Short Story Excerpt: The Group Seven
Synopsis: Nora is returning home for a quick change of clothes, but comes to discover a peculiar sight sitting in her living room. Her son and his circle of friends are lounging about, paying her no mind as they engage in some harmless activities, and even though they seem to be well-behaved, Nora can’t help but feel simultaneously suspicious and pleasantly surprised by their presence.
Nora only has fifteen minutes. She pulls up to a two-story house composed of steel and wood, glass and stone. The silhouette of the looming house rests upon the tinted shield of the black Mercedes.
She exits the vehicle and glances at the backseat. A faded blue jumpsuit stained with blotches of an unknown substance mars the pristine appearance of the black leather interior. Nora looks down at her current uniform. A coffee stain has settled into the fabric and the white stripes among the red have faded to a dull yellow. Both uniforms need to be washed but there’s not enough time.
She turns away from the vehicle and strolls past the manicured lawn. Loose strands of coiled hair fall into her face as she steps up to the oak wood porch. She attempts to fix the haphazard bun atop her head but groans when the bun just slips to the side. Before entering the house, she would usually contract the urge to cover the small holes in her clothing or hide the stains that seem to just show up sometimes, but she’s gotten better in the past few years.
Nora unlocks the mahogany door and strides into the foyer, quickly removing her shoes and placing her red pea coat on the hall tree next to a fitted blue trench coat. She pauses. That damned coat has been hanging there for years. Lately she has been meaning to put it away, maybe somewhere in the attic where it can slowly be ruined by cobwebs and moth bites, but there it remains and there it will stay until she finds the courage to do what needs to be done.
The image of an entwined silver band bearing the weight of a two carat-diamond appears within her thoughts. She finds herself rubbing the faint discoloration on her ring finger. Her eyes wander over to the downturned picture on the decorative table near the hall tree. She shakes her head in exasperation.
The parlour near the front of the house is quiet, but not all is silent. There is a rustle somewhere in the distance – a slight din, nearly imperceptible.
Nora thought for sure no one would be home at this time.
She pads silently across the white marble floors towards the living room and kitchen, preparing to greet the phantom presence. She approaches the living room and stops in the doorway. Her words of greeting die on her lips. Slowly, she backs away and steps to the side, hoping that she has not been seen. She leans her head out and takes in the scene before her.
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