The Package

in finishthestory •  7 months ago  (edited)


I'm happy to be able to present this post. It is my entry into Finish the Story Contest hosted by the @bananafish.

The Package

by @gaby-crb

Condensation clung to the window, occasionally releasing a surge that cleared a path making the outside world visible. The cold white light refracted in the tiny water droplets. It was pretty, Shannon thought, as her breath spread across the cold window.

She checked her phone, the bright screen dazzling her. Her eyes darted to the mirror. The baby didn’t stir, still sound asleep in his comfortable car seat. She checked the time, the numbers read 23:46. There was no message.

She slipped it back into her coat pocket, wrapping her fingers around each other in an attempt to bring them back to life.

The CD stopped playing, the story finished. She pressed replay. The kid would no doubt wake up if it went silent. The story started up from the beginning. It was one she had listened to herself as a child. The narrator had a soothing voice, Shannon felt calm despite her predicament.

She checked her phone again. Still no message. Her eyes darted back to the boy, his blond hair showing underneath his fluffy hat. His cheeks pink. His blue eyes hidden beneath heavy eyelids.

A gloved hand rapped against the window. Shannon jumped, she quickly rolled down the window.

A clean shaven man ducked his head down to look at her.

“You have the package?”

His eyes glanced around the car, resting a few moments on the sleeping boy before returning to her face.

She nodded, her heart hammering in her chest. This was the first time she had done something like this.

She removed the key from the ignition and opened her door, the man stepped out of the way. She was not surprised to measure up as shorter than him. She fumbled with the key in her hand. She found it hard to swallow.

“How many times do I have to do this?”

Her voice shook. She wrapped her arms around herself, giving her hands something to grip onto.

“Until you’ve paid what you owe.”

His voice clawed at her insides. He stepped closer, a hungry look in his eye.

Shannon shivered. She was mentally kicking herself for getting into debt. But there was only one thing she could do now.


The light moisture in the air got heavier with every step they took toward the building. She almost slipped from the mushy and slippery sticks and twigs beneath their feet. She tugged at the collar of her coat hoping to hide her shame from the glittering animals' eyes off in the distance. She told herself over and over that this was for her baby.

She looked at the building's glass. The different hues produced by the green and red neon lights on the inside of the building painted a Rorschach test through the droplets of water. Fear wanted to take her over as her mind caught glimpses of demons lashing and then she saw herself taking part in the beating of her baby. The image repulsed her and made her want to vomit.

A black umbrella next to a half-beaten up bench, the crowbars lying around, pressed up against the glass window as if pleading to escape the cold chill.

The man gripped the steel door handle and swung the door open.

She glanced back, hoping to see movement coming from inside the car. She desperately wanted him to wake up and start crying so that she could stall for time. A little snoring along with the story was all that she heard through her walkie-talkie.

"He'll be fine," said the man, his bulging neck covered with blue, think veins tighten as he spoke.

The knot tightened in her stomach.

She walked through the door into a revolving door that spat her out into a large, deteriorated room. Glancing around, she caught sight of a graffitied wall beside a rusty column that had a boy with glasses on and a pen in hand sitting on a crate with the written message, "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings" - Diogenes.

How could you have been so stupid to get caught up in debt with a Hampton? she asked scorning herself.

Sounding like a robot behind a block of ice, the man said, "This way," as he gently tapped her shoulder.

She followed him to a pool, The pool was shallow and had a manikin floating in it, with a yellow wig and nails sticking out of its face. Around the pool was overgrown grass and another manikin, this one in the shape of a deer with a paper bullseye taped to its body.

The man pressed a hidden button behind a fake facet. Up out of the ground came Dr. Utopia in a white lab coat sitting in a comfy chair decorated with bikes, cars, and boats in various positions and colors. While his face remained emotionless, the man watched her face cringe slightly when the doctor's face was briefly illuminated by a sliver of light.

Collecting herself, she withdrew the small brown package from her inside pocket and held it out for the doctor to see.

"This is the serum you asked for."

"Leave it at your feet. Your next instructions will be delivered soon. Be gone now. ... oh, and take something for the baby on your way out."


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There are some really beautiful detailed descriptions in here;

She almost slipped from the mushy and slippery sticks and twigs beneath their feet.

I definitely would have slipped on this :)

A black umbrella next to a half-beaten up bench, the crowbars laying around, pressed up against the glass window as if pleading to escape the cold chill.

This adds to the creepy vibes you maintain throughout your entry, especially Dr. Utopia and the abandoned pool location.

I have only a small suggestion;

The pool was shallow and had a manikin with a yellow wig on and nails sticking out of its face floating face up.

The pool was shallow and had a manikin floating in it, with a yellow wig and nails sticking out of its face.

This just removes the repetition of the word face, as you had described the nails being in the face so you don't need to clarify the manikin as face up. Hope this makes sense.

Yes, that makes sense. I was struggling with making that make sense so I'm glad you said something.

I did surprise myself with the way of my descriptions. I'm glad you liked them as well.

I never imagined the original story set in a car would end up in such a creepy dilapidated place and even creepier bossman in a pool. I love where your imagination takes you. It really pulled me in once she entered the doors and had no idea where you were going with it.

And I never want to know what he wanted the baby to have...never.

You have Grammarly listed at the end of your post. Running it through that probably would have helped you with a couple of typos, or not. I prefer ProWriting Aid now but neither of them is foolproof.


I surprised myself with how this turned out.

lol ... They baby may like it. 8-)

Grammarly did not help me with those typos even though I have it on as I type. I'll have to wait on a paid writing program for reasons you're aware of. If you want to point out those errors, feel free too.

Thanks @ntowl

OK, if it will help.

"The light moister" should be "The light moisture" (I'm assuming. I didn't understand "moister" here)

"demons giving lashing" better as "demons lashing"

"in the beating her baby" should be "in the beating of her baby" or "in beating her baby"

"the crowbars laying around," should be "the crowbars lying around," [don't worry I never get lay/lie/laid/layed/etc. right either.]

So not so bad. I threw your part into ProWriting Aid and it was just as useless as Grammarly. It only noticed the "laying" vs. "lying" thing. Oh and it didn't recognize some words you had correct like "graffitied" .

So the tools help but don't catch everything. And self editing is hard so hold your head high!

As I've siad bfroee, wtiouht selpl ccehk, I'd be lsot. Gmmraaly has its pcale - slpel ckchineg my wdros is the lseat of its wierros. 8-) LOL

Thanks for the edits. Changing now.

Those lay/lie/laid/layed/etc. get me almost every time.

They get me EVERY time. I always look it up, then end up confused again. I think I have trauma from a previous life or something where I laid while lying and then lied about it.

Enjoyed the story. Interesting character with Dr. Utopia. Sounds like a series?

It very well could be. One of these days I'll develop the courage to write more of a series type of thing.

Series are a great way to go. Trying to develop The Lords of Hemp. First I need to get to present day. Steemit really helping me get a feel for the characters.

Oh wow, the descriptions you use here really open a window into an immersive moment.

The light moisture in the air got heavier with every step they took toward the building

You capture the descriptive tone from the first half perfectly, you come in so strong on that opening line and you maintain that beautifully level through out. The line about doing this for her baby, you feign fantastically this is going to be a gritty tale of something else. There are so many lines here I want to compliment, but it would be most of them! <3<3 So i am just going to say you do an amazing job of the scene settings, the descriptions, the back ground and that the hints of personification add to the scene and the atmosphere so very well! The building, the boy and the quote, then the pool with the manikins, they work very well as background elements that add to the whole story, Especially the featuring of manikins, on one side the floating in the pool, the target is almost threat like, on another side it creates this surreal party vibe.

The plot is well put together, and you walk a line of portrayal very well, leaving it so the reader can decide how "bad" this situation really is. Intrigued by the serum, and what it could be that she was able to procure, and this Dr Utopia, sounds like someone i'd like to meet lol

to end it like this

take something for the baby on your way out

it's just such a good touch, letting the readers projection and assumption reach a culmination where they are forced to take one side or another, and see it is something nice, or something not so nice.

As always, insightful review.

I'm glad I was able to stay consistent throughout the piece. So often in these, I want to write, "and then there was an alien that did some shit. The end." lol

I really like that last line as well. One person said that they didn't want to know what she could take for the baby. 8-)