Shadow Crawlers. Part 1

“Look at them all there, rich bastards.” Tom spat on the ground “Christ, will you just shut up and get a move on? We’re on a limited schedule here.”  Tom grumbled to himself quietly while they worked, Grady caught a few words here and there, mostly curses. “Shut the hell up will ya? I’m tryna get this done. Why do you even care so much?” “Why don’t you care more?” “cos I have shit to do.” Grady scowled, then grinned, “We’re in.” “You sure?” Grady sighed. “Yes. For the last time, I’m sure. Look all I’m doing here is stopping any calls going out of the house. If the alarm system goes off, which it won’t, there will be no calls to the police.” “There better not be, if we get caught I’ll kill you.” Grady rolled her eyes. “I’m sure you will. C’mon.” She stood, the sudden rush making her feel faint. They’d be in and out in no time. At least if Tom followed the plan, which was always a worry. He was too easily distractible. Last time he was let out on a job, he almost got everyone caught, smashed a glass container, setting off the alarms. He tried to blame her, but it wasn’t Grady’s fault it was on a separate system, nor was it her fault that Tom was retarded. Well, at least in her professional opinion he was. Tom hopped up and quickly scaled the wall, Grady scrambled after him, she always hated climbing, she had almost no upper body strength and god forbid Tom would stop at the top to try and help her. She heard a muffled thump as he landed, she was barely half way up yet. She reached the top and quickly started down the other side, she didn’t want someone to see her up here. The security weren’t supposed to do a drive by for at least another ten minutes, but it was always a risk they’d just pop up. They paused on the other side for a second to allow Grady to rest. Tom kept muttering to himself about the “rich bastards.” Grady took a few deep breaths then signalled they should move on, mostly to get him to shut up. He was right about one thing though it was a nice house, a rich one.

They stopped at the windows and she allowed Tom to get to work, he was good with locks, which was why he hadn’t been ditched yet. He fiddled with something, Grady couldn’t quite see what he was doing, not that it mattered; no matter how closely she watched, or how often she tried, she couldn’t replicate the skill. The window swung open, “yesss.” Tom slid through, he was supposed to go after her, after she had a chance to scope out the room. She rolled her eyes and followed, it seemed to be the theme of the night. They were in the library, books lined the shelves, no doubt many were priceless, but they had no time to look through them. Grady wasn’t quite sure that Tom could even read. The room was in shadows and darkness, the lights inside the house were off and it was too dark to see. Still, this was the closest room to the obviously shoddy alarm system. Grady hadn’t seen any wires when Tom was screwing around with the windows and no alarms had gone off. Their entrance should have triggered it. She took the lead, Tom never bothered to study any of the plans they had for houses, though it was rare enough they had access to any. Grady navigated the halls with ease though it was almost too dark to see, it didn’t take her long to locate the alarm box. She shook her head. It was a really, really shitty system. There was no other word for it. It took her only a few seconds to disable it entirely. Only a workman would find what she had done, the outside of the box looked completely fine. “Ok, we’re clear.” Sudden light blinded her. “Fuck. Point that somewhere else.” Tom chuckled and used it to scan the walls, bright circles of colour bloomed in her vision, Grady rubbed her eyes, “asshole.” “You love it.” She swung out ineffectually as he stepped back. She took her own torch and turned it on. Paintings lined the walls, no doubt expensive,  but still ugly. The hallways were hideous. Deep gold carpet with red strips at the edges, the walls were painted an off green, she wondered if the decorator was colour-blind. Electronics and jewellery, that was their first stop, along with any cash lying around. “The master bedroom is this way. Be quiet. They’re supposed to be gone for a few days but you never know.” It had happened to Scotch, he got killed when the couple returned home drunk and the husband shot him in the face.

The bedroom was equally hideous, but everything still looked comfortable. Grady could barely believe it sometimes, how some people could leave jewellery out like this, on display. She could never figure out why either, it wasn’t like they brought people on a tour through their house “And here’s the pool, and that’s our bedroom, this here is my wife’s big-ass collection of jewels, aren’t they fabulous?” She took a necklace from a stand and put it on, Grady didn’t like using bags, not until she had to. If they were chased she wouldn’t lose as much that way. She picked up a ring and slid it onto her finger, it fit, she grabbed a few more and slid them on, they were joined by six bracelets, three on each wrist. There was a stack of money sitting on the left bedside drawer, she pocketed that too, “got everything?” Grady grabbed the rest of the jewels and filled her pockets “I think so, you?” “Yeah. Dude had a shit ton of watches.” “Worth anything?” “Probably.” Grady shook her head. “Ok, we’ll split up, you go where ever, I wanna check out the study.” Tom went right when he left the room, he didn’t know where he was going, Grady would meet him in twenty minutes where they had first entered. That was the plan, but Tom would be late, as usual.

The study was panelled in wood, though she couldn’t see what kind, there were a few books, their bindings thick and unmarked. She went to the desk and searched through the drawers, at the end of it, she had five Mont Blanc pens, a tablet computer and a few extra bills she found in a leather wallet. Brett was waiting in the car, he’d know if the tablet could be wiped to make it untraceable, if not they could always clean off prints and throw it back over the wall. She looked around the room quickly and not seeing anything else, Grady began to make her way towards the library. It didn’t take her long to get there, she settled in for the wait.

“C’mon, c’mon, where the hell are you?” Tom was ten minutes late, a new record for him. She didn’t like staying too long in places and they were here too long. She hadn’t heard any noises, but that meant little in a house this large. He could have fallen over or something, maybe he had even gotten caught. Grady looked around the room once more, then carefully moved outside, she wanted to be able to make a quick getaway. She heard someone running towards the room, there was shouting, “Jesus fucking Christ run.” She didn’t wait for further instruction. Grady took off towards the wall, hoping that she’d be able to get up it before whatever Tom was running from caught up. There was a crash from the kitchen, Grady didn’t look back. If you look back you could stumble, if you stumbled you could fall, if you fell, you were fucked. Tom had taught her that. Leave no man behind was bullshit, save yourself first, then worry about the others. She scaled the wall and at the top paused and looked at the garden, there was Tom, running towards her. He was almost at the wall, she couldn’t see what was chasing him, he looked up at her, “Fucking go.” She swung her leg over, Toms eyes widened, Grady felt something warm splash onto her face. Tom gurgled and fell against the wall, Grady dropped down, pain racing up her legs. She kept her balance and ran to the car, she flung the door open, “Tom?” “No.” Before she could close it fully Brett had already pulled out from the side of the road, as he drove Grady rolled down the window and tossed the tablet out of the moving car. “The fuck is that on your face?” She pulled down the mirror, the small golden light illuminating her face, it was splattered in blood. Grady used her sleeve to scrub at her face. “What the fuck happened?” “I don’t know, someone got him.” “Who?” “I don’t know, I didn’t see.” “Shit. Did they see you?” “Maybe.” Shit. Think they saw the car?” “No, I don’t think so.” “We’ll ditch it.” “Ok.” They drove in silence, Grady stripped herself of the jewellery and put it into the bag. They’d dump the car and sell everything. She shuddered. Tom was gone, there was no coming back from what happened to him. Grady hugged herself, feeling as though she was being watched. She tried to push the feeling away, she was just on edge, that was all. Understandably. Shit. Dom would be pissed. She closed her eyes and leaned back into the seat, opening them almost immediately. All she could see was Tom’s face, with his wide, staring eyes. Once they got back to the place, she’d have the longest shower she could, clean Tom off her. A giggle escaped her, high and at the edge of hysterical, it lasted only a second before turning into a sob.

Part 2

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.
This entry was posted in Horror, Series, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Shadow Crawlers. Part 1

  1. Pingback: Why Don’t The Mountains Sing At Night? Short Story. | Alan James Keogh

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  9. Owen Dempsey says:

    Daring your stories are so fucking cool, awsome, and epic

  10. Pingback: The Break In. Part 9. | Alan James Keogh

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