Single suitcase in the hall – a prompt flash fiction story

This story was written in response to Putting My Feet in the Dirt’s April Writing Prompts https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2020/04/01/april-writing-prompts-3/

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“And you want me to find out whose it is?” Eva stared at the case that had been dumped in the middle of her desk. Her paperwork had been folded underneath, she could see one of them crumpled, sticking out from the corner as if waving for help. Some people had no consideration for people’s space and belongings. The urge to simply shove the case onto the floor was overwhelming. It wasn’t like they needed the business, Lyle had plenty of cases. Just none he’d let her work on.

“Yes.” Mr Spearing had his arms wrapped round himself, his fingers just poking out of the orange woollen sleeves of the jumper that was currently trying to drown him. As he nodded, his dirty blond fringe flopped over his right eye. He didn’t move to flick it away. Eva twitched inwardly.

She glanced across at Robyn who was staring intently at her computer screen. Well there was a tell-tale sign she was trying not to laugh: Eva only ever saw the secretary look like she was working when she was trying not to get caught laughing.

“So, who has keys to your house?”

“Me, Sam my flatmate and my parents. But it wasn’t any of them.”

“Have you asked any of them about it?”

“Why? Why would they sneak in to the flat and leave a suitcase in the upstairs hall. I was in the front room and could see both the doors, no-one came in through them. Someone broke in through a window and left this,” he flung a hand towards the offending article.

“So you’re saying someone broke in, not to steal something but to leave you this,” Eva spoke slowly as her pen hovered over the notepad. She couldn’t tell Lyle about this, he’d have a field day.

“Exactly.” He gave a sharp nod, happy she had finally understood. She couldn’t smell any alcohol on him but he was struggling to maintain eye contact, maybe he was under the influence of something?

A small noise erupted from the opposite desk. Eva could see Robyn was starting to go a little bit red. She might burst soon if he didn’t leave.

“Have you opened it?”

“No, it’s locked,” he shrugged.

Eva let out a sigh and opened up her top drawer. Her hand went immediately to her picks. She lifted the case up and turned it round so she could see the latches. While doing so, she quickly moved her paperwork to one side, giving a mournful look to the letters she had just printed out that were now too creased to send. She’d add a bit on his bill for the paper. She pushed her chair back so she could lower herself closer to the case and look directly at the locks. After about thirsty seconds of fiddling, the first latch popped open. She glanced up to catch a look of surprise on Mr Spearing’s face. Ha, she thought, they always had that look. She made equally short work of the second lock. As she stood up, she saw even Robyn had now turned her attention to them and was craning her head to get a view. Eva lifted the lid and let it drop open. The colour drained out of Spearing’s face.

“Oh,” Eva said simply.

“What is it?” Robyn’s chair squeaked against the floor as she stood up and came over to see. “What the…”

“Well, we’ll definitely take on the job Mr Spearing. I think perhaps I should come take a look at your house now,” Eva managed to keep her voice even. She got no response. Spearing was still staring at the contents of the case. “Robyn, we better get Lyle after all.”

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