She needed to commit the perfect crime. Everything had been planned down to the smallest detail and it was imperative she cover her tracks and afterwards remove all traces of what she had done. There must be no evidence with which to convict her, nothing that would connect her to what had taken place. Deception must be complete and nobody must know the extent of her deviance.
She paused and listened for signs of life and could just about detect the sound of gentle snoring from next door.
She tiptoed stealthily up the steps and, with difficulty, managed to quietly remove the bulky, suspicious looking bags from their carefully concealed hiding place. When she was back in place once more, she gingerly removed all the items she would need to carry out her task and placed them on the carpeted floor in front of her.
She looked around her one last time to make sure she was completely alone before absorbing herself in the intricate procedure she was about to carry out.
‘BOP IT!’ ‘Crap! Shut up, you bloody thing!’ ‘BOP IT!’ She scurried around frantically whilst she tried to detect the ‘off’ switch. ‘OH! I’M GOING TO SLEEP.’ Good, you noisy b******d.
…Heart racing, she paused to see if anyone had heard the unexpected outburst. Silence ensued and she relaxed a little.
With shaking hands she began the next stage, but however hard she tried she couldn’t muffle the series of loud, ripping noises that followed in quick succession, each one setting her teeth on edge more than the last.
Taking a deep breath as the final one ricocheted around the room and eventually died out, she became aware that she needed to keep a calm head and a steady hand for the remaining challenge (she also needed to be able to fold corners neatly).
Bent in concentration and gently swearing under her breath when she found that the haphazardly measured edges wouldn’t meet, she checked her watch and became aware that she was running out of time. She quickly ‘wrapped up’ what she was doing and took a second to observe the devastation around her.
She knew she should have worked more methodically but it wasn’t her style and besides, she always left everything to the last minute. Why should this be any different?
Much as it galled her, she would have to leave the job unfinished and return to it tomorrow. She quickly stuffed the remaining items back into bags, concealed them in their hiding place once more and began to look any signs that might reveal that she had been there.
A price tag; it had to go. A coat hanger; not just that, but one that clearly displayed the age of the item that had recently been hanging on it. It must be destroyed with the others. A sliver of ‘Santa’s’ wrapping paper; the game would be over in an instant if that were to be discovered!
She cursed her carelessness as she ruthlessly scrunched it into a ball and placed it with the other items earmarked for disposal.
Would they check for fingerprints, she wondered? Well, it was too late to worry now, she had to go. She took one last look at her surroundings.
Sellotape, still in strips down the door! It was so OBVIOUS that it had been put there to keep one hand free to hold edges of paper together. How had she been so stupid? It was an instant giveaway. She removed it and disposed of it along with the rest.
When she was finally satisfied that she had covered her tracks, she nervously set off to collect the one person who had always suspected her the most. If anyone would know what she had been up to, it would be him.
She had been interrogated by him before; she knew he had ways of making her talk (puppy dog eyes, a wheedling voice and guilt trips being his modus operandi).
As she rushed out of the door, already sure that she had left behind a tell-tale sign, she had to wonder: should I really be sweating and out of breath after wrapping a few Christmas presents?