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LJ Idol: Bupkis

Had it all been worth it? Yes, she told herself forcefully. Yes, it had been worth it.

It had to be.

The car sped silently through the black night. Clouds as thick as cob webs blotted out the stars, and the back roads to the manor were bereft of street lamps. All the better, she thought as she pressed on the gas harder. No light to mark their passage. They were almost home free.

Jason groaned. Nervously Claire glanced over to where he sat, doubled over in the passenger seat. Wan and sweating, he clutched at his side. The blanket was now saturated with his blood. As he pressed harder, blood from the blanket oozed out between his fingers. "Just keep pressure on it!" Claire demanded, desperate.

"Claire, I think I'm going to die."

No. Please no. She pounded the gas pedal into the floor.

**********

It had been Max who had the idea. All the estate staff knew their employer was a paranoid old billionaire, but deeper rumors spoke of a safe hidden in the bowels of the mansion. Supposedly the old man hoarded a vast portion of his wealth in this safe. After seventeen years of perfect service, Max had ingratiated himself to Mr Pembroke. The Master of the Key was nearing retirement, and longed to find his replacement. So one night, Max had been selected for an errand.

Afterward, Max knew the location of the safe. And most importantly, the combination.

**********

The alarms sounded almost immediately. A terrifying scream of a siren wailed through the mansion, echoing off the walls. Thinking quickly, Claire snatched up one of the black bags from the safe's shelves, and dashed back up the stairs. Jason and Max each grabbed two, and followed her.

They could hear the dogs barking as they pounded up the stairs and through the halls of the mansion. Max began slamming doors behind them, hoping to thwart the pursuing hounds. Statues--art by day--twisted into strange creatures in the night shadows. Cherubic faces melted into eyeless, gape-mouthed monsters, their shadowy limbs stretched out to ensnare three culprits who raced through the mansion. Portraits of important manor associates eyed their passing with haughty sneers.

Careening out the side doors, they raced across the grounds. Just a few hundred yards or so to the car, Claire thought, and she grit her teeth and ran faster. She had to make it to the car.

Light beams streamed on to the right of the group. Flashlights!

Max's head snapped back in a spray of blood, as the first gun shot rang out. His arms splayed out with the impact of the shot, the black bags skidded across the grass. Max collapsed to the ground, half his head in pieces behind him. Claire quickly darted to the left, and Jason, ever the athlete changed direction mid-step, scooped up one of Max's bags, and dashed after Claire. The detour left put their assailants at their backs, and the car just yards in front of them.

Zig-zagging across the yard, Claire prayed the bullets now streaming after the pair of them would miss. She had heard, somewhere, that best way to avoid a bullet was to zig-zag. Jesus Christ she hoped it was true.

And suddenly, the car! Claire opened the car with her fab, tossed the black bag into the back as she jumped into the driver's seat, and leaned over to open the door for Jason. Jason dove in the car and Claire tore away from the Out Building, as Jason slammed the door shut.

"Shit Claire, I think I've been shot." Jason said shoulder the black bags onto the floor. He moved his hand away from his breast and Claire could see the blood spouting from a hole in his jacket. The blood frothed as it ran.

"I think they hit a lung, Jason" Claire blanched, and tossed Jason a blanket from her back seat. Press it on the bleeding and don't move it she had commanded.

**********

Jason had grown quiet.

Claire's breathing had finally slowed to normal; it had been nearly an hour and there was no sign of anyone chasing them. She eased off the gas to match the pace of the few other cars on the road. The clouds parted to reveal a full moon, casting incandescent light upon the remote highway, and the steady thrum of the car as it hummed over the road was a pleasant contrast to the chaos of just an hour before. A sigh of relief.

Claire looked over at Jason again. His head lolled against his chest, a bubble of blood popped on his lips. The hand that pressed the blanket to his wound dropped as he shuddered, exhaling a painful last rattle of air. Her vision blurred with tears.

**********

Some miles later, the road ribboned up into the mountains. Parking on the side of the road, Claire pulled Jason out of the car, and watched as his dark form disappeared over the side of highway. The deep ravine would hide his body forever.

**********

Claire wiped away the tears and whispered silent goodbyes to Max and Jason. As she turned over the ignition, the black bags on the floor caught her eye. She picked up one of the bags from the floor and unzipped it.

Stacks upon stacks of green, pocket-sized Bibles. No.

NO!

She rifled through the second bag. And the third. Old Testaments bound to New Testaments had mimicked stacks of money when they grabbed the black bags. Why?! Had they grabbed the wrong bags?! WHO KEEPS BIBLES IN A SAFE?!?!

Claire screamed her frustrations into the steering wheel. Pounded on the dashboard with both her fists. Max and Jason were gone. And for what? Three bags of bupkis. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.

Sobs shook her body, wails of frustration and grief tore through her chest. Claire heaved the bags of Bibles into the ravine after Jason. Then she climbed into her car.

And drove.

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
marstokyo
Dec. 8th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Wa-Waaaaaaaa! loved the finish!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Hah, thanks :)
xo_kizzy_xo
Dec. 8th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
What irony would have it been if the Bibles had had the money stuck inside them...
irishrosedkm
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Aw, man! That WOULD have been good.
theafaye
Dec. 11th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
I was thinking along those lines, that there was something special about those Bibles if she'd only looked closer.
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:45 am (UTC)
I was running up against deadline pressure and knew generally how I wanted to end it, but it was a struggle. Perhaps after voting I'll experiment w/ the ending.
liret
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Or if they were priceless rare editions.

I think "robbing a reclusive old billionare' is one of the things which could never end well, no matter how much it sounds like a good idea.
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
Yea, it's definitely like one of those "don't go outside" moments in a horror film
pixiebelle
Dec. 9th, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
I loved the ending and an exhilarating ride getting there!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 9th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
Why thank you! I like your new icon (it's like getting a Livejournal haircut!)
pixiebelle
Dec. 9th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! Thought I'd get into the Christmas spirit :)

Btw, I haven't read our entire tribe, but you're usually one of the first people I click on because I've liked all your stuff so far this season. So good job :)
irishrosedkm
Dec. 9th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Feeling is mutual!! I love your entries :)
pixiebelle
Dec. 9th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! Hopefully you like this week's, it's a bit different for me :)
sarcasmoqueen
Dec. 9th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Great story!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
Why thank you! And thanks for commenting :)
noodledays
Dec. 9th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
oh man, talk about insult on top of mortal injuries. :O
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)
And now that greedy, thieving biotch gets to live with the death of her friends, mwhahaha.
shimmerdream
Dec. 9th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Amazing story, and I loved the twist at the end!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
Thanks! I was trying to challenge myself a little bit and go a different route than usual. Glad it you enjoyed it.
ecosopher
Dec. 10th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
What a waste. It's never worth it, is it?
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
Avarice doesn't pay!

btw, your cat is adorable.
ecosopher
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
Haha, thank you. She actually pees in the house and starts fights with all the other cats in the area, but she's the most photogenic of all our pets XD Isn't it always the way?!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
She does have that impish gleam in her eye.
ecosopher
Dec. 10th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
She really does, doesn't she? ;D
whipchick
Dec. 10th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
What a terrifying story - you handle the suspense really well!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
Thanks, I was trying to do something a little different this time around.
basric
Dec. 11th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
Original, well written.
ryl
Dec. 11th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
Nice! Never rob a Gideon!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:46 am (UTC)
Hahaha! That would be a cool twist, if HE was THE Gideon.
myrna_bird
Dec. 11th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Great fast-paced story with wonderful descriptions.
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:46 am (UTC)
Why thank you, I'm glad the pacing worked.
muchtooarrogant
Dec. 11th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ouch! From billions to bibles in a heart beat.

Dan
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading!
notodette
Dec. 11th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Great ending!
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Excellent, I had a fairly last minute inspiration. And thanks for commenting.
ellakite
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
But The Word of God has value!
Especially the bit: "THOU SHALT NOT STEAL!"

A gripping tale with a wonderful twist. Thanks for posting it.
irishrosedkm
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:52 am (UTC)
Re: But The Word of God has value!
Insta-karma for sure. Thank you for taking the time to comment :)
solstice_singer
Dec. 12th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Bibles? Definitely not what they were expecting. Very sad Max and Jason had to die for stacks of bibles.

BTW, are bibles usually green? Very curious.
roina_arwen
Dec. 13th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
Ha! Great ending!
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )