A Trade. Short Story.

“So I just have to sign this and it’s all done.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“And it’ll be sealed right, no one will ever know what’s in this?”
“Yep. No one but myself, yourself and my boss.”
“And nothing can ever change that?”

Darcy picked up the pen and with a flourish signed the paper.
“Ok, great. Let me just double check here.”
Bob, the lawyer, typed some things into his computer, “Ok and we’re all set. You should be receiving you’re money within twenty four hours. It was a pleasure doing business with you Ms. Lane.”
“No, thank you.”
“And remember, we’re always here if you want to make another deal.”
“Thank you, but I think this one will be plenty.”
Bob nodded, “Of course.” He shook her hand and opened the office door. Darcy walked out, passing by a line of people sitting in chairs, each one waiting to finalise their own deal. Darcy kept her eyes on the ground, as did those in the chairs. None of them wanted to be seen here, no one wanted to be recognised and if anything did come of it, well, they wanted to be able to deny everything. Darcy had spent some nights wondering what other people were getting, mostly out of fear that she was getting screwed over, but the terms of the contract prevented anyone from talking about it. Oh sure, you could say where you got your stuff and that you made a deal, but you couldn’t tell them the price that you paid. For Darcy it was simple, there was no real dilemma or choice. She wanted the money and she wanted it as fast as possible. So what if they were asking for something that would seem awful to most. The first born child was a small price to pay for twenty million dollars. She never even wanted children in the first place, so it wasn’t like she was going to lose out on anything. All she had to do was go to some bar, get knocked up by some halfway decent looking dude and go on her way. Nine months later out it would pop and then she just have to hand it over. The contract had left two options open for her for when she gave them the child. She could go with option A, which was that everyone would think that the child was stillborn, or option B, no one would even remember she was pregnant. She already knew what option she would go for. She knew her parents wouldn’t be impressed if they found out, but she was relatively sure she could avoid them for nine short months. They never visited her anyway. The most she got was a phone call or two. Maybe they’d make more of an effort now that she had money. They didn’t seem like the type, but money did change people.

Darcy pressed the button to the lift and waited, people in suits scurried about the place, heads down, hands full of stacks of paper. She had asked them, when she first came, how they managed to keep everything in order. After all if they gave everyone huge sums of money or massive mansions the economy would tank. They had some kind of system in place though, making sure that everything was given out equally. Some things held more weight than others. A new born baby was worth more than a soul, which was worth more than a sacrifice and so on. The elevator doors opened and Darcy stepped in, she pressed the button for the first floor and waited. The doors closed and elevator music started to play. She had struggled with the idea of giving up her child, but then was it really her child if she wasn’t having it for herself? It would be like she was a surrogate. She didn’t want the child after all. She didn’t know what they were going to do with it exactly, but she had guarantees. The best education, nutritious meals, the child would not die in an untimely manor and would survive until they were at least sixty. It would be a good life, better than she could have provided otherwise. She wasn’t exactly poor, but the strain of a child on her finances wouldn’t allow her to give her child the best things in life. This way, everyone won. The company got the child, the child got an extravagant life and all the opportunities they could want and she got her money.

The doors opened revealing the lobby, Darcy stepped out onto the tile floor, her high heels clacking as she walked. As she approached the door a receptionist pressed a buzzer, allowing it to be opened. Darcy took a breath then stepped outside. There were crowds of people, some were yelling, others were just watching. She knew those that were watching were trying to screw up the courage to come in. She had been one of them not too long ago. The ones who were shouting could go fuck themselves. They didn’t know what she had given, they didn’t know what anyone had given, they just decided that the company was evil. They were just pissed that their God hadn’t set up a company and started offering deals. As she walked through the cordons there were flashes of light. Darcy ignored them, photos taken of anyone entering or leaving the building were always blurry, and if someone took too many of them it seemed to screw up their camera permanently. If the idiots wanted to blow through their electronics like that who was she to stop them. One or two people from the groups branched off and started following her. She wasn’t worried about that either. They’d get confused in a block or two and lose sight of her, within ten minutes they’d forget what she looked like, no one would be able to find her. After all, she planned to be one of those quiet rich people, the ones that you never knew were rich.

Darcy hailed a cab, when one pulled up she hopped in and gave her address. As it pulled out into traffic she checked her bank details on her phone, a huge grin appearing on her face. She wanted to scream and shout and jump up and down, but she needed to remain calm. She could celebrate when she got home, with the bottle of champagne that was chilling in her fridge. She would enjoy it, it would be her last drink for another nine months.

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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