Karma – A Short Story – Part 4

Celia discovers their ‘saviour’, Vincent Grant, is not who he seems…

KARMA – Part 4

Celia scrubbed at a stubborn stain on the bench top, sighing when she realised she had rubbed too hard and scratched the cheap laminate. She wasn’t concentrating on what she was doing, instead reliving the argument she’d had the night before with Hamish.Girl staring at sea

“How could you not tell me this man was buying our house? Blood money! That’s what it is! He’s paying for it with money he’s taken from his murder victims!” Celia threw the laptop onto the bed. “See? He’s been in gaol under suspicion of having murdered another gangster – a Russian one!”

Hamish blinked slowly and rubbed his chin, his fingers rasping against his whiskers, sounding to Celia’s frayed nerves like fingernails on a blackboard. He glanced at the screen, closed the window and switched off the laptop. He pushed it aside and patted the bed.

“Come here and sit down,” he’d said. “You’re getting yourself in a  tizzy about nothing.”

“Nothing? Did you even read what it said? He shot somebody! And in a busy restaurant too! What if he’d killed an innocent person?”

“But he got acquitted! You read it – it’s there in the article. The jury pronounced him not guilty of murder and they let him go!”

“There’s no smoke without fire!” Celia shot back. “Besides, what sort of man brings a gun when he goes out to dinner? A bloody mobster, that’s who! Damn you Hamish! What have you got us into?”

Hamish shook his head. “Nothing! He wants to buy our house and it’s his money that allows us to buy our dream house! Who cares where his money comes from? Besides, we’ve got no proof he got his money through crime!”

Celia snorted.

“And I would never have thought you, of all people, would be so willing to judge somebody on the basis of something that happened over five years ago—”

“How dare you!” Celia rounded on Hamish. “How dare you bring up my dead brother just so you can justify taking money from a gangster!” She turned away and hugged her arms to her body.

Hamish jumped out of bed and tried to pull her towards him. Celia shook him off. “Get away from me… I hate you!”

Hamish was silent as though collecting his thoughts. “C—” he whispered, trying again to get her to face him. “Listen to me, please!” Celia said nothing, still keeping her arms crossed and keeping her distance. Hamish tried again. “Celia… tell me you don’t want the house on the beach and I’ll ring Grant right now and tell him we’ve changed our minds. We can stay here—” he waved his arm, “—in this humble little home…oh damn it, Celia! I don’t want to stay here! We’ve done our time here – now it’s time to move on… to something better. We’ve earned it. I’ve earned it. I didn’t leave that bloody firm so I could keep living like a boring suburbanite. I want to move up. I’ve got ambition. I want to be able to invite my clients to my beautiful house on the beach with my beautiful wife on my arm! I want to make it! Don’t you?”

Celia remained silent. Hamish threw both hands in the air.

“What is wrong with you? You’re a bloody ball-breaker Celia. As long as you get what you want, you don’t give a shit about what I want! You’re as bad as my bloody mother! She was always putting my Dad down – a real bloody wet blanket she was. Whenever he came up with a new idea or wanted to take us all to some exotic place for a holiday, she always found a reason we couldn’t do it!” He yanked at his hair. “And now I’ve married a woman just like her! And I swore I never would!” Hamish pulled his pillow off the bed and stalked from the room.

Celia had no idea where he slept the rest of the night and he was gone by the time she woke. Had she been unreasonable last night? She didn’t think so. And he was unfair. Dragging up her brother and likening her to his mother whom she knew he hated. He was a mean pig and she was glad she didn’t have to talk to him this morning. Celia squeezed out the kitchen sponge, flung open the cupboard door and hurled it into the plastic tub beneath the sink. She slammed the door shut. She’d better get going or she’d be late for morning yard duty. Then she heard a soft plop from inside the cupboard. What the hell was that?

Hoping it wasn’t a mouse or a rat, Celia opened the cupboard gingerly. A plastic bag, about six inches by four inches filled with a white powder, lay on the bottom of the cupboard.

What? No way! Celia picked up the bag and weighed it in her hand. It was heavy and she was certain it wasn’t talcum powder.

“Hamish,” she groaned aloud. “What have you done?”

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