a postcard story about an entity that takes things until there are no things left to take

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a postcard story about an entity that takes things until there are no things left to take

I didn’t notice the disappearances until my favourite spatula went missing. I searched everywhere, and in upturning the house, realized lots of little things were gone. My old jogging sneakers. The Eiffel tower magnet that fell behind the fridge last year. The chipped plate I’d been meaning to repair.

I’m prone to losing things, so I started keeping a rough inventory as belongings continued to vanish. A pair of socks. A vacuum attachment. An ex’s toothbrush. It’s hard to notice an absence, so it didn’t alarm me. I imagined a mischievous entity circling the edges of my life, plucking bits and bobs to see what it could get away with. It seemed to follow rules, starting with items of least importance.

Then one day I couldn’t find the flat cap my grandfather gave me. I was furious. Searching the house was faster by then. So much clutter was gone. When I told my friends, they reminded me I’ve always been absent minded. Was I sure I’d ever had a flat cap? Couldn’t I just wait for it to turn up?

I went to the dollar store and loaded up on tchotchkes, hoping to stave the entity off. They vanished within the week. This creature couldn’t be sated by things I merely owned. It was the belonging it wanted. I tried to buy time. I thrift-hunted and prayed the scent of second-hand belonging was enough to satisfy it. Its appetite only grew.

My apartment is almost empty now. I sit inside a small circle of possessions. My childhood teddy. My mother’s guitar. A cedar box of my dog’s ashes. As the teddy vanishes, I look at the sun-bleached outlines where pictures once hung and furniture once stood. Something stirs in the emptiness, a creature of blank walls and hollow homes. The guitar is gone, if it ever existed at all. It’s close now. no more ashes. When I go, will my friends remember me? Or will be another empty outline? I stand up and light moves through me. The white walls take me in. If anyone asks, I was never here.


Short story written by Peter Chiykowski

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Story prompt taken from a photo by Nula

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