Note: This is my response to the Daily Prompt for 1/1/2013 of the Scribbler’s January Writing Contest. Please read and comment, telling me what you think!
The cleaning lady arrived early that morning…”probably too early,” she thought. Miss Adams will not even be out of bed, what with her extended Christmas and New Year holiday ending today. The young woman was impressive enough when upright, dressed, make up ready and on her way out the door. But when she was not expecting a visitor? YIKES!
Marta Young had cleaned her mid-sized apartment for three years and was used to the habits of this twenty-somethingwoman. There was the occasional listening session where Amanda Abigail Adams, or “Triple A”, had let her thoughts flow freely. Marta listened quietly all the while thinking some of this young woman’s worst problems paled mightily in comparison to her own.
Three kids in school, a too large monthly rent and dead-beat absentee husband were just at the top of her list of “anchors” weighing her down. She thanked the good lord every day for the strength to slide out of bed to face another sunrise. She hoped one of these sunrises would bring some better circumstances, but she knew that was a dream.
“What is that odor?” Marta asked herself as she slid the key into the lock.
Her answer came in the form of a scene that quickly evoked the return of her meager oatmeal and toast breakfast. The somewhat attractive apartment dweller lie face down in her own blood, obviously for what had been several days. Marta manged to tear herself from the horrible scene and twist outside the open door.
A passerby screamed loudly as they sneaked a quick peek into the door. Marta looked at them with her head shaking the no her voice could not provide. The younger woman jerked her cell phone up to press the three letter emergency number that would trigger an official response.
All Marta could think of as she sat listening to the police detective was that she wished she had demanded payment from Miss Adams before the holidays. She was not a suspect the man said, but since she was the first into the room, her prints were needed. Marta thought about her such a hopeful day was now headed for oblivion.
Lying in her bed that night, Marta wondered where she would find her next employment. The bills would not wait, they never did. Perhaps she could go back to P.S. 144 to work in the cafeteria. At least she could try, give Penelope a call, guilt her into asking for her.
As Marta shopped for groceries the next day she could feel herself drifting through the store. Thoughts of Amanda Adams found their way into her consciousness, the brutality of her death seeming to finally register. Marta looked for a place to run, knowing her stomach’s propensity to mimic her visual interpretation of scenes.
The Safeway bathroom gave her a brief shelter, but could not erase the images etched into her mind and heart. How she wished she had offered for Amanda to come to her church. She had not tried to share her faith with the young woman. Now another soul would be added to her account with the doubt of her forever home.
Marta could feel a harsh headache develop as she struggled to finish her shopping. The buggy was not full, since the cash was slim, but it seemed this task was taking so long. Every face she met seemed to be staring into her soul and asking why she had not helped Amanda more.
She was glad the kids were not home as she opened the pantry door and stuffed her latest purchases inside. Maybe if she plopped into the recliner for a half hour she would feel better. She tapped the button on the television remote and sat straight up in the chair when she saw manda’s fac eon her screen. She immeidately wondered if she was going crazy, but then heard the announcer mention that the police had a statement concerning this young woman’s demise.
“With quick work from our detectives were are able to announce the apprehension of the perpetrator in this case,” the police spokesman now occupying the screen announced. “It appears Miss Adams received a substantial monetary bonus from her job and let one too many people know about it. The victim was caught unaware by a young man with whom she worked and he took her life before absconding with the cash in her apartment. We are 100% sure the subject in custody worked alone on this crime.”
Marta could feel the tears forming in her eyes. Even as much as she thought Amanda Abigail Adams was a spoiled young woman, she mourned her death.The end of Amanda’s opportunity to find love, a lifelong marital partner, children, many of the things Marta realized in her more experienced age, that truly mattered.