Atticus Thrimbly

A Short Story With a Visual Prompt


Annabelle Akiyama, Writer

Atticus Thrimbly was completely alone. His parents were gone. His sister was gone. His friends were gone. Even the neighbor’s spotted kitten had disappeared from his lonely world.


Atticus Thrimbly was a short boy, and a self-identified ambivert. He loved pickles, which he was rapidly running out of, and knew how to toast the perfect English muffin. Atticus liked hippos and the color blue, and disliked beans and tomatoes. Atticus disliked being alone for 2 weeks and 4 days.


Slowly, Atticus got up out of his crumb-filled bed. He’d been too lazy to move to the kitchen when eating some crackers, and had been paying the price. His footsteps echoed through the halls, and he tried not to feel alone. “Just collect the shoes,” he reminded himself. He grabbed his shopping cart and hairpin, and changed his socks.


While walking out his front door, Atticus remembered the old man who’d screamed at him before everyone left. Atticus remembered pain, people yelling, and the panicked old guy pulling him into a hidden room. The old man had seemed a bit strange to Atticus, honestly- he had the weirdest metallic clothing, a scruffy beard, and horrible breath. But Atticus had still bothered to listen to him, and the man gave him his Mission Of Imperative Importance.


“Listen, kid. Listen up, kiddo,” the man had said in an odd voice. It sounded like his words were fragile china, if china could be stretched like a rubber band. “Have I got important news for you… everyone’s gonna go away. It’s gonna suck, bud. And that’s why you have to do this. This is a Mission Of Imperative Importance- in fact, that’s the name right there.”


Atticus had blinked at the man. He was utterly stumped.


“You gotta collect all the shoes in this whole wide city. That’s right, and I can’t tell you more. Put them in the widest road you can find, and you’ve got yourself a shoe pile. Do it, and you’ll win. Trust me- I know that everyone’s gonna be gone.” 


The man had been telling the truth. Atticus now knew that the Mission Of Imperative Importance was indeed imperative, and he felt compelled to complete it.


Atticus nodded. The man grinned, and pulled something out of his pocket. Atticus hadn’t noticed, preoccupied by a scream that sounded like the ones his sister used to make. Just as he moved, he saw the world go black. When he woke up again, no one was left. Atticus realized he needed to complete the Mission Of Imperative Importance to bring everyone back.


Now, Atticus frowned at a locked door. He’d been making good progress with his Mission Of Imperative Importance today, and had been steadily collecting shoes for the entire morning. He was annoyed since locked doors took up more time- he had to pick their locks.


A few minutes later, Atticus had a full basket. He wasn’t so irritated about the lock now- it had been guarding over 14 pairs of shoes! Atticus rolled his cart, unable to see over the stack of shoes. He steadily pushed it down the street to the designated Mission Of Imperative Importance shoe pile, and dumped out the footwear.


Atticus froze, stunned. There was a man in a shimmering black suit, standing over his shoe pile, looking at a pair of rain boots. Atticus tried to give a shout, but only a squeak came out. Had he finished his Mission Of Imperative Importance? After all, he had collected a lot of shoes. A wide grin spread across his face. The man straightened and stood up tall.


Then, the man turned around. 


He looked at Atticus.


Everything stopped.


The man’s eyes were terrible.


The man’s eyes hurt Atticus.


Atticus’ smile went away.


Atticus felt dizzy.


Atticus screamed.