New Town. Part 23

Part 1, Part 22

The baron stopped outside a pair of elaborately styled gates and waited as they opened, once there was enough room he eased the car through, almost immediately the gates started to close again. The house was big, but not as big as Doug had expected, it was a wide house that was two stories high, the outside was red brick. The driveway was short and expertly landscaped, trees and high bushes created a large privacy screen to prevent anyone from looking over the walls and seeing in. The Baron stopped the car and got out, Doug followed a second later, feeling out of place. “You’ll be safe here, don’t worry. Once we get inside I’ll call Max and let him know where you are, then we can figure out a plan to get you out of the city safely.”
“So you think I should just go?”
“Yes, it would be best for all of us I think.” The Baron climbed the short flight of steps to the door and opened it, he stepped inside, then gestured for Doug to do the same. Once inside, The Baron closed and locked the door. The hallway they were in was tiled white, The Baron threw his keys into a small bowl that sat atop a table that was against the wall. He shrugged out of his jacket and put it onto a wooden coat rack, then he started walking. Doug’s stomach grumbled, the house smelled like food. The Baron opened the door at the end of the hall to reveal a kitchen, Doug had expected they would go to some sort of dining or sitting room, and he had thought the kitchen would be nestled away somewhere at the back of the house. The kitchen was large and spacious, with windows providing plenty of natural light. A long table created an island for workspace, while counters that lined the walls provided even more space. Despite everything being clean, white lines, the place felt warm and welcoming. A man was stirring something in a large pot. He turned and smiled at them as they entered, “I’m sorry I thought you would be a little longer.”
“That’s ok, there’s no rush.” The Baron turned to Doug, “Do you want a snack to tide you over?”
“No, I’m ok thank you.”
The Baron gestured at a bowl of fruit, “Help yourself if you want, it shouldn’t be too much longer until the food is done.” The Baron stepped up to the man at the pot and kissed him lightly on the cheek, “Need a hand?”
“No, I think I have everything covered. I’m Mark, by the way.”
“I’m sorry, I should have introduced you, Doug this is Mark, my husband.” Mark reached over and shook Doug’s hand across the small island counter, “Nice to meet you.”
“You too.”
“Do you want a drink? We have soft drink, wine or beer.”
“Some water would be great, thank you.”
The Baron stepped around Mark and took out some glasses, he filled one with water and passed it to Doug, then he filled the other two with wine and took a sip himself before passing a glass to Mark.
The Baron moved around the island and sat down at the table, gesturing for Doug to sit too, then he pulled a phone from his pocket and started to dial.
“Hi Max? It’s Todd. Doug’s here with me. He’s safe. Yeah…I…Hang on.”
The Baron handed the phone to Doug, “He wants to make sure you’re safe.”
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Are you being coerced into saying anything?”
“No, I’m sitting here and we’re going to be eating soon.”
“…ok…Could you put him back on please?”
Doug passed the phone back.

“Yeah?…Well, look we’re about to eat, why don’t you stop by? If you want you can bring one or two people, however the less people who know where Doug is the better. Great. See you soon.”
The Baron hung up, “Max is coming?”
“Yeah, and he’ll be by himself, he likes to pretend I’m some big villain like it’s a movie or something. If he really thought that though, he wouldn’t step foot in here without a guard.”
It wasn’t long after they had finished eating when Max arrived, he entered, as the Baron predicted, alone. “are you ok?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Good. Ok.” He turned to the Baron, “Thank you for finding him, now if you’ll excuse us, we must be going.”
“To bring Doug back to his place obviously. He’ll be safe there, at least we have security.”
“Twice under your watch he has been attacked. Twice.”
“Obviously there will be a full enquiry as to how that happened, but for now we really must be going.”
“No, we’re going to sit down and discuss this. I’m not going to let you railroad anyone here.”
“C’mon Doug, we should leave.”
“No, I think that Th-Todd is right. We should discuss this first.”
“It isn’t safe here, there are no guards, nothing to protect you.”
“Guards didn’t make that much a difference before, did they? Realistically I’m as safe here as I was there.”
“I have protections put in place that otherwise would be ineffective in other places.”
Max glared at the Baron, “fine. We’ll sit and talk about it, then we’ll do the sane thing and leave here.”

“So, what is the plan now?”
“Well, we continue on with your visit. You still have five days left, it isn’t that long a period of time. We should do some easy things over the next day or two, maybe visit a school and talk to some of the kids, see the market, that kind of thing.”
“How is that safe? You’ll never be able to control the market, not enough to stop another attempt getting at Doug.”
“Look, it’s much better to finish up the visit as scheduled. If we cut it short, it won’t look good, it will send the message that we are weak, that we can be intimidated. I don’t want to send the wrong impression out into the world.”
“And what about his safety? What if they capture him and kill him next time?”

“There won’t be a next time. Besides, he was rescued both times.”

“He shouldn’t be in that position in the first place.”
The room fell silent, “I think it would be best if I left. We can reschedule another visit soon, once you have sorted out what ever problems this caused.”
“No, that isn’t a good idea. If you leave now they won’t let you back in.”
“That’s a risk I’ll just have to take. Besides, me leaving with your full support shows good leadership. It shows that you are a tactical thinker. It makes more sense for me to leave. It proves you’ll do what ever it takes to protect visitors, even if that means they have to leave.”
Max sat back in his chair, “I’m not going to force you to stay against your will, I truly believe it is the best if you stay, leaving gives the idea that you’re frightened, running away. However, if you truly want to leave then we will escort you to the gate.”
“Have you talked to the outside? Told them of what is happening?”
“No, not yet.”
“Well, let them know the new travel arrangements. It wouldn’t do if you went to the trouble of getting him to the gate and finding it locked.”
“Yes. You’re right of course. I’ve been taking steps to clear the streets of people who are behind this. So far we’re making good progress. You should be able to leave with minimal fuss. I’ll contact them tonight and organise it all. Tomorrow you’ll be leaving. Is that acceptable?”
“Yes. I think so.”

Max nodded once, “I have to say though, I am disappointed. I thought you’d stick it out. I really did.”
Doug shrugged, unsure what to say.
“If you like you can spend the night here in the guest room, or you could return to the apartment that was given to you.”
“I think you would be better off coming with me, though obviously we’ll be moving you to another location with stricter security.”
“I think I’ll stay here, if that is ok.”
“Of course. Mark already set it up just in case.”
Max scowled, “We can’t protect you in this house.”
“No, but I can protect him. I’m going to call in some of my own people. You’ll be safe here. This is one of the safest places in the city.”


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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One Response to New Town. Part 23

  1. Pingback: New Town. Part 24. | Alan James Keogh

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