King | Audio
By Bennie L. Newsome
Bennie L. Newsome was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama where he currently resides. He considers himself to be a unique person full of humor, two qualities he strives to instill into his work. Bennie has had six short stories, a novelette, and a novella published to date, with several other works scheduled to debut in the 2011 calendar year.
"... twenty ... twenty-five ... fifteen ... forty-five ... one hundred! Ready or not, here I come!"
Five-year-old, Chloe Mann uncovered her adorable, brown eyes and looked around her bedroom. "I'm gonna find you!" she declared as she quickly dropped to her knees and looked under her bed. All she saw was a pile of dirty clothes and a few misplaced toys. She stood to her feet and went across the room to check beneath the bed belonging to her eleven-year-old sister, Kayla. The sight under the second bed was about the same as the first. After inspecting the obvious spots, she hurried over to the closet and snatched the door open. No one there.
The two-story house echoed with the sound of Chloe's footsteps as she ran from her bedroom. I'm gonna find him this time and there's gonna be a new King of hide-and-go-seek, she thought happily. I'll be the Princess of hide-and-go-seek! The clever child interviewed her two older siblings and learned all of his tricks. No one had ever beaten him, but she was determined to be the first.
Across the hallway Chloe went. She entered the second floor bathroom and instantly conducted a thorough search. The little girl looked in the bathroom closet, the tub, and inside the cabinets beneath the sink. Hiding in the bathroom cabinets was how he beat her the last time. Chloe had been young and na´ve then. She had grown since last week.
After making sure the bathroom was empty, Chloe sprinted down the hallway. She paused briefly in front of the open doorway that led to Ben's room. That area was off limits. "Your brother is sixteen now, and he needs his privacy," her mother had told both her and Kayla countless times. Chloe didn't want any trouble, so she remained in the hall while scanning the room. Nothing caught her attention.
Down the hallway she continued until she came to her parents' bedroom. Another restricted area. She poked her head into the room and spotted her mother putting away laundry. "Momma, is Daddy in here?"
"No sweetheart, he didn't come in here," Mrs. Mann answered without turning away from the closet.
"You have to tell me if he came in here, that's the rules."
"I know sweetie."
Satisfied with her mother's response, Chloe sped down the remainder of the carpeted corridor and hurried down a flight of stairs. She ran through the living room. "Is Daddy in here?" Chloe asked her brother who sat on the couch watching television.
"No," Ben replied.
"You have to tell me!"
"I know the rules."
Chloe made her way into the kitchen. The little girl checked the stove, the cabinets, the pantry, and even the refrigerator. Removing the food and shelves from the fridge and hiding inside was how their father defeated Kayla. Chloe let out a disappointed sigh after accepting the fact that he was not in the kitchen. She had been warned that the man never returned to the same place twice. Sort of like lightening.
Well, if he's not upstairs and he isn't in the kitchen or the living room, then that only leaves one more room, she reassured herself. Chloe left the kitchen, ran back through the living room and went down another set of steps that led to the fully furnished basement.
Kayla happened to be in the recreation room, playing video games. Chloe ran over to the couch where her big sister sat. The older girl's eyes were focused on the television screen in front of her and she was furiously working the buttons on a remote control in her hand.
"Did Daddy come down here?" Chloe asked.
"No ... he didn't come ... down here," Kayla replied with a bit of agitation in her voice.
"You know you have--"
"I know the rules!" Kayla snapped. "He's not down here! Leave me alone before you make me die!"
Chloe's cute face scrunched up as she pouted. "Don't have to be such a big dodo head about it."
Chloe fled back up the stairs before her sister got her into trouble. The little girl shut the door to the basement, checked the first floor bathroom, then went into the living room. She checked the coat closet before walking around to the front of the couch where Ben sat. His socked feet were on the table and he had one of the cordless house phones to his ear. Probably talking to his girlfriend.
Chloe laid flat on her belly, then lifted the couch's skirt to have a look. That's how their father won against her brother. Mrs. Mann was pretty upset at her husband after finding out that the man tore a hole into the bottom of her brand new sofa just to win a kid's game.
Ben looked down at his little sister and asked, "What are you looking for?"
"Me and Daddy are playing hide-and-go-seek. I looked everywhere and I can't find him," Chloe replied. She jumped to her feet and went to check behind the bookshelf.
"Go to the window and see if his truck is outside," Ben suggested.
A bewildered look appeared on Chloe's face before she ran to the window. She peered out the blinds and exclaimed, "Hey! Daddy's truck is gone! That's against the rules!" The little girl ran for the staircase while yelling, "Momma! Daddy's cheating!"
Ben watched his sister disappear onto the second floor then he returned his attention to the phone against his ear. "Well, moving your truck down the street really worked. She gave up."
Mr. Mann chuckled slightly from his hiding spot. The man was balled up in the large, black garbage can that sat near the kitchen door. The trash had been removed, the odor still remained. "If she doesn't find me in the next ten minutes, then I win another one," he whispered into his cellphone. "I'm the smartest man alive!"
"Yes you are Dad, that's why you're king," Ben said dryly.