A Note: Another story written from the jar but took much longer than 10 minutes.
Please note, from Friday 23rd December 10 Minute Tales will be taking a short break but will be back in the New Year. Merry Christmas!!
The light creeps through thin curtains, spilling onto the duvet and the body hidden beneath it. Dana stares at the lump that it makes under the covers and wonders when the blood will start to seep through. The sheets are all pristine white. Nothing in the room moves except for dust motes dancing in the early morning light. She lets out a breath. And then another.
She will not panic.
The shower is still running, at least half an hour. She’s been standing and staring at the lump under the covers for at least half an hour.
She needs a shower but Meg is still in there. She thinks Meg might be a bit upset. Meg needs to get out of the shower so Dana can go in and wash off all the blood and stress. Meg needs to get out of the shower and face the problem because there is a body in the bed and they need to do something about it. Right now.
She might be panicking.
“Meg. Meg, hurry up.” She taps on the door, doesn’t want to wake the neighbours by shouting or banging. It’s too early and there’s a fucking corpse in the room.
“Give me a minute.” Meg calls back. She sounds normal, light-hearted almost. Dana knows she’s not ok because she heard her swear not 5 minutes ago. Meg doesn’t swear. Nothing is ok.
“Meg, seriously. I need to shower.” She looks down at her shirt, the little blue hearts all smudged with red. It clings where it meets her skin, sticky and quickly drying. It’s very uncomfortable and she would really like to get out of her clothes, right now, please.
The lock slides back on the bathroom door and Meg steps out with puffy red eyes. She will not look at the bed. She takes her pile of blood soaked clothing and tips it into her suitcase, then goes to stand at the window, her eyes averted the whole time.
Dana can’t stop looking at the bed until she has closed the bathroom door behind her.
The water is hot and quickly turns red as it runs down her bloodied left side. She watches it swirl down the plughole, waiting for it to run clear. It takes a very long time. She washes her hair and finds a tender lump there, wincing as she catches it by accident.
When she finally steps out and puts yesterday’s clothes back on she feels almost clean again. She chucks her own bloody clothes on top of Meg’s and zips the suitcase shut. Meg is still at the window but this time she has a mug of coffee in her hand. She silently points at the kettle and the tea sat brewing beside it, she’s left the teabag in just how Dana likes it.
The body in the bed is still there. Not that Dana expected it to get up and politely vacate the room but it would have been nice and a lot bloody easier if it had. Instead they have 5 hours until they have to check-out and no way of disposing the body. Meg still won’t even look it. This is not good.
“We need to-”
“I know.” Meg cuts her off.
“Well, what’re we gonna do?”
“We stick to the plan.”
“The plan was for him to ‘jump’ off the balcony.”
“Yeah. So he goes off the balcony.”
“And you don’t think anyone will think it’s suspicious that he was stabbed three hours before he supposedly committed suicide.”
“Dana, we’ll be gone well before that point. No one will even notice he’s gone in the river for at least a few hours so drink your tea and start wiping everything down.”
Dana gulps her tea down, ignoring the way it burns her tongue and throat. She grabs the anti-bacterial wipes from the other suitcase and carefully wipes down all the surfaces in the bathroom. She pours a few globs of bleach down the sink and shower plughole, running the taps until she’s sure they had cleared all trace of blood and hair and anything else they could have left behind. The towels are unsalvageable, traces of blood clinging to the fabric so he stuffs them into the suitcase with the rest of the bloody clothes. Meg gives the bathroom a thorough check while Dana checks Meg’s work in the bedroom. Everything is spotless; they even empty the bin into a bag to take with them. All that was left was the pretty conspicuous lump under the duvet.
“The river will wash away DNA, right?” Now it was Meg’s turn to question what they were doing.
“Should do. As long as he stays in there long enough.”
“Right, well it’s getting on a bit so we need to get him over the balcony before the people downstairs start opening their curtains.”
Dana quickly drags the duvet back, feeling it stick to the body as she pulls. Glad that they brought a third, empty suitcase, she carefully folds it and places it inside to get rid of later. Meg strips the bed and places the pillows in the suitcase with the duvet. She leaves the fitted sheet under the dead man for now. Dana opens the balcony doors and pushes the furniture out of the way. The sun is still rising and there’s a chill in the air. The river below them lumbers on slowly filled with the debris of a careless town. She takes a deep breath and puts on the latex gloves Meg hands her. They’ve already made enough of a mess; they can’t afford any more mistakes.
Her muscles strain and the air puffs out of her in bursts as they carry him over to the balcony. They rest for a second against the railings, mustering the energy to lift him up and over. This would have been much easier if he’d walked over by his own volition. Meg looks at her. She nods and Meg nods back.
With a noticeable amount of huffing and stumbling he finally splashes into the murky water, sinking quickly then bobbing up a couple of feet away. A foot catches on a trolley and drags it few inches before he bumps off a rock and dislodges it. There’s no scream from a lower floor, no rushing feet or wails of concern. Nobody saw.
They do a third sweep of the room, picking up anything they might have touched and either cleaning it with the wipes or dropping it into a suitcase.
Job done they quickly change into new outfits, putting their wigs back on carefully and arranging suitcases so everything will fit in. Dana puts her classy leather gloves back on before picking up the keycard to the room. Neither of them has touched it with their skin so it’s safe to hand back to the hotel but she wipes it down anyway. On the way out of the door, with similarly gloved hands Meg puts the Do Not Disturb sign on the handle giving them a few more hours grace.
They smile widely at the receptionist, a different one to the guy who saw them return late at night with a guest. Dana almost laughs out loud when they are asked how their stay was but Meg keeps a straight face and comments on the lovely tea and coffee making facilities. They bid her goodbye and Dana even takes a complimentary leaflet on the way out. She drops it into a bin once they are out of sight.
They take care to walk at normal speed, calmly making their way to the train station. They stop off in public toilets to pull off their wigs and shake out their hair. Meg changes her coat and Dana changes from a skirt into jeans, but there’s not enough room in the stalls to completely change outfits.
When they take their seats on the train there’s a long moment of silence while Meg looks at Dana.
“So, Grace, what do you want to do when we get home?”
“Not much, take a nap, it’s been a long night.” She likes the name Grace, thinks Meg has made a good choice. She looks at Meg, who was Kate before this and Hannah before that and tries to decide on her new name. What can she envisage calling her partner for the next few days or weeks or however long she needs.
“You know what, Lily; I think I might take a nap right now actually.”
Grace snuggles down in her seat but not before she catches Lily smiling at her. She pats her handbag, feels the neat brown paper package filled with twenty pound notes nestled next to her wig and makeup bag and grins back at Lily.
Maybe the job hadn’t exactly gone to plan but the guy was dead in a river and they were on a train home with a bag full of money and she was pretty happy with that in the end.
Tales written from a prompt in just 10 minutes.
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