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Mystery Thriller Suspense

In a village forgotten by time, kilometers from the British hub of London, George groggily stumbled down the hallway of his two-bedroom house. The floors gave a slight creak under the weight of his steps. When he got to the living room, he put his robe on and opened the curtain in a quick motion. The early morning light was sharp in his still sleepy eyes, but he wanted to take in the morning. 

Hmmm! Saturday! My favourite day of the week and since Alice took the kids to go visit the in-law… 

George’s lips perked upward into a grin, his mind going over his plans for the day. He stretched his back and heard the cracking sound that he had become accustomed to. Sun was shining bright and birds were flying through air, not a care in the world. 

Such a simple life…

Whiiiiiiieeee!

“Ah, the tea!” George said to himself. 

He rushed over to the kettle and took it off the heat. Then, grabbed a cup from the top shelve along with a tea bag, and put the bag inside the cup and the hot water after. Such a simple thing – tea and biscuits, but George couldn’t deny how much he enjoyed them.

Once he had finished his morning routine and dressed for day, he decided he should check the mail first.

Alice might have checked it yesterday when she left but doesn’t hurt to see.

The house was at the end of a long and windy cobblestone road. It, along with almost every other house in the village, were built a long time ago. Most of the roads were still the original stone and hadn’t been paved yet, which made driving a treacherous ordeal. Luckily for George, his job was only a short walk away. Since today was Saturday, however, he had no work. 

Walking up to the antique mailbox, he could see that the red indicator was turned up. 

Hmmm… That’s strange. The mailman stopped caring enough to put that little red thing up years ago.

The mailman was in his sixties and each time he saw George, the most he would greet him with was a nod of his head. After the brief moment George took to ponder the curiosity, he continued toward the mailbox. Upon seeing what it was inside, he blinked.

What’s this?

George reached inside the mailbox and pulled out a single envelope. It was caramel colored, and the texture was rough to the touch. He flipped it over and saw a dark red wax seal that was keeping the envelope closed. It was the kind of envelope you would only see in medieval movies.

There’s no address or any sort of name on here… But it was in my mailbox and the indicator was up…

He stood deep in thought for a few minutes, trying to decide if he should open the envelope or not. 

“Hey neighbour!” The nasally voice of his long-time neighbour Hubert rang in George’s eyes and broke him out of his thoughts.

“Oh hey, Hubie.” George said as he hid the envelope behind his back. “I didn’t think you usually got up this early.”

“And normally you’d be right.” Hubert chuckled as he spoke. He had an odd habit of laughing at his own jokes, even when no one else got the joke. Seeing that George wasn’t laughing along with him, Hubert continued talking. “But mum wanted me to get her some ciggies.” Once he finished talking the chuckling continued.

George knew better than to try and say anything. He just shook his head and nodded. “Well, good luck with that. I’ll see ya’ aroun’.”

He promptly turned and headed back toward his house, leaving Hubert standing alone. Sometimes he felt bad for the middle-aged man. Since he still lived with his mother and had no prospects in life, but right now he had more important issues at hand.

When George got inside, he closed the door behind him and locked it. 

Click.

The coarse texture of the envelope was a constant reminder of what he held in his hand. He brought the mysterious envelope in front of him and laid it down on the table.

What will I do with this? Should I return it back to the post office? Surely, they just made a mistake, and they will know who this belongs to.

George paused for a moment, contemplating the idea. 

No, that won’t do. What if it’s for Alice? I’ll just take a quick peak inside and if it’s not for us then…

Before he could finish his thought, his fingers began to do the work. George pulled out his pocketknife and flicked open the blade, the steel shining in the morning sun that peaked through the curtains. He watched as the sharpened edge cut through the material that kept the secrets inside the envelope. Once the last of the resistance was dealt with, the envelope flew open and George turned it over, the contents falling onto the dining room table.

A single letter?

Since he had gone as far as opening the envelope, he decided he had to read the letter. Grabbing the paper, that was folded down the middle, and starting to read, George’s eyes widened at what it said.

Alice

You must have realized by now that you can’t keep ignoring the directives you have been given. 


It has been nine years since you became “Alice Campbell” but now it is time to return to work. We let you have your vacation time, as requested, and have been nothing but accommodating with you. However, do not believe for a moment that we can be fooled. We do not want a repeat of the Morocco incident.


You have thirty days to deal with the situation you have created and report to headquarters. Failure to do so will result in appropriate punishment.


The Order

George’s head began to spin once he started to read it and only got worse after he finished reading it.

They must have the wrong Alice. This makes no sense! And what is this “situation” that she must deal with? It can’t be referring to… 

As he tried to fit the pieces together in his head, he heard a noise coming from the front door. It sounded like someone was trying to get inside and was fiddling with the lock. Mild panic began to infiltrate his body and he rushed to the living room window. He slowly peeled back one of the blinds, revealing a car parked in their driveway. 

Is that Alice’s car? That doesn’t make sense. She shouldn’t be home until Sunday night. She only left yesterday… 

Instead of going to greet her by the front door, George ran over to the letter, in an attempt to hide the evidence of his nosy behaviour.

Click.

George gulped as he stuffed the envelope in the trash and hid the letter in his pocket. He turned around just in time to see Alice and their two kids come through the door.

“Dad!” The kids yelled in unison as they burst through the door, followed by Alice. She looked at him and smiled her usual warm smile.

“Hi, honey.” She walked up to George and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“H-Hi, love. What are you doing home so soon? I thought you weren’t going to come back until Sunday?” His voice sounded shakier than he had intended as he replied to his wife.

“We thought we’d surprise you.” Alice said and George saw a hint of a strange emotion in her eyes.

“Oh, well, glad you’re back.” He said and let out a breath. The kid running up and down the hallway, lost in play, sounded rhythmic to his ears. George turned around and grabbed a glass with the intention to drink some water. The moisture in his throat had suddenly dried up when his wife entered the house.

After he drank the water he turned back around and was surprised by his wife, who was still standing in front of George. She was silently observing him, and he didn’t recognize the mood she was in. Her eyes seemed cold and distant; it sent a chill down his spine.

“What’s up? Did something happen on the trip?” George said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“Give me the letter.” She replied, sounding monotoned and indifferent.

The shift in her tone surprised George, so much that he took a step backward.

“What letter?” 

“You know which letter. Do not make this difficult.”

How could she possibly know about the envelope and the letter inside? Was she watching me? Or maybe…

“What’s The Order?”

He saw as her expression changed. First, there was a look of anger then understanding. Her dark green eyes seemed almost lizard-like, as her long blonde hair and pale white skin gave her a frightening appearance. Finally, her face went blank and she stared at him.

“I guess there’s no point trying to hide it anymore…” She paused for a second then continued. “They’re my employers, I guess you could say. It’s been that way for centuries. This was my first real vacation for a long time.”

The dizziness returned to George and he grabbed a hold of the wall for support.

“I don’t understand. What are you saying?”

He saw her face became more sorrow filled for a moment then it reverted to a blank expression.

“You were just someone I choose to spend my vacation with. Don’t feel bad, though, I did enjoy our time together.”

No, this woman isn’t my Alice. Something must have happened to her and this creature took her place.

“I do apologize for what I have to do next.” As she said this, two ornate and sharp daggers appeared in each of her hands. 

For a second George was too stunned to react. Luckily, he regained his composure before she could do whatever she intended to. He reached out and grabbed her by the arm.

“Alice…” Tears began to form in his eyes. “You don’t have to do this. We love you…”

His words seemed to get through to her. She blinked and the expressionless look she had cracked and fell away. George heard the sound of the two daggers hitting the ground, but he didn’t take his eyes off of hers.

“I-I-I don’t…” It seemed like she couldn’t find the words to use. So, he leaned in and kissed her, the passion between them wasn’t made up. 

Thinking back on how he met her, he realized that they were red flags. Those warning signs and weird behavior seemed so insignificant because he truly loved his wife.

“Let’s get out of here.” George said to his wife and called for his kids to follow.

“Where will we go? The Order won’t stop until they have me…”

“We’ll go wherever we need to. I just don’t want out family to lose you.” He held his family close in his arms and left the house.


***


“Don’t you think we should get the kids out of the sun?” She said walking toward the man who was lounging in an outdoor recliner. Her long blonde hair, pale skin, and dark green eyes making her stand out among the local population.

“I’ll let you decide. I’m working on my tan.” He said with a smirk. She smiled back and gave him a kiss.

George didn’t think he could get used to living on the run, but it’s funny how people adjust. Of course, his name and appearance had to be changed, that wasn’t a bit deal to him though. At least, the kids seemed to enjoy it, almost like they were constantly on vacation.

“So, you think this could be our home for a while?” He asked, looking around at the pristine blue water and white sand beach they were currently on. 

“This might work for a while.” She replied, a mischievous grin still on her face.

George didn’t know what the future held for his family and that was exciting for him. As long as they were all together, nothing could stop them.  

August 25, 2023 15:58

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2 comments

Wendy M
14:49 Aug 31, 2023

Neat story, leaves itself open for a sequel. Just a slight issue, we don't usually have mailboxes in the UK and certainly bot with flags on, we have our mail put through a letter box in the door and take post to a box on the street. But it doesn't detract from the story.

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Anthony Carello
19:01 Aug 31, 2023

Thanks for the information, I didn't know that. The way i described it is how it is in most rural setting where I live and I was just trying to imagine what it was like in the UK. Glad you enjoyed!

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