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The McManus Job

Author since 2023 1Story 2 Followers
The McManus Job

19:00

Evening at the McManus estate – a postmodern building with large glass windows.

The sun is setting and your mother and father are arguing silently in the kitchen. Their mouths open and close, but there is no sound. None but the wind. The couple bicker as they orbit around a fairly nice-looking joint kitchen and garden space. They’re cleaning it up, making it look better, squabbling over what goes where and when. Your mother was always told to marry someone who complimented her extremes, but in some respects, her and her husband’s sensibilities are frustratingly similar. Infectious OCD is one of them.

Still, they know their limits with arguments. She shouts a little too loud, or knocks something over, and he moves to comfort her. She falls into his arms and all is forgiven. A quick pep talk later, they’re back to preparing their abode, wordlessly this time. The guests are arriving in one hour. ”One hour.” It’s right there on the stopwatch. The place is almost ready, leaving them time to catch up on their new show before the first guest arrives.

All is well. It’ll be a good night, one they’ve been looking forward to. There’s just not been a lot of activity around their place for a while. But they’re not out of practice, only paranoid. Or is that only what they tell themselves?

Who’s to say?

19:42

You, Hailey McManus, emerge from your bedroom, where you have been all day. Your parents have forced you to take a shower, but you are still dressed in pyjamas, toothpaste stains down your shirt. Listlessly, you trot downstairs and grab a snack from the fridge – something light, just to soothe your appetite. As you take the first step up the staircase, there’s a knock from the other side of the house.

”That’ll be my uncle,” you think. Your suspicions are confirmed when you unlock the front door. He’s annoyingly early. He’s ”always” annoyingly early, and he’s got a big white grin on his big white face, which is half-propped against a case of beers.

He yells something merry as he walks in. The noise jostles Mr. Brown from his half-sleep in the living room, where Homes Under the Hammer has been spilling the drool from his mouth. He shakes Mrs. Brown, who is snoring, pressed up guiltily against his shoulder, and rushes to the hallway. Brief, trivial conversation is made, concluding with yourself being given the chore of taking the drink to the kitchen.

Afterwards, you head back upstairs, as you had previously intended to do. You’re not ready to socialise yet, not fully, and your uncle’s appearance has caught you off guard. But at least you’re not your dad, having to put up with his forever-energised brother’s chatter while his wife slinks off to the garden to have a cigarette. Only a menthol one, though. She’s trying to cut back.

20:15

More have arrived. A lot more. A few aunts, nephews, cousins, friends. Ultimately unimportant people. One woman has a ridiculous hat. It’s not the look she thinks it is. It will likely be universally mocked after she leaves.

Your father raps his hand on your door. He has had a quarter of a glass of wine and some microwaved breadsticks. Downstairs, they are laughing. The uncle tells a joke about his brother’s growing bald spot, causing everyone to guffaw quietly. You, meanwhile, are getting ready. Doing your hair, picking out what to wear, all that boring stuff. Your dad tells you to hurry up and get downstairs so everyone can make fun of somebody else. Or something like that.

You probably ask if your ex, the benefactor, is coming.

He’s an interesting character. You’ve only broken up recently, and it was a messy one. You’re mostly indifferent; you never anticipated the relationship lasting long (especially once you started doing those online photoshoots for a bit of quick money) but the man is devastated and wants to at least remain friends. Naturally, you’ve given him the cold shoulder.

His recent habits had started to grate on you, anyway. He’d been spending far too much time on the internet, and the sites he was accessing were…disturbing. Borderline illegal, even. Not on a sexual level…but that was just what he showed you. Your parents, naturally ignorant of the web, were sympathetic, however. They’ve invited him tonight as a way to patch things up. Or so they hope. At the end of the day, it’s up to you if you want to go downstairs, but people are coming that you haven’t seen in years, whose stories and jokes and gossip you wish to partake in…

It’s surely worth the risk.

21:11

Everyone is here. The populace takes up three meticulously arranged tables altogether, pushed into a rectangular formation. You are sat with mostly close family, who are enjoying themselves to various extents. Off in the corner, a middle aged woman’s eyes are fluttering at her oblivious friend’s chatter, looking like she’d rather be anywhere else. Meanwhile, the youngest among you, a boy no older than 9, is engrossed in the reward systems of his grimy iPad. To his credit, he’s having a lot of fun.

You’re sat rather untraditionally at the head of the table, thinking of how the flow of alcohol is loosening lips. Whether it’s bragging about an adult experience or just letting loose some innuendos, the only thing spoiling your time is the manifestation of your clingy ex sat across from you.

He’s been staring whenever he thinks he can get away with it unnoticed, despite the fact that you haven’t exchanged a word. Inwardly, you plead someone will notice. Maybe he’ll start getting really weird, like touchy-feely, and your dad will have no choice but to quickly and quietly escort him from the premises. Sadly, the man’s false charisma has managed to infect those around you, which really gets under your skin. Must be something to do with all that money he has.

A phone alarm goes off, setting off your easily frightenable grandmother. Your father stands up and saunters to the kitchen amidst the coos of guests. He comes back holding a huge pink ham sat in its own juices between a pair of singed oven gloves, wetting everyone’s mouths. The serving begins immediately, even though your mother has not finished couriering the vegetables and gravy to the table. That’s just how you do things.

With a smile, you temporarily forget your troubles and sink your teeth into the meal. It’s delicious, as expected. You chew and swallow and laugh and talk and despite everything, have a good time. You even savour the moment.

Elsewhere, a quiet creak infiltrates the otherwise noiseless night. But no-one hears.

22:17

A kind guest begins collecting plates, signifying the meal’s end. You finish your last mouthful of broccoli and lean back in your chair, satiated but not stuffed. A few people have to depart straight away, but most stay for a little more drink and chat. The living room is filled and the TV switched on to satisfy the children. Bellies are full and people are tired. The night is winding down, but outside, it’s getting colder and colder.

There is nothing much to report. Not yet, anyway.

23:22

As the striking of the midnight hour grows ever closer, a steady flow of satisfied relatives trickle out the door. It feels good having seen everyone again. Talking throughout the night has reassured you how close you are as a family. So much so, in fact, that even though not everyone’s left, your parents have already gone up to bed. Their sleep will be aided by thick walls and nice dreams.

You, meanwhile, are in the downstairs bathroom, having revelled in the glory of coming back from the death throes of a Monopoly game. Your enthusiasm for prosecco has left you feeling slightly drunk as you do your business and think about going to bed…even though you’re not tired. Looks like another night of staying up late scrolling social media.

You get one of the biggest frights of your life when you open the door to see your ex standing across from you. You thought he’d already left. Clearly not.

There’s a moment where you can’t read him. His naturally neutral exterior holds the moment in balance, almost like he doesn’t notice you. It feels oddly mechanical. You take a step back, and the man’s face strains into a smile. His eye twitches and he nods at you, one of those tiny courtesy nods. You open your mouth to speak but he takes a stride, clearly ignoring you. ”Fucking asshole,” is what you think as he sidesteps you and disappears around a corner on his way outside.

The weirdness of the whole situation catches you, but you shrug it off. Whatever. It’s not like you should feel the slightest bit upset. Why would you be? He was the one who couldn’t get over ”you,” not the other way around. Now that he’s revealed himself as a complete manchild, you couldn’t be happier. He’s gone for good – it should be cause for celebration!

Funny how that works.

23:24

You stumble over to the stairs and lift a foot, only to hear some noise coming from the kitchen. Curious, you decide to investigate.

Opening the door reveals a man who’s stayed behind. A polite man. He’s piling his plates up and putting them on the side, by the sink. He’s rinsing his cutlery. He’s wiping some mess off the counter. He’s being a great guest, and (most importantly)…

He’s very attractive.

Not quite supermodel-level, but you would consider him out of your league. Jet black hair and a sharp jawline – there’s a good chance he’s had a bit of work done, but only a little touch-up; nothing that would leave his face looking like a melting plastic bubble. He certainly works for you, is what I’m trying to say. You can tell because you’ve completely frozen and your heart is beating fast. Result. You want to kick yourself for fulfilling that whole “love at first sight” stereotype that people say about you, but right there and then, it doesn’t matter.

Who is this person, though? You don’t recall speaking to him at all tonight. Your uncle had spun a few yarns about some man from whatever company he was under now. Was that this guy? Couldn’t hurt to ask.

Your introductions are mutually awkward, to the point of inspiring raucous laughter. Always nice to have a little unintentional icebreaker. Turns out he is the guy you thought he was. Even better, he’s a great conversation-haver. He keeps saying he must be going, but you get him to switch from topic to topic, talking about the night, your professions…your hopes and dreams. It helps that he’s only a couple years older than you, and somewhat wasted himself.

Gradually, you inch closer, letting your feelings unfold. Everything changes when he compliments your eyes. Your pale grey eyes that you’ve always hated. You feel your face soften. You’re quite close together now, leant against the counter. Close enough to feel his heat.

You lean over and kiss him. Hard, on the mouth. It’s sloppy, but he matches your intensity, and before a full minute goes by, you’re leading him by the hand to your bedroom.

You know that you shouldn’t really be doing this. Nagging voices pop up and tell you that this’ll make things awkward, that you’re just on the rebound, just doing it to spite your ex, but you tell them to shut the hell up. You’re in the mood for a fun end to the night. Your parents will sleep in, and come morning, no one needs to know.

23:58

The room is dark as you slip in together, illuminated only by moonlight. You feel slightly self-conscious as you realise how nerdy the place must look to the average person, space-related paraphernalia scattered across the walls and shelves, pristinely kept. Your newfound friend doesn’t seem put off, though. He’s looking right at the big telescope sticking out of the open floor-to-ceiling window. You begin undressing, but he is preoccupied, stood beside it, trying to get the focus right.

His childlike excitement is undeniably cute, no matter how much it detracts from the moment. You smile and join him at his side, giving him a quick run-down of how the contraption works. Jupiter is what he’s looking for. And it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

It’s quite a romantic moment from an outsider’s perspective.

“Was ”that” Jupiter?” The man shouts, scaring away a few birds. You shush him, but indulge his discovery, letting him move the thing as he wishes. It takes a minute, but he gets it perfectly in place, then gestures for you to take over the eyepiece.

Deep breath now. It won’t take long for you to realise.

00:00

Midnight at the McManus estate. A postmodern building. Large glass windows. No sound but the wind. And the time is right.

I take aim…

Gotcha.

Your last memory is the flash of my muzzle through a glass lens, up there in the trees across the road. Your body slumps to the ground without a word, and without much mess, thankfully.

My associate gives a quick thumbs-up, then silently departs from the back of the house. I scramble down and begin the half-mile-long walk to my truck to collect the second half of my payment from a certain wealthy benefactor.

Another target down. Onto the next job.

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Aspiring author and admin on the Creepypasta Wiki, where you can check out my full list of works. If you've read any of my stuff, I'd love to hear what you liked or didn't like.

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