Well, Christmas shopping was a bust. I bought one thing. ONE! Then spent three hours wandering around town, just being in everyone’s way.
It was really strange, the streets were empty, but shops were pretty full. There also seemed to be major lines, without there being very many people. I was in Tesco in Dundrum shopping centre at about 10.30 or so, waited in line for a good twenty minutes. There were 3 tills open, and loads of staff just wandering around the store. No one seemed to be buying Christmassy things either, it was mostly general shopping. We went as we figured that there wouldn’t be that many people out. We were right too, it was strange, the shops were empty, but the lines were really, really long.
It was annoying not being able to get stuff for people, but I’ve improvised, so it’s all good. I also get a little longer to prepare, so that’s reassuring. It also gives me time to make chocolate essence for cooking. From what I’ve found online, there are two ways to do it, one way takes 3 days, the other takes a year. I don’t have a year so 3 day version it is! Hopefully it’ll work. It’ll probably be better than my “just mix a lot of dark cocoa powder with water and hope for the best” method. Which did work, just not as flavourful as I would have hoped.
My sister also finally managed to get home! So now there are extra hands to help with the puppy, which is awesome. They’ll be going home in a few days, once recovered from ridiculous jet lag.
On with the show!
Brett walked the streets slowly, looking at the passing crowd, Rose was waiting back in the car. They had both been looking for the perfect person, they needed a man, and someone large, the taller and broader the better. Brett wanted it to look like a super powerful being crammed themselves down to size, Rose had suggested they just get someone normal, but Brett was quick to point out it might cast suspicion on her, Simon and potentially himself. Brett didn’t think they’d question someone who was bigger than usual, even if it was only by a small bit.
The crowds were thinning out now as it became darker, Brett was starting to lose hope of finding a body, but he kept looking. He had returned to Rose once, to check that she was doing ok and that she wasn’t getting herself into trouble. She had apparently found a box of cigarettes in the glove compartment and was contentedly puffing away on one. She claimed she hadn’t seen anyone, but Brett believed she wasn’t trying, after all, she hadn’t even left the car. He had stayed for only a brief moment, then he took off again, scanning the crowds all the while. He had hoped he would find someone that he’d be able to tail back to their house or until they wandered somewhere alone. He could knock them out and have Rose drive the car to them, but so far, no appealing opportunities had presented themselves.
He was walking towards a row of houses when he spotted the man, not as tall, or as broad as Brett had hoped for, but suitable none the less. He walked up behind the man and started to keep pace, after a few minutes, he concentrated, the man paused, frowned, then moaned and leaned over, clutching his stomach. Brett moved up beside him.
“Hey dude, are you ok?”
“Yeah, I just…my stomach.”
The man gasped, fell forward and hit the pavement with a thud. Brett grabbed the man’s arms and lifted him up until the man was standing, then draped the man’s arm around his neck, the two of them began to stumble down the road, Brett hoped to anyone passing by, it looked like a drunk and his friend trying to get him to walk it off. Brett made his way towards the car, wishing they had parked closer. Once they reached the car, he leveraged the man in. Once he was secured, Brett slid into the passenger’s seat and Rose began to drive.
They drove for half an hour, Brett periodically knocking out the man in the back. When Rose stopped the car she got out, smiled in at Brett, then disappeared. She returned after twenty minutes, carrying a small, scantily clad woman. Brett looked around nervously, Rose was making no effort to hide the fact that the woman was unconscious. She opened the car door and dumped the limp body in beside the man.
“Put on her seat belt.” Rose sighed dramatically and began to strap the woman in.
“You could have been more subtle with her you know.”
“What? It’s not like there’s anyone around, it’s dark, and a shitty neighbourhood. You should be thankful I wasn’t attacked.”
“You can take care of yourself.”
“Exactly. And don’t you think people would wonder about the charred corpses in the middle of the unburnt street? Besides, she followed me most of the way. She only started to get nervous when we were near the car. She was a prostitute, so it’s not like anyone will probably miss her.”
Rose pulled out onto the road.
“Fine, just get us back quickly. Do you think the others are still out?”
“Yeah, they’ll be gone for a while, they wanted to spend some of the money. I think they might have gone to the movies with Joey too.”
They returned to the house and, after checking with Simon that it was clear, they carried the bodies inside.
Rose opened the door to the safe, then she tossed in the woman, a second later there was a small splash of blood. They waited for a moment, then Brett put the man’s body inside carefully. Rose closed over the door again.
“I’ll go in soon, talk to him, make sure he knows what’s going on.”
Brett stepped into the room carrying a torch, the man was sitting in the corner. Brett, surprised he wasn’t attacked, smiled.
“Hi. Good to see you’re not too pissed.”
The man frowned, “Oh, it’s you. I thought you were gonna be those old guys again.”
“Nope, just me.”
“So what am I doing here?”
“We need your help.”
The man snorted, “Why should I help you?”
“Because you need our help too.”
Brett stepped outside of the safe, “He’s in.” The man stood at the edge of the door. “So what’s the plan exactly?” “you’re going to disappear for a day or two, then you’re going to appear at the house, all powerful and a little assholish.”
“Why can’t we just kill them?”
“You know why.”
“Ugh. Fine. I still say they should know what’s happening, keeping secrets like this, it doesn’t feel right.”
Brett pulled a piece of chalk out of his pocket and started to scribble one the floor. “Be careful, there are some vermin running about, you might get attacked if you’re slow.” The man nodded. “Gotcha.”
Brett worked quickly, smiling slightly the entire time. He could feel it watching him, getting ready to pounce. Before it could, Brett stepped back. “There you go. You can leave the room now.”
The man stepped into the study, “So where should I stay?”
“There’s a room on the second floor you can stay in, we’ll lock it. Just be a bit quiet. We’ll send up food and make sure you have enough to keep you occupied.”
“Have you lot decided on a name for me yet?”
“No, but it’ll be something old. It’ll be easier than something modern.”
“Fine. Whatever. Just make it quick. I don’t like being unnamed. It feels wrong.”
They brought him up to the second floor and, after making sure he had enough to keep him occupied, they left him alone.
“Do you think he’d going to keep his word?”
“He doesn’t have a choice, does he?”
“None of us do.”
“I have something else that I need to take care of.”
“Ok, I’ll see you later then.”
Brett left Rose and made his way towards Jack’s room. Jack was out, he was rarely in the house anymore. Brett opened the door and went inside. The room was clean and looked barely lived in. There was a small case at the end of the made bed. Brett went over to the desk and sat on it, waiting. He had to have a little talk with Jack. Make sure he wasn’t around for too much longer. Jack had a weak mind. That would make things easier. He didn’t like controlling people like this. It was tiring, but it had to be done sometimes. The others could do it, but he didn’t know their skill at it. It was better to do it himself, less chance of something going wrong, or someone else screwing up.