Theft. Short Story.

Jane Smith was 5’7, slim and blonde. She was 27 and extremely successful, with a loving husband, a large house and a high paying job. She was pretty and liked by most, she travelled through the world with ease, things seemingly lining up perfectly, just for her. Jane Smith also had a nemesis, one she wasn’t even aware of. For Jane, life was good, it was happy and it appeared that things would only get better.

Sandra Jones was 27, she was 5’4, large and had lank, brown hair. She lived alone in a small apartment, the best she could afford without roommates. She wasn’t attractive, she wasn’t pretty, she would have been classed as simply plain, if not for a somewhat unfortunate nose. She’d never had a boyfriend, in fact, she’d never even kissed anyone before that wasn’t a relative. Doors seemed to close in her face, no matter what she did. She was qualified, but couldn’t get a job in her chosen industry, no matter how hard she worked or what she did, things just never seemed to work out. Sandra was Jane’s nemesis.

Sandra had chosen the word herself, enemy didn’t sound strong enough. A person like Jane, someone who was pretty and well liked had a lot of enemies, girls like Sandra who were looked over, people whom Jane passed by for promotions, all those petty little grievances. Sandra’s hatred of Jane was much more than that as Sandra knew that Jane had taken her entire life. She wasn’t sure if Nemesis was the correct word, as she was pretty certain that Jane didn’t know about her in anything but a vague way, but it felt right.

It started when Jane moved to their medium sized town when Sandra was seven. At that point she was still odd looking, but she was confident that she would “grow into” her nose as her father had assured her many times. She was possibly the most popular girl in the class, not out of any desire to be so, simply because she always came up with the best games for people to play. Then Jane swooped in and stole that place. Within a few months Sandra’s friends became Jane’s friends until she was left playing along with the others. At first Sandra didn’t mind, why would she? She still had people to play with, but slowly, so slowly she didn’t even notice, puberty started to happen to those around her and as they moved up in years she found herself being excluded more and more. People started to make fun of her behind her back and soon, her closest friends were distant and cold towards her until she had no one left. At lunch she would sit alone, or walk laps around the playground so as to feel somewhat included in the general goings on.

As they grew and developed, Sandra would look at Jane, at what Jane had taken from her and her resentment only grew. Not enough to do anything stupid, no, Sandra bottled her feelings. Sometimes she would cry at night and her father would comfort her, her mother would be sitting in the lounge, eating chocolates and wondering why she had such a homely daughter. Neither parent was exceptionally attractive, but her mother was pretty and her father was handsome, surely they should have produced a somewhat normal looking child.

When it came time for college, Sandra and Jane went to the same one, they had in fact, chosen the same major. At first, Sandra was willing to let it all go, accept the new life that college offered, she could transform into a new person, a happy person, one with friends and an actual life. She had tried to join the clubs in college, she had sampled many, but she always left after half an hour of painfully standing around alone. She knew she was slightly awkward with people, but it was never as obvious as at those meetings. She tried to forget about it, confident that she would make friends in class, but no friends were ever found. She would have passing acquaintances, where she could chat to people, know them on sight, but the conversations were always short and dealt only with polite enquiries or superficial topics before one party, never Sandra, had to dash off to a meeting or a class. For three months Sandra had tried to make this new life work, she had put herself outside of her comfort zone, she had worked hard at trying to meet new people, but none of it worked. Then the exam results came out. She had done well, but of course Jane had done so much better. It was at that point, when Sandra read her results alone and Jane stood laughing and chatting with a group of people that Sandra felt that old hate being rekindled. She tried to push it away, she was a new person, a better person, but it just got stronger, too strong to ignore and so she let it in.

All through college, as through school, she watched Jane outperform her in every way, socially, educationally and recreationally. Jane had tried to go up for a sports team, they’d build camaraderie and one didn’t need to be pretty to play sports only she didn’t get a place on the team, wasn’t even in the reserves, but of course Jane received the spot Sandra wanted. It happened again and again.

When college finally ended and Sandra had her degree she was looking forward to being out in the world, away from that bitches shadow, but to her horror, she found Jane in the waiting room when she went for her first interview and seemingly every interview after. Through some light stalking, Sandra discovered that Jane had been offered the very positions that Jane had wanted, Sandra received polite but firm rejections. She wasn’t a good fit, wasn’t what they were looking for right now, she didn’t have the experience or the qualifications necessary. She heard them all.

Jane dated, but never anything serious, until Joseph. It was a whirlwind romance, they became inseparable. Of course Joseph was the guy that Sandra had been crushing on for years, the guy she had finally worked up the courage to ask out. The great cosmic joke that was her life had to have some sort of punch line. As her hated grew, Sandra became convinced that Jane was doing everything on purpose, she was going for the same jobs, same men, same everything, just to spite Sandra. Once she had this revelation it was so painfully obvious. When Jane looked at her, when her eyes slid over Sandra without recognition it wasn’t that Jane didn’t know who Sandra was, it was that Jane knew exactly who it was and that she had to ignore Sandra to keep up the act.

Sandra worked a boring job, one she hated but needed to pay the rent. She lived alone, she watched from the shadows as Jane lived her life, the life that Sandra was supposed to have. Watched that hateful little bitch. Sandra knew she would get revenge someday, but she didn’t quite know how yet. She only knew one thing. She wanted to systematically destroy everything that Jane held dear, take her life back. After all, everything Jane had rightfully belonged to Sandra.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 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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