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The man woke suddenly, not knowing why. The sobbing of the park’s wind and harsh cries of birds had never woken him before. He sat up in his dirty sleeping bag and looked around his dingy, bright green tent for the reason. After a few minutes crawling through screwed-up scraps of paper and clothes that smelled like they belonged to his great-grandfather, the man found the culprit outside. A Frisbee had hit the side of his tent- hard- and landed just outside the entrance. The man picked it up and quickly wriggled back to the familiar warmth of his tent. He sat and studied the Frisbee. It was a faded blue, as if it had been left in the sun for too long, and the man could feel sticky patches on the smooth surface- jam, he realised. It was a child’s toy. It had been a long time since the man cared about children, cared about anything in fact. There was only one thing on his mind now. The man smiled, but his angry, bloodshot eyes were as fearsome as ever. Today was the day, and everything was in place. An hour later, after the man had left his tent with his gun in hand, a crying child in the city park showed his adored blue Frisbee to his mother, snapped in two.
The woman couldn’t have been happier. Everything in her life was perfect- she was a beautiful, rich woman engaged to a beautiful, rich man, and soon they would have beautiful, rich children. The woman looked in the mirror in the entrance to her expensive new townhouse and smiled as she brushed her golden hair. Today was the day. She walked out the front door like a woman with too much time on her hands, although that was far from the case. She had to meet the editor of Cleo at the local Italian restaurant, Tony’s, to discuss her new position at the magazine. Mandy’s position.
The woman looked troubled as she ambled through the city park. It was beginning to rain and the cold autumn air was whipping harshly at her face. The gloomy day brought about thoughts of Mandy, her dead sister, who died just in time for the woman to inherit the money for her new home, and take Mandy’s job. Would the others at Cleo hate her for doing this? Would she remind them of her? Would they gossip and speculate until…The woman’s thoughts were interrupted when a pale blue Frisbee hit her in the shins. She picked it up, eager to be rid of it as she could feel it was covered in something sticky- jam, most likely, and spied a small boy waving at her like a windmill thirty metres away. The woman smiled at him and threw the Frisbee, but it was windy and she had never been athletic, so the Frisbee flew into the trees, hitting a bright green shape. The woman started to get it, but at that moment her prospective boss, a stylish, ferocious woman, rang her mobile. The woman ran to Tony’s like a cheetah, desperate for this job, leaving thoughts of her dead sister floating limply in the breeze.
The front door was locked, but it was not a problem for the man, He simply kicked it down like an Olympic heavyweight, and stormed through the townhouse, his gun loaded and ready, to no avail. She wasn’t here. The man sat down, tears in his eyes. He had to do this, for the woman he loved, but he was too late. Why did awful things always happen to him? He stood up again, but now his body felt a thousand years old- limp and dry of feeling. He dragged himself to the house’s entrance and his hunched body passed a mirror. He noticed a bright pink post-it note stuck to the corner. The man ignored his drawn, hideous reflection and read the neat handwriting.
Meet Cleo bout Mandy’s job at Tony’s 12:00
A few seconds later the man was halfway down the street his mind empty of question and the last few dregs of sanity, but he knew what he had to do.
The meeting was a success. The woman’s new boss, Ms Cecelia Sterving, absolutely loved her. Cecelia laughed at all her jokes, gasped at all her stories and even suggested that the woman could be Cecelia’s personal assistant. The woman could see Ms Sterving’s ferocious mindset underneath her toffee glazing, but she didn’t care. The woman’s dreams were all coming true at once, but there was one thing she was worried about.
“Are you sure the others at the magazine won’t mind?” The woman asked Cecelia. She could see Cecelia’s face through her boss’ glass, which she had tipped at a ninety-degree angle as she eagerly gulped her wine. The woman could tell that Cecelia was starting to get drunk.
“About what?” Ms Sterving answered, confused. “Oh, Mandy!” she said when she saw the woman’s face, full of grief and, strangely, a hint of anger. “Well, of course everyone at Cleo loved Mandy. She was like family, but you taking your sister’s place is hardly going to upset anyone. And you don’t look anything like her anyway. No one would have to know if you really didn’t want them to. Anyway, I’d like to start you next Tuesday and…”
The woman tuned out of her boss’ semi-drunken banter, now that she knew everything would be all right. Instead she looked around the room. Tony’s was her favourite restaurant- she loved the plush orange seats, the modern furniture and the dark mahogany walls, exactly the same colour as…Mandy’s hair. The woman sighed. She really missed her little sister sometimes. She had been only twenty-three when she was taken. A tear dripped out of the woman’s left eye and ran down her face, glistening like her sister’s crying eyes the last time she had seen her. But then she smiled. What she had gained was far greater than what she had lost. The woman opened her mouth to excuse herself from the table, and heard the one voice she was most afraid of.
“Hello Poppy. Stand up and go into the courtyard outside. Don’t scream or I promise you, you’ll be dead before I have time to care.” The woman-Poppy- looked frantically for her new boss, and saw her on the other side of the room laughing merrily with an attractive young waiter. “You’re insane,” she whispered. “You can’t do this.”
“Of course I’m insane, you vile excuse for a woman.”
Poppy turned and saw Brian, Mandy’s husband.
The police never found out who shot Poppy Medley through the head in the cold courtyard of Tony’s, the Italian restaurant. At her funeral, many grieving friends brought cards and wreaths, full of sympathy for the large, happy family Poppy had always told them about. There were a few awkward moments before these people realised that apart from her fiancé, Poppy’s only relation was a mysterious Mr Brian Hummings, a distant cousin whom the deceased had never mentioned, who insisted that Poppy be buried over three hundred metres away from her sister, and organised a peculiar inscription on her headstone:
Here lies Poppy Medley,
A woman who got
Exactly what she gave.
Her sister will not