Short Stories

Suitcase

Grey mini suitcase with blue handles and lining. The salesman that sold this to me said it was ‘one-of-a-kind.’ Lying git. If it were true, I’d be exploring the city instead of berating the airport from the landline of my hotel room. Having no success except running up the telephone bill, I reluctantly hang up and rub my temples to ease the growing migraine. Defeated with nothing else to do, I stare at the stranger on the bed. Curiosity and my itchy fingers unzip the suitcase to explore the unfamiliar possession.

There’s wrinkled button up shirts and polo’s, the owner’s either unorganized or was in a hurry packing. From the grey, deep red and black colours that dominate interior of the luggage, it’s safe to assume that the owner’s not particularly fond of vibrant colours.  Perhaps it reflects on his personality. As I take the thin materials in my hand, I notice that majority of the shirts are designer labels; Lacoste, Hugo Boss.

Tossing them aside, I then grasp a worn out book, ‘Paradise Lost.’ I flick through the pages which have endless highlighted sentences and annotations. The inside cover is marked with elegant penmanship easily mirroring Victorian, handwritten letters. The message reads, ‘Happy Birthday, Son.’ Delicately I lay it on the bed as the book appears to be of sentimental value to the owner.

That’s the inside of the luggage emptied and I move on to the outer pocket. I feel around until my hand touches something smooth. A passport. Moving my hand further inside I find multiple passports. Each one’s a different colour; maroon, navy. Again nothing cheerful. I flip open the maroon case and there is he is. High cheek bones, brown hair and gold eyes. And next to his image is his name: CARTER AVERY. Twenty–four years old. Born in Cornwall. 13th September 1993. I scan the laminated page, ‘Why is Mr. Avery carrying more than one passport?’ Inevitably the others end up in my hands. My heartbeat quickens and the air escapes my lungs. Each passport contains the same picture but with different identities. Lou Navarro. London. Mark Tomers. Twenty-seven years old. Joel Nichols. 1st April 1991. Who is he?

I pick up the hotel phone and wait to be connected with reception. To scoot myself higher on the bed, I raise my feet, accidentally kick the suitcase in the process causing a loud clang from the inside. My lips purse. ‘I swear it was empty.’ Holding the phone between my ear and shoulder, I pull the luggage back towards me. Re-opening it I see nothing else inside besides a zipper in the lining. Once it’s open, I’m frozen still. Caught between the metal extendable handles lays a black revolver and the muzzle’s stained red.

Someone knocks the door urgently causing me to jump. The gun jiggles against the metal poles.

“W-Who is it?”

The banging continues.

“Give me the suitcase,” a stern voice demands from the other side of the door.

The phone falls to the floor.

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