I almost forgot to write a Steffie story for Pete this week!
Steffie at the Beach
by Marian Allen
It was almost a perfect vacation.
Steffie’s job was very stressful, requiring eternal vigilance. She really needed the occasional holiday, tucked away in some secluded spot, where she could relax and just be.
The week had been like that. The agency had safe houses all over the world, but Steffie’s favorite was the one near the Atlantic side of Tybee Island off Georgia (the on in the United States). Early December was definitely the off-season, so she had the beach almost to herself.
Maybe it was the solitude that made the man think burglary and armed robbery were good ideas. He may have considered rape, as well; Steffie certainly woke with him looking down at her.
At first, she thought he had had too much to drink and was in the wrong cottage. Or that he was a person with Special Needs, like her brother, and had come in because he didn’t see boundaries and just wanted to chat.
She began with an assumption of harmlessness. She was on vacation, after all.
“Are you lost?”
“That’s a nice change,” the man said. “People usually ask me if I’m saved.” He grinned and eyed the shape of Steffie’s body under the covers. “I’m not, by the way. Killed a guy. Gotta get off island, and stopped to grab some cash and sellables.” He drew a knife and flicked it open. “Got any?”
So much for harmlessness.
Steffie nodded toward the dresser. “My purse is over there. Jewelry in the top right drawer.”
As if she’d brought jewelry to the beach.
The instant he fell for the distraction, she erupted from the bed, enfolding his knife hand in both of hers and driving it up and back, plunging the blade into his throat.
Out of habit, she checked for a pulse, although experience had taught her that a dead person doesn’t look anything but dead, almost immediately. It was her good luck that he had fallen directly onto the area rug. She dragged it, with its inert passenger, to the French window overlooking the ocean and slid him out for an impromptu burial at sea.
“Ashes to ashes,” she intoned, “and dust to dust. If the life doesn’t get you, the stupidity must.”
Back in the bedroom, she was irritated to see a few drops of blood on the area rug. Fortunately, the rug was of light colors, so she could take care of that.
“One bottle of this can replace so many expensive products with their attendant chemicals and additives,” she said in a tone of cheerful instruction. “Be sure to test on an inconspicuous area, unless the fabric you’re cleaning is light in color. Peroxide is a bleach, after all.” She dabbed at the bloodstains. “We’ll just leave that, and come back to check on it in the morning.”
Maybe, when she retired from the business, she’d do a YouTube series on cleaning. She’d worked her way up from cleaner to operative, after all, and had a wealth of experience to share. She could just do a voice-over, so she wouldn’t have to worry that someone on the other side would recognize her. Just show her hands. The only people who had seen her hands in any detail were no longer available to identify them.
She yawned, washed her hands, and crawled back into bed.
Almost a perfect vacation.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: peroxide, saving money, Steffie for Pete Laberge, Tybee Island
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