The Unfortunate Events of Secret Strangers
BY: GWYNTH PACK
Copyright,Gwynth Pack 2017
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The sun slowly dipped behind the horizon, the remaining rays dancing off the ocean surface, glittering and breaking the tide. The skies were painted red and gold and it was painful for Ximena to watch. She felt like it was the last time she would ever see the sun setting.
She was on her knees with tears coming down her eyes as she watched her old employer Josh smirked at her with glee. She had been stripped of all of her clothing except for her flimsy shirt and underwear. The spraying seawater and wind covered the rest of her bare skin in a cold layer.
“You have been by my side for 10 years. It’s only fair that I offer you a decent resting place.”
Ximena looked around at the beach. She scoffed quietly.
“Magnificent, isn’t it?” Josh asked.
Ximena didn’t say anything. The tears dried on her face and now she only had a look of disgust on her face.
“People always say that those close to death can see their lives flashing before their eyes. What do you think?”
“I don’t know Josh. Will you use me as another experiment to test that theory?”
“I love your sarcasm, but it’s not going to help you. Your pathetic life won’t be much to look back at anyways.”
“Why are you doing this? You know I won’t say anything.” Ximena said
“You knew too much about my plans and I can’t take the chance of the cops talking to you.”
Ximena was about to say something else, but stopped when she saw the gun. She knew Josh was crazy and didn’t think things through. She told him not to go through with his plan of scheming people of their money, but as usual, Josh never listened to her. She pulled out her derringer gun from under her shirt and cocked it behind her back without Josh knowing it.
“It’s not my fault you were found out Josh. You’ve been scamming money from people for years. Somebody would have found out eventually. I don’t know why you thought it was a good idea.”
“Enough chit-chat. Let it be said that I was never a gentleman to you.”
Josh cocked the gun and pointed it at Ximena who looked at him in disdain.
“You were never a gentleman to begin with, or anything sane for that matter.” Ximena said
“Too bad you will never have the chance to say that to others.”
“They will find you, how can they not? They’re looking for you.”
Josh stared at Ximena. He didn’t want to do this. He could almost say that he loved Ximena, but it needs to be done. He can’t leave any witness behind. He turned to see the ocean roaring behind them. It was time to speed things along.
“…I don’t care where you go from here, but at least your body will be here, submerged under the ever-shifting torrents…”
The waters dwelled for a while, drawing back to the ocean, bringing on a short-lived quietness…
“…You put up a reasonably good defiance, woman…”
It was silent. Josh held onto Ximena’s face. He wanted to imprint her face into his mind. He didn’t want to say goodbye.
“…But willpower is useless against absolute power…”
Josh saw Ximena closing her eyes and tilting her head away. He moved her head back so that she was facing him again before backing away a little. Ximena opened her eyes.
“…Your company is no longer needed…”
The waves had fallen…
“…Ximena, I relieve you of your duties, even though you were never good at them…”
The skies above the ocean completely yielded to nightfall as the final rays disappeared behind the ocean’s skyline.
“You are now dismissed. Die for me.”
The darkened blood-red sky’s serenity shattered at the sharp explosion of the bullet leaving the gun. Josh and Ximena’s eyes widen. Both of them looked down at the blood gushing out of the wound.
“What have you done?”
It was the start of spring break and I was driving home down a back road. It was getting dark, and there were hardly any cars on the road. there were corn stalks on either side of the road. The radio was playing quietly, some rock band I knew nothing about. An hour later, the headlights picked out a figure standing on the side of the road. It was a man and he had his thumb out.
I figured I be a good Samaritan and help him out. I pulled up in front of him and he got into the front seat.
“Thank you,” He said
“No problem. Where are you headed to?” I asked.
The guy didn’t say anything for a while. He wiped his face off with hand and I got a good look at him. He was skinny, thin faced, and had hollowed eyes. The clothes he had on were disheveled and dirty, and his hair was all over the place. Something about him gave me the creeps.
“Can I change the station?” he asked
He turned the dial until Britney Spears’s song “Gimme More” rang through the car.
“I always liked her.” He said. “She’s so misunderstood.”
I nodded politely. Whatever floats his boat.
“You still didn’t tell me where you were going.” I told the guy
Before the guy could say anything, the song came to an end and a news announcer came on.
“We bring you the latest on the dangerous maniac who escaped from the mental asylum earlier yesterday morning. It is said that he had killed two doctors and a nurse. The police are still searching for this guy. If you encounter this guy, use caution. Motorists should be on their guard. Police have said that this maniac will- “
All of a sudden, the guy turned the radio off. His eyes twitched a little and he looked a little nervous.
“Why did you turn it off? This is valuable information.” I said.
“We shouldn’t be listening to this. Especially at night.”
I looked at him suspiciously and he nodded in understanding.
“You think I’m the maniac.”
“No.” I said nervously “Then again, I still don’t know who you are.”
“Who I am is no importance. Just know that I’m not the maniac.”
I nodded and looked back at the road. I wish this guy would hurry up and tell me where he was going. The guy turned the radio on again.
Another news announcement came on.
“Another dead body has been found in the wood. Police think this is another victim of the maniac. The clothes and the id are missing. The killer’s hospital gown is near the body. Again, police are warning people to be careful. The maniac is usually calm and collected until he gets nervous. Once that happens, he will get violent. If you encounter this guy, please try to keep him calm.”
The guy turned the radio off again. I gave him the side eye and I noticed his left eye wat twitching. He noticed me staring at him.
“You still think I’m the maniac, don’t you?”
“Look man, this is as far as I can go. I don’t know where you’re going and you won’t tell me. You need to get out.”
I stopped the car in front of lonely gas station. The lights were still on and it looked like there were a few people inside. The guy got out of the car and I noticed there were some big red stains on the lower parts his pants and shoes.
“I’m sorry about leading you on. Just know that I’m not the maniac okay.”
I nodded. Anything to get him away from the car. As soon as he backed away from the car, I drove away as fast as I could.
The smile left George’s face and was replaced with a sneer. Chelsea gulped before running into her house and locking the door. She could hear pounding on the door, and George yelling something. She called her mom, but all she got was the voicemail.
George banged on the windows of the house as he yelled her name over and over again. Chelsea ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. She didn’t want to hurt anybody, but if it came down to her or George, she would pick herself. The banging on the windows stopped. Chelsea walked into the front room and began looking through the windows. When she got to the last window, she screamed. She could see George’s bloodshot eyes glaring back at her.
He was swaying and his appearance was awful. She could see the beginnings of a 5’o clock shadow, wrinkled clothes and yellow crooked teeth. Chelsea recoiled back as George punched the window. Shards went everywhere as George’s arm came through the pane. Chelsea ran upstairs as George climbed through the window.
“Chelsea! You stupid bitch. You know you can’t hide from me. Come on out.”
Chelsea ran to her room, closed the door and locked it. She called her mom again and this time her mom answered.
“Mom, where are you?”
“I went to the store. I’m on my way home. Why?”
“You need to come home. George is in the house. I’m hiding.”
“I’m on my way! Called the cops.”
Chelsea hung up the phone and did that. She heard thumping noises.
“Chelsea! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Your mother should’ve never kept you away from me. The stupid bitch!”
What did he mean by her mom should’ve never kept her away from him? How did he know her mom? She could hear George opening the doors to the other rooms and going through them.
“Chelsea. You know you can’t hide. Come out now. I got candy for you.”
The footsteps stopped in front of her room. Chelsea could hear the door handle trying to turn but couldn’t. Then, the pounding on the door started.
“Chelsea, open the door. I’m not going to hurt you. Sweetheart, please. I just want to talk to you. Your mother kept you from me since the day you were born. I just want to get to know you.”
Before Chelsea could say anything, the sound of police sirens can be heard, along with the screeching sounds of tires. The front door burst open and loud voices could be heard. Chelsea moved closer to her bedroom door so she could hear what was being said outside.
“Step away from the door, sir.”
“I just want to talk to my child.”
“Sir, I’m not going to ask you again. Step away from the door.”
Chelsea could hear footsteps moving away from her door. She also heard a knock on her door.
“Excuse me ma’am. We have the suspect in custody. It’s safe to come out now.”
Chelsea unlocked her door and opened it. She could see George in handcuffs and being lead downstairs. She walked downstairs with the rest of the officers and outside where her mother was waiting for her. Her mother ran towards her and hugged her.
“I’m so happy you’re all right.”
Her mother then turned to George.
“I’ll see you in court asshole.”
“You should’ve told her the truth! I am her father. I have a right to see her.” George yelled back.
“Not if I had anything to do with it.”
Chelsea watched as George being put into the police car.
“Mom, why didn’t you tell me?”
Gwynth Pack is a student at Full Sail University. She holds a AA degree from Tallahassee Community College and is currently earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. You can visit her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwynth-pack-294647142/
This collection includes the stories: "Unfortunate Events", "Mysterious Strangers", and "Secrets". In the first tension filled story, "Unfortunate Events", Josh is trying to get rid of evidence of a scheme that includes his assistant Ximena. The tone of the story is that Josh wants to kill Ximena, but he doesn't want to and ends up talking too much. In the second story "Mysterious Strangers", a driver picks up a hitchhiker, not knowing if he is a killer or not. The tone of the story is paranoid as the driver doesn't know if their passenger is a killer or not. In the third story "Secrets", Chelsea finds out a secret about her neighbor George that includes her mother. The tone of the story is betrayal because of something that should've been said.