The Guilded Cage

a story
2013-11-03 22:53:54,
2014-07-19 13:31:59
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The sun was hanging over the small office in a shadowy alley in Gearford, slowly cooking the inhabitants. The door had a lopsided sign hanging from one ring attached to the door, the faded image of an eye printed on the plaque with barely legible script printed below the insignia. If you stared at it long enough, it would read, “Nicholas Bennet, Private Eye.” The rest was worn off from the wind of this seemingly spotless city. Only those who knew the truth knew how dirty the city really was.

A dark haired lady walked down, the auburn hair that had escaped its bun rustled in the wind, exposing her face to the elements. Her amber eyes were concealed behind thickly rimmed glasses; her clothes, surprisingly plain, trying to mask the beauty beneath. She calmly approached the old door, reaching into her pocket to pull out a key. Sliding it gingerly into the lock, she slowly turned the key until she heard a click, the dead bolt sliding open. The woman opened the door and entered the office. The aroma of cheap cigarettes and even cheaper whiskey filled the room, assaulting her senses. With a quick stride over to the window, she pulled open the curtain, the small whisks of light like little streams turning into a rushing flood of light, drowning the room like a sinking ship in the Fimbrian Ocean. She put her bag down on the desk, turning around to see the familiar shadow slumped over the desk, his head resting on his left arm. His other hand was clutching a bottle and a half-finished cigarette was smoldering in the Skuttlekovy shell ash tray.

"Another late night, Mr. Bennet?" she asked as she pried the bottle from his deathly grip. He groaned as he began to stir.

"Tamara, it's too early for this. Gimmie the bottle back."

"You're not gonna be able to pay me if you don't get some work," she frowned.

“You're right, but that’s why I’m drinking the cheap shit," Nicholas replied, trying to sit up straight, picking up the cigarette and taking a deep drag of it. He slowly exhaled the smoke from his lungs. "Tamara, why are you here? I haven’t had a case in weeks," he said, rubbing his eyes as they adjusted to the surroundings of his dingy office.

"I was making sure you weren't dead, Nicholas," she added as she tried to make the room look presentable for potential clients.