Shadow Crawlers. Part 11.

Part 1, Part 10

“All right, you ready for this?” “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” “Well, just after what happened with Tom.” “It’ll be fine, as long as you don’t do what he did.” “What did he do?” “Screw up.” Jack shook his head, “ok he wasn’t reliable, but still, I don’t want you doing this if you’re not ready. If you want I can do it by myself.” “No, that’ll just take longer, besides, I’m going to have to do it again eventually, better to do it now. Really, I’m surprised Dom didn’t make me go out sooner. Hell, any longer and I might start losing my nerve.” “Ok then, on the count of three.” Grady nodded. “One. Two. Three.” They climbed the wall quickly and easily, the grounds were big, but there were trees against the wall and more dotted throughout the garden, had they been worried about being spotted, they could have used it all as concealment. The owners were definitely away, their entire family was gone, there were no guards and no dogs. Well, there were dogs but they were the little rat ones, useless for guarding. Grady was confident if the need arose, she could punt one of the things a fair distance. They jogged towards the front doors, it was after all the easiest way into the house. Grady started to work while Jack stood beside one of the ornamental plants. The grounds were dark as was the road itself, localised power cut, one they hadn’t planned on but still, it would certainly help them out. After a moment she was in. She stepped inside, expecting to hear the incessant beep of the alarm, unnecessarily alerting the owners that there was a power cut, but the house was silent. “Do you think they forgot to turn it on before they left?” “Don’t know and don’t care. C’mon, we need to make this fast. Split?” “Yeah, you go left I go right. Meet back here in ten, any problems, yell.” They parted ways, Grady going left, Jack going right.

Grady paused, looking at the locket. The edges seemed to have been melted shut, It was oval in shape, with a single, red ruby, dark as a drop of blood. Despite it being only about two inches long and an inch wide at its widest part, it felt quite heavy in her hands. The chain was thin and delicate, she undid the clasp and carefully put it on. Despite its weight it rested comfortably just below the hollow of her throat. She was surprised to find it was warm rather than cold. She shook her head and got back to work, she didn’t have time to be distracted by pretty little things. She reached out and started grabbing anything that looked valuable.
Grady stood at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for Jack, she had pretty much run through the house, grabbing everything she could. There were a couple of statues that looked pricey, and a few paintings she vaguely recalled as being worth a shit ton of money, but she ignored them. She’d tell Dom about them of course and he’d sell on the information, or trade it for a favour. Jack appeared a second later, panting and out of breath, “you done?” “Yeah, you?” “Yeah, grabbed everything I could.” Together they exited the house, Grady pulling the door closed behind her. They jogged across the grass again, hopping over the wall and into the waiting car. Brett pulled away from the curb, “everything go ok?” “Yeah fine, nothing interesting to report.” Brett drove for a few minutes before they reached an area of the city that still had power, he drove for a while, the radio playing in the background, the next time he spoke was when he looked over at Grady and saw the necklace. “Where did you find that?” her hand went to her throat, clasping the locket. “Oh, I forgot I was wearing it. I found it in the bedroom, pretty nice right?” “Yeah, it’s lovely. Maybe Dom’ll let you keep it. It mightn’t be worth that much.” “I doubt it. It looks old. I might ask though, wouldn’t hurt, right?” “Yeah.” Jack was silent in the backseat, “did you get anything good?” “Eh, pretty much what I expected. Money, some other stuff. Nothing great. I’m surprised there wasn’t a safe. Did you come across one Grady?” “No.” “Hmm. Might be worth going back and spending some more time there. Felt like I was missing something.” “Dom’ll never allow it.” “You two went back to that other house, he might let me go. Besides, the people that live there aren’t supposed to be back for another week. We planned this well.” Brett reached over and turned up the radio slightly, no one spoke for the rest of the journey.

After the sorting was done, Grady went back up to her room. Brett noticed that the locket wasn’t in the pile, Jack seemed preoccupied by something and didn’t say anything. He probably thought it was one of the necklaces that Grady put down. Before he could say anything to her she was in her room. He knocked gently but there was no answer. He was under no illusions that she was asleep, no doubt she’d be trying to pry open that damn locket and lucky for him, and everyone else, it would be almost impossible.

Grady studied the necklace, she’d have to be careful with it for a few days, at least until she could claim she bought it somewhere. She didn’t’ like the thought of stealing from everyone, but there would have been no way that Dom would let her keep something like this. Grady knew it was too distinguishable to sell, but Dom would probably want to at least pry off the ruby or something. The locket itself was silver, with red lines inscribed on it in an intricate design, all seeming to centre of that red ruby. It fit well with her other necklace too, which was just a plain chain. The clasp of the locket would open and close, something which had surprised her considering the edges, and trying to pry it open had proved that it wasn’t just a design on the metal. Someone at some point had sealed it shut. She didn’t know why, but she suspected that there might be something interesting inside at the very least. She tilted the locket in the light, watching how the ruby shined. It really was a stunning necklace. She slipped the chain around her neck and fastened it closed, enjoying the warmth, how it seemed to gently throb reassuringly against her neck. She could probably convince the others that it was costume jewellery or a fake. She’d just go out one of the days, say she was going shopping, then return with it. Brett wouldn’t say anything. He wouldn’t be entirely sure, after all it was dark and shadowy when he had seen the necklace he wouldn’t know what it looked like. There had been a necklace that had been vaguely similar in the pile, he’d just think it was that. She lay back on her bed, feeling slightly guilty for ignoring the knock and regretting it now. Mostly because she was hungry and she couldn’t go downstairs for the rest of the night.

She placed the necklace around her neck again and undressed for bed, Grady slid under the covers and rolled over, trying to get comfortable. Eventually she drifted off, hand draped across her new necklace.

She struggled in the water, trying to stay afloat, it was endless, thick, salty water all around her, dragging her down, filling her mouth and nose, she spluttered, trying to breathe, coughing as more entered her mouth. She tried to tread the water but it was getting thicker and her muscles were getting tired and sore. It was night, the moon hanging low and bloated in the sky, all around her the water was a deep, depthless black. Slowly the sun began to rise, blood red on the horizon, its colours stretching across the sky, as the light grew, she realised she wasn’t drowning in water, it was blood. A wave of blood washed over her head, dragging her down, her arms and legs stopped responding they were so tired. All around her was that endless red. She sank deeper, lungs burning, screaming for oxygen. Her vision faded, there was nothing, nothing but that red.
She woke, gasping for air, then she coughed, deep in her chest. After a moment her breathing calmed and slowed. She shuddered, as the remnants of the nightmare faded away. There was something about swimming and blood. She shook her head, letting the last of it slip away. Eventually she lay down again and a moment after that, she was asleep.
Brett sat on his bed, scheming. He needed to get that necklace off Grady, before she figured out how to open it. He didn’t think  she’d be able to, but then he never thought he’d see that necklace again either. Rose would of course have to be informed of this, he couldn’t keep this away from her, especially if she was going to meet Grady any time son. He’d tell her the next time he visited her. He lay back in bed, trying to figure something out, short of simply ripping it off her neck, there was very little he could do. He knew she’d never take the damn thing off, they rarely did and even then there would be no way to snag it without her knowing. He’d have to get it, hide it and smuggle it out of the house. Perhaps he could stage some kind of robbery, have someone mug her or something. That would seem like it would be the best idea, but he was fairly sure she’d be able to handle herself, plus getting someone to cross Dom like that could be dangerous, if they were caught they’d certainly rat him out. He needed to be careful.

“Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. You’re sure. Really, one hundred percent sure?” “Yes, I’m sure.” “How could this have happened?” “I don’t know. Look, it’ll be fine, we’ll get the damn thing away from her. We’ll figure something out.” “But what if we don’t? Do you really want to go through it all again?” “No, but worrying about it won’t help. It will be fine. I promise.” “That’s what you said when we got rid of it, but here it is again.” One of the curtains started to smoke slightly, “look, just calm down for a minute ok?” “I am calm. I’m very fucking calm. I’ll be calm until we’re all dead. Can’t get much calmer than that, can I?” The curtain burst into flames. “Jesus Christ. Control yourself.” She let out a deep breath, “Your right, I’m sorry.” She put her hand onto the curtain, the flames disappeared, the thick burning smell that had filled the room was instead replaced by the smell of baking bread. “Ok. Maybe I was freaking out a little, but can you blame me?” He sighed, “no, not really.” She sat down on one of the sofas “So we get the necklace away from her, then what?” “I don’t know. Bury it? Throw it in the ocean. We’ll figure out what to do with it once we have it.” “We could always…you know. What happened to ten?” “No. We are not doing that. I can’t do it and neither can you.” “You’re right. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” “It’s just the stress.” He left the room and returned a moment later with a bottle of vodka. “Drink some.” She took a mouthful and coughed, “did they not have anything else?” “They did, but I thought you could use something stronger.” She nodded and took another swig, she reached out to hand the bottle back, then reconsidered and took a third drink form the bottle. “Ok. I definitely feel much better now.” “I thought it might help.” He placed the bottle on the table, then sat down across from her. “We’ll find some of the others, that’ll help us, the more of us there are the better chance we’ll have, ok?” “Ok.”
They talked until she was too tired to stay up, then he sent her to bed, like a toddler. Before he sent her up he made sure she drank some water first. She didn’t need much, but he didn’t want her having a hang over in the morning. He couldn’t solve that problem for her. She hadn’t reacted as well as he had hoped she would, but then she had been at the brunt of it the last time. They got off light in comparison. It wouldn’t come to that again, it couldn’t. He’d make sure to kill Grady before it came to that. It was too dangerous. He liked the girl, he didn’t know why but he did, but if she released it, well then the entire world was fucked.

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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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One Response to Shadow Crawlers. Part 11.

  1. Pingback: The Break In. Part 12 | Alan James Keogh

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