Grandma's Cabinet

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Write a story in which a window is broken or found broken.... view prompt

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Crime Friendship Fiction

I thought of friends as transparent windows until a close friend became shadier than any window I ever peered through. 


Her blonde hair fell in ringlets to her shoulder blades. Her green eyes hid behind long, thick lashes. I considered her the prettiest of all my friends, except for one flaw. A tiny scar living above her left eye.


One crack in her surface. 


She said her father gave it to her when he found out where she lived with her mother. She said he nearly beat her to death. She said she had to be hospitalized for two months because of a broken leg. Then she told us her father was murdered in prison during a riot.


Her words fell like tears. 


Nobody in our clique experienced anything like that, so we protected her. It never occurred to us she was lying…


************************************************************


One sweltering summer afternoon, she arrived with a friend of hers I didn’t know. I greeted her with a hug, since I hadn’t seen her since school let out, and I gave her friend a nod. 


“How are you?” I asked, letting her go. “It’s been forever.”


“There’s no time for that now. Are you busy?”


I raised a concerned eyebrow. 


“Why? Did something happen?” 


The other two glanced at each other. 


Their eyes gleamed mischievously with a glee so unnerving they’d have leprechauns scrambling up their rainbows with gold coins raining from their pockets. 


“I need someone to come to my grandmother’s with us. She needs help.”


My eyebrow shot up further.


“What happened?”


“She needs us to come help clean her cabinets.”


Her friend stifled a snicker.


My concern turned to suspicion.


“You need me to help clean your grandmother’s cabinet?” 


“She said she’ll pay us ten bucks each.”


I glanced from one to the other and shrugged. 


“Might as well. I could use the money. I already spent my allowance.”


“So, you’ll come?”


I nodded. She bounced in place before hugging me. 


“Come on,” her friend said, sucking her teeth. “We’re going to be late.”


The three of us made our way through Saint Henri, up Greene Avenue until we were in Westmount. We left Saint Catherine Street and walked through a maze of mansions. Each one more impressive than the next.


“How much further?” I asked, huffing. “We’ve been walking forever.”

We stopped in front of the largest house on Mount Pleasant Avenue. It was so big it could have taken up half of one of my blocks. I couldn’t wait to see the inside, but something didn’t feel right. The bay windows were dark and motionless as they stared down at us. The winding double driveway was void of cars. 


“Are you sure she’s home?” I asked, hesitating, before I followed the others to the door. 


“For sure. Grandma’s always home,” she said as she rang the doorbell.


No one answered. 


She rang it again.


No one answered.


“I hope she’s okay,” she said with a look of worry. “What if something happened to her?”


She rang the bell again.


“Maybe we should check around back?” her friend suggested.


“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”


We followed her around the back through the red rose bushes and apple trees towards a massive deck. She tried the door, but it wouldn’t budge. She looked at her friend, who nodded, picked up a smooth stone, and smashed in the door’s window. She stuck her hand through the broken glass and unlocked the door. 


“Oh, my God!” I cried out.


“There we go,” she said, holding the door open for us.


“What the hell?” I retreated.


“Oh, come on. Stop being such a pussy,” her friend said. “We’ve got to hurry.”


“Why?” I asked, scanning the area before following them in.

“Where’s your grandmother?”


They didn’t answer me. Instead, they rushed upstairs, and returned several minutes later with their jacket pockets stuffed and their empty bags full. 


“What’s going on?” 


“What do you think, stupid? We’re cleaning cabinets,” her friend replied. “Time to split.”


They gave each other props and headed for the door. I was still trying to figure out what had happened when sirens blared from outside the house. 


“Shit, run!” she said. She and her friend bolted for the back door. 


The realization that she had lied to me and that the mansion wasn’t her grandmother’s finally struck me. I was in the middle of an honest-to-God B&E. We broke into someone’s house. We robbed the place—or at least that was what the cops were going to think. Panic pounded through my lungs, shaking my ribcage. 


Paralyzed, I watched as she stumbled and dropped her bag. She cursed and snatched it up as someone banged on the front door. My legs only budged once I heard the police announce themselves. 


I had to move as quick as a greyhound on the racetrack if I didn’t want to get caught.


I was not a greyhound. 


Neither was she.


But her friend was—not only was she fast, but she hopped the fence like a kangaroo.


The last I saw of her friend was a red ponytail bopping through the neighbor’s yards.


“How could you do this?” I scowled. 


“It wasn’t my idea,” she said as she searched for the best path.

“Don’t follow me.” 


She ran around the corner of the mansion.


Trusting her, I split the other way, hoping to make a clean getaway.


I wasn’t that lucky.


Four cops surrounded me beside the building. There was nowhere to run, unless I jumped over the wooden fences, but I wasn’t agile enough. A massive hand grabbed me from behind as I tried scrambling over a lower section of the fence. A squeak escaped my lips. 


Within seconds, I was on the ground, being handcuffed and mirandized. 


Her screams pounded in my ears as she struggled with the police. 

She kicked and screamed as they shoved her into the back of a cop car. They forced me into another. She kicked at windows that wouldn’t break, punching at the glass. The cops scolded her while two more joined me in the car, revved up the engine, and backed out of the driveway.


I stared at her through the window until I lost sight of her.


Confused and angry, tears slipped down my cheeks as we drove to the station. I couldn’t believe she got me involved in all of this, yet I couldn’t help but worry about her. 


***********************************************************


“What’s your name?” a detective in a brown suit with a black tie asked. I couldn’t tell if he was frowning under his thick mustache.

“If you don’t tell me what your name is, you’re going straight behind bars.”


“Nancy King.”


“Where do you live?”


“1219 Saint Philippe.”


“What’s your phone number?”


“555-487-9384.”


“Is that your phone number or your parents?”


“My parents. I can’t have a cell until I’m fifteen.”


He asked me some more questions about my age, birthday, my parents’ names, their jobs—basically, he asked about my entire life. I gave him frank answers because the information was easily accessible, and I wasn’t about to let him throw me in the jail cell.


“Tell me what happened today.”


I didn’t say a word.


“Nancy, tell me what happened.”


“I don’t rat.”


“Nancy, if you don’t tell me—”


The office door swung open. 


An officer guided her towards a chair beside me.


“Watch out for this one. She’s trouble.”


“I didn’t do anything,” she cried. She looked at me with such fear in her eyes. I wanted to hug her and tell them to leave her alone. “It was her! It was all Nancy’s idea. I didn’t do anything.”


I gasped.


My heart froze into an iceberg floating in the Arctic. 


How could she?


I stayed quiet. My older brother warned me about talking to the police. I gave them my basic information, because it wasn’t snitching, but I said nothing else. 


The detective glanced from me to her and back. 


“Hold off on that. You can explain yourself once I ask you a few questions. What’s your name?”


She bit her lip, her eyes searching the room.


“Sara Black.”


It took everything in me to keep my face still. I knew my face was expressive. I knew it could give her away. A part of me wanted to tell them she was lying, but I stayed quiet.


“What’s your address?”


“I’m homeless.”


Homeless?


“Homeless?” Concern softened his features. 


“Yes, I’ve been living on the street for a few months now. My mom kicked me out.”


No, she didn’t.


“Well, we’ll have to call social services to help find a place for you.”


Her face dropped.


“No, my mom will kill me. You don’t understand how bad she is.”


She had the sweetest mother in the world. 


“We’ll call social—”


“No, don’t do that,” she shrieked, her eyes searching for the right thing to say. “I live with my father, but he’s going to beat me if he finds out I got arrested.”


Isn’t her father dead? She told us he was dead. 


“Well, if that’s the case, we still need to call social services.”


“No! No, you don’t.” She let out a long breath. “Please, don’t do that. I didn’t do anything. It was all her idea. She forced me.”


My eyes hardened. My lips tightened. It took everything in me not to scream at her.


“Tell me your parents’ number, now, or you’re going in the cell. Do you hear me?”


“It’s 555-937-8475.”


No, it’s not.


“I hope it is because you’re not leaving until we talk to one of your parents.” He picked up the phone. “Are they home now?”


“No, they’re at work.”


“Where do they work?”


She didn’t say anything.


“Sara, do you want to go to jail?”


“My name’s not Sara.”


Finally, the truth comes out.


“It’s Valery Dunken.”


No, it’s not.


Once she used our friend’s name, my mouth soured, my nose wrinkled, and it took everything in me not to call her a bold-faced liar.


“Why did you give me a fake name?”


“I’m scared.”


“We need to call your parents. This time tell me the truth.”


“Can’t I just go home? I didn’t do anything. It was all Nancy.”


My hands closed into fists, but I didn’t move. 


“Nancy, I want you to go with the officer and wait outside.”


I glared at her before I stood up to leave. She wouldn’t look at me—couldn’t look at me.


Anger boiled in my belly as I waited for the detective to call me back in his office.


My parents arrived before she came out, so I couldn’t confront her. I wanted to know why she would do such a thing. Why she wouldn’t stop lying.


The detective tried talking to me once more, but I wouldn’t say a word. He told me about the silent alarm and a list of missing belongings. He drilled me with questions, but I wouldn’t say a word.


Frustrated, he released me to my parents’ custody.


Just as we were leaving, her mother showed up with a man. I’d met her mom previously, but I never laid eyes on the man before.


“We’re here for my daughter,” he said, passing his identification to the woman upfront. “My name’s Tom Day.”


That was her last name. He really was her father. 


She’s so full of shit. She was lying to us the whole time. Wait until I tell everyone.


My face burned with rage. Pure rage. 


How could she lie to everyone like that?


I couldn’t even look at her once I left. 


The drive home was a quiet one. Mom only spoke once we were in our driveway and Dad had left the car.


“We’re not impressed,” Mom lectured. “We forbid you from talking with her anymore. Oh, and you’re grounded.”


I opened my mouth to argue that I was innocent, but one look from Mom in the rearview mirror had me snapping it shut. 


************************************************************


I never talked to her again—neither did anyone else in our clique.


The last I heard of her was that she had to see a psychiatrist because she lied so much to the detective. I laughed when I heard that tidbit of gossip—and I didn’t feel bad about it. 


Friendships as shady as hers couldn’t be repaired. The window was too broken, the glass too dark, and the shards too sharp. 

It was a lesson I’d never forget.


June 10, 2021 20:30

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8 comments

Lee Kendrick
14:52 Jun 14, 2021

Your characters are very realistic and jump out of the story! Great idea using the window analogy to nancy's friend's personality. At just one point, I got a little lost with assuming who the person was talking to. Also, maybe you should mention the characters' names more than using she and her. Sorry to be a pain I think the word review you meant 'rearview mirror'. But other than that a great little story Trina. Lee Kendrick

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15:43 Jun 14, 2021

Thank you for catching that, Lee! I fixed it right away. It was a complete brain fart on my part. I purposely never mention "her" name ever. All of the names she gave were lies. It was something I was trying out artistically, it was a bit difficult keeping who was who straight. I thought I caught any confusions... Thank you for so much feedback!

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Cole Lane
02:52 Jun 12, 2021

Trina! Your stories always have so much rich focus on the characters, I seriously wanted Nancy to just give her up, roast this girl who obviously was a serial liar. It didn't seem like any part of her was redeemable! lol This was a short story packed with emotion, like all of your work brings! Loved it!!

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12:16 Jun 12, 2021

Thanks Cole! She was definitely not the best friend to have. I'm happy you enjoyed the story! :)

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Lucilla Pion
20:45 Jun 10, 2021

Lessons learned

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17:17 Jun 30, 2021

Wow. That...just happened. I thought something shady was going on, but I never realized they were going to break into someone's house! Leprechauns probably WOULD be scrambling back up their rainbows. A few critiques: 1) "We left Saint Catherine Street and walked through a maze of mansions. Each one more impressive than the next." There should be a comma after "mansions", and "each" shouldn't be capitalized. 2) Sometimes it was hard to follow who is talking to who, especially when the best friend is nameless. Thanks for the great story!

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22:51 Jun 30, 2021

Thank you so much for the feedback! I think it might have been clearer if I had made the nameless friend a guy. I'll know for next time, if I ever try something like that again. I'm glad you liked the story!

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13:19 Jul 01, 2021

No problem! Happy writing! :)

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