Strangers in the Night

I recently came 2nd in Know Magazine‘s inaugural short story competition 2013 ‘Strangers in the Night’. You can read the story below.

Strangers in the Night

They were familiar strangers, the three of them, ready for their Sunday lamb roast, proving that some things never change.

It was like a shop window advertising the right furniture for the perfect family. There was the male role model, his bald, shiny head like an oversized light bulb, his big-boned body somehow skirting around the solid oak table to carve at the meat which fell easily into succulent, pink slices. His face had peaked years ago, too young, and was now knackered, thin little red veins showing up in protest at points on his forehead. The mother figure was next, putting down a steaming dish of roast potatoes and moving a free hand over her bare neck which led into cropped, black hair. She sat down on solid oak, sinking into a red cushion which clashed with her swishing purple skirt. The dutiful daughter brushed feathered blonde hair away from her long face and with see-through grey-blue eyes, poured red wine into crystal glasses.

It was hard not to smell bullshit along with the rosemary tangled with red wine seeping out of the house through various vents.  They left windows open, but only the smaller ones.  They locked all the doors. But they weren’t always careful.

I clasped the cold key between my frozen fingers. The harsh green spikes of the tree pulled at me but I carried on. I could hear their muffled chatter, the scraping of knives and forks on oversized plates as I quietly entered through the kitchen door. The money was in the emergency drawer as usual, scraps of food were on the counter. I stuffed both into my pockets. It was enough to clear my debts but not my sins. I could always count on them, these strangers of mine.

 

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