anything drastic like standing.

The dripping, more ominous than just a leaky faucet, served a constant reminder that whatever terrible thing had put Xavier in this situation was nearby and yet just out his mental reach. Struggling to bring any memories to the forefront, Xavier squeezed his eyes tighter and hoped that a glimmer of hope would find its way through. The harder he tried, the blurrier the memories got.

He remembered running out to the store to get his pregnant wife a pint of Ben & Jerry’s©. He remembered buying three different flavors at the convenience store. He remembered driving like a maniac with the AC blasting to get back to his house in order to prevent the ice cream from melting in the sweltering heat. He remembered seeing the front door of his house ajar when he returned. OH, GOD!

Xavier bolted up causing his head to spin and as he took a few steps towards the house and under the willow tree he stumbled and then slid landing hard on his elbow. He heard a pop and then the pain in his head seemed to disappear as a whole new level of pain seared through his right arm. He attempted to push himself up with his left arm but the second he placed his hand on the ground he felt it slip away in a warm liquid. With the full moon, it was not dark enough to conceal the fact that he had landed in a pool of blood.

Grimacing, Xavier crawled onto a dry part of the grass and struggled to his feet. They only thing that mattered now was finding Molly. He ran into the house,

“MOLLY? MOLLY?” There was no answer. He began tearing the house apart and running from room to room. Nothing looked out of place, but Molly was nowhere to be found. It seemed impossible to panic any more than he had been, but he was definitely reaching his limit. His head hurt, his arm hurt, and his chest hurt. He tried to think of why his chest hurt when he saw the ice cream sitting on the counter. He had to have been in the house already. “MOLLY? WHERE ARE YOU?” Still no answer and his chest began to throb. He pulled his shirt down and saw four deep claw marks. “What the fuck?” This was most definitely his limit.

Xavier ran out the back door looking for some clue as to how he ended up back there and where Molly was. He stepped onto the patio and looked up at the willow tree to see the most terrifying sight he had ever seen. His neighbor was hanging from the tree with his entrails weeping out of him. He doubled over and threw up. Just as he wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand he heard someone behind him. He straightened up and looked at the face of his wife. She smiled and showed a mouthful of fangs and said,

“Hey, Babe. Dinner’s ready.”

© Autumn Siders 2015



Once upon a time there lived a girl named Eliza. She lived in New York City and was an artist. She roamed the streets every day to find new inspiration for her work. Like many other struggling artists, she thought true art could be found in the realities of life. She searched for art in nature, in the hustle and bustle of the city, in the homeless, in the rich, in the simple, and in the extraordinary.

Eliza had just had her first success as an artist though. She had her work shown in a gallery for the first time. However, after her first triumph, she was having difficulty finding new inspiration. She decided that it was time for drastic measures and she said goodbye to her apartment and went to live on the streets.

This was a crazy idea, and Eliza knew it, but she was always able to find something beautiful among people who had absolutely nothing but could still survive. New York streets were not a safe place to be, but to her the dangers were worth what she might find. The very first night she quickly discovered what it was like to have no place to sleep. The shelters that she tried were all full and she felt wrong taking a place from someone who needed it anyway. So she set off for Central Park and found a bench.

The next morning Eliza awoke to a police officer nudging her.

“You can’t sleep here,” he said and moved on to the next bench dweller. Eliza immediately realized that although she may find beauty from an outsider’s perspective, there was not much about actually being homeless that was inspirational. She removed herself from the bench and went to the nearest coffee shop.

After she ordered her drink, she reached for her wallet and realized that because she was trying to stay true to her adventure, she left her wallet at home. The barista could tell that she had a rough night and he was accustomed to seeing folks down on their luck come through his doors. Eliza was about to explain to him her predicament when he smiled and said,

“Coffee is on me today. Just pay it forward when you can.” Eliza smiled too and rushed home to paint the most inspirational moment in her life.

© Autumn Siders 2006