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February 19, 2024

All-Nighter 25

By Lydia Manx

Episode Twenty-Five


I waited for Lindy at the front desk without even questioning why. She wasn't going to kick me to the curb, but I knew from the glint in her eye that she'd back me and wouldn't let me die if she could help it. So in the end it was starting to look like it was possible that I could survive this shit. What the fuck was happening was still unclear, but I knew that Lindy was in Florida for a reason. She wouldn't abandon me, and if I didn't fuck up it would be all good. I hoped.

Lindy paced into the lobby with a wickedly large duffel bag slung over her shoulder and she was fuming mad. My grandma's advice rung in my ear, 'If a woman is angry you probably did something stupid. And if it wasn't you, Sammy my dear, simply take the blame and make sure to hear her out. Because you'll be wrong either way if you try to fret and argue with her.' At the time I didn't have a clue what she meant, but with Lindy walking towards me, I knew exactly what my grandma had meant.

"So where's this panic button you were babbling about in my room?" Lindy was brisk and angry. It was so wrong that she was blaming me, but at the same time I could hear my grandma's words ringing in my befuddled thoughts. If there was any way I would be able to change her mind about all this being my fault, I certainly wasn't clued in on it. I've seen soaking wet cats with happier faces, and I wasn't willing to see if she still could out-shoot most everyone I'd ever known in my life, even my hillbilly cousins up in West Virginia that only came down from their mountains for moonshine ingredients and staples. Those were the kind of mountain men that weren't on the TV channels, showing off their stills and tricks of the trade in so-called 'reality television,' but actually walking the walk in mud-crusted boots and sporting their thick unkempt beards with pride. I shook my head free of my stray thoughts and got with the program.

I walked back to the discreetly placed room that Grant had shown me hours earlier in the day, and she followed closely with eyes wide and alert while keeping her bag slung over her shoulder, with the zipper half open so she'd have easy access to her weapons -- I knew it wasn't filled with vacation clothes and makeup. Lindy was edgier than she'd been years ago. There was a bank of monitors and instructions written on the wall. I shut the door behind Lindy and picked up the phone. It didn't take more than a few seconds before Grant picked up the call.

"What's wrong?" Grant answered while loudly exhaling.

"Trouble heading this way. That accident is on the internet and it looks like werewolves are involved," I replied while watching Lindy. She nodded and I waited.

"I understand. Lock yourselves in and give me five minutes." And he hung up. Disturbed by his saying 'yourselves,' I began to glance around for how he knew that it wasn't just me. Then I looked up to a far corner of the room to see a small lens focused on me and Lindy. Just like that I knew Grant had been watching us while I'd been calling. I was amazed by the place but a bit relieved to know it wouldn't be just Lindy and I trying to hold down the 'fort' such as it was.

We shut the door and sat inside on two of the four office chairs scattered around what was basically a fucking vault. I could hear a fan running the A/C and tried to breathe slowly. Lindy still kept the duffel bag at her feet and she'd opened the bag up further. I could see two large handguns and what looked like a sawed off shotgun in easy reach for the woman. I didn't ask any questions. Less than three minutes later I heard something.

I looked at the monitor for the screen focused outside of the room and then the heavy door opened quickly, and I saw that it was Grant, not some crazy mercenaries or a strong ass werewolf. When Grant slid into the room it was without my touching a single button -- guess the dude had the master keys or something. Lindy looked a bit surprised, but then I saw the glint of something near her thigh. She'd smartly brought a silver knife with her and Grant saw the metal and smiled.

"A pleasure to see you again Lindy. Sorry about such nasty circumstances." Grant sounded sincerely upset at the interruption of her vacation -- like he could have predicted it. Hell, for all I knew he could. I wasn't sure what exactly Grant was other than my boss. I noticed that Lindy had a cautious look in her eyes, and I guess that she didn't have a clue, but wasn't assuming he was some vanilla dude that was manager of the resort. But by the way she was tensed, I was pretty sure she knew as well as I did that Grant was more of a predator than some type of stupid prey. Running with zombies had sharpened our skills for picking up on the creepy ass shit.

"Ah hell, Grant, if something wasn't trying to kill me, I'd figure I was already dead," Lindy wasn't deadpanning, but serious. She must have some fucking crazy stories to tell about since the time I'd last seen her. Maybe we'd get to catch up sooner rather than later -- I wasn't planning on dying, so either way'd work for me. Glancing at the set line of Lindy's mouth she was on the same page. Grant allowed a slight smile.

"I've spoken with my Mistress." I caught that nice slip from him 'cause normal type folks would've called her the boss or Melissa, but the 'Mistress' title fit.

Lindy didn't comment, but arched an eyebrow towards me and shrugged. I don't know if that meant she knew who his Mistress was, or what flavor of bad. She didn't keep looking at me, but turned to Grant and asked, "What does that mean to us?" She hadn't stowed the knife back in her bag, but now openly held it in her lap as if contemplating the sharp blade for guidance. I knew that I wanted one, given those werewolf comments she'd made. She was right, you know, I really didn't know fuck all about furry monsters, but I'd heard some other dudes talking about them a few years back, and one guy was claiming how he'd just offed one. I asked him to prove it, and he'd pulled out his cell phone and pawed through his gallery until he founds some bloody shots of a hairy guy carved up. From what she'd said, I now wondered it if had been Photoshopped, or if he'd killed somebody who'd pissed him off by wearing flannel. Yeah, flannel and furry was my takeaway.

"It means that we have to take some precautions, and evacuate this place immediately. Then she will contact me with the news about all that she's found out about our situation, and tell me if we are required to perform any other type of actions." He was pretty calm about it.

It was about then that it dawned on me -- slowly, I admit -- that this shit probably happened more times than I knew. After the West Virginia crap, I knew how well stuff was hidden from the average human folks. Also, even in Florida, I didn't get to be one of those folks. I bit back a sigh and waited to see what steps Grant had in mind to evacuate the place.

My mouth dropped open as I watched him slide open an upper cabinet where there were a dozen various binders with labels. Great informative types of labels with stuff like "Tornado," "Hurricane," "Tsunami," "Aliens -- Earth or Other" (mentally I noted that binder for late night reading in my spare time once we fixed this one) and my next favorite: "Incursions from Others" -- that was the one he pulled off the shelf, so I guess that meant supernatural freaks, not some alien creeps. Glad to know they had a manual for both kinds of interruption of services. I wondered if I got combat pay for this shit, or if it was included in the job. I really had to ask for a job description.

He flipped through the plastic-coated instructions and began pressing buttons on a panel and pulled up the Internet. Yeah, the dude had skills, as I saw how his fingers flew across the keyboard. Without filling us in, he picked up a phone and began calling various guests in their rooms. I wasn't guessing, but could see them pick up their phones and look startled while Grant explained that due to unforeseen circumstances, they were being relocated to another facility. He explained that all they needed to do was go out the private exit and a car with a gold star affixed to the passenger door would identify their driver and to use the word "Haven" to be safely relocated. He was firm with each of the guests to say that they were not to pack anything but their basic necessities for the next twelve hours, and everything else in their room would be brought to them at no cost to the new location, and the next four days and nights were free of charge for the inconvenience. I watched a few of the guests get upset, but once he said free not many said shit. Even rich folks liked free, I figured.

Some sputtered and must've asked him where the new place was, but all Grant said was, "Somewhere discreet and safe. In the event we are able, we will bring you back here if need be." Then he added the kicker that the new location had an upgraded suite available for them, and that he also was making sure all of their needs were to be met by a personal valet. Each call pretty much was the same but Grant made it sound like the guest was special and getting extra treatment not available for everyone. That seemed to appease even the grumpiest of guests, and within ten minutes we watched on the monitors that the entire that the place was emptied out. Truly awesome, but at the same time scary as shit.

Lindy looked up once Grant disconnected from the phone and had stopped clicking on the keyboard, and asked pretty calmly, "So do I have to leave and join the refugees?"

Grant turned and said, "You may if you would like to, but it was pointed out to me that you could perhaps assist and we would comp this trip and arrange for another month somewhere a bit off the radar."

"If I survive." She arched her eyebrow at him and I watched him wince a bit. Yeah, she had that angry ass expression in her eyes promising pain and untold amounts of crap.

"That was considered, and the offer of a substantial check would be written to your beneficiary in the event of your demise." Damn, Grant made her possible death sound like it could be a good thing. I really needed my job description, and to find out if I had that kind of benefit. Fuck health care -- I could set my grandma up for life and she could buy as many fake ass leather bags as she wanted.

Grant looked at me, like he'd heard my thoughts, and said, "I also took the liberty of arranging an equal sort of financial assistance for your grandmother if you should have any difficulties. We haven't had a chance to go over your basic employee coverages for this new job, but be assured we are very generous. I already printed out the benefits and mailed your package to your home to be completed at your leisure. Sadly, I hadn't a clue that it would be possibly needed so quickly."

He really sounded broken up but I just looked at him and said, "Okay." No need to piss off the boss. I still wondered at the job but it looked like all that would have to wait.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-07-25
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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