The inky smoke dissipated quickly as Rabdos stepped out of the cloud and walked the familiar corridors of the cubicles leading to his host. He stopped outside a nondescript beige cubical. Seated in the cube staring at a computer screen sat Robert Dante, the man who had produced the demon Karack earlier that day. He sat at his desk staring at a spreadsheet on his computer screen, but his steel-blue eyes were vacant as though he stared through the screen.
Rabdos placed the little lemur on his shoulder and walked over to Dante. He switched hands with his axe and laid the empty hand on the man’s shoulder. With Dante seated, Rabdos stood just under the man’s ear and he began to whisper.
Something isn’t right in these numbers. You’ve made a mistake somewhere and you can’t find it. The project might be underfunded and Mister Thomas needs to be made aware of the problem, Rabdos said.
The vacant expression in the man’s eyes cleared away. He leaned forward and stared harder at the screen. He grasped the mouse and began searching the spreadsheet for something but wasn’t sure what.
“I know these numbers are right. I just checked them this morning,” Dante said as he continued to scroll through his data.
No, you missed something. Only Mister Thomas can find it, Rabdos responded in Dante’s ear.
“I can’t have missed something. There isn’t anything to miss,” Dante said softly.
Rabdos snorted in frustration. He released Dante’s shoulder and stuck his hand into the computer sitting on the floor by Dante’s feet. The computer screen flickered and the spreadsheet vanished to be replaced by a shapely woman in a small bikini. The banner on the page touted sunbathers of the Caribbean as a title.
Dante shot a quick glance over his shoulder and clicked a few of the images in rapid succession. Various women in stages of undress on sandy, tropical beaches flashed across his screen. Dante licked his lips and started to move the mouse to another image.
Rabdos quickly moved to the next cube where a woman with long curly brunet hair sat busily at work on a similar spreadsheet. He took his axe and shot a small amount of red electricity at the woman’s head. She groaned slightly and rubbed her temples.
“These numbers are all starting to blur together, Bob,” she said reaching into her top drawer and removing a bottle of aspirin. Rabdos scurried back to Robert Dante’s cube where Dante had already switched his screen back to his own spreadsheet. A slight sheen of sweat had broken out on his forehead.
“Yeah, I’m starting to question my data here too,” Dante responded.
I can make the shame and doubt go away, just let me in, Rabdos whispered as he took the lemur off his shoulder and placed it onto Dante’s hand that still clutched the mouse. The lemur began licking the back of the man’s hand.
Dante slowly moved the mouse and switched screens back to the Internet page with the swimsuit models. He quickly clicked through the images until he came to one that had long curly brunet hair very similar to the woman who sat in the cube next to him. He stared at the picture for a long moment before standing and looking over the cube wall.
“Say, you want to head to Harry’s for a drink?” Dante asked, flashing a winning smile down at the woman.
“Ugh, I’ve got a fantastic headache building. I don’t think I’m up to it Bob,” She said.
“Come on Carrie, it’ll be fun. Besides, you’re getting that headache from staring at that damn screen all day,” Dante countered. Carrie hesitated, considering the statement. She finally slumped her shoulders and hung her head.
“I’d love to Bob, really, but I’ve still got to setup two pivot tables and email out the results before I can go,” she said, pointing to her screen as she did.
“Who are you sending them to, Paul?” Dante asked already knowing the answer.
“Yes. Mr. Thomas expects his data by the end of the day, you know that,” Carrie answered.
“I have to go talk to him about a discrepancy in some of the data I’ve found anyway,” Dante lied. “I’ll just tell him there’s an issue with your spreadsheets and you’ll have it for him first thing in the morning. Problem solved and we sneak out early for that drink.”
“I don’t know,” Carrie said, hesitating.
“If I can get you an email from Paul telling you to give it to him in the morning will you go?” he asked.
“I don’t want him to think I’m slacking off,” Carrie said.
“Oh, don’t you worry. You’ll look great when I’m done,” Dante said, already heading out of his cube and down the hall toward the executive offices along the wall.
The little lemur sat on Dante’s shoulder just next to the man’s ear. Rabdos scampered alongside and back just slightly. Dante came to the end of the hall and turned to the door leading to Paul Thomas’ corner office. The door was closed. Dante stopped and knocked twice, then waited respectfully. A muffled voice from inside bid him enter and he opened the door.
“Mr. Thomas, I’ve been going over the finance numbers for the latest acquisition of property and something doesn’t add up. I think we’re over paying by a large margin,” he said scratching his head as he entered. Rabdos dashed inside the office, ran over to Paul Thomas’ desk and jumped onto it. The man who sat behind the desk was in his mid-fifties with solid grey hair cut short just over the ears. He was clean shaven and had several double chins denoting a diet of rich foods. He pushed back from his desk revealing an ample girth. He wore a classic white button down shirt with a red tie that had a repeating cross pattern on it. A very large portion of the man’s chest was covered in the white energy and ropes of force extended out through the walls in all directions. Rabdos made certain he did not come in contact with any of those ropes as he scanned the documents on the desk.
“Yes, yes, Robert, we’ve been over these before. I’m not concerned with the costs associated with the land. We need that land, and we need it there,” Mr. Thomas said.
“I just want to make sure we’re good stewards of what we’ve been given, like you say,” Dante responded coming to stop before the desk. “Carrie Sterling has some data I’d like to take into account before she sends out her reports to you. I want to make sure I haven’t sent her faulty numbers. Could you please let her send those reports out first thing tomorrow?”
“You know I have a morning call meeting at nine,” Mr. Thomas said.
“Yes, sir. You’ll have her reports before then.”
“Fine, as long as my numbers are in my inbox before the meeting.”
“Sir, could I ask you to send her an email telling her it’s okay to wait until I tell her the numbers are good? She’s been working really hard on that report today and I don’t want to worry her.” As Dante spoke the little lemur moved off his shoulder and under his chin. As Dante spun his deceit the lemur gained purchase on the underside of the man’s chin and slowly crawled his way along the man’s jaw until he hung from his face, just at the corner of his mouth. Just as Dante finished his story, the lemur crawled into Dante’s mouth. The man closed his lips and smiled as the tail of the creature disappeared inside. Rabdos smiled a sly little smile and began surveying the documents on the desk as Mr. Thomas switched programs on his computer and began composing the requested email.
Spread out on the desk were several maps and lists. One of the maps was a map of the world and the other a map of the United States of America. The US map had twelve locations marked with numbers and names stenciled next to them. In the southern portion of the US the number three was written next to a location and the name Tom Cross.
Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm. For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.