The Package. Short Story.

Brandon took another drag from his cigarette, inhaling it deep into his lungs, already he could feel the soothing rush wash over him. It was ok, mistakes happen, but they’d fix it. Terry was out there right now tracking down the package and everything would be back to normal. He took another puff, stubbed it out then grabbed out his pack. He lit the next, proud that the tip was barely wobbling, this one was easier to light than the first. He had been shaking so much then the tip of the cigarette kept weaving and bobbing away from the flame. He glanced at his watch, they had loads of time still, at least three hours. He looked down the road, hoping to see the two bright headlights of Terry’s car, but there was no sign of them. The package couldn’t have gotten far, after all they were in the middle of no where and it was heavily sedated to begin with. He took another drag, it was Terry’s fault really, he hadn’t been paying attention. Brandon had needed to take a piss, so he did what he was supposed to, told Terry and headed out back. Everything was fine until Terry started yelling and the package ran past him, pushing him down mid-stream. By the time he’d gotten himself standing and tucked away Terry was already in the car, screaming he’d run it down. He exhaled a cloud of smoke, then glanced down at himself, it wasn’t too bad at least, he managed to avoid getting too much piss on himself.

Realistically he knew that he should have gone with Terry, but it had all happened so fast. What if the package had overpowered Terry and gone off with the car? He took another drag, Terry would handle it, Terry was good at that kind of stuff, that’s why he was the lead, though Brandon was starting to question that. If Terry was so great he wouldn’t have let the goddamned package escape. He angrily stubbed out his cigarette and lit another. What if the package looped around and came back here? It would be the sensible thing to do, there was a phone here, electricity, warmth. Brandon looked around himself nervously, the package would probably assume both of them went after it, it had every reason in the world to loop back. There was nothing out there, just a single, hard packed road and nothing else but trees for miles. It would take days to get anywhere close to civilisation on foot and the chances of them running into someone was incredibly slim. Brandon started to walk around the building, a slow circle. He paused, was that it there? Over by that clump of bushes? He shook his head, no, just the wind. He moved on, feeling like someone was watching him. He shook his head again, like that would be any surprise. The company probably had cameras set up all over this place. He looked around, this time looking to see if he could spot any cameras. He could feel his phone in his pocket, should he ring someone? Call for back up? Sure it might get them a reprimand but that was better than what would happen if they couldn’t get the package back again.

In the distance Brandon could hear the rumble of a car, he ran around to the road and felt his shoulders relax slightly. As it got closer he could see Terry driving it, he seemed happy enough. Terry stopped the car and got out, “it was a tricky one but I got it.”
“Yup. Made damn sure of it this time. I’ll have a talk with the delivery guys later. I’ll also call the company, we need to make sure the sedatives themselves are still ok.”
Brandon took a final puff then threw his cigarette on the ground. He was almost out. “So, we’re going to report it?”
“Of course. God, can’t hide something like this, it could be a once off, might be a problem with supply. The company will want to know. If it wasn’t our fault we’ll get some bonus pay coming, if it is we just have to attend a day course. It’ll be fine. Now C’mon, help me grab this, it’s heavier than it looks.”
Terry moved to the back of the truck and pulled something from it, it landed with a heavy thud. Brandon moved around the truck and bent over, grabbing the womans legs.
“Oh man, you should have seen your face though. Priceless. Did you piss all over yourself too?” Terry chuckled, Brandon could feel his cheeks redden, “I was caught by surprise. And no, I managed to avoid myself for the most part.”
“Ah don’t worry about it. You can shower once this is done, I have some clean clothes in the back of the car. A good tip, always carry a spare set, you never know what’ll get on you.”

The room was brightly lit, the walls and floor were metal, there were several drainage holes in the floor. The room itself was cold despite the candles, which were there for ceremonial reasons. “Least I got most of the set up done. Here, just dump the package down there. It won’t be going anywhere any time soon.” They dropped the woman in the centre of the circle of candles. Terry stood up and let out a breath, “Right, lets get this done, shall we?”

The entire affair went smoothly, they chanted and performed the ritual. When it came time to slit the packages throat, Terry broke an ampoule under her nose, she coughed once, gasped for breath, then Brandon slid the knife across her throat. Blood flooded from the wound, running down her like a red cloth. They finished the ritual, then stood looking at the mess. “do you want clean up or dumping?”
“I suppose I’ll do the dumping, you chased it down after all.”
Terry nodded and went to the wall, he grabbed the hose and turned it on while Brandon grabbed the package underneath its arms and started dragging it away.

Brandon took a deep breath before he opened the hatch, a gust of air blew up at him, he knew from the last time how badly it smelled. His lungs were starting to ache but he didn’t want that air inside him. Working quickly he pushed the package inside. It landed somewhere below with a slight squelch. Brandon sealed up the hatch again, he took small, short breaths until he was clear of it, then he breathed deeply. When he returned to the room the metal was clean and the last of the water was draining away.
“Everything go ok?”
“Yeah, no problems.”
“Good. No surprises down there?”
“No? Why would there be?”
“Oh, did I not warn you? Sometimes you’ll hear something down there. Don’t worry, it never comes up, just a little freaky.”

Together they walked outside, they stood for a moment in the fresh air. The clothes Terry had given him were a little tight, but they fit well enough. Brandon took out his packet of smokes and took out the final two, he passed one to Terry and kept one for himself. He lit them and together they inhaled. Brandon breathed the smoke into the night air, feeling all the tension melt away. They had done the job well, even if there was that little hitch. They smoked in silence until they were done. Terry flicked his butt onto the ground, “ok, lets get moving.” Brandon stubbed out his cigarette and got into the car. He smiled as the engine came to life, it really was satisfying work.

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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