Friday, July 12, 2013

Meticulous-- a short story

I know I already made a post, but since it was so small I decided to do the next one tonight as well.

I found the rough draft of this in my closet the other day, having completely forgotten it. It's a short story I wrote for my high school English class, and it's much, much better than the other old writings I found. So I've typed it up, editing it slightly. It's a lot different from my current writing style, but I think it makes a great creepypasta (though it was written before I'd discovered creepypasta)-- and I might even post it on other sites.

If you're wondering what my teacher thought of it, I think she liked it. She likened it to American Psycho, which is a little odd since I've never seen or read it. I forget now what inspired me...

~*~

           His office was his castle, his stronghold. Adrian had chosen a large, second-floor room, one with wide windows that soaked up the sunlight. Nothing within that room was out of place, not even a paperclip.
            Just like the office, Adrian himself was impeccably neat. His suits were perfectly pressed, his nails manicured, his golden hair cut short and fashionably. He sat behind the desk every day, well-sculpted fingers drumming on the glossy cherry wood surface.
            That was his life; perfection mirrored in his environment, appearance, work. That was how he was perceived. It was a perfection he cultivated, one he'd spent his whole life attaining.
            He had just finished a tall caramel coffee, just thrown the paper cup into the metal waste-bin besides his desk when there was a knock on the door. Adrian's face tightened in frustration, an expression that was gone as quickly as it had come.
            “Come in.” he said smoothly. A short, middle-aged woman, thin and cheerful, entered the room: the cleaning lady. She was the only person who'd seen the inside of his office regularly, as Adrian lived alone. She was kind and motherly, and completely dull.
            “Good morning!” she said with the enthusiasm and cheer of a kindergarten teacher. “I hate to interrupt, but I was hoping to get to cleaning that attic of yours today.” Her voice grated on his ears like a fork scrapped across a ceramic plate. Even so, he smiled- that charming smile that endeared him to so many women (and some men).
            “Sure, sure. You'll need the key then.”
            The woman nodded. Adrian opened the top, left-hand drawer of his desk and produced a tarnished key, dropping it into her palm.
            “And what about that room up there?” she asked with barely-restrained curiosity.
            Adrian paused. That room had never been cleaned, at least not since he'd hired her.
            “It could probably use a good scrub.” he said with a laugh. “But I have no clue where the key ran off to. Somewhere up there, I expect.”
            The lady nodded and began to leave.
            “Wait.” Adrian stood and headed for the door. “Let me come with you. It's been forever since I've been up there. I want to see what's hiding away.”
            “Of course!” Her enthusiasm waned a bit, but she hid it well. Anyone else wouldn't have noticed.
            As they walked up the stairs, he ran his finger along the dark banister. The farther up they went, the dustier the banister became. Adrian pulled a pure white handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the dust away. He then folded it into a small square and tucked it away in his breast pocket.
            The cleaning lady was silent and tense at first, but after a time she seemed to relax. Behind her eyes, Adrian could see her making assurances. Perhaps she felt that he was suspicious?
            Adrian smiled again. She smiled back.
            Finally, they reached the top landing. The woman clattered with the door, opened it, and took a hesitant step inside. Adrian followed. The dust hit his sinuses almost instantly, making him sneeze.
            “Let's get some air in here.” he suggested. The lady (what was her name? Adrian wracked his brains without success) walked over to the small window that overlooked the front lawn and forced it open.
            The attic was dim, and it took a few minutes for their eyes to adjust. Boxes and furniture were littered across the floor, and dust coated everything. Slight footprints could be seen if one looked hard enough, but both Adrian and the woman (Alana? Alicia?) were distracted by the volume of antiques.
            “What a mess!” she tutted.
            “It's one hell of a job.” he said, glancing around. “I don't envy you, Addie.” She nodded and smiled.
            At least he'd gotten her name right.
            Addie lifted something that looked like a strange mixture of an oar and a baseball bat- small, dented, and heavy.
            “Strangest bat I've ever seen.” she muttered. Adrian laughed and took it from her.
            “It's a cricket bat. An old find from my last trip to England.” He swung it underhand, knocking an invisible ball across the attic. “Like so.”
            “Ah. Well, I've never been a big sports fan.” she said apologetically, and moved on to something she found more interesting.
            Swinging the bat had left a smear of dust on his pants leg. Adrian clenched his fist tightly. His manicured nails dug into his palm, leaving half-moon indentations.
            Addie walked over to the far wall. Beyond that wall and the old steel door was a separate room. She watched it intently, as if she expected someone to burst through at any moment.
            “Let me try...” Adrian felt around the ledge above the door until he found the a key. It was cold and heavy, and strangely clean. He handed it to Addie with a smile, snapping her out of her daze.
            “Oh. Right.”
            While she tried the lock, he waked back quietly and shut the window.
            “I'm having a little trouble with this.”
            Adrian returned to the door, and with a little effort, got it to open.
            There was no doorknob on the other side, only a bolt, and the wood was scratched and dented. They stepped inside, their shoes making a light clang on the bare steel floor.
            “What is this? She asked, almost in a whisper. Much to his delight, her over-the-top cheer had fully vanished, leaving behind fearful apprehension.
            “A disappointments room.” he said with the air of a teacher. “They say that in the 18th and 19th century, families would keep their mentally ill up here, hidden away from the world.”
            “That's terrible.”
            “Compared to the asylums of the time, it was a mercy.”
            They stared into the pitch black room in silence. After a long while, Adrian cleared his throat.
            “Should I turn on the light?”
            “Yeah...”
            Reaching over, he flicked the switch, and light flooded the room.
            Addie let out a strangled cry, frozen in place.
            Sitting limply against the wall was a human form. Male or female, she couldn't tell: it was a human skeleton, skin stretched tightly over the bones. It watched her silently, sunken and empty blue eyes barely moving.
            Behind her, Adrian flexed slightly. He picked up the bat and swung it in a smooth arc, bringing it down on Addie's head. She collapsed in a twitching heap, blood pooling around her. He dropped the bat and glanced at the thing across the room.
            “You've got company now!” It watched a little stream of blood flow towards it. “Don't worry, I'll clean this up later.”
            As he locked up the disappointments room, he glanced down at his shirt. Speckles of blood had soaked into the pure white fabric. He tensed, knowing that the shirt was ruined. With a little burst of speed, he descended the stairs and turned into the spacious bedroom. Removing the shirt in one smooth movement, he rolled it up and dropped it into the waste-bin. He opened the wardrobe, revealing a line of identically crisp dress shirts, and pulled one on. Opening the drawer, he pulled out a pair of crisp slacks and changed into them, tossing the dusty pair with the bloody shirt.
            Then he paused, running his hand through his hair. In his head, he ran over what he knew. When did Addie usually arrive? Who knew her? Had someone seen her come?
            More importantly he thought as his agitation subsided, and he slid back into his usual calm demeanor, I need another cleaning lady.
            He smiled at his reflection in the wardrobe mirror, watching his world click back into place and his cultivated perfection resume control.
            Returning to his office, he sat in the chair rather like a monarch on their throne, surveying his desk.
            Not a paperclip out of place.
            Picking up the heavy pen, he pulled a piece of paper from his file drawer and crossed the name Addie Wilson off the list.

            “Leave it to miss sunshine to ruin my morning.” He chuckled, then dialed the next number on the list.


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