I sat in the waiting room and tried smiling to the secretary. I had enough time to bonder over the question, how screwed I was. At first I tried to remind myself not to over think the plan while I was waiting, but to my surprise I wasn’t thinking about it at all.
Instead I was staring at her, stupid smile decorating my features and turned eyes away every time she glanced at my direction.
I already knew her voice. It was blasphemy that her looks matched with the head I’d imagined – sharp, high cheekbones and full lips. Perfect and cold. Only her manicure turned out to be natural eagle claws and she had not one curl on top of that perfectly round head. It even glowed, causing the half-dark evening vestibule to burst in cold bluish light, which competed with the yellow gas lamp on her desk. She was busy typing away in her ten years old computer model as if it was the most natural thing ever.
To her it might just be, I thought, shifting uncomfortably on my soft green seat. I would describe it more like being decorated rather than dressed. Her level of nakedness was not bothering me, the beaded neckline was deep enough to cover everything and the simmering piece of fabric attached to it created beautiful effect over her gentle looking frame.
I would think her to be attractive, but I couldn’t brush off her unpleasant snappy attitude towards others. Thorwald hadn’t been quite pleasant either, I admitted, but now, sitting across her gave me the feeling that was her usual behaviorism.
The low peep lit up bright green signal on the corner of the table and her hand quickly snapped it shut.
“You can go in now.” She showed small seed-like instrument at that direction and the large golden etched rainbows opened up slowly.
Clever thing, I wondered, gathering the covered box from the seat next to me, if he didn’t like me, he could lock me in and have me arrested.
The office was smaller than I expected. At first glance through the doors I could have guessed it would be a large display, but instead it was oblong shaped, hardly wide enough for the large table in the end of the office with little space left over to move around it. On the left was huge French windows, open only a little to let air in and behind him was large painting from floor to the top of the ceiling painting carved into similar golden rainbows, reminding me poorly copied Klimpt. It even had similar field painted in the similar ugly green underneath with red primroses.
Griffin had changed into different suit. I expected him to be half-naked like the rest of the people I’d seen walking around. Seemed to be the norm in the tropics here.
“Selen Fergusson .” He bowed lightly with sparkle of amusement in his eyes and offered me to sit in one of the soft chairs in front of his desk.
The table was nearly empty, sporting nothing more than two books set up between round book holders, white paper in front of him with fountain pen and small box. To emphasize his high status, the walls between the table and the painting were all made out of glass.
I set the covered box on the other chair, taking quick look on the shelves. A pair of blue rubber boots, English version of Gilgamesh and small plastic version of Assyrian winged lion with human head lamassu.
“I believe we have met before?” He took the large leather seat on opposite of me.
“You hired me for a small job.” I said with curt smile. “And yes, I believe Thorwald introduced us.”
“Ah, yes, the Little Rat.”
The joke wasn’t lost on me. How I hated that they had picked that little title out and wouldn’t leave it alone now. Which reminded me that next time Thorwald woke up, I should fix that little problem and actually tell him my name.
“Are you seeking employment?” he asked, eyeing the box on the side.
I shook my head. “I would like to higher your gargoyle.” If he were human, he would be laughing, I gathered from his eyes. I didn’t expect anything less.
“You cannot possibly higher them – they are too expensive. Besides, hiding their wings is troublesome.” His eyes flickered on the hidden box.
“That would be my problem.” I nodded, agreeing on the wings. “But as for paying for your cervices – I have a proposition for you.”
“Which is?” His eyes flew back on the scarf covered box.
I took it from the chair, rose up and placed it on his table. I tilted it, what seemed like accident, before steadying it on the tabletop.
I slowly removed the scarf away and revealed the small black safe with red nail polish painted symbols on it. He recognized them. Hizer was remarkably accurate with his large sausage like fingers.
I saw it from his rigid back and widening eyes.
“I would like to exchange the demon for your service for a week.” That should be sufficient time.
He forces his shoulders to ease, but I recognized his stiff stature. He was not pleased at all to see that creature returned. Yet his eyes remained curious.
“What makes you think I want it back?”
Besides his fingertips gripping the table top? “I was explained, this demons are hard to come by and thus quite valuable commodity.”
“It already belongs to me.”
“And then you lost it and now I’m here to offer it back to you for a finding reward.”
He seemed to like the answer, because his eyes flickered between me and the safe. “It’s inside the box?” he asked.
“Yes, it’s inside the safe.”
“You’re giving it to me without the key?” He asked.
I plucked the small piece of paper from the back pocket of the jeans. “6-7-7-8-6-4-9”
“I could just take it from you now?” I was about to argue back, when he continued. “Or you wish me to open it right now?”
“It won’t get out. That’s why I put it in the safe and put markings on top of it. Instead of taking it, you could offer your services to me as payment for both returning that precious demon for you and the work I was not rewarded for.”
“That’s a shame.” He didn’t sound sorry, and I didn’t bother to be insulted. I sat back down and waited. I kept my face even while my heart was hitting so hard in my chest I was sure it was as audible as drumming.
No, I was not giving it away for free. I wanted that gargoyle. Hopefully from the same punch where Thorwald belonged in and I was busy praying that he didn’t have any other gargoyle gang somewhere up his sleeve.
He lost the fight, I saw from his curious side glance to the safe and he sighed, admitting the defeat.
“You’ve got backbone, Little Rat. A gargoyle for a week?” He inquired, reaching in his left drawer.
“Alright.” He unrolled a longer piece of paper and grabbed for the fountain pen. It scribbled fast on the paper before he swiftly strew fine sand over it and blew it away on the side. Then he glanced at me for a long moment, slowly rolled the paper up and reached it over the table.
“Fill out the missing places on the paper before you brick your little finger and drop some blood on the signature area. Then sign it as you usually would.”
Like three drops for the devil, I humored myself, but kept the jokes to myself. “I didn’t have to add blood, when I signed the deed before?” Unless the goblin was some blood sucking bat, who had ability to turn invisible.
“This is different. In order to have no other master besides you, you have to sign it as personally as possible. Blood – it’s unique to each individual.”
If only he knew what a DNA was, he’d be surprised how accurate he was. Then again, it could him ton of ideas.
“And the gargoyle is in my command until the end? Not yours or anybody else’s?”
“You plan to use him against me?” he asked sweet as honey and I nearly faltered, but he reached for the safe. “Use him for sex toy, see if I care. You cannot make him submit under your rule after the week is over. Starting now.”
His long nails got hold around the safe and he raised it up, shaking it a bit, bringing chills down my spine. Then again, this made my life easier.
Suddenly I wasn’t interested being in the same room with him anymore. I prayed for the nail polish markings would do the trick holding in the demon for a while, wished him good day and left, taking a moment on the door to watch him place it on the glass self between golden Egyptian cat mummy and piece of stone I gathered belonged previously to NASA.
He was curious little beast, I’d give him that. Curiosity killed the cat, isn’t that what the proverb said?