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I Am Santo

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Simon turned to look down the hall to the bathroom, his room and the kids’ bedroom. He still felt that figure near, lurking in shadows, but every confronted space revealed nothing. He did a circuit of the house, going as far as to check the closets. One of Kailey’s old baby dolls stared at him with gleefully wide eyes as if it knew what he’d done. He shut the door on its fixed gaze. 

The house appeared empty. Whoever had been inside dropped off the package, knocked over two of his son’s cereal cairns and then left the door open. But he felt that last detail wasn’t an accident. It was as if his employer was saying at any time the door to his life could be cracked, secrets bleeding like warmth into a frigid film The Circle 2017 now

Simon returned to the kitchen, pulled the money from his jeans and placed it on top of the package of identical size awaiting him on the scuffed counter. Peeling a corner revealed it was in fact the rest of his payment. He wanted to count it all, hoping that with every ten hundred-dollar bills he counted his fear and guilt might lessen, but it would take too long. The kids would be home soon with Ellie, the scrawny and pimple-faced teenager from two buildings away that watched them weekdays for a few hours after school. None of them could see any of this.

Grabbing the packages, he rushed down the hall to his bedroom thinking he knew where to keep them safe until tomorrow when Alec and Kailey went to school and he could start counting and planning. He would have to be careful about how he spent it. He couldn’t just get rich overnight. The money would have to be rationed and invested. But immediate needs wouldn’t be a struggle any longer and that made the voice, the blonde, the open door and the shadows seem distant. He thought back to the bloodstain on the carpet in the tenement where he got the gun and wondered how many like him were out there; how many in this blind cycle of murder and forced coincidence? He suddenly imagined his own living room floor stained with blood and he wondered what cause and effect led to that death. If Daneen was part of the cycle, then maybe so was he. As if on cue, something crashed in the bathroom. (To be continued…)

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