Shadow Crawlers. Part 10

Part 1, Part 9

She sat in the room, bored. She had flicked through the books, they were boring  and tried to master the laptop, which was almost impossible. She managed to click around on it for a few moments before being assaulted by images of half naked women wanting to have sex with her. She had also won a bunch of prizes, but not really knowing what any of them did she wasn’t interested. All she had to do now was wait. There was some food, but it was disgusting, she had tried to eat some, but she couldn’t stomach more than a few bites. The pain of hunger was easier to deal with than the pain of eating. This was just like him, leave her sitting in this damn place, alone with nothing to do. She had already explored the entirety of her world and there was absolutely nothing of interest, the closest thing she could find was her container which had already begun to reassemble itself. She always hated how it did that. No matter how many times it was destroyed, it reformed and, if her owner should die, it would instantly contain her again. She tried to pick it up a few times, she never really had a chance to explore the possibilities of it, but she could never actually touch it, the closest she could get was about an inch away, then it was as if there was some kind of barrier around it, preventing her from getting any closer. She had found that she could touch it with some objects, but not others, so far she couldn’t figure out what the difference was between the ceramic figurine and the pencil. She wasn’t quite sure yet, but it seemed as though if she threw something it could touch the container. After a while, she took to drawing on the walls, it was something she always enjoyed doing and now she could do it freely, without having to try and convince people it was a prophecy or some mystical place. For now she drew what ever came to mind.


When he returned, he found her engrossed in her drawing, he wasn’t entirely sure what it was, either a cow or a horse. She sighed and stepped back from the drawing. “These hands are ridiculous, all stubby and unresponsive. So, can you get me out of here?” “Yes, I’m pretty sure I can. It might work, but if it doesn’t, don’t be too upset.” He spotted the opened and barely eaten cans, “I told you to eat.” “I tried, but it’s all gross.” “Did you try heating it?” “Yeah, but I couldn’t get it right.” “Once we get you out of here we’ll get you some fresh food, how does that sound?” She shook her head, “I’m not a child.” “I know that.” “Just get on with it.” He pulled some chalk from his pocket. The reality was he knew how to get her out days ago, but he didn’t want her knowing that. He wanted her to sweat it out a little in this room, maybe it was a little childish of him, but hey, she had done some horrible things to him too. He didn’t want her learning his secrets. Oh sure they had agreed to share information always, tell each other everything, but he knew he wasn’t the only one keeping secrets. None of them ever gave up a strategic advantage. “You never told me your name here.” “It’s Brett.” “Could be worse.” “True. Do you want me to name you know or wait until your new body?” “Oh new body definitely.” They didn’t like giving each other names, it was always better for someone else to do it, even though the namer would have power over them. He squatted in the doorway and started to draw. “Be careful.” “I always am.” As he drew she paced, though he knew she was watching him, studying the drawings. She would never know what would actually release her, she would think it was all this. As he was finishing off the drawing, she stopped pacing and was instead staring intently at him, he could feel it too. “There isn’t much time left.” “I’m almost there.” He made another mark. As she called out to him he dove from the doorway, a dark shape briefly passing by. “That was close.” “Too close. You should be more careful. If you had died I’d be stuck here forever. Your container wasn’t in here.” He knew that, he had moved it as soon as he had the sense. He went back to the drawing, studying the doorway, it was still there, but it was impatient and after a moment it moved on, looking for more prey. He licked his finger, then pulled it through the drawing. “You do the same.” She reached across the threshold, smiling, and dragged her finger back through. “Ok, you’re free.” He smiled, as did she. She had been able to leave the room for the last few minutes, but she would never know that. She wouldn’t have felt the change, too slight, she was paying too much attention to the chalk drawings. She stepped out of the room and spun, laughing. “Where should we go?” “Where ever you want.” She thought for a moment. “Somewhere classy.” He nodded. “C’mon, the car is this way.”


They drove in silence, the radio off. The journey lasted almost an hour until finally he pulled up. The area around them was full of clubs and restaurants, hundreds of people were milling about the streets, the faint sound of jazz music drifted through the air. She got out of the car, not even looking at him. When her door closed, he turned on the radio and settled back into his seat, she was always picky, he’d be waiting a while.


She walked through the crowds slowly, looking over all the women carefully. She had taken the bodies of men before, but she had always preferred women when she had a choice, Brett was the same, he always preferred being a man. She was becoming worried, thinking there would be no body worthy of her when she saw it, the perfect body. She didn’t know what caused her to be drawn to some but not others, and really, she didn’t care, all she knew was that it was the body that was for her. She smiled and approached.


She sat into the car, instantly filling it with the smell of her perfume, light and flowery. “Did you find what you were looking for?” “Definitely.” Her voice was light, almost lyrical. “C’mon, lets get food.” He drove for a short while, then stopped outside of a fast food restaurant. “You’ll like this place, trust me.” She sat down while he ordered and a moment later he approached, carrying a tray laden down with food. He got a proper look at her for the first time, even under the harsh, bright lights, she was beautiful. Her skin white, almost porcelain, her lips painted a deep red, her hair a glossy black. She wore a form fitting red dress that seemed completely out of place in the restaurant. He set down the tray and started parcelling out food. He placed in front of her a burger, chicken nuggets and a large fries, she picked at the food, enjoying it, but not eating much. “It’s best if you finish it all, then I’ll take you home, ok?” She nodded. “It is quite nice.” “Yeah, don’t get to used to it though, it’s bad for these bodies.” She picked up a fry and ate it, then she took a gulp of her drink. “Did you walk around for a bit after changing?” “No, no need, this body was made for me.” She grinned at him, almost wolf like. “What did you do with the other one?” “She’s in some alley. I was so surprised this one went with her. Oh well, empathy is a stupid trait.” He nodded, then took a bite of his burger, he was quite hungry and after a moment the burger was gone. He took a drink, then sat back, watching her eat. It was strange to be free after so long, even stranger to see her again. It had been a good thousand years. He would never tell her or the others, but he missed them, most of all he missed the power they possessed when they were all together. It had been a long, long time since all nine of them had been released. After a moment, he grinned. “I know.” “Know what?” “Your name.” “Ok. Give it to me.” “Rose.” She snorted “really? That’s the best you can do?” “It’s perfect and you know it.” She shrugged. I guess it will have to do. Rose.” She repeated it a few more times, getting used to the feel of it. He was right, it did fit, though she would never admit it. Once she finished her food, they stood from the table and left, “what is the plan?” “I’m going to introduce you in a few days as this ones girlfriend. You’ll get along with them all of course, and we’ll go from there. I know which one of them released you, but I’m not telling you that, we can’t afford for you to kill any of them just yet. Besides, I want to reward the one who released you. They deserve it.” “Fine. Keep more secrets from me. I can keep control you know.” “I know, but accidents happen.”

The drive back was quick, but he stopped off at a supermarket to buy some food. She would be living in the house for a few days. He’d have to bring Grady back somehow, but he’d figure that out in due time. He always did.

They unloaded the shopping from the car and stocked the kitchen, once that was done they retrieved the body of the houses’ owner, he was old, shrivelled. They brought it outside and placed it on Tom’s body. “I figured you’d want to do the honours.” She grinned, white teeth bright against the red of her lips. She flexed her fingers and rubbed them together, after a moment she touched the bodies, instantly they were aflame, thick smoke billowing from them. She held her hands in the fire for a moment, then stepped back, eyes shining in the light. “It’ll go out once the bodies are gone.” “Good, and the smoke?” “Don’t worry, I’ve taken care of that too.” He sniffed slightly, it smelt like a wood fire. “Well done.” She mock curtsied “Thank you.” They walked up to the house, ignoring the burning bodies behind them.


Grady wiped the condensation from the mirror. The dreams she had been having, horrific dreams full of flames and melting flesh, had begun to fade, she had only had one the night before and afterwards she was able to sleep again. She had also begun to take warm showers. Hot was still a little much, but in a few days the nightmares would stop. She had felt a little feverish too, but that was also starting to fade. Dom had given her a break for a few days, obviously feeling guilty over sending her back to that house, but he seemed to have gotten over the guilt. She was scheduled to go out tonight and tomorrow. Brett was again supposed to drive, this time she was sent with Jack, she didn’t mind that, he was reliable, even if he did keep to himself most of the time. He wouldn’t do any of the stupid shit that Tom would do. With Jack it was in and out. The job always went smoothly with him, and they were rarely too late either. They were hitting another big house, then they’d hit a smaller estate tomorrow. The big houses were fun and all, but most of the time they found it difficult to move some of the rarer stuff. Still, they were good for phones, jewellery, tablets and cash, most importantly. The safes were always full of it. Grady had always thought that rich people kept their money in banks, but most of them kept a few grand lying around for emergencies. Her biggest haul had been fifty grand, that had been a sweet night. She had gotten a good cut of that too. Of course it had been her first job and Dom was trying to keep her sweet, make sure she wanted to stay with the crew. Dom had done the whole thing of trying to scare her, telling her she needed to bring back at least ten grand’s worth of stuff, but she had hit the jackpot. In and out in twenty minutes. No safe could beat her. Of course she neglected to mention that the safe was shoddy anyway, one of the lesser brands. She never understood that, how many rich people skimped on their safes. What was the point? She stepped from the bathroom, wrapped in towels, and went straight to her room. The walls were bare of posters or pictures, her desk had books and a laptop, nothing else. Amy would sometimes tell her she needed to get some stuff in to spruce the place up. Amy herself had hundreds of posters and a couple of teddy bears. Grady never saw the point. She didn’t like being burdened with objects, she never usually stayed in one place too long and when she did, her stuff had a habit of going missing or getting destroyed. The only thing she always took with her was her necklace and laptop. It was an old laptop so no one would want it and she never took her necklace off anyway, so there was no chance of someone getting that. She did have a bracelet that matched it, but she had to sell it for a food a few years ago. It was something she always regretted, but there was no way of tracking down the bracelet, she had tried before and always got nowhere. It had belonged to her mother and no matter how much Grady hated the bitch, it was nice to have something to remind her of good times, and to remind her that anyone could screw her over for any reason. She would have destroyed it or sold it a long time ago, but it had also belonged to her grandmother, and her great grandmother before that. She had few memories of her grandmother, who had died while Grady was still young, but they were all pleasant memories, her Grandmother laughing, passing her a still warm cookie, the smell of her grandmother when she wrapped her arms around Grady for a large hug. Grady slipped a t-shirt over her head, it was tight and form fitting, less chance of it snagging on something. She wasn’t self-conscious about her body, no one would dream of attacking her. Only one person had ever tried and her reputation seemed to precede her on that note. She slid on a pair of jeans and socks, then she went downstairs to go over everything with Dom again.


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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One Response to Shadow Crawlers. Part 10

  1. Pingback: The Break In. Part 11. | Alan James Keogh

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