Erika, this is one that I wrote a while back when Luke and I were doing some writing exercises together. I really liked it. Apparently, Luke liked it as well. Hope you do, too!!
Marilyn sat blissfully in her study, thinking hard about what book she was to read next. Should she read “A Tale of Two Cities” again? Perhaps she should read something new, as she had clearly worn the book down to threads on the binder. She flung her satin robe back behind her as she sat down, grabbing a romance novel she had yet to read when a knocking sound echoed throughout her large, fanciful home. The sound of The knock vibrated ominously around the house, like an eager snake slithering closer to its prey. Built specifically by her and an architect friend of hers, it was Marilyn’s idea of what the “mystery” house would be; it had intricate hidden doorways, trap doors, cellars and hidden passageways. It was everything that she had dreamed of since she was a small child. And it made the dull knocking even more obtuse, adding to its eery demeanor.
A knock came again, suddenly, louder, as the person behind it grew impatient. She rose to her feet, placing her book on the side table beside her leopard print reading chair, walking through the kitchen into the foyer. She peaked outside through the long, stained glass window to see her not-so beloved niece standing outside with what could only be her newest love conquest. Marilyn opened the door, hesitating for a moment, knowing she only showed up to asked for favors.
Marilyn wasn’t good with such things. She had a tendency to allow her family to walk all over her, despite her seemingly out-going personality. “Hello Sally, how are you?”
Her niece pushed her way through the door, pulling her new girlfriend through the door. “Hi Aunt Marilyn. How are you?” Marilyn stayed quiet for a moment, watching the two girls. They wouldn’t take the time to look at her as they were too busy staring quizatively at the insides of her home.
“I’m okay, how are you? What are you doing here?” She finally made eye contact with her niece.
It was then that she realized the bloodshot stare. “I’m not doing too hot right now, to be honest, Aunt Mae. Not good at all.” She released her girlfriend’s hand walking over to her Aunt. The other girl continued to look around, as if it were a museum that she could explore. “I’m having some problems. I need you!”
She wrapped her arms around her Aunt, the hug automated in feeling. She’d had warmer embraces from a blanketm Marilyn knew it wasn’t going to be good. Sally had a tendency to get herself mixed up in trouble, running to Marilyn to pull her out of it, only to go back out to do it again. Perhaps it was Marilyn’s fault that she was the way that she was; she never had the heart to tell the girl no. She needed to, so many times in the past, but she had a soft spot for Sally, which Sally tended to abuse.
Marilyn pulled away from her, nervous about the interaction she was about to encounter. “What have you gotten yourself into, now, Sally?”
Sally smiled gingerly, giving way to an idea of innocence about her. “Well…” She pressed her hands together, contemplating her next thought. “Jamie and I have this guy that’s kind of pissed off at us, over a disagreement and we just need a place to sleep tonight.” Marilyn knew it was never that easy.
She also knew she should tell her no, to not let the trouble into her home that she loved so much. She was nervous, knowing that she couldn’t trust Sally. She sighed with the weight of what she was about to say, “Yeah, I guess. Yeah, that’s fine.” Marilyn wasn’t happy with the way Sally had barged into her home as she had. Why couldn’t she have called? She looked at her niece, the truth seemingly obvious about her. She was dressed just as Marilyn would expect a stripper, or a lady of the night to be. Call her old-fashiomed if you will, she was wearing her high, fake leather boots with a short skirt and what appeared to have been, at some point in time, a ribbed tank top. Her makeup was wild and smeared, as if the long night of working was just too much for the paint she had applied.
She reached and hugged her Aunt yet again “Oh thank you thank you thank you Aunt Mae!” Marilyn wanted to tell her to get out; that she didn’t want her there and she didn’t want Sally to bring her trouble into her home. She didn’t. She stood there quietly as the two girls started talking to each other.
How was Marilyn to figure out Sally’s true agenda for being here? She had to find out the truth. If she did anything worth doing during her visit, she needed to find out the truth behind it. Sally always wanted something.
Marilyn heard her antique Grandfather’s Clock chime six times, informing them all of the early evening hours. That’s what she would do! She walked over to the two of them who had started looking at some family photos that Marilyn had stacked top to bottom on her wall in the hallway leading to the stairs. “Girls, how about I make us some dinner, and you two can head into the living room, make yourselves a drink and relax.” Marilyn smiled at the two girls who seemed quite fine with the plans.
“Thanks Aunt Mae. Ya know, I love your new place! It looks like a mansion or something from the twenties!” Marilyn smiled quite genuinely, knowing just how much like the old mansions it was. Her new house was exactly what she had dreamed of her entire life.
She headed into the kitchen and started to fix something. She made a casserole quickly, tossing it into the oven and turning the fan over the stove on, creating some background nose. She went into her pantry, grasping the can of peas, pulling down hard on them. The back of the pantry opened, exposing a darkened, small hallway. She walked in, pulling the handle on the wall to close it behind her. She reached for the torch, lighting it with her lighter she had taken from the kitchen. Marilyn didn’t see why she couldn’t have an authentic torch as well! She smiled at herself, loving everything about what she was doing.
She crept along, quietly making her way through the corridors. Marilyn had made herself very familiar with the walkways, the one that would lead her to the living room, in particular. She made it there quickly, having to stop for only a few seconds to get her bearings straight. She reached the side of the wall that had the large copy of Mona Lisa in the living room. She pulled the eyes away quietly, peaking through the holes left. The holes specifically for her eyes.
She could see the two girls; Jamie was pacing back and forth, her anxiety fueling every small step she made. Sally, on the other hand, seemed quite comfortable, laying out on Marilyn’s suede red couch in the corner. She sipped her drink, looking behind her as Jamie ran her knee forcefully into the corner of the side table. “Oh, god! Son of a bitch!”
Sally smiled at her girlfriend, feeling there was no reason for her to worry. “Seriously, babe. You have to chill out! We’re fine. Ty’s not gonna find us here. No one even knows I have an Aunt.”
She whirled around, anger spewing out of her eyes. “Sally, you need to shut the fuck up! It’s your fault we’re even in this mess! And if he finds us, he’s not gonna give a shit whose idea it was to take the money! He’s gonna kill us both, with no fucking remorse. Get it?”
Sally stood up, going to her girlfriend to console her worry. “Babe, seriously! He has to find us first. And once I find my Aunt’s safe, we’ll be fine. We’ll steal the money and get the fuck out of here!” She rubbed her hand under Jamie’s shirt, doing her best to change the emotion she was currently intoxicated by.
“Sally, how can you be so nonchalant about this?”
Sally shrugged her shoulders, reaching in for a kiss “because this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this.”
Jamie stepped away from her, leaving her searching desperately for her lips. “What? How many times have you stolen from your aunt?”
Sally pulled back, her lip sneering with disdain at her tone. “What does it matter? A couple. Tons. Aunt Mae’s loaded and she has no kids. What’s she gonna spend all that money on anyway? What, more oversized hats and crazy clothes?”
“Sally, that’s not the point! How many times have you stolen money from her?”
“None! I’ve always asked her for it and she always says yes!”
“So why don’t you ask her for it now?” Sally got mad, walking towards the table to grasp her bourbon violently, chugging it down with a fierceness that Jamie had yet to encounter from her.
Sally sighed deeply as the rich liquor burned her throat. “because I’ve never swindled the crazy ass bitch out of ten grand before, and although she’s easy to fuck over, I think even she might say no to that! Good enough of a fucking answer for you?!” She walked over to Jamie; the love was gone, being replaced by hate and violence. “You sure as fuck didn’t seem too upset about taking the money when I bought you these!” She reached for Jamie’s breasts, squeezing them violently. Jamie jerked away, pain piercing through her breast.
Marilyn cringed as she saw fear trickle through her hooded eyes. She looked up to Sally, biting her lip as she searched for strength inside of her. “Sally, stop it. You’re scaring me.”
Sally urgently reached for her, pulling her hair towards the ground, forcing Jamie to lean back. “Then shut the fuck up, alright?” Marilyn began to tremble with anger and worry for Jamie. She had never seen her niece like that. Was that the real Sally she was seeing?
A knock echoed casually throughout the house. Sally released Jamie, the two of them staring fearfully at the door. Marilyn, startled and scared, quickly placed the eyes back. She needed to hurry back in order to answer the door before Sally realized there were secret doorways in the home. If she did, she would inevitably find Marilyn’s money. She could still hear everything as she made her way through. She was shocked by the sound of wood being broken. She jumped back, almost tripping off of the steps that lead up to the pantry, nearly burning her hair with the dwindling torch. Her fear escalated unforgivingly. It sounded as if the front door had been kicked in.
She turned around, heading down a different corridor. There was a tiny hole in the floor of the foyer that allowed her to see what was going on. It was hidden in the corner of the room, with a small telescope through the hole, masked by the coat rack she had placed there, allowing her to see everything.
She peaked through, eyeing the scene before her. A greasy-haired man stood a few inches into the door, his harsh eyes staring bleakly at the two women. Sally swallowed hard, “Ty! What are you-”
Ty’s hand reached up, his fingers stretched wide, falling hard upon Sally’s face. “You bitch! You thought you could run?” Sally fell to the ground, blood dripping from the side of her mouth.
“Ty, I wasn’t trying to run! I was trying to get the money back!”
“Beef, pick her up.” An oversized man walked through the door. His arms were the size of thighs, his chest bulging out, barely contained by his tight black shirt. He reached down, grabbing Sally. Jamie, at that point, had started to cry. Ty walked over to Jamie, his hand creepily running along her cheek, trailing down to her breasts. “What were you trying to do, really, Jamie?”
Jamie looked at Sally, then back at Ty. “We were gonna try and make the money back. I swear!” Jamie left the details out.
Was she trying to protect Marilyn from becoming involved?
“Jamie! Tell him! This bitch here is load..”
She was cut off by another slap to the face. “If I wanted to hear from you, I would have asked you. Understood?!” Jamie began crying even harder. Marilyn knew these men were not ones to mess with. What could she do? How could she save them?
Did she want to?
Sally was ready to tell them about Marilyn. She was willing to risk Marilyn’s life for her own.
She looked over, the small gun hidden glistening from the nearly extinct light of the torch. She stared at it for a moment, contemplating her next move when she heard the buzzer for the oven…. It was now or never….