A Favour. Short Story.

“Ugh, do we have to do this?”
“We promised we would.”
“I know but she’s not going to know, she’s dead.”
“So you want to break a promise to a dead woman, is that it?”
“Yeah. Pretty much. We both know its pointless, it’s cold, it’s going to rain, I want to go home.”
Jessica shook her head, “It’ll take us five minutes, that’s all.”
Anna grumbled to herself, “Fine. If it starts raining though I’m out of here.”
“I said to bring an umbrella but you were all “No, lets just get this over with.” I don’t know why you came with if you were just gonna bitch about it.”
“I didn’t want you going alone, it’s not safe.”
“How is it not safe? Look at all these dangerous people” Jessica gestured at the empty street, “That’s not the point. It’s late, it’s dark and weirdoes come out at night.”
“Oh you mean weird people like us?”
“Well…yeah actually. I’d call this pretty damn weird.”
‘Think of it like saying a prayer over someone’s grave. That’s really all we’re doing. It made her so happy when I agreed. If she’s out there somewhere watching down on us I want her to know that we did what she asked.”
“I don’t know why you always end up attracting the odd balls. No one else I know would be asked to go to a graveyard and say a prayer over a grave at midnight.”
“I take that as a compliment.”
“Of course you would.”

“Ok, the gates are locked, lets just go home.”
“Really? That was your plan? The wall isn’t that high.”
Jessica pulled herself up and dropped down the other side, brushing her hands off on her jeans after she landed. The wall was cold and slightly damp, “C’mon, we haven’t got all night here.”
She could hear Anna struggling on the other side, “Do you need a hand?”
“No, I got it.”
Anna appeared at the top of the wall, she swung one leg over awkwardly, then the other and lowered herself to the ground. “ok, so you know where she’s buried right?”
“Yeah. Kinda. It looks a little different at night, we’ll find it.”

Jessica led the way, winding through the gravestones. After a fifteen minute search they found it.
“I thought it would be fancier.”

The small stone plaque on the ground was a pale white, if the grass was longer it wouldn’t be seen.
“Ok, so we set up the candles in a circle and say the prayer. Ready?”
“Yeah yeah, I just want to be back at home, bundled up in blankets and watching TV.”
They laid the candles out and quickly lit them, the night air was still.
“Ok, so we just read this, then gather the stuff and go.”
“What is it?”
“I dunno, Latin or something. I didn’t ask. We can just sound it out.”
“Christ. You realise this is how horror movies start, right?”

They started speaking together, harsh, guttural sounding words. As they finished a light breeze blew across them, extinguishing the candles.
“Ok, and I’m done. Lets go. This is too creepy. We said the prayer for the dead woman, she’s happy and can move on or whatever.” Anna turned and started walking away. Jessica quickly grabbed up the candles and shoved them into her bag. “Hey, wait for me.”
“Nope, I’m not slowing down, I’m not investigating any weird noises. I’m going home.” She slowed slightly as Jessica jogged to catch up with her.
“Ok, I’ll admit it was a little freaky with the wind, but don’t you feel better now? Like you’ve done a good deed?”
“Mostly I just feel cold.”

“Well, that too. I’ll make us hot chocolate when we get in.”
“What are we, 12?”
“I think we’ve earned them, don’t you? Do we need to pick up anything on the way to yours?”
“No, we should have everything we need in the house, I picked up some limes earlier.”

Jessica lay in bed, the room was spinning, she wasn’t sure how much she had drank, but it was at least 4 cocktails, and Anna always did make them strong. She reached out and placed one hand on her dresser, the room steadied a little, a moment later everything went dark. Anna was passed out on the couch, neither heard the front door opening. The man closed it gently behind himself, he didn’t know if they were deep sleepers or not. Not that it would matter for long. He crept along the hall and into the sitting room, Anna was snoring gently. He smiled and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. So young and vibrant, so pretty. He brought the blade across her neck quickly, cutting deep. Blood spurted from the wound, she started to struggle, but already she was weak. The man turned from her and moved towards the bedroom.

He looked at Jessica for a moment, she was asleep, with one had on her bedside locker, her frowned for a moment, trying to figure out why, he shook his head, it didn’t matter. He crept closer.

He stood in the kitchen, washing the knife. It had been easier than he had expected, but then the empty booze bottles littering the kitchen table helped explain it. Not that it mattered either way, it was done and that was the important thing. He left the house, closing the door behind himself. He had places to be, soon his lover would be back in the world of the living, he had to go and welcome her back. He walked along the dark road, smiling to himself, god he loved gullible people.


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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