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Confusion Resolved

The Writers' Block #14 - Theme: confusion resolved

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Can you confirm your name, please?’ She wasn’t joking.

‘Thomas Eldridge.’

‘Is this your suitcase, sir?’

Thomas had a tension in his gut that was about to give way. ‘Yes.’

‘Then, can you explain this?’ She opened the case. They scanned its contents as she withdrew a small tin.

‘They’re not my clothes,’ he said as she unscrewed the lid and allowed its innards to spill over the table. Thomas thought the diamonds resembled little fish eyes.

The hotel room belonging to Tomas Eldricht was plain and simple, just how he liked it. Planes could still be heard through the double glazing and his return flight was only a few hours away.

He sniffed the scented soap and let it plop into the water. His wet hand ran over his bald head and he stared at himself in the mirror. Rivulets ran down his face and neck.

The water was relaxing and he used the little pristine towel to pat himself dry. He lifted the plug from the tiny sink and left the neat bathroom. One of Shostakovich’s best was blaring from his phone; Tomas adored classical music and always chose a suitable track as soon as he could.

The minuscule kettle, discovered hidden in a sarcophagus of its own at the back of one of the drawers, was mumbling quietly to itself. It had the potential to boil, but not for a while yet.

Eyeing the black suitcase on the bed, Tomas sorted out a cup. He emptied a packet of decaffeinated coffee into it. The two milk sachets proved a major task for such clumpy fingers, but he finally broke their necks and emptied them onto the powder. As he stirred, he frowned. Maybe it was the light, but something didn’t ring true about the case.

The kettle purred.

A gentle knock at the door made him smile.

‘Granted, it looks like my bag, but it isn’t. I assure you.’

Sweat was pouring out of Thomas like he’d done a session at the gym. His legs felt weak and, to his horror, he realised that he was about to cry.

‘But you said it was your suitcase, sir. If it’s not yours, where is yours?’

‘I don’t know, I don’t know. It looks like my case, but it obviously isn’t. Why don’t you believe me?’ He fell back onto the plastic chair, lips and legs trembling.

She looked down on his crumpled shape and reached for a pair of surgical gloves.

‘Oh, no,’ whispered Thomas.

The visitor had left the hotel.

In his room, Tomas sat in the high chair, the single gunshot wound the only blemish on the otherwise smooth skin.

The suitcase was open and its contents spread across the room: underwear, t-shirts, socks, shirts, trousers, pyjamas and a few small mementos of Berlin.

Sibelius began his First Symphony in E minor.

The kettle produced a spout of steam and switched off.


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