The “Debt” Collector

Hendrick was nervous.  His “associate” Anton had been found dead on his own doorstep.  The media was reporting he had died from a single gunshot wound, the result of a robbery gone wrong.

It must have been a robbery, Hen mused, in an attempt to still himself.  His wallet and watch were missing.  Yes, a robbery. But – but, he was an ex-mercenary.  A good one.  No amateur could get a drop on him like that, he thought again becoming agitated.

The there was Vlad, last autumn.  Heroine overdose? Couldn’t have been, the man was a health freak.

It had to be more than a coincidence.

Ever since the news story about Anton, Hen had taken to changing his route each day.  He moved cautiously, and didn’t stay in the same hotel more than a day or two.  It had been that way for two weeks.

On reaching the Sunset Inn, Hen nodded to the desk clerk.

“Has anyone checked in upstairs?” Hen asked.

“No it is really slow, and I have kept everyone in ground floor rooms, just like you paid me to do,” the untidy middle aged woman replied.

Avoiding the lift which bore a sign reading “Out of Order,” Hen went up the back staircase to the third floor.  He had paid for the entire floor, and had the access door padlocked.  He quickly spun the combination and then ducked inside.  He then chained the double doors from the inside.

He then moved down a dark hallway to Room 311.  He had been in 309 the night before, and tomorrow 306, before checking out.

As he entered the room a cold chill ran up his spine.  On the bed was his best business suit, laid out neatly.  “But I left that at my house!” he said out loud.

Before he could take any physical action, the solitary figure a woman in her late thirties stepped from the bathroom brandishing a gun.

“Good evening, Mr Muller,” she said with a surprising brightness of tone.  “If you wouldn’t mind too much, I think you will find a suicide note under the jacket.  It is typed nicely for you on your home computer, and in your distress you have left it on your screen as well.  A signature would be nice, but it isn’t necessary.”

“I – I, Who an the hell are you?”

“Samantha Albert,” she said.  “We’ve never met but you do remember my beloved Daniel who you and your ‘associates’ beat to death.  And why?  Because he supported the ‘wrong’ football team.”

“But we were drunk, we can’t be held responsible for what we did.  Even a court would say so.”

“Spare me the platitudes,” she snarled.  “There was no court.  Was there?  No, three respectable businessmen just walked away from it.  ‘Who would suspect us?’  Well, your friend Vlad got a conscience and came to try to pay me ‘blood money.’  Oh, I took it and used it really well planning my revenge.  But, the signature please – and then put the suit on.  You will look really dashing in it.”

Padre

 

Tale Weaver – #244 – A Solitary Figure

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Beloved

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Down a Dark Hall

FOWC with Fandango — Suit

FOWC with Fandango — Chill

Your Daily Word Prompt – Platitude

Night Of Flames

Fire, Field, Smoke, Flame, Nature, Environment, Heat

Pixabay

Hamlin scanned the devastation laid out before him.  The blackened fields were hazy with the swirls of blowing ash.  How had it come to this that the once green pastures could be thus transformed?

The cause lay in the history of the region.  Ninety years before, the Riders of the East had staged a mass incursion into the Duchy.  Villages were sacked, men slain, and women abducted into slavery upon the steppe.

In its aftermath the Duke ordered the construction of the Horde-Line, a series of stone blockhouses and towers such as the one upon which Hamlin now stood.   The Duchy would never again be caught unready, as a perpetual watch was set against the threat.

In addition to the fortifications and their garrisons of watchers, relay stations were set in which riders were every ready to speed new of invasion from the frontier to the cities of the interior.  Measures were also taken to insure that any attack would be slowed enough for these riders to complete their missions, and for reinforcements to arrive, huge cisterns of tar and oil were strategically constructed along the frontier.  The Eastern Riders would be greeted not only by a shower of arrows from the towers, but with a wall of fire as well.

Then last Tuesday it happened.  A young sentry walking the walls of Tower Seven felt a rumbling beneath his feet, and heard the unmistakable sound of hooves in the night.  He alerted his captain, and the threat confirmed.  Three flare arrows were loosed into the night, but a heavy fog lay upon the surrounding fields.  The captain, fearing for not only his Duchy, but for his very life, gave the order for the cisterns to be ignited.

When “Seven’s” tar pits flared, the officers of surrounding fortifications followed suit.  Soon the entire border was in flame.

But no arrows responded to the fierce attack of the defenders.  No agonizing cries of burning Riders were heard.  No, when the flames finally abated, all that was found was the charred remains of a herd of bison, perhaps a thousand strong.

The great attack of The Tuesday of Flames was a mistake.  An error in judgement which would change the Duchy’s defense plans forever.

Padre

FOWC with Fandango — Threat 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Ash

RDP Tuesday: error

Your Daily Word Prompt – Perpetual

The Castle

imageedit_15_3872398220 (1)

The Castle

Boldly the tower stands against the dreary late autumn,

Dull and damp, the cold stone resists the drizzle and gusts,

Perhaps a mere shadow of their grandeur past,

Yet reverberating with the memories of glory.

 

Padre

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Today’s prompt from Go Dog Go Cafe

Here are 3 words to spark your imagination for a piece of poetry.  BUT, you CANNOT USE these 3 words in the poem.  What images, feelings, emotions do they conjure up for you? Good luck!

gray, wind, echoes

 

 

The Porter’s Bag

abbey-gate

Abbey Gate, Bury St Edmunds

 

Brother Dominic had been Porter at the priory for nearly 18 years, now. He was proud (if that wasn’t too much of a sin) of the work he did. He was responsible for the dual role of welcoming pilgrims to the monastery, but also of securing it from the influences of the world.

All that stood between the holy sanctuary within and the sinful chaos without was the rough wooden gate, and himself.

Forty years before, he had entered that same gate himself for the first time. He was only ten then, an average farm lad but with a religious disposition. He was brought here by the village priest after his mother had died, and he was to become a novice. His worn clothes really not much more than rag, but now he would get a warm habit, and regular meals.

And novice he had become, then a full brother of the order. He was keen to help, and kept “the Rule” as well as any. He was rewarded for his efforts when at 32 he was appointed keeper of the gate.

That’s all there was to it, really. He had a cell in the gatehouse, and a small office. Three younger brothers assisted him. Days had become routine, but he liked the regime. Early prayers, breakfast, and mass which were followed by duties at the gate. Then more worship, vespers, and to bed. But within this routine, he had important duties. Dominic as the Porter was keeper of the keys. All of the keys! Every gate, storeroom, and door was in his charge.

A key at a time might be issued out to his subordinates, but the bag on his hip was sacrosanct. Only the Porter could lay hands upon it. Only he knew all which it contained. This was a point of envy (if such is not too much a sin) among his assistants.  They longed to have control of the bag, and to know all of its secrets.

Dominic smiled to himself as he thought of the curiosity of the younger monks about his bag. Still smiling he closed the door of his office and withdrew the flask of wine from the his mysterious bag.

Padre


This story was prompted by the challenge on The Secret Keeper’s page to use five prompt words to create a poem or story. This week’s words were:

ROUGH | GATE | RAG | HIP | WINE |