Suspense Crime Thriller

I arrive at my sister Jess's house and make my way into the dining room, taking the last seat around the table. There's a bowl of piping hot pumpkin soup waiting in front of us. Here I find all of my family which includes Jess and her boyfriend Jack. My brother Joah, his wife, Tia, and both our parents.

'You're late Anna.' teases Joah, though there's a heaviness to his words.

'By five minutes.' I say.

'Six.' He corrects.

I roll my eyes, 'That's something Jack would say.' Everyone looks away. I scan their faces until I fall on Jack who is strangely slumped in the corner, arms crossed and glowering at the floor like it had just insulted him. Everyone seems tense, glancing at each other nervously. I could tell they had been having an important conversation before I got here. I hate that I am left out.

'So... why are we all here?' I ask warily. Mum and Dad glance at Jess. Jess glances at Jack. Tia and Joah silently communicate something.

I frown as no one answers me.

Alright then. I glance at Jack again, something is not right. So I fix my mouth into the most pleasant smile I can muster and go to ask Jack if he's alright, but Jess senses what I'm about to do and cuts in.  

'Anna~' she starts but I speak over the top of her.

'Jack,' I say. 'Are you alright?'

Jack whips his head up and glares at me. 'What? Do you think I'm not? Hu? Think my brain messed up like the rest of them eh? Go on, say it!' He spits, tone like acid.

'Err.' I say, taken aback, what is he talking about?

'Jack.' Jess says soothingly. But he stands up and starts to scream.

'You all think I don't have ears! Think I don't know what you say behind my back! You don't understand!' He wipes the vase of flowers off the table. There is a collective gasp and a scream from Jess as it shatters between her and Tia. Taking her bowl with it. Jack storms out of the house leaving broken picture frames in his wake. 

Jess is in tears, and Tia's supporting her.

'What happened?' I say, and this time I am answered.

'Jack.' sobs Jess. 'I... I think his brain is getting sick, and I’ve tried everything but I’m scared that he is spending too much time with the gangsters at the bowling alley. They're a bad influence and..' Jess weeps harder into Tia's shoulder, I look at the rest of the family but they shrug helplessly. 


It was an unexpected text from Jess.


Jess: Everyone to my house at 1. I've got news. Bad news.

I hurry through the door, looking around frantically for everyone else. Today I'm not late. I find them in the dining room, everyone there. Except Jack. I prepare myself for the worst.

I sit at the table. There's no pumpkin soup this time. Jess clears her throat, getting everyone's attention quickly.

'Thanks for coming.' She says in her soft voice. 'As you probably have noticed Jack isn't here tonight.' Her voice cracked at the mention of her boyfriend. 

'He hasn't been,' she paused, trying to figure out how to best put it. 'himself lately, been out with his friends most of the time.' My brain was spinning trying to piece the clues together.

Silent tears are now flowing down her face but she manages to push out her last sentence.  

'Last night, he.. he did a stupid, silly, thing... he's committed an armed robbery and now he's in a holding cell at the police station.' And then Jess broke down. Mum and Tia comforted her. Dad and Joah turned, muttering quietly under their breaths. I sit there dumbstruck, my jaw slack and blinking furiously, my brain whizzing around like a blender. The last of Jess's sentences bounced around in my head, over and over. He's in a holding cell at the police station. Armed robbery.

I tried to prepare myself.

But it wasn't enough.

It still feels like a slap in the heart.

Though the shock was agonizing.

Our poor, sweet Jack. Why would he ever do something like this? It doesn't seem like him at all. But what if... My brain goes werling, and I try to make it slow down, I hate how my heart swells with hope. I shouldn't get my hopes up. I just need to see it first.

'Jess,' I say who is no longer crying. 'Where did Jack go yesterday before the robbery?' She thinks hard and says. 'The bowling alley with the gangsters. Why?'

‘Is that where they always go?’

‘Pretty sure.’

'Come on, we need to go.' 

We arrive in the parking lot and there is one black car, parked under a tree. My heart jumps, this might just work. We silently make our way inside, I told Jess the plan. I hope it works. Inside the place is full of spiderwebs and broken mouldy furniture, and we hear a low grumbling of men's voices. I signal to be quiet and to follow me. Their on the couches on the bowling lanes and there's a wall of bowling balls and other couches separating us. Me and Jess creep up behind and I pull out my phone and start recording.

They ramble for a while and don't say anything interesting until ten minutes after I started to record.

'You know what happened to the new guy, Jack? I haven't seen him for a while now.' Said one man who had a sandpaper-like voice.

'Hu!' You don't know?' Said a second deep voice. 'The boss gave him a mission to steal from someone's house, you know, to test him right.'

'Right.' Said the first guy.

'You know, the boss blackmailed him to do it. Then called the police on him!' said the deep voice like reading out the punchline to a joke. The men laughed, then finally.

'Why'd he do it Mark?' The first guy asked.

'Do what?' Mark said.

'Turn him in? We could'a use him.' 

'Oh, the boss didn't like him very much. Could tell he wasn't going to do very well. So he got rid of him. Isn’t safe if he's roming about knowing stuff about us. It’s better this way.' Mark gruffed. 'Any way Mike, we might go now eh?'

'Nah, one more drink.' Mike replied.

And so they babbled about different beers and didn't hear Jess and I slip out of the bowling alley, and make our way to the police whooping with joy.

Jack is going to be set free.

December 16, 2023 04:18

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.