The Shop

SMASH

Elizabeth jumped again. The noise was replaced by the loud, sharp shriek of an electric drill gnawing at the wall. The ground seemed to shake at the loud, shrill noise. Elizabeth covered her ears. She was very annoyed now. The noise next door has been going night and day for the past three days, and because she lived at the back of her boutique she couldn’t get a wink of sleep.

A truck pulled up next to the boutique, two extremely hairy and extremely tattooed men came out the back and began unloading boxes marked “summer drs” onto the footpath. After about ten boxes were stacked not–so–neatly next to Elizabeth’s feet the men got back in the truck and started the engines.

“Wait a minute!” shouted Elizabeth. “You need to put these in my store!”

“That’s your problem lady, not ours.” One of the men jeered, his friend laughed and slapped him on the back, and with that they were gone. Their outdated truck spewing out a line of thick, black exhaust.

“You good–for–nothing bastards!” Elizabeth screamed at the truck as she picked up a stone and threw it. Miraculously it flew right through the driver’s window. The truck swerved, scattering a mass of boxes big and small on the road, and stopped.

The driver came out with a bruise on the side of his head, his friend followed and shouted, “Hey lady! You stupid or something? We could’ve been killed! You gotta help us pick this mess up!”

“That’s your problem!” Elizabeth called back as she hauled on of the boxes into her store.

When she finally finished with the boxes, it was already midday. Elizabeth wiped her forehead with her sleeve and went inside to make herself a cup of cappuccino…

BOOM

Elizabeth spun around. It sounded like a sledgehammer being slammed into the wall. Her instinct was to call the police again, and was halfway to the phone when she stopped. What if she was wrong again? This time she’d probably get a fine for abusing the 000 hotline. She wasn’t about to risk that.

“I’ll check it out for myself,” she muttered to herself.

She marched right up to the shop’s display window and looked inside. The place was small, dusty and cramped. About five grandfather clocks surrounded the room and huge shelves packing every kind of dusty ornament imaginable. Right in the centre of the room sat a gigantic, ancient electric record player on a spindly, four–legged coffee table. Nothing out of place.

Elizabeth opened the door and was immediately hit by the nauseating odour of years–old mothballs and decaying wood. Wrinkling her nose, she walked in. the floorboards creaked under her feet. It was deathly quiet. Her heart nearly bounced out her throat when the door slammed shut behind her.

“It’s just the wind,” she told herself firmly.

There was nothing downstairs so she made her way to the tiny flight of stairs at the corner of the room. Just when she was halfway up she heard the crash of china smashing.

“Come out, I know you’re there!” she called.

No answer.

“Alright, if that’s the way you want it.” And with that she sprint up the old steps, taking two at a time.

The upper level was just as drab as the lower, but it was completely empty except for a grizzled grey cat. It was lying next to the vase it just knocked over and broke.

“Damn cat,” Elizabeth cursed under her breath.

The cat hissed and crawled off into a hole in the wall. Elizabeth made a face at it and turned…

SMASH

The sound came from downstairs, so loud that the window rattles. Elizabeth sprinted down the stairs again. Screaming “I’ve got you now, you piece of crap.” She got downstairs and whipped her face around to look at…

Nothing, Elizabeth let out a howl of despair.

SMASH

The floor shook but Elizabeth didn’t care. She found out what it was. She calmly walked to the record player and pulled out the plug. Then she took the faulty record, broke it over her knee and threw it in the rubbish.

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