So, we’re back to Friday and we begin a new series!
I wasn’t really sure what to do for this but I decided to start with something new that hasn’t been on the blog before.
I hope everyone’s enjoyed their week and that they enjoy the weekend.
On with the show!
Deadly Secrets. Part 1.
The camera clicked methodically as he took pictures of them together. He enjoyed his work. it was simple. He moved closer to get a better picture, each one would show them together, locked in a lovers embrace. Deciding he had enough, he turned and quietly made his way back to the car. Sitting into the seat, he turned on the engine and waited to be warmed again. The day was cold, the sky cloudy and white, threatening snow. He rubbed his hands together frantically, then reached for a small book, opening it, he went to the current page and took out a pen and crossed off a name. He looked at the A4 brown envelope sitting in the passenger seat. A large name was scribbled across the front “Mrs. Stevenson.” He wondered if he should feel bad for her, after all, Mr. Stevenson was currently in his car, fucking some cheap hooker. The alley was well known to him though and he stopped thinking about the marriages he had destroyed. He had to, otherwise the guilt would drive him insane. They were better off, someday Mr. Stevenson would choose the wrong girl, would forget a condom, would trust her when she said she was clean, and return home with a nice case of an incurable VD, or find himself under the thumb of the pregnant working girl or arrested by an undercover cop. He had seen it happen before. Sighing, he opened the envelope and looked at the pictures, Mr. Stevenson having coffee with a business associate. Mr. Stevenson playing golf. Mr. Stevenson eating alone. Mr. Stevenson going into the jewellery store. He liked the last one, it would really drive the guilt home with Mrs. Stevenson. How dare she mistrust her loving man. He even bought her diamonds, just because. She would not see the pictures that currently filled his camera. That was the plan anyway. She would never know. Never know that her husband was cheating, never know where the money went. She would probably find out eventually, it just wouldn’t be from him. Patrick slid the glossy photos back into the envelope and threw it on the seat. He looked at his watch. It would be time to meet her soon. Turning on the radio, he signalled and moved into the road, driving back to the office.
Patrick sat in his car momentarily and looked at the sign, “Patrick Jones, P.I.” it had a nice ring to it. Grabbing everything he needed, he got out and entered the building. The office was bright and spacious, a large window gave the view of the street, crowds of office buildings had started to grow, obscuring what little view there once was. The window was polarised, preventing anyone from seeing in. settling behind the desk, he turned on the computer a made a few quick notes. He still worked with files, but they were stored in another room, the computer made the room look cleaner and uncluttered. The Client Office, as he called it, was kept meticulously neat. The business he was in had a bad reputation and he wanted to dispel it completely. His secretary poked her head in the door, “hey, welcome back, do you want anything?” “No, I’m fine.” “Successful trip?” He smiled, it was far more successful than she would ever know. “Yeah, it was alright.” “Good. you’re two o’clock is here, should I let her in or do you want a few minutes?” “Tell her to come in in a few.” “Will do.” He eyed her legs as Gloria left the room. Her skirt was short today, another inch and it would be unprofessionally so. He wasn’t complaining.
He looked around the room, making sure everything was in order. After a moment, there was a timid knock on the door, “come in.” A woman in her thirties opened the door and stepped into the room, closing it quietly behind her. Moving from behind the desk, Patrick shook her hand “Mrs. Stevenson, good to see you, how are you?” She clasped his hand, then snatched hers away, as if his was hot. “Can we just get this over with?” “Sure, please, take a seat.” She sat on the edge of the chair, clasping her bag resolutely on her lap, she opened it and dug through its contents. Removing her hand, Patrick saw a flash of white. She held the tissue tightly, just in case. Her other hand reached up and joined the first, together they began to compulsively twist the tissue. “How bad is it? What did you see?” “Well, Sally, do you mind if I call you Sally?” A small, almost imperceptible shake of the head “I am pleased to tell you that, although I have followed your husband for the past few weeks, I never saw him doing anything untoward. He was never unfaithful. He had no secret meetings with women, nor did I see him flirt with a single one. Her face crumpled with relief as he passed her the envelope. “I took a few pictures just to reassure you that he was doing nothing wrong.” She dabbed her eyes with the tissue. “Thank you, thank you very much.” “It’s a pleasure to give such good news.” They chatted, then Patrick brought up the bill, gratefully, Sally paid him in cash, and, still thanking him left.
It made him feel good when people had such good news. Of course, that happiness could be destroyed with a few, well placed photographs. Taking another envelope from the drawer, he filled it with pictures then carefully printed an address, putting the words “open in private” across the seal. He would mail it, then wait for a week, let Mr. Stevenson stew in his own juices, then he would ring Joe and tell him, calmly and politely, that he had more copies which would be sent to his wife, children, family, friends and work colleague unless Joe ponied up, what Patrick considered, a very reasonable fee. Most paid and the few who thought he was bluffing had found out they had made a very grave error.
Standing, Patrick stretched, then yawned widely. Although he enjoyed his work, he found it could be quite tiring. Gloria had already left, after poking her head in the door and asking if he needed anything, and when he answered in the negative, she smiled and started to flirt. Patrick knew what she wanted it was usually the same. “Well, seeing as there is nothing left to do, I was wondering if I could head off early?” Usually Patrick relented and let her leave. He knew the flirting was unconscious and innocent on her part, but still, he could always hope. He never reciprocated and had already decided that, should the flirting progress, he would have to talk to her, maybe fire her if she didn’t get the message. He was happily married and intended to stay that way. He had already seen how easy it was to destroy a relationship. He always wondered if that was why he never cheated. He liked to think it was because he loved her, but sometimes doubt crept in. Not about the love, that was unquestionable, but his reasoning. Most affairs did not start out as someone falling in love. They fell in lust. Occasionally feelings developed, but usually it was just sex. Sometimes the woman was more devious, money, blackmail. He hated the last most of all., it cut into his business. The sun was setting, casting everything in an orange glow. Winter was slowly creeping forward. Before he left, he checked everything was secure and that nothing was out of place. There were hidden cameras dotted about the rooms he owned, but it was better to be sure. Entering the waiting room, he was about to flick off the light when a box on Gloria’s desk caught his eye. it was wrapped in plain brown paper and sealed with clear tape. A hastily scrawled note was left on top.
“It was at the bottom of the stairs. I don’t know who it is supposed to go to. I figured it could wait until morning.
He would have been angry if she did this often, instead he felt a thin thread of unease unwind in his stomach. It was so unlike her to do something like that. her normally legible and immaculate writing was instead almost indecipherable. Putting the note aside, he opened the top drawer of the desk and found a scissors. He carefully cut away the paper, trying to control the urge to rip it off. He tried to deny that he was satisfying his own curiosity, instead, he reasoned that something inside would tell him where the box was supposed to go.
Free of its paper prison, the box offered no more clues as to who it belonged to. He briefly wondered if someone had placed it down momentarily and Gloria just stumbled across it and assumed it was a delivery. The box itself was unremarkable. Plain cardboard, completely unmarked. Unsure what to do, he eventually shrugged and cut at the tape which sealed the box. Easing the flaps open, he saw a piece of paper. He examined it briefly before picking it up. There was no doubt this box was for him.
I know what you saw.”
He reread the note, then tried to make sense of it. who ever the person was, they thought the event was monumental and would need no clarification. Patrick however, was mystified. The note was written carefully and in block capitals. Each letter was pristine. It almost looked as if a ruler was used. Carefully he put the note on the desk, then reached into the box. It had been stuffed with white tissue paper, picking it out, his hand hit something hard. Reaching in he grasped the box. It too was unremarkable in everyway, except for the contents. The box was clear plastic, sealed with an unknown substance. It was filled with a slightly murky liquid, but its contents were unmistakable. Two eyes stared up at patrick. They had been secured in place so the pupils were looking up. Their colour, once a bright blue had become hazy as a milky sheen coated the eye. Patrick cried out in revulsion and dropped the container back into the box. It landed onto the tissue paper, the eyes jiggling slightly. As though trying to look around. He had no doubt they were real eyes. he stepped away from the box, rubbing his hand on his trousers, trying to clean them, to remove the horror that they had held. He shuddered, then fought not to gag. Turning he grabbed the phone and called the police. As he talked, he could feel the eyes staring at him. Unseeing but aware.
Patrick tried not to think as he drove. The memory of the eyes caused him to gag. Gloria hadn’t been too impressed that the police were calling her. Her explanation for her own note was simple, on her way out she got a call from her mother who was baby sitting, her son, Charlie, had started throwing up and now had a fever of 103 degrees and her mother couldn’t drive. She wanted to get him to the doctors, but by the time she got home the fever had broken. That’s why she didn’t tell Patrick about the box. Although the police assured Patrick that the eyes were probably an empty threat or a sick joke, he wasn’t so sure. He didn’t share their conviction that the eyes probably belonged to an animal. He looked at the time, it was almost nine, Diane would probably be pissed at him, but he could deal with it. He wanted to call her but didn’t know how to explain. He thought that in person would be best.
He pulled into the driveway and was momentarily surprised by the houses darkness, it took him a few moments to remember that it was Wednesday. Diane was having a girly night with her friends. He thought that they were going to the cinema but wasn’t completely sure. As he parked the car, Patrick sighed in relief, he would not have to worry Diane about what had happened. He would tell her eventually, but it gave him a bit of leeway. Removing the keys from the ignition, he decided to do it when she got back, depending on her mood. The night was cold and a strong wind had begun. The short walk to the front door left him feeling cold. Any warmth he had in the car was robbed from him.
Standing into the hall, he flicked on the outside lights, then closed the door. The house was warm, Diane probably turned the heating on before she left. He made his way towards the kitchen, surprised to find he was hungry. After a quick search he put some chicken fillets into the oven, then set the timer. The pressure cooker on the stove was full of cooked potatoes, and, happy to see there was easy food available, he left the kitchen and made his way to the bedroom.
The bedroom was large, with more than ample space for each. Stripping down, he considered throwing out his clothes, wondering if they would always feel soiled. After a moments hesitation, he put them into the hamper, removing everything from the pockets. Patrick grabbed a large dressing gown, then went into the bathroom. While the shower warmed, he place the dressing gown over the radiator, then threw a towel over the side of the shower and stepped in. He enjoyed long showers but rarely indulged, he decided that he deserved one after what had happened. He washed himself, then, washed again. once he felt clear of the eyes touch, he stood under the warm spray, letting it relax his muscles. He yawned widely, then turned the shower off. Wrapped in the pre-warmed robe, he went into the bedroom and found pyjama bottoms and a large t-shirt. Drying quickly, he dressed, then added two thick, woollen socks. He had no plans to go out again.
Once again in the kitchen, he quickly heated oil in the frying pan and chopped a few potatoes, sliding on the tiles as he went from the counter to the stove. Finding the silence unnerving, he turned on the radio, keeping it low. he grabbed a bag of vegetables and nuked them in the microwave as the potatoes fried. Once everything was done he filled his plate, being careful to leave enough should Diane be hungry. The sitting room was larger than it first appeared, two couches were placed against the walls, the area around the fireplace was sparsely decorated, and, putting the plate on a small table, Patrick began to build a fire. once the hesitant flames became stronger and caught, he sat down, turned on the TV and found something to watch.
Once he had eaten, he put his plate in the dishwasher, then found a bottle of wine. Sitting down again, he poured himself a glass and settled in, throwing a blanket over his legs for the added warmth.
Diane was home earlier than she expected, the movie was short and not that great. She was tired and when the others suggested going for a few drinks, she made her excuses and left. The house was warm and brightly lit, the smell of food still hung in the air. She could hear the TV in the sitting room and popped her head around the door “hey, I’m back” “Hey, how was the movie?” “It wasn’t great. I’m wrecked though. The others went for drinks, but I didn’t have the energy. Is there any food left?” “Yeah, it’s in the oven, there’s wine too.”
Soon Diane had changed into more comfortable clothes and joined Patrick in the sitting room.
“So how was your day?” “It was alright, not too busy. Didn’t really have much for doing in work. Anything interesting happen to you?” Patrick looked at her for a moment “well, yes, something did. But I don’t want you to get worried or upset.” Diane looked back, Patrick could tell that both fear and interest were at war inside her. “Ok, I won’t.” He had decided to keep the story simple and told it quickly, “that’s horrible. Who would do something like that?” “I don’t know. I really don’t. The police think it was some kind of sick joke.” “Well, what do you think?” “I honestly don’t know. It freaked me out, but I think it was probably a once off thing.” “Why?” “Well, it just seemed that way. If anything else happens I’ll ring the police again but I think that it’s already over.” “Still, be careful. There’s a lot of nut jobs out there. Was there anyone who reacted really badly to what you had to tell them, I mean, lets face it, it’s not like your job always ends happily.” “No, not really, most of the women already suspect the husband and just want confirmation or to decide if they want a divorce or not. I’m not exactly destroying happy marriages.” “Yeah, but still. There has to have been someone who was like, “no that can’t be right” or “that’s not my husband or wife.”” “Not really. Photographs don’t lie.” “Did the police have any idea? Has it happened to someone else?” “Not that they know of. There could have been someone else who got something similar but they dismissed it or couldn’t go to the police for one reason or another.” “Why would anyone hide that from the police.” Patrick’s mind briefly flashed to his own blackmailing side business, he just shook his head and shrugged.
Lying awake in bed, Patrick took the time to process what had happened to him during the day and tried to think of anything it might be connected to. The people he blackmailed never knew who he was. If any women that came to him with the photo’s, he apologised, told them he didn’t see anything and suggested the photo’s were taken during a different time, maybe a few months before or after he was hired and, though upset, the wives never told their husbands about him. There was one couple that came to him a few days before, but he hadn’t decided to take their case yet. Their daughter apparently joined some cult and they wanted her back, or at the very least, an idea of where she was and the workings of the cult. They understood that he may not be able to get close enough to get her, but once they had the information, they could try get her themselves, or hire someone else. Someone who was more equipped to handle cults. He felt sorry for the parents, but wasn’t sure if the risks were worth the benefits. Cults were dangerous both for those in them and outsiders. He didn’t want to risk the repercussions that could emerge. Accusations of kidnapping, restraining orders, attacks on his house, character and business. Eventually, he concluded that who ever had left the box was mistaken, or it was a once off. Surely if it was a large event as the note implied, he would remember. Turning over, he let his mind go blank and soon fell into a deep sleep.
He woke up during the night, his dreams disjointed and feverish, the last thing he saw before waking was those damn eyes, eternally staring. As his breathing slowed he had a sudden realisation and broke out into a cold sweat. The eyes were the same colour as Diane’s. Feeling nauseas, he slowly got up, not wanting to disturb her sleep. He looked at the clock, 3 A.M., quietly he left the room and went downstairs to the kitchen. As the kettle boiled he tried to forget about the dream he had. He made himself a cup of tea and sat in the dark drinking it, feeling the warm liquid run down his throat. He tried to pass the eye colour off as coincidence, but he knew it wasn’t. When the cup was empty, he put it in the sink and went back to bed. It had been stiflingly hot under the duvet when he woke, but now it was pleasantly warm. He lay in the dark for what seemed like hours before he fell back asleep.