The Caretaker. Short Story.

My weeks going pretty well, saw Iron Man 3 yesterday, which was pretty awesome. It was much better than I expected, very enjoyable. I spent most of Monday in a car, going around the country, that was ok, but pretty tiring. Got my last assignment in too on Monday, last thing is the Thesis and I’m done my masters. Scary thought that.

On with the show!


He clicked the switch. Nothing. Shit. He sighed, it always happened like this. Damn light bulbs. He left the room, searching for the spare bulbs, where did Angie put them? God only knew, she could get some weird ideas into her head sometimes. He had gone to the fridge before and found the wine opener, it had been missing for two weeks beforehand. She probably realised she put it somewhere weird and placed it there to avoid getting blamed. He went to the kitchen first and started searching through the drawers, but there was nothing but the usual rigmarole. He opened the first cupboard, it was full of cutlery. He opened the second and there they were, light bulbs galore. He didn’t remember seeing them here before, he took one out and quickly went back into the sitting room, it fit, he clicked the switch again, the light filled the room. Finally. He sat down in his chair, he could finally relax. If Angie had seen the broken light bulb she would have raised hell that he hadn’t changed it. It would be his fault of course, it’s not like she could change it, she couldn’t even put a dvd into the player.

He couldn’t wait until he could leave her, though he didn’t expect that to be any time soon. His sister would need a carer for the rest of her life and he couldn’t afford to hire someone yet, but that would change soon, he had some lucrative jobs coming up soon and they’d give him enough money to be able to afford someone to look after Angie, even if it wasn’t full time, it would give him plenty of free time to do other things, fix the place up a bit, maybe even go on a few dates. He had tried that before, it hadn’t worked out, as soon as they found out about Angie, they bolted. Oh well. Their loss. Still, it would be nice to have someone eventually. A loud banging echoed from upstairs, he sighed and stood up, well at least he had a few seconds to sit down. He went upstairs carefully, turning on the lights as he went, he didn’t want to startle her, their father had once, it didn’t end well. “Angie? Everything ok?” The banging continued, not that he expected an answer, she didn’t really talk much anymore. He entered her room, she was on the floor, banging her shoe against the wood, “what is it?” She banged it down once more, then pointed at the spot she was hitting, “I don’t see it.” She pointed again, “Oh. Ok…well done.” She smiled, pleased with herself. “Do you want to put your shoe on again?” Angie looked at it for a second, then she sat back to put it on. “Do you need a hand?” She shook her head vigorously, “Ok.” It took her a moment before she managed it. “Are you hungry?” She shook her head, good, he hadn’t gotten anything in. He left the room, she’d be ok by herself. She always was, as long as someone was in the house.

He turned on the TV, he’d pop in a kids movie, that would keep her distracted and he’d be able to relax too. He flicked through them all, trying to find something they hadn’t seen a thousand times already. Finally he settled on one and put it into the DVD player, as the opening scene played he heard her drop something and come running. No big surprise there. She ran into the room, stumbled in her excitement, then plopped herself on her couch. It was hers and hers alone, no one else was allowed sit there. She watched quietly, nodding along as the characters talked. Sometimes he wondered if she thought they were actually talking to her.

He was drowsing off when the movie finally ended, it was late enough so they could go to bed. Angie would put herself to bed at some point in the night, it was always easy to to leave her to her own devices when it came to putting her to bed. She didn’t like to be bossed around. That was another reason he couldn’t really get a carer, the instructions were so complicated, assuming they even agreed to watch over her. As he went to bed he poked his head into her room, there was some food there, no surprise. She was supposed to keep her food in the kitchen, but she never did. He didn’t mind that much, his parents always did, but it wasn’t like she left the mess, she managed to clean up after herself mostly. He had never actually seen her clean, no doubt anything that was spilled was licked up from the floor.

The next morning he checked the food supplies, they were too low. He’d have to get something for her very soon or else he’d be sorry. She had broken his hand the last time. He drove to the shops quickly, she couldn’t be left alone for too long. He bought some meat and vegetables, he’d do a proper shop later, but it would do for now at least.

He cooked all the food he had bought and had a small bit himself, she would eat a little when she wanted, he could leave her graze. She didn’t like her meat too well done, but he did it anyway, it was safer for her. He didn’t want her getting sick, she wouldn’t do well in the hospital, she didn’t like all the people and how fast everything changed.

He drove around the area slowly, he’d have to get something nice this time, the last time the meat had looked fine but its source seemed a bit dodgy, all dirty and gross. There. A young woman, homeless of course, but relatively clean. “Hey, hey you.” She walked to the car, “wanna make some money? I can give you a place to sleep too.” “What will I have to do?” “Not much, just play with my sister.” “What?” “She’s a little…strange. It’s hard to get people to spend time with her. It’ll only be a few hours, don’t worry. I can drop you back here and everything afterwards.” “…Ok…why not. What age is she?” “Forty-three.” “What’s wrong with her?” “I don’t really know, the doctors couldn’t tell us. We just leave her be mostly, look after her. She isn’t violent or dangerous or anything.”

He lead her into the house and gestured towards the room. She walked right in, like she owned the place. He grabbed the knife and quickly slit her throat, holding her close as she shook and struggled. Once she stopped, he started to butcher her. She’d feed Angie for a few months at least now. She didn’t mind animal meat, as long as it had a little human in there too. He could grind it up a little to make it last longer. It would distance the time between the next time he needed to go out. He always felt bad doing it, but it needed to be done after all, family was more important than strangers. He put it all in the freezer then took a little out to cook. After a few minutes the kitchen started to smell like meat, before long he could hear her thudding overhead, running for her meal.


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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