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Arrest My Heart

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The day started out like any other Friday. It had been a long week and I was looking forward to the weekend. I had it all planned out, dinner out tonight, after all who feels like cooking on a Friday night right, and then home. Catch up on some shows I hadn’t had time to watch during the week and then bed.

Saturday morning a quick stop off at the supermarket, getting in supplies for the week, then maybe I would get around to going to the nursery and picking up that ceramic pot that would be just perfect for the orchid I had been so lovingly nurturing back from the brink of death – I didn’t have a green thumb, it was more luck that I didn’t kill everything that I bought really, but I did try. A quick tidy up of the house and a long walk down the beach with Tyrion, my beloved German shepherd, before getting ready to go to the movies with Charlene and that would round off Saturday nicely.

There was a Marx Brothers double playing at the old movie house down on Raglan Street. Charlene and I both loved old movies, plus it was such a pleasure to watch a movie in a theatre that had been fully restored to perfection and still retained the ambience of old Hollywood that I couldn’t wait.

Sunday I was thinking I might go for a drive, there was a market being held in the next town and I love pottering around and seeing what I can pick up. I generally never come back empty handed and I’ve scored some great pieces to add to my ever expanding collection of what I termed artistic, but others would call junk I am sure, knickknacks and the like.

What a totally boring and banal life I led I mused as I stood there off in a day dream. Little did I know that was all about to change.

I came out of my daydream with a thud when I realised the radio announcer had called a time check and hell, I was going to be late for work. In a rush I stuck my coffee cup in the sink, grabbed my handbag and jacket, and with a final quick look at myself in the mirror on my hall stand by the front door, I smoothed my hair down, grabbed my shades and keys, and was gone.

I parked the car in my parking bay in the lane behind the shop and opened the back door and was just about to step in when I just knew there was something wrong.

My shop was called “My Gift to You” and it was a speciality shop, you know one of those one of a kind that everyone loved to come into and browse around in. I was told by customers that they loved the feel of the place, it made them feel happy and that suited me fine. I loved what I was doing and even if it didn’t make buckets of money, it didn’t matter, it made enough for me to live comfortably and to employ Charlene during the week and Roger on Friday nights and at the weekend when we thought we might pick up a bit of extra trade. I figured in a small town like Silverflint Cove giving back to the community was something that everyone should be doing and I enjoyed doing it.

Whether you lived in my town or were just passing through it didn’t really matter, for some reason my little establishment was like a beacon with its tastefully arranged displays of everything from quality French toiletries to some clothes and giftware, we even made hampers of items to order for special occasions that were really popular and in demand. Then there was the section of home ware, new and collectable. There were pieces of furniture too, some new, some original that I had lovingly restored as it was a passion of mine and gave me something to do in my spare time and let’s face it, I had plenty of spare time these days. There were floor rugs and cushions and aromatherapy essentials and well, just about everything that you could want or need to make a house a home and more. It was quite simply lovely to have created something that was a bit unique in the area and that was appreciated. I loved it.

When I first arrived in the village people were so friendly and embraced me as one of their own but at the same time, they respected that if I didn’t want to live in their pockets, well then it was okay too. It had been a welcome change from the grunge and hectic pace I had lived for the past eight years or so.

I had climbed the corporate ladder and found the view banal and empty – I love the word banal, have you noticed, says it all at times. Hard work didn’t necessarily have its own rewards and a career most definitely depended on who you sucked up to the hardest and what you were prepared to put up with. I found that I wasn’t prepared to put up with any of it anymore so here I was, living the dream and not regretting it one bit – well that was until this moment.

I didn’t keep a lot of cash in the place, not that there was a high crime rate in the area but I had lived in big cities long enough before giving it the fling and following my dream for a sea change. Moving to somewhere where life and kindness was more appreciated and anonymity didn’t automatically mark you down as a loner and this place had been perfect, so I thought right up until now. So I knew that it was plain dumb not to do the banking on a regular basis. Why tempt fate had been my motto, leaving a lot of money in the till over night was not something that was worth the risk.

I stood looking down the short hallway at the rear of the building from the outside doorway, my keys were still in my hand, my handbag slung over my shoulder and with my foot poised on the step but I immediately knew that something wasn’t quite right. At the end of the passage into the actual shop I had a beaded curtain hanging across the doorway to separate the small back kitchen, toilet and office from the retail area, obstructing a clear view of the shop floor, but I could see that the door to my office was open and a beam of light seemed to be streaming across the tiles of the normally dimly lit passage. As I always closed the blind on the window that looked out into the lane at the side of the building each night before locking up, and I turned off all the lights in the rear of the premises, my heart sank.

I don’t know why but I tiptoed my way cautiously along the hallway to my office. I’m not sure what I was thinking, maybe I wasn’t really and that’s pretty much the norm for me really, I wouldn’t say I was scatty but I am the first to admit I am not the sharpest tool in the bunch. If there was someone in the place god only knows what I would have done, what hit them with my handbag? I wasn’t thinking clearly really but at the time I didn’t really know what else to do and I guess I thought that being rather quiet was the best option. Silly really when I think about it now but at the time it made sense.

I think I must have been holding my breath until I got to my office door and peered around the corner of the door way only to find it empty. I sighed with relief and warily walked in.

I had a small safe in the corner of the office and it was the first thing that I checked, carefully, making sure I didn’t touch anything or disturb the “crime scene.” I had watched enough TV cop shows to know that it was best not to. The safe was still intact but even if it hadn’t been it wouldn’t have really mattered as I’d done the banking the day before so there was not much in it. In fact everything looked okay except my desk was a mess, papers thrown down of the floor and an old picture of my family lay broken next to the window that was smashed in. The blind was a mess too where broken glass had cut it up and it looked like someone had forced their way through the aluminium Venetian slats leaving them bent with a gaping hole and hanging askew from the top of the wooden window frame. Plus, and here was the big one, there was blood on the glass.

I felt a little sick.

I retreated hastily and checked the kitchen but that all looked okay. Taking a deep breath I prepared myself for the worst and walked into the shop. There was nothing missing! Nothing appeared to be smashed up or disturbed as so often is the case with burglaries that you read about. There didn’t seem to be any damage anywhere but still, I had the creepiest of feelings. There had been someone here and I had no idea…

‘George! Georgina where are you? Are you alright,’ Charlene’s frightened voice calling out from the office broke my train of thought.
‘Don’t touch anything,’ I yelled back, ‘I am fine.’

‘Oh my god what happened?’ she asked as she stood in the doorway with a horrified expression on her face when I reached her. ‘It’s okay, nothing’s been taken,’ I reassured her calmly, ‘just don’t touch anything.’ ‘I am calling the police,’ her voice was shrill with fright, and she fished her mobile out of her bag and dialled as I stood looking around more thoroughly inspecting the damage. ‘You know I really don’t think that calling the police will be necessary,’ Charlene was on hold as I said this, ‘it was probably some just some teenager that…’ ‘Georgina, look,’ Charlene pointed to the side of my desk where a photo that I had of my mum and dad with me, was lying on the floor. The glass was smashed to pieces and the photo torn, the part of the photo that had me in it was missing, torn out of the frame.

I began to tremble.

My name is Georgina Collins but everyone calls me George for short, and this is my story