Exclusive. Short Story.

Hope everyone’s weekend went well.

Mine was pretty fun, went out got drunk ate pizza. All that fun stuff. Though I did manage to get a giant splinter in my finger. It’s mostly annoying because of where the plaster is placed. Despite that it was a pretty restful weekend.

I also did some baking, which I haven’t done in a long time. I made a carrot cake, which was delicious. Really the hardest part was grating the carrots (which I didn’t even have to do, win/win!) The only disappointment was the frosting, which though delicious, didn’t turn out as smoothly as it should have. Oh well! Just gives me another excuse to make carrot cake again.

On with the show!

_______________________________________________________

She paused outside the door, then pushed. It opened smoothly, Angela stepped into the air-conditioned building, a blast of cold air causing her to shiver. She walked past the tills and over towards a display rack. She had made it. She shuffled through a few clothes, not looking at them, trying to calm her breathing instead. She knew that any second a tap on her shoulder would come and a pleasant, “excuse me ma’am, but this store isn’t for you, you’ll have to leave now.” But it never happened. She glanced at one of the cashiers, they smiled at her. Ok. Relax, it was ok.
The shop was beyond exclusive, she didn’t know anyone who had actually gotten inside, never mind knowing someone wearing the actual clothes. She had only tried the door on a whim, expecting to need a card and a pass code, but there was nothing. The clothes were beautiful, but of course they would be out of her price range. The first top she looked at was devoid of tags and, as her mother always said, if you had to ask, you can’t afford it. She put it down gently, not wanting to soil or rip the garment, before picking up another. There was a price on this, a reasonable one too, in fact more than reasonable, a downright bargain. She glanced around again, looking for signs that there was some kind of sale on, but there were none. She realised she was the only non worker in the store.
Angela spent an hour and a half looking through the racks and racks of clothes, picking up pieces here and there. When her arm was getting heavy a worker was at her side, dressed all in black, and handed her a wheeled basket without a word. “Thank you.” The worker nodded then scurried off to do something else. Slowly the basket was filled with clothes. At one counter there was jewellery, filled with real jewels and gems, but they sat on the counter, nothing holding them down, not protected behind glass. She picked up a glittering bracelet and glanced at the label, it was studded with diamonds. Emeralds and rubies used to accent the designs. She glanced at the price tag and almost had a heart attack. It was only a tenner, she could pry the gems off and sell them for more than that. She perused the jewellery for a few moments before selecting a bracelet, a necklace and two pairs of earrings. When she was done, she went to the till, “Will that be all today?” “Yes. Thank you.” The cashier started to ring everything up. “And how will you be paying?” Her heart stopped, “Cash?” the cashier nodded, “That’ll be 92.90” Angela handed over two fifty notes, then took her change. The items were bagged and she took them, two bags in each hand an left the store, absolutely elated. She made it thirty feet before the worry set in, she could see the envious glances of those around her, they could see the name of the shop emblazoned across the side of the bags, what if she was robbed? Ok, nothing here was expensive in the shop, but separately? It could go for thousands. She hurried her pace, almost running to her car. She stashed the bags in the boot and drove home, nervous the entire time.
When she got home, she removed the bags from the car and brought them to her room, almost immediately she stripped and started to try everything on. Every single last piece fit like a dream, accentuating the right areas and flattening others. She could barely believe it was her in the mirror, so sophisticated and graceful. When she was done, she picked up her phone, smiling she started to dial Stephanie’s number, halfway through she frowned and paused. Stephanie could never keep a secret, she’d tell the others, and there where would she be? They’d all want to come over and try them on, they’d want to borrow them, probably spill food and drink all over them. She lowered her phone, and they’d want her to get them into the store, she didn’t know if she’d be able to get back in herself, never mind bring others. What would they say then? They’d accuse her of lying, that’s what. No one would believe her, they’d say it was costume jewellery, that she stitched the labels on herself like some saddo. No. She couldn’t tell them, not yet. She slid the clothes onto hangers and hung them in her wardrobe, then she rearranged them. All together it was obvious that they were all new, they were all so glamorous, so fabulous, it was immediately apparent that the clothes were different from the rest of her wardrobe. Spaced out it looked a little better, the clothes started to blend in. they still looked amazing, but the over all effect was lessened and that was just what she wanted. Jenny, her new housemate, knew very little about boundaries and was always looking to borrow clothes, normally Angela wouldn’t mind so much, but really she had to be careful of these treasures, god only knew if she’d be able to get more. These might have to last her for years. They might even be the best clothing she would ever own and she didn’t want someone else’s carelessness to spoil it all. She hid the jewellery in her jewellery box, right at the bottom where no one would notice them under the mounds of junk on top of it. Once she was done, she checked the time, her housemates would get home soon, she had to hurry. She bundled up the bags, then wrapped them in a cheaper one from the shops, after that she went outside and carefully buried them in the bin. No one would find them there and if they did well, she could always just deny knowledge of it.

She was in her room when everyone else came home and after a few moments, she went down to greet them, after locking her door of course. Everyone was tired from work, but they all seemed happy enough, nothing unusual had happened in any of their days, only hers. She remembered how excited she had been to tell them, how naïve she had been. Together they made dinner, spaghetti, easiest meal for the four of them. She wasn’t that hungry, she could probably lose some weight. Sure the clothes looked good on her, but once she was a few pounds down they would look downright stunning. They ate in the sitting room, watching TV, Angela only left twice to make sure her room was still locked and no one seemed to notice the absences. Once they were done eating one of the girls suggested putting on a movie, everyone seemed happy with it, everyone but Angela, she still didn’t trust her door so instead she faked a stomach ache and went to bed. Once in her room she locked the door again and checked on the clothes. Nothing seemed moved or disturbed. Still, Jenny had gone to the bathroom, sure the door had still been locked, but what did they really know about that girl? She was probably a criminal, her eyes were slightly beady after all. That was suspicious enough. She’d have to keep an eye on her, just in case.

Angela spent most of the night awake, when the girls were going to bed someone gently knocked on the door, but she didn’t answer, it could have been a trick. Every time she dozed off she’d wake again with a start, worried someone was trying to get into her room. When morning came her eyes were gritty and sore, her brain barely working. Everyone else was getting ready for work, but Angela knew she couldn’t go in today. She told them through the door she was unwell and she didn’t want them to catch anything, then she rang work. Just like that she had the day off. As she hung up the phone Angela breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was safe for the moment, that was what was most important. When she heard the front door slam she could finally relax, she was alone in the house. She started to drift off. A floorboard creaked, her eyes shot opened and her ears strained trying to hear something, anything. It was another trick. They didn’t really leave, they just pretended to so she’d put her guard down. She stood up and carefully moved to her door, ear pressed against it she slowed her breathing and listened. There was nothing. She unlocked the door and eased it open gently, peering into the hall. It was empty. She stepped out of her room, locking it behind her, she’d hear if someone tried to break in, then she began to search the house.

She finished her search and felt much better about it. The house was empty, she was alone. Now she could go upstairs and get some sleep. She began to unlock her door, then she paused. The other rooms were locked, she never checked in there. They could still be home. She walked up to the first and tested the knob, the door swung open easily. The room was completely clean, there was no one inside. She checked each room until finally there was only Jenny’s room. It was locked. Her breath caught in her throat. Of course, Jenny must have stolen something, that’s the only reason that bitch would lock her door. Angela raced back to her room, bursting through the door and rifling through her clothes. They were still there. The Jewellery. Her heart thudded wildly in her throat as she ripped through the box, trying to find everything. She sat down, breathing heavily. Ok, it was all here. Still, why would Jenny lock her door? Didn’t she trust them? Obviously it meant Jenny couldn’t be trusted, that’s why she locked the door, she feared others would do what she did, which was steal.

Angela stood outside the locked door, wondering how she’d get in. Then she remembered, it seemed so obvious. There was an axe out in the shed, why didn’t she think of it before, it’d be perfect. The doors were cheap and hollow anyway, she’d make short work of it. Jenny was hiding something and Angela needed to find out what it was if she wanted to protect her clothes. She went down the stairs cautiously, it’d be a few hours until anyone got home, but she still had the suspicion that they were in the house, waiting for her to drop her guard.

The shed was unlocked and after a few minutes of shifting, she came across the axe, it’s handle was neon orange, the blade shiny as though it had only been bought the day before. She ignored the cobwebs and spiders, normally they terrified her, but she had something much more important to worry about. She marched up the stairs, no longer worried that someone might be in the house. If they were, if they did try to steal her clothes, well, she’d just have to take care of them.
It had taken her less time than she expected to get into Jenny’s room, the door practically fell apart after the first few swings. She didn’t put the axe down as she went inside, past the ruined remains of the door. Jenny’s room was messy, clothes everywhere. Of course it would be messy, you couldn’t trust messy people, they had no respect for themselves or their own livings spaces, how could they respect those of anyone else. She started to go through the drawers and wardrobe, looking for anything, some sign of what Jenny was planning. After half an hour of searching she found a journal, but there was nothing of interest in there, just feelings and complaints. Unless. Unless of course it was in some kind of code. She wouldn’t put it past Jenny to be that devious. She took the book back to her room to study it better. She tried to decipher it for an hour before she could no longer read. It was time for a nap. The house was empty, she was safe and more importantly so were the clothes. She climbed into bed and almost immediately she was asleep, axe resting reassuringly beside her bed. She woke up feeling much better, she was refreshed, she’d be able to figure out what that bitch Jenny was planning. She started reading again, when she heard the front door open and close gently. Someone was home.
She listened, heart thudding in her chest, as they climbed the stairs, they were coming for her clothes. They thought she was sick, probably asleep, that’s why they were being so quiet, didn’t want to wake her so they’d be able to get away with the theft. She took a deep breath. She heard someone gasp, “Oh my god.” She grinned, it was that bitch Jenny. “Angela? Angela are you ok!?” Her door burst open and without thinking, Angela launched herself at the figure in the doorway.
When she was done, when the screams finally stopped and the blood finally cooled, she looked at the body of Jenny. Bitch got what she deserved. Suddenly she was panicked, what had she done? How could she have been so stupid? She spun, then breathed a sigh of relief. Her wardrobe doors were closed, the clothes were safe. That would have been a complete and utter disaster. She put the axe down, the blood was sticky on her hands, she’d have to clean it off the floor too. Sighing she picked up Jenny’s arms and started to drag her, might as well store her in her own room. Not like she’d care. Angela stifled a giggle as she pulled the body.

Her arms and back were sore from cleaning when she was done, she checked the time, she had a little left, not much. She went into the bathroom and washed her hands, watching as the water turned pink. When she was done she picked up the axe again, enjoying the weight of it in her hands.

Later that night she showered, enjoying the hot water, how it loosened her muscles. Really, that was just one of the many benefits now. No one else would use up the hot water. She had decided that leaving them in the house would be stupid, the smell alone would make the place uninhabitable after a few days, so she had buried them. All in the same hole of course, she wasn’t going to go digging any others. Killing the others had been easy, she had called Sarah into the sitting room, cleaved her head open, then waited for Ellie to get home, Angela did her right in the hall. She had started digging when it was still bright out, those plants Jenny had bought the other day lying beside her. In the morning if the neighbours looked out they’d see a mound of freshly dug dirt, and a few new plants on top of them. It had taken her much longer than she expected to dig and fill the hole, but she was done now. One more day off work to truly relax, then she could go back in again, safe in the knowledge that everything at the house was safe, that there was no one there to break in, that no one would borrow them or spoil them. She grinned in the hot spray of the water. She might even pay a visit to the shop again tomorrow.

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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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