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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2174204
Timothy Moore was on a success streak to die for.
1641 word entry for 'Unsettling Tales Contest'. prompt: success at any cost

"Go for broke" had and did. Timothy Moore shoved his hands in his pockets, not for a wallet, but to keep his fingers warm. It was a crime the way his life had turned out so wrong. In this moment of desperation, he was prepared to commit his first illegal act at any cost. “Do or die.” He felt his cold breath whisper against his lips.

He let the next intended victim pass by unscathed just as he had the first two. “Too young. He might struggle too much and I’d have to kill him.” The last one had been too old and might suffer a heart attack when accosted. Timothy felt like he was in a Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairytale without the happy ending. “Ah. Just right.”

The figure coming towards the entrance to the dark alley he hid in was that of a not so young or too old looking matron with a large purse in hand. Timothy shook himself into action, pierced the gloom and jerked the purse right out of the middle-aged lady’s hands. “Got it. Run.”

He did. HIs victim screamed for help. Her lumbering after the swift-footed Timothy Moore reminded him of the tale about the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’. He was around the corner and out of sight before she had gone a dozen steps.

It was time for Alice to drop down the rabbit hole. With pounding heart, Timothy Moore wove his way into the heavy foliage of the city park. He burrowed in deep where his makeshift camp waited unknown to the outside world. No sound of life or threat of capture followed. “Done deal. Success at last.” It was time to reveal his spoils.

Timothy’s fingers fought the unfamiliar zippers and posh latches of the weighty purse. He heard himself growling as one twist and another turn resisted him. “A knife. That should do it.” He was in a rush of fevered imagination at what he might find inside. “Credit cards? A must. Cash? Many meals worth. Keys to a mansion of treasure? Perhaps if I hurry.”

There they lay. Shining and eviscerated under the pale eye of the moon looking on. He dropped the sharp reflection of his blade before he cut himself with excitement. “Wallet with address and I.D. Identity for instant bank withdrawal. Good. What else?”

At the bottom of the upended rag once a sequin-adorned purse lay the keys. The address was no mansion but even better than one. It flew sky high in a penthouse suite of the most expensive gold standard hotel in the city, the fabled Trump Towers. Timothy Moore shook shivers of uncontrolled delight as he took in deep sobbing breath after breath. “The keys to the kingdom.”

There was even a private elevator one of the key’s unlocked before the sleeping night guard’s unwatchful eye. Timothy felt every nerve come alive, every drop of blood dance in his veins as he rode up to the fiftieth floor of the thirty story building. “Trump is indeed a master at making things look bigger than they seem.” He chuckled from inside his muffled face. The scarf stayed securely in place as he winked up at the security camera turning a blind eye at who and what was about to happen down below. The doors slid silently open to such opulence Timothy almost forgot to gasp at its first sight.

Gold was everywhere. Gold framed family portraits painted by modern-day masters rubbed shoulders with fabulously wealthy works of art. Anyone of them would fetch Timothy a fortune when placed in the right hands.

He passed up ancient artifacts with unknown value that truly belonged in world-class museums. The bedroom was where his nose led him. It took Timothy only seconds to reap his reward. Jewelry glinted and shown from the woman’s dressing room drawers. Diamond necklaces, gold bracelets adorned with points of fashionable light from stones as big as the marbles he had played with as a kid soon were his. “Mine.”

He wasn’t greedy. He left the smaller earrings and pins where they lay until his attraction was brought to bear on a pin of singular allure and design. It lay alone on velvet pad in a glass box that sealed its fate. “Lovely. This one I keep.”

The sound of the elevator opening caught Timothy off guard. “So soon?” Success was not yet at hand. With a knife in a closed fist, he waited behind the open door to either flee from or murder whoever crossed his path.

Low, dull voices spoke to each other as the apartment on the other side of the hall was opened. The sound faded as those occupants mentioned calling the manager in the morning to announce a maid had left their neighbor's door wide open.

It was the opening Timothy needed to hoist his treasure into the woman’s purse he had stolen and made his way from heavenly reach back down to earth. Living in the gutter for months now had taught him where others sold their newly acquired possessions from the city’s unfortunate sacrificial lambs. In an hour his pockets were filled with the rustle of large and small bills.

It would be no pup tent and sleeping bag for this man, this night. Timothy had other plans to celebrate his success. Breaking into a clothing store loaned him better clothes than his body had worn in longer than he cared to remember. Timothy Moore was on a success streak that looked like it might go on forever. “I shouldn’t press my luck.” He giggled around his tongue dancing against his lips.

He knew better than to go walking the city streets at this time of night. Cabs were easy to find near the posh hotels catering to business interests and tourists. He positioned himself near one and hailed the next in sight. “Take me to . . . The Trump Towers.” What better place to wrap himself in the lap of luxury, than the one granting him its plunder?

He had with him a number of carefully selected IDs from previous successes, not his own of course. He had bought them when selling off the jewelry. One must not overindulge without keeping some semblance of caution for the future.

One such identification yielded him a five hundred dollar a night simpler state of being than the lofty one rising above at the hotel’s heights. He ordered a simple meal of lobster and steak before settling into a tub the size of a small swimming pool. With water jets massaging his back he opened the glass box that held the pin.

It was a jeweled replica of a black widow spider. Turned over on its belly, there was the hourglass red insignia the real female spiders of that clan always wore. Timothy examined the intricately carved detail wondering what it was made of. Neither gold nor silver made up its swollen body, legs, nor head.

While humming between bites of medium rare steak so soft it melted in his mouth, Timothy Moore pricked himself on the sharp point of the pin. It stung like the devil, seemed to have a hollow point, and bled some sticky substance into his small wound.

“What the . . .” It was as if the ornate spider were filled with some magical drug worth more on the street than any heroin addict could afford in a lifetime. A feeling of supreme bliss filled and expanded in Timothy Moore’s mind. “Wow. Heaven has returned.” He closed his eyes, sank deeper into the bubbly hot water surrounding him and grew ready to have his head blown away.

It took but a moment to suck up his bloodied finger and squeeze the rest of the venom from the spider’s sack. Timothy Moore swallowed and waited. His body floated in the waves of hot water he bathed in. His mind wanted to float away from it all. A sticky spider web of patterns embraced his inner vision with his soul dancing at its core.

He felt spun, twirled, robed in a cocoon of entrapment. HIs eyes would no longer open. His limbs lay numb at his sides. A small black shadow tickled and teased at the edge of his awareness.

Timothy Moore felt his body begin to slide below the hot tub’s bubbly surface. Bubbles tickled at his flared nostrils as they fought for one last breath. The dark shadow in his mind grew into focus. It was the jeweled creature that had pricked his thumb, now released into his fevered imagination.

Timothy Moore’s mouth gasped open in horror. He swallowed warm silky water instead of air. He drank it down trying to drown the image behind his eyes. Another gulp and once more he shot his head back above the waves he made. Success was close at hand. He vomited out the contents swirling from his lungs, leaned his head over the side of the tub and breathed the scent of life.

There before his swollen eyes, a spider danced upon its silver thread. An' incee wincy' spider. His hair crawled and stood on end fighting the things advance. Timothy Moore watched it climb up his wet arm, plunging its stinger in again and again as it made its way forward.

“Allergic reaction.” Timothy’s head stumbled upon the thought spinning around the drug-induced trance he’d given himself. He watched as his head slid back under the waves as the spider jumped free to climb the tubs water spout, slip and begin to climb again.

A few bubbles escaped out of Timothy Moore’s mouth along with any chance of life. His swollen body floated in its makeshift tomb when the morning help came to offer their services.
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