Monthly Archives: September 2013

No. 453 – No. 417 Continues

The story so far…
http://aroundgray.com/?p=450
http://aroundgray.com/?p=452
http://aroundgray.com/?p=454
http://aroundgray.com/?p=465
http://aroundgray.com/?p=493
http://aroundgray.com/?p=504
http://aroundgray.com/?p=529

Legacy’s CEO stood with his back to the nearly empty room. His gaze was directed out of the wall-to-wall windows that encircled the top floor of the company’s headquarters building.

“Tell me again,” he said quietly, his tone nothing but menace.

Pierson, the assassin, began to stand up from the chair in the center of the floor.

“No,” said the CEO without turning around. “You stay there.”

Pierson lowered himself. He wasn’t stupid enough to challenge his boss.

“They got away,” he explained, beginning the account for the third time. “There was traffic. There was nothing I could do.”

The CEO sighed. “I keep you around so that when problems like this happen, I have someone who can deal with them. It is not because I enjoy our time together.”

“I understand,” said Pierson. “It won’t happen again.”

“Well, of course not,” said the CEO. “I want your full commitment on this. Nothing else matters. Am I clear?”

“Very,” said Pierson.

“Get out,” said the CEO.

 

Pierson did as he was told.

He took the elevator to the parking garage in the basement of the tower. Stepping past the rows of cars, he ducked into an unmarked door in a rarely-trafficked corner of the lot.

It was his office, of sorts, his command post, from where he could plan his operations. Once he was safely inside, he opened a drawer of a filing cabinet and removed a cellular phone.

Without looking at the handset, he pressed the appropriate speed-dial key.

The line was connected.

 

“Hello,” answered Andrea Shultz, who was still at the hospital. “We’ve gone to Plan B,” she told Pierson. “There were complications.”

 

Pierson listened to the new details of the chase. When Shultz’s report was over, he resisted the urge to throw the phone against the wall. “Thank you for the update,” he said through gritted teeth. “I’m sorry about that.”

 

“There was nothing you could have done differently,” said Shultz. “Meet us here at six tomorrow morning. We’ve only got one chance to pull this off.”

 

To be continued…

No. 452

“We’re out of ice cream,” said Petra. “Go to the store and get some.”

“Why me?” asked her roommate, Whitney. “I always go,” she protested.

Petra said nothing, but pointed at the note board on the fridge.

“I’ll get ice cream next time. It was my fault. Love Whit” was scrawled across it in purple marker.

“Oh, right,” said Whitney. She rubbed her foot against the carpet awkwardly. “I really am sorry about that.”

Petra nodded. “You should be. It was my favorite,” she said testily.

Both girls stared at each other silently for a moment before Petra finished speaking. “But I like mint-chocolate, too, so you’re lucky,” she said with a forgiving grin.

No. 451

The monsters lurked just offshore, watching the pair on the beach.

“I’m gonna eat the big one,” said a horrible squid-creature.

“I thought about that, but he seems pretty old,” said the sea-serpent. “He’d probably just get caught in my teeth. Give me the younger one, any day. Much tastier.”

“I guess you’re right,” said the squid.

“I’m always right,” replied the serpent.

The squid wriggled his tentacles with anticipation. “Should we catch them now?”

“Let’s wait a minute,” said the serpent. “I have a feeling he’ll be coming to us.”

No. 450

The pair stood on the beach and watched the heavy waves break along the shore.

“I don’t want to go,” said the boy. “What about the monsters?”

“There may be monsters,” said the old man. “The horizon is ahead, and beyond is the unknown.”

“I’m afraid.”

“It is only natural,” the old man assured him. “But great things are never discovered by still hearts.”

No. 449

Snow was falling. It was the dry kind that comes when it’s very cold. Not good for snowballs at all, my kids would say.

I saw her from the kitchen window. She had a thermos in her hand, but her jacket was too thin. You could tell by the way her shoulders were hunched up. She was walking east, toward Main Street.

I cracked the sliding door in the dining room open and called after her. “Do you need a ride?”

She stopped walking and looked at me. I realized that she was younger than I’d thought. She brushed a stray strand of hair back underneath her toque. “I don’t think so, Mrs. Marshall,” she yelled back. “I’m only going to the store.”

One of my old students. The winter clothes had been an effective disguise. Her name was Lana Bradley. I think she graduated last year.

“Alright,” I answered. “You take care.”

We mumbled perfunctory goodbyes. I returned to my breakfast and she continued on down the road.

Before I sat down, though, I saw her turn left on Willow.

I went to the closet and found the warmest coat I could. Then I put on my own, and grabbed the car keys from the hook by the door. “I’m going out,” I shouted down the hall toward the rest of my sleeping family.

 

I caught up with her just before she reached Seventh. She’d made good time despite the adverse conditions.

I pulled the car up beside her and rolled down my window. “It’s warm in here,” I told her. “And I just took some cinnamon buns out of the oven at home.”

She almost started to cry. I saw it. But she didn’t say a word and came around to the passenger side and climbed in.

“Thank you,” she said, two blocks later.

“Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “I’m sure there will be enough for everyone.”