The Biggest Reason
Reed Pulaski was timid. It might seem strange that he could become Vice-President of Security at Hawkins Financial LLP, but management had compelling reasons for placing him there.
As Reed opened the door to the cafeteria in the curving halls of the Brandt building, someone shot through the door ahead him. No word of apology, no nothing. As Reed slipped his slight frame through the door, he realized the rude personage was no less than Brendon Cooper, Director of Loans. Reed settled into the buffet line behind just as Brendan took the last blueberry muffin. Everyone in management knew Reed loved blueberry muffins. Brendan added insult to injury by smirking at Reed as he threw the uneaten muffin in the trash. It was blatant disrespect to a more senior employee but Reed, gently rubbing the large black ring on his finger, did nothing. He didn’t believe in abusing his position.
That wasn’t the biggest reason management placed him so high.
Back at his office, Latham called in to say he needed to leave early. It was the fourth time this month. Many managers might have no patience for that, but Reed knew the man’s situation. Latham’s son was battling Leukemia, and often needed his father at home. Reed made a point of thoroughly understanding the life situation of his subordinates.
It wasn’t the biggest reason management kept him.
At 9:08 that evening, Reed sat at his computer updating the company’s computer security. The change was minor and not essential, but Reed was meticulous about such things. On another monitor, he noticed something strange about the security cameras. He stood up to investigate just as his office door opened.
Brendan Cooper entered the room, a silenced 9mm pistol in hand. “Evening Reed,” he grinned.
“Brendan,” said Reed in his high-pitched voice. He began rubbing his black ring. “What’s going on?”
“We’re going for a walk.” Brendan gestured out the door with the pistol.
Without a word, Reed complied. He made no effort to resist. Walking out behind Reed, Brendan grinned. Reed made everything so easy for him. As they walked down the carpeted floor to the elevator, Reed said, “Whatever the problem is, Brendan, we can solve it. Let’s just talk.”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
“If money is a problem, we can work something out.”
Riding the elevator to the lowest level, Brendan said. “No problem. It’s just a job, Reed.”
“But you don’t have to sacrifice…”
“No, you idiot,” grated Brendan. “The job is to find an employee with vault access who has a critical weakness, a gambling debt, a mistress, something to use against them. Turns out it was you.”
“But I don’t have any of those things!”
“No,” Brendan said, shoving him as the elevator doors opened. “You’re just a wimp.”
They passed guards lying in pools of their own blood on the way to the vault. At the massive bank door, Brendan commanded, “Open it.”
“Okay,” said Reed, once again offering no resistance. Brendan shook his head in amazement. He’d been prepared to torture the necessary codes out of him, but Reed made it too easy.
In the vault, palettes of money and gold bars rested in neat stacks across the floor. He looked down at Reed sitting calmly, comfortably in a chair. “How did you become VP of Security anyway? Usually you guys are ex-Army or something. Not sissies like you.”
“Well, I’m honest, fair, and hardworking.”
“No, that’s not it.”
A massive crash sounded as the 5-ton vault door suddenly slammed shut, locking them into the vault. “What the…?”
A hidden door within the vault opened and light streamed out. Brendan squinted as a ghostly apparition appeared inside the room. A cadaverous figure sat in a golden throne inside the room. Robes, once fine when the creature lived, drooped over the tatters of skin laying over the skeletal body. Malignant lights glowed in its eye sockets.
“That is a Lich. Formerly an evil sorceror, who decideded to live forever…as a corpse,” said Reed, absently checking his nails. “I let him reap the souls of people trying to break in here.”
Brendan’s knees collapsed and he dropped his gun. He looked at Reed. “But…”
“Oh.” Reed displayed his black ring. “This lets me control liches, like him.”
The Lich leaped at Brendan with a scream and hoisted him aloft by the neck.”
“To answer your first question,” grinned Reed. “The biggest reason they keep me as VP is, they’re shitless of my lich.”
This is my first post for the new Grammer Ghoul Press. The writing challenge is to write 750 words of flash fiction based upon an image and a word. This week, the word is reap. It goes along well with that spooky painting. I hope you enjoyed. Take a look at the works of other writers here: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-2-open/