Monday, January 11, 2016

Flash Fiction: The Auction House

“Next up we have this authentic, 11th Century scythe, oak handle with occult engravings.  We start the bidding $14,000.00…”

The microphone echo of the auctioneer’s voice was cut off as the door to the main room slammed shut.  Tanya looked over her glasses to where her boss had been standing to find that he was already sweeping across the lobby towards the exit.  His expression, as always, was shrouded by dark cloth, but the tense hunch of his covered shoulders belied his unease.  Tanya sighed.  It was going to be a long day.

“Sir!” she called after him, clutching her clipboard in one hand as she jogged to catch up.  She slowed when she heard the indecipherable muttering coming from him.  “Sir, at least we have the location, and there weren’t any unscheduled casualties this time.”  He continued his muffled grumbling and Tanya was hard pressed not to sigh again.  Being ‘encouraging’ and ‘upbeat’ was not part her job description.

Tanya inserted her Bluetooth and glanced at the shrouded figure beside her.  “I can have the Riders ready for an extraction mission in less than 10 minutes.”  Suddenly, Death stopped and held up a gloved hand in his patent pending ‘Stop, I need to ponder this’ pose while his other hand idly tapped unseen lips.  Tanya began mentally counting down from 6.  By the time she reached ‘wait for it 3’ his raised hand was beginning to lower, and the instant she reached ‘wait for it 1’ her boss gave a very distinct nod.

“Good,” he said.  His voice was quiet and soft, completely at odds with his unnaturally tall, thick build, and mysterious dress.  “Very good.  Inform them that we’re having a team meeting in my office when they get back.  This is the third time this month some of my personal items have shown up here, and we must to get to the bottom of this right away.”

Death turned away, muttering.  Tanya was pretty sure she heard him say something about 'idiots,' ‘atrocious carbon-dating techniques,’ and 'recognizing true craftsmanship,' but that was neither here nor there. Her boss walked towards a place in the parking lot that shimmered in a way reminiscent of heat waves from a fire, and vanished.  Tanya tapped her Bluetooth and began mentally preparing notes for the rest of the day’s meetings.

“Connie?” There was a pause and she huffed a little.  “Fine, whatever, Conquest.  The object has been located.  I’m sending you the coordinates now.  Prepare the team for an extraction, code 0-2-7 SCY.”  There was another pause and she nodded. “Affirmative.  That works fine.  Oh and Connie? The boss is in a mood.  Team meeting scheduled for after the debriefing.”  Tanya clicked off her headset and made a few notes on her clipboard.  After a quick glance around, she followed her boss into the heat shimmers and disappeared.

No comments:

Post a Comment