Excerpt from ‘The Understudy’ by Casey Carlisle

Here’s a little snippet from another work in progress…
The Understudy by Casey CarlisleThe Professor located the spare key, exactly where Ricki had shown us it would be, and opened the door to a surprisingly posh apartment. A small scruffy terrier came bolting from another room to jump up and down in front of us like a kangaroo. Ricki cooed silently at the mutt as it continually attempted to reach the ceiling with each bound.

“What’s the dog’s name?” The Professor asked me.

“Muggles.” I repeated after Stacy joined Ricki in trying to get the canines attention.

I moved further into the lounge area while the Professor went to find the food bowl and give Muggles a meal. The place was spotless, no doubt Ricki’s parents had a cleaner making regular visits, or maybe a neighbour tidied things up when they stopped in to tend to the dog?

Sure the little buggar was cute and all, but I was much more of a cat person. At least cats didn’t demand your attention every hour of the day. To prove my point Muggles began sniffing and pawing at my leg.

“No.” I pointed at him. “Sit.”

Muggles turned his head and pawed one ear the way you see dogs on television acting cute. I bent down to scratch him atop his fuzzy little skull, resulting in a pink tongue lolling out one side of his doggy mouth in satisfaction.

“What exactly are we looking for?” I called out to the Professor, still rummaging around in the cupboards.

“You should be able to feel something… I always got a wave of nausea. Then you’ll be close.” Stacy gave up trying to get Muggles to answer her.

“And then what?”

“I’d release the energy.” Stacy replied matter-of-factly.

“Is that like farting or something?”

“You don’t feel anything?” Stacy ignored my comment.

“No.”

“Try another room. Ricki died in hers. Let’s go in there.”

“You’re not creeped out or anything? Being in your dead friends house?”

“She’s not dead. She’s right here.”

“Says the ghost.”

“Just look around will you.” Stacy waved at the apartment.

The Understudy v 2            I wandered across the lounge with Muggles in tow playing at my feet, taking the few photographs on the Entertainment Unit. A few of Riki posing for school portraits and then a couple of her pulling faces at the camera were cluttered to one side of a large golfing trophy. On the other were two obviously modelling shots, but no evidence of her mother I noted.

“You look so cute in this one.” Stacy complimented her mute friend as they ogled over Riki’s pictures.

Check please! Narcissism for two. Our whole reason for being here began to lose its appeal.

“I don’t feel anything.” Snapped in irritation.

“You sure about that?” Stacy sniggered just as Muggles hugged my leg and began thrusting his hips.

Ricki fell backwards through a wall laughing without a sound.

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