Delivery. Short Story.

My weekend passed pleasantly enough, I’m still reading Song of Ice and Fire books, they’re good. Finished the third yesterday. Beyond that I didn’t do much else, my life be boring. So, with that in mind,
On with the show!

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Delivery

She sat on the river bank, watching as people walked by. The path was narrow but wide enough for two people to just about walk side by side. The river flowed past lazily, gently chuckling and gurgling, a group of swans moved though the water, graceful and peaceful on top, but underneath their gangly legs were fighting the current. It was a sunny day, the surface of the river glittering in the light. She was sitting in the shade of a large tree, it was cooler in the shade and far too hot in the sun. She wore a light dress and a pair of sandals, it had seemed the only choice when she dressed. A young child went streaming by on a bicycle, not bothering to check that their family was following, a few moments later a couple passed by, walking hand in hand. It had been a short though tiring walk, the heat always seemed to drain her of energy. The river bank looked like the perfect place to sit and rest for a few moments. The few moments had started to stretch and before she knew it a half hour had passed. She wasn’t too concerned though, she was in no rush today and she was comfortable here by the river and near the passing people. She could hear occasional snippets of conversation as people passed, but she paid no attention to what they were saying, her eyes unseeingly stared at the river.

She blinked, then rubbed her eyes, coming out of her thoughts. It had started to get darker now, the sun was setting and the buildings around her had begun to cast long shadows, she stood and brushed herself off. She walked to the path, then took a left. She walked slowly, enjoying the scenery. The path was empty of other walkers, as the evening came and the day cooled most people had left the area. She watched a signet floating on the water for a few moments until it drifted out of view. A slight breeze blew through the trees, bringing a chill with it. She shivered slightly, though the day was warm the oncoming night would be cold. She started to walk faster, wanting to get home before it became any colder.

Though she walked quickly, it took her longer than she had thought to get home, the walk was uneventful, the only people she passed were others that were going home, some held briefcases, others were laden with shopping bags, but they were all going home. She was thirsty during her walk and wished she had thought to bring money, she could have stopped in a shop and bought a bottle of water, but she was almost home.

The house was gloomy when she got back, long shadows stretched across the floors, she turned on a few lights as she went, driving the growing darkness back. She made her way to the kitchen and took a glass from the cupboard, she filled it with water, then drained the contents with a few quick gulps. Once the glass was empty she opened a press and took out a bottle of soft drink, then she went to the freezer and dug out some ice cubes. Though it was getting chilly she preferred cold drinks. She sipped her drink as she went upstairs to change. It was cool in the house, but she didn’t want to turn on the heating. She changed from her dress into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, the heavier material instantly providing warmth. With that done she went back downstairs to decide what she would do for dinner. Earlier, when it seemed as though the night would be hot and muggy, she had considered making a salad, something simple and light, but as the night became colder she craved something more filling, something warm. She settled on making a stir fry, both for ease and the speed at which it would be done.

After dinner, she cleared everything away, as she was cleaning she poured herself a glass of wine, taking occasional sips from it as she passed by. With everything cleared away she took her glass of wine into the sitting room and sat down. Some of her friends were supposed to come over, but they had cancelled, in truth, she was glad. They would come over and have a few drinks, then a few more, the conversations becoming louder until someone would inevitably put on some music and the talk would turn from “how stressful work was” to “where do we want to go tonight?” She was tired and had little interest in going out and she knew that should her friends come over, she’d be dragged out anyway, equally drunk as they all piled into a taxi to take them to their destination. She didn’t want to deal with a hangover then next day either. She didn’t have much to do during the weekend but she didn’t want to waste it either. Besides that, Darren had been talking about going to the cinema on Sunday, it wouldn’t exactly be classy to have to leave part way through the movie to vomit in the ladies bathroom. She took another sip from her wine. Then settled into the couch a bit more. Remote in hand she turned on the TV and tried to find a good movie to watch. Just as the opening sequence finished, someone rang the doorbell. Sighing, she stood, bringing her wine with her.

She opened the door, a young man was standing in front of her holding a white plastic bag, “Hi, delivery?” “Uh no, I think you have the wrong house.” “Is this number 34?” “No, that’s next door.” “Thanks, sorry to bother you” “No problem.” As he turned she closed the door, shaking her head slightly. The numbers were clearly marked on the houses. As she passed the sitting room she glanced in the door, it didn’t seem as though too much was happening in the movie, quickly she went to the kitchen and looked through the cabinets, taking out chocolate and bags of crisps, with her plunder she returned to the sitting room.

During the movie the doorbell rang three more times, each time a different delivery guy looking for number thirty four, each time she directed them next door. She was starting to get annoyed. Four times in one night was ridiculous, especially when everything was clearly marked. The door bell rang again. She groaned, then stood, then sat back down. She’d just pretend she wasn’t in, that was it. Then they’d go away. Sure there were lights on but they’d get the message soon enough. The door bell rang again. Then again. There was a pause and she let out a breath, they seemed to have gotten the message. Then it rang again. “Oh for fuck sake.” She stood up and stomped to the door, she flung it open, “No, this isn’t number thirty four, that’s next door. I didn’t order anything.” The delivery guy stepped back. “Um. I have a delivery for number thirty two?” she paused as she was closing the door, “Oh. Uh, sorry. I didn’t order anything though.” “Is this thirty two Hazel Drive?” “Yeah.” “Then I have a delivery for you” “But I didn’t order anything.” “Look, it’s already been paid for, maybe someone’s sending you a gift or something, I don’t know, if you don’t take it it’ll just be thrown out.” “But I-” he thrust the bag at her, she took it automatically, as he turned and left she called out after him “I didn’t order this” but he kept walking. Sighing she closed the door and went into the kitchen to see what she had gotten, hoping there would be a menu so she could call up and tell them someone gave them the wrong address.
She put the bag on the counter and took out some of the foil trays, there was no menu inside the bag. Carefully she opened one of them, it looked like sweet and sour chicken. She shrugged, then closed the container again, she wasn’t hungry now, but maybe later. She left the food on the counter to cool then went back inside to finish her movie. There were no more disturbances. When the movie was over she watched some TV, then decided it was time for bed. She turned everything off and went back to the kitchen. She felt the foil container, it was cold now. She stacked them carefully in her fridge, she could always eat it tomorrow, she quite enjoyed left over Chinese food. Once it was all put away she checked the locks on the back door, then turned off the lights and went to bed.

She was woken the next morning by someone ringing her door bell, she got out of bed and threw on a dressing gown, wondering if it was more deliveries. She opened the door and found two men standing there. “Hi, sorry to disturb you so early. I’m Detective Walker and this is Detective Robinson, there was a disturbance in the area last night and we wanted to know if you had seen anything suspicious.” “Well, a couple of delivery guys rang my doorbell, they were looking for next door though.” The policemen looked at each other, “The last guy had a delivery for my house, he said it was paid for,  I didn’t order anything. I tried telling him that but he wouldn’t listen, there wasn’t even a menu so I couldn’t call the restaurant to let them know.” “Do you still have the food?” “Yeah, it’s in the fridge, I didn’t eat any of it, I already had dinner when it came.” “Do you mind if we have a look at it?” She shrugged, “I suppose.” she stepped out of the way and let them in. After closing the door behind them she led them to the kitchen. She took the foil trays from the fridge, “I had a look in one of them, it was sweet and sour chicken I think. I didn’t bother checking the others. What was the disturbance?” The detective ignored her, the other one, Robinson, was standing near the door. She was starting to feel uncomfortable being in just her robe, she realised she didn’t see any ID. Both were wearing plain suits. “I’m sorry, could I see some ID or something?” Robinson walked over to her smiling, the other detective was still studying the trays. “Of course.” He reached into his front pocket, he brought something out, but she couldn’t see what, his hand shifted, revealing the knife. The one by the trays opened them and looked at the contents, “Yep, she’s the one.” she had backed up against the counter by this time, she groped blindly for something, anything to defend herself with. Robinson kept coming, smiling the entire time, his smile only changing slightly, growing brighter, as she started to scream.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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