Saturday, August 17, 2013

A death in store

So I woke up at four this morning with the idea for a very short story in my head.  it didn't go away when I finally got up, so here it is.  Probably not very original, but fun to get down.

The spectre of Death drifted, unnoticed, down the High Street of a busy market town. It had visited a bungalow on the outskirts in the early hours of the morning but was now back to regular territory. For the third time this week the shadow wafted through the window display and staked out a corner behind a dusty display. Being present at every death since the dawn of time lent a certain familiarity to the proceedings, this was not an uncommon event after all, but somehow the shade was already feeling a sense of anticipation, even wondering if it would be here again tomorrow.

A few minutes after twelve, the assassin walked into the shop. He did not pay attention to the bright colours of the window display, the smiling assistant behind the till or the stacks of merchandise dotted on tables between the rows of shelves. Instead he headed with grim purpose towards the corner where Death lurked. He did not know that the ultimate darkness was waiting for him, merely that this was where he should find his victim. Scanning his immediate vicinity, the assassin chose his target swiftly and with the knowledge gained in his previous two visits. Secure in his nook, he reached out with one hand and silently grasped his intended. The other hand came in to play and with one swift movement the assassin cracked his victim's spine. There was the tiniest of snapping noises and for a moment the shop seemed to darken as Death, mission accomplished, fled through the ceiling and off to its next port of call.

Later, after the lunchtime rush had died down, the shop assistant took a few minutes to tidy up the inevitable mess the customers had left behind. She worked towards the back of the store, returning items to the rightful homes, rearranging the order of things on the shelves and straightening the piles on the tables. Then she saw the assassin's victim, lying splayed and broken on the last table. She regarded the limp and wilted tome for a few seconds then sighed, gathered it in her arms and turned to the shelves in the corner. From these she removed all the other copies of the book and brought them with her back to the front of the store. This one was going under the counter from now on – three damaged in one week was enough...

1 comment:

Izzy said...

Excellent - I've not seen it before, and was suitably surprised by the ending.