‘Slight’ of Hand

“I can’t bloody believe this Quinn…”

David kept fluttering his fingers, his hands clammy as he paced in the room. Water seeped in from the ceiling in the corner, the smell of mildew thick on the air as the incessant drip, drip, drip echoed like a distant drummer.

Their whole lives, they’d lived like this. A trailer, a dilapidated flat; nothing that ever kept them safe, whether from the elements or from illness. Always the specter of danger loomed in the background, seen yet not quite felt.

“Jesus David, just stand still for a moment would ya?” Quinn said, arms thrusting forward in protest.

“It’s our shot finally, yeah? $20,000 American! Just think what we can do with it.”

“I know, I know but… we don’t even know what’s in there. What kind of bloke are we even dealin’ with?”

He turned, locking eyes with her.

“Do you know? Can you tell me that?”

She looked away, feeling the guilt, the potential danger. A rat scurried across the floor past her feet and she felt the steel within. Her whole life since her parents died… she wasn’t living like this anymore.

“Where are ya goin’?”

“It’s not bloody blackmail David. The note man offered it for its safe return.”

She held up a small black notebook, a gold band of ribbon tying it closed, her eyes and stance challenging.

“How did he find us? You can’t just open up a note from some random that shows up with a few quid in it, then wander off to find him for the promise of more. You ain’t a whore.”

Quinn stepped back as if slapped.

“How dare ya! I will keep it for my own then. I’m done lookin’ after ya.”

The door slammed hard as she stormed out into the rain, leaving David alone. He knew his sister would react this way. She was always so excitable, emotional. The burden of responsibility had done that to her; becoming a parent to David after their Ma and Da died years before they should have. The things she had to do to get them food or even a roof over their head… 

A pang of remorse flittered in his gut. 

“Gaah, Quinn! Why did ya have ta-“

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Published by christophergabrielwrites

I am an author slinging short stories along with the almighty novel. I have been writing since my high school days on through to adulthood, moved over the years by my peers and the prose of the greats. The written word is my burning passion. Besides writing (and also reading a lot) I spend my time being: a dad to a beautiful little human that is growing too fast (along with parenting a few pet animals), a husband, and an avid traveler to the wilderness. I graduated from Purdue University and I live in Chicago, IL.

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