Wolves and Rams and Harts, Oh My!
Chapter 7 “Wolves and Rams and Harts, Oh My!”
Phil, the private detective, nervously adjusted his tie as he stared into his mirrored reflection. His haggard face was unshaven and very pale from too much legwork at night. He needed a good night’s rest to even contemplate looking healthy again. He ran a hand over his dark hair to smooth it out. He looked rumpled at best but there was nothing to do about it now.
The musak did little to settle his jangling nerves but then riding in elevators always made him antsy anyway. Being in this particular elevator doubly so. But he had to see the client.
His client was one of the many lawyers at the firm of Wolfram and Hart. He didn’t know his contact’s name. Every time he showed up, he was directed to one of the conference rooms. It made him suspicious and well a little uneasy.
He had heard wild rumors that the firm dabbled in the seedier side of life. He thought that meant they had connections to the underworld of career criminals, mobsters, and such. He was right while at the same time being very wrong.
Had Phil known that the rumors were not only true but seriously understated, he might not have taken the job. It sounded so simple. Just some routine surveillance.
He had done similar jobs before. All he had to do was tail some employees and report back on what he saw. Nothing too suspicious there. Lots of employers had workers under surveillance while they went about their work. It was a way to ensure honesty.
There was nothing routine about that small town. He barely made it out of that sleepy little place alive. Names sure can be deceiving. Naming that little hellhole, Sunnydale, seemed almost criminally negligent.
He was startled by the dinging of the elevator. He sighed as he realized that he had reached is dreaded destination. Time to face the consequences of witnessing a job go horribly wrong.
The lawyer was waiting Phil’s arrival in the conference room. There was nothing much to distinguish the man. He had average height, build and looks. His face was easily unremarkable and just as easily forgotten.
“Please have a seat, Mr. Marlowe.”
Phil shut the door and sat down as far from the lawyer as possible while still being in the same room. The lawyer raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
“I’ve reviewed the footage you shot of the incident. I must say that it was of inferior quality.”
Phil looked up from his intense perusal of the conference table. “That camera was functioning perfectly fine before I reached the site. Something was interfering there. I had to move farther away just to get that ‘inferior’ footage.”
Phil was secretly glad that he had had to move so far away. Had he been closer, he might have shared a similar fate as the Sunnydale agents. He shuddered at the thought.
“Yes, as you say, but your job is unfinished, Mr. Marlowe.”
“What?” Phil stood abruptly. “I did what you asked. I followed your little group of merry men at a discrete distance. It’s not my fault that they failed at whatever it was they were doing in those godforsaken woods.”
“Yes, they did leave the mission objective incomplete. You followed at such a ‘discrete distance’ that I’m unable to ascertain what prevented mission completion.”
Phil couldn’t believe his ears at what the lawyer was saying. Men had died and this lawyer was only worried about mission completions and the like. What a group of cold-blooded bastards.
“Death prevented task completion, sir.” The sir was added as a disrespectful afterthought.
“Yes, but was death a result of the ritual?”
“I don’t believe so, sir.” Phil sneered. “I don’t think the facially deformed biker gang had anything to do with the strange naked dancing going on in the woods that night.”
“Hmmm…well, that is good to hear.” The lawyer made a notation in one of his files.
“How could that be good?” Phil asked incredulously. “What about those men who were slaughtered while doing as you bid?”
The lawyer looked up while straightening the stack of papers. “Their loss is regrettable but that shouldn’t be your concern at the moment.”
Phil felt hands come down on each of his shoulders. He looked up at the faces of two large brutish men. They didn’t look at all friendly.
The lawyer cleared his throat to regain Phil’s attention.
“Mr. Marlowe, your concern should be for the job you left unfinished.” The lawyer smiled as Phil was forcibly hauled to his feet. “You shall assist the firm in completing the ritual.”
Phil swallowed down the fear that threatened to bubble over.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Marlowe. Your beneficiaries shall be fully compensated for your time.”
“Really? That won’t be necessary. Why don’t we just call everything even and I’ll be on my way?”
The lawyer continued to smile that infuriating little smile. “I’m sorry but it really will be necessary.”
Phil could tell that the lawyer wasn’t sympathetic to his plight.
“Gentlemen, please escort Mr. Marlowe downstairs to await mission re-deployment.”
Phil considered screaming but figured that wouldn’t really help matters.