Calvin and Rosa raced across the living room, the death throes of the cat still ringing in their ears, desperate to put another wall between them and the encroaching picnic of maniacal garden gnomes.
Then they turned around.
A handful of the animated lawn ornaments were kind of almost halfway through the not-quite-entirely broken door. Their tiny hats wobbled as they struggled forward; their malformed hands gripped aimlessly at air and splintering wood.
“They are REALLY slow,” said Rosa.
“Do they even have legs?” asked Calvin.
One of the figurines found a decent purchase and began wriggling itself through the bottom panel of the door. It immediately cracked and clattered to the floor, the remainder of its clay body presumably outside.
“That one doesn’t,” replied his wife.
The rent gnome – its torso significantly thicker than its arms were long – began clawing its way infinitesimally forward, like an overweight whale trying to cross an ice-skating rink.
“I, uh, I guess we’ve got some time,” said Calvin, scratching his head. “Should we –”
“Why don’t we just leave through the back door?” replied Rosa.
“That’s much smarter than what I was thinking.”
“Yeah? What were you thinking?”
Calvin ignored his wife and pulled apart the blinds covering the sliding glass door to the backyard.
“Nope, there’s gnomes out here too.” He let the blinds flutter shut. “Maybe we could just… run through them? They’re not very big.”
“Yeah, but there’re a lot of them. And they look really grabby.”
“In the garage. Plus I’m not very good at golf.”
“I don’t really think that –”
The couple turned as several more of the stained statuettes wormed their way through the front door, falling to the floor in a heap and then hammering out a reasonable opening for the horde of enraged gnomes still outside. Behind the humans, the glass sliding door began shaking ominously.
“So… fortify here?” said Calvin. “Make a little bunker out of furniture and then pick them off one-by-one as they get close?”
“That was your idea earlier, wasn’t it?” said Rosa, shooting her husband a look. “That’s a terrible idea.”
“What else are we gonna do?”
“If you let me keep my guns this wouldn’t be happening.”
“Yes, it would. I know you think you’re the reincarnation of Annie Oakley –”
“– but there’s more of these things out there than there’s ammo in this city.”
“You don’t know that.”
Calvin hefted the coffee table onto its side, spilling old magazines and piles of individually wrapped chocolates onto the carpet.
“See what you can get from the kitchen,” he said.
“Get? What am I gonna –”
“Stuff we can, I don’t know, throw, or hit them with.”
“Really? You think maybe the prizes in the cereal boxes are baseball bats and hand grenades?”
“What about that heavy cast iron tortilla maker thing you use to make tortillas?”
“You know I have no idea what it’s called.”
“It was my aunt’s.”
“She’s not using it.”
Rosa, sighing loudly and dramatically, looked around the tiny kitchen.
“Any other family heirlooms you want me to destroy?”
“Didn’t your grandma give you that giant rolling pin?”
“I’m beginning to regret marrying you.”
It was then that the sliding glass door shattered, a chunky rain of tempered glass thunking against the carpet. Dozens upon dozens of miniature ceramic old men in various states of disrepair began attempting to shamble over the mess.
Calvin pushed the couch over and shoved it on top of the living lawn ornaments, barricading the backyard with a satisfying series of crunches and snaps.
“If you’re lucky,” he said, breathing heavily, “maybe you’ll end up a widow. Then you’ll get all my stuff.”
“What stuff?” replied Rosa.
“Hey, hand me the silverware drawer. I’m gonna load up the toaster with forks.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “but I’m YOUR idiot.”