All the Details. Short Story.

“God, it’s so awful. They found her covered in blood.”
“Yeah, I heard that she was sitting in a bath full of the stuff.”
“I don’t think I could stand something like that, I’d never leave the shower again.”
“Oh totally. The poor thing, I don’t know how she’s going to manage.”
“Did they say if she saw it?”
“They didn’t, but I assume she must have, I mean, it was the blood of her family in that bath and she was tied up. I’d say they made her watch.”
“Ugh. Awful.” Samantha shivered dramatically, Sarah nodded, “Hopefully they’ll have some good therapists for her. I’ve no doubt she’ll need them.”
Samantha grabbed her cup of coffee from the microwave and left the break room. Sarah turned to Mike, “I’m sure you heard about it?”
“Not really. Only a few bits on the news this morning. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Sarah’s face lit up, “Oh, it’s just terrible. There was this family and no one had heard from them in a day or two and some family friends were worried so they went over the check, and they found that the cars and stuff were still in the driveway, so they let themselves in with the spare key they had. Found the whole family, slaughtered. The daughter was still alive, sitting in a bathtub of her families blood. She’s only fifteen too. I can’t imagine going through something like that at that age.”
“That’s awful.”
“Yeah. Really is. Oh and that’s not the worst part, right, they think she might have tried to drink some of the blood to survive.”
“What?”
“Yeah, something about dehydration or something because she couldn’t get out of the bath and she was all tied up.”
“Couldn’t she have turned on the taps?”
“Maybe.” Sarah’s face dropped a little, as if the entire story was ruined.

“Well, either way it’s still pretty gruesome.”
“Yeah. Do they know who did it?”
“No, that’s the really scary part, they’ve no leads. The family were all well liked, no enemies, no threats. Nothing was taken.”
Mike shook his head, “wow, could have happened to anyone.”
“I know!”
Mike finished making his tea, took a sip, then left the break room, glad to be out of there. Sarah had a sister or cousin in the police department who was apparently all too happy to share the gory details of crimes with her. He usually managed to avoid the worst details, never had a stomach for violence or gore, but today she was just so intent on filling everyone else in too. It always made him more than a little uncomfortable, the way she seemed to take such joy out of awful things. It probably didn’t help that the other women around the office encouraged her by asking for as many gristly details as possible.

There had been a spate of unusually brutal crimes in the last few months, police didn’t seem to think they were connected, but Mike was inclined to disagree. obviously they had more information than him, but it just seemed so strange that it was all happening so fast. Usually there were long breaks between violent crimes, or at least the ones that Sarah enjoyed telling everyone about. It was like each week there was something new and awful for her to talk about.

He passed Janet and thought about warning her but before he could say anything she spotted Sarah in the break room and veered to the left. Doug took a sip of a tea to hide his grin. Janet was the only woman in the office who seemed to feel the same way about those things as Doug, and they both knew they only way to escape was to smile, agree and nod along. Any attempt to leave too early would be met with Sarah just following you back to your desk. Doug had been caught out by it once or twice. He sometimes wondered if maybe Sarah enjoyed seeing his reaction to the stories and perhaps, see just how far she could go.

Through the following week Sarah seemed to find him no matter where he was and each time she furnished him with a new and gory titbit and each time there was no way for Doug to escape. He knew more about the case than probably anyone else besides Sarah and whoever it was she was getting the info from. At least when there was a group of people around he was able to just nod along while tuning out, but she seemed to have caught onto that trick. Either she would ask him a direct question, forcing him to participate and listen, or she would find him later to really drive home how awful it all was. As Friday approached Doug was excited to get out of the office. He needed a break from hearing about that poor girl. He didn’t want to know how she watched her family be tortured and killed, how she was bathed in fresh blood, how she had been forced to eat bits, how things had been done to her, parts put inside her. He shuddered and took a deep breath. He wouldn’t throw up again. He wouldn’t. That had been a bit embarrassing, she was telling him, in explicit detail about what parts had gone where and he had enough, he had raced to the bathroom only making it just in time. The next time he saw Sarah she gave him a little smirk. He knew then it had been her end goal from the beginning. The vomiting incident didn’t seem to satisfy her though. One of the bosses had given her a talking to about appropriate workplace topics, but no one else seemed to care and if he said anything everyone would know it was him. He just needed to avoid her and keep his head down. After the weekend he would have a clear head and he would be fine. Besides, no doubt something else would happen to distract her, like another murder or maybe a natural disaster of some sort.

Monday morning Doug drove into the office, glad that he had gotten the break. He was determined to not let Sarah get to him again. There had been some new awful attack during the weekend, Doug hadn’t paid too much attention to it, all too aware he’d get all the gory details far too soon for his liking.

Doug was getting tea, he hadn’t seen Sarah at all today, it seemed a little harsh but part of him hoped she was off sick. The day wasn’t too bad and if she popped up with all her gory stories it would certainly ruin any semblance of enjoyment he had from the day. Samantha entered the break room and Doug felt himself tense, one of two things would happen. They’d make small talk and she might mention that Sarah was out, or Sarah would come barrelling in to regale them with her tales of terror. Samantha looked a little off, what ever it was must be spreading around the office. Doug turned away from her slightly, it might seem standoffish but he didn’t want to get sick.
“Hey, I’m sure you’ve heard what happened with Sarah by now.”
“No, is she sick or something?”
“Oh my god. You don’t know?”
“…no?”
“Don’t you watch the news? It’s been all over it.”
Doug felt his stomach drop, someone had been murdered, he hadn’t paid attention, it couldn’t have been Sarah, could it?”
“There was some murder, I didn’t catch the details or anything.”
“It was her.”
He felt faint, a wave of guilt came crashing over him. He had been wishing she wouldn’t turn up to work and now this. Just moments before he had been so happy that he hadn’t seen her all day, God he was such a prick.

“She’s the one that’s been doing it.”
“What?”
“The murders, it was all her. She doesn’t know anyone in the police department. She was telling us about it all, what she did.”
Doug shuddered, Samantha looked miserable, that gleeful glint was gone from her eyes. Samantha had been one of the ones encouraging Sarah, pressing for more details.
Doug didn’t know what to say to her. He took a breath, “That’s awful, no one could have known.” Samantha shrugged. “Yeah. Still. The police will probably want to talk to all of us soon. Just giving you a heads up I guess. I know she really liked to tease you with that stuff. I’m sorry. I should have stopped her from doing it.”
“That’s ok.” Doug took his tea and left the break room, feeling awkward and unsure of himself. He sat at his desk and took a deep breath, he was still a little light headed. He took a sip of his tea, well at least he wouldn’t have to hear about it anymore.

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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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