“The Coffer” …a snippet.

This is a snippet from my short story, “The Coffer”. The full story can be found in “Short Stories & Allegories”.

“The Coffer” by Scott McGowan

Augustus positioned himself beside the roaring, ornate fireplace, lying in wait. While he did, he dozed and dreamed his canine dreams, a leg occasionally jerking in reaction to a successful conquest.

It was a cold day in Glasgow and the Gritters were making plans for an early start to the winter snowfall. It had been a short autumn and the frost could be seen in many parts of the city, as Old Jack danced and plied his craft.

Augustus was glad he was inside, with the fire, all toasty and warm. He was a seventeen-year-old Saint Bernard, who was coming to the end of his time. Life had treated him well and he was spending his latter years comfortably and without regret. The cold was not his cup of tea and on days like this he did not mind one bit being kept indoors, where the bitter wind was unable to cross the threshold.

He thought of his master, Tom. He was not the happiest of people at the best of times, but these days the time between smiles was getting longer and longer.

It had been eighteen months now, since his wife had left him, and the papers had come through just yesterday, although they still sat on the mat where they had been left. Tom had little interest in anything that didn’t involve climbing gear and night vision goggles.

For those unaware of Tom’s work, the thought of this would confuse and intrigue the thoughtful mind. In actual fact, when dealt with every day, the truth tends to become pretty mundane. For the outsider though, Tom’s life would seem very exciting and, to some extent, pretty attractive.

To say that Tom was a practiced thief would be to say that Salvador Dali dabbled with paint. Tom, or Thomas Emanuel Throngate III to his mother, was an elitist in his field. There were few people these days who had the elegance or patience that it took to be a gentleman thief, but Tom had it mastered. No gem or heirloom was safe when he had decided to procure it.

The house, in which Augustus now lay, would be more commonly called a mansion, but to Tom it was The Manor. The word Mansion was too low rent a term to pass the lips of such an upstanding member of the social ladder as himself. Everything he did was aimed at successfully scaling the proverbial ladder, rung by rung, because the higher he got, and the more influential the people he met, the better the spoils.

Last week alone he had managed to procure a tenth century diamond, which had, at an earlier date, been set in a broach for the wife of a judge. Tom was of the mind that anyone who did something so vulgar, to something so intricate and beautiful, did not deserve to own such a piece, and so made it his duty to acquire said gem and relocate it to his baroque coffer[1].

This was where he kept all the spoils which he deemed too special to be in the hands of such Philistines and too unique and exceptional to be sold.

After a number of hours Augustus gave up waiting for his master to come home and, easing himself up from the floor, made his way to the awaiting basket in the hall. He settled down for the night, expecting that Tom would be staying somewhere else tonight.

[1] Coffer – An antique wooden chest.

…continued in “Short Stories & Allegories” (available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

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