Simon moved as fast as his wide girth would carry him, navigating the deep stairs as best he could. The solid metal door closed behind with a whoosh and a whump. He had expected it to beep afterward to confirm the door had securely locked. But he dared not look back, instead concentrating on the stairs in case he missed a step.
Many times he had wondered at his own design of the steep dangerous staircase. As a younger, thinner man, he had thought nothing of it. Also, the light and cheaper soft pine had been much easier to construct with himself.
The steps now seemed like a gateway to falling and breaking his neck, all three hundred pounds of him.
Larry Emerson, the man who was supposed in pieces rotting at the bottom of the sea, had returned a third time. The break-in to Tech Dynamics and the destruction of his virus production made sense now.
Simon plugged his phone into the an interface to act as a wireless modem. He began an upload of all viral information he had logged so far to a safe server thousands of miles away.
He then went to another computer and setup a wipe of all data from the remaining work stations. It would be of little matter if Mr Emerson did get his hands on the dribbles of information he kept here, nothing here was of much importance.
A loud grinding noise came from the top of the stairs, accompanied by grunts and groans. A leg poke through the narrow gap in the door up in the darkness.
A tangle of arms and legs rolled down the staircase and crashed to the bottom. The door above closed with a whump, click, beep.
Simon activated the wipe and turned off the monitor which displayed the upload hoping this duak* would not realize.
A hand grasped Simon’s arm. Simon braced himself. His attacker swung him so hard his feet left the ground and he hit the far wall. Something inside his rib cage snapped like a branch breaking underwater. He gasped and felt a stab in his lungs. He gripped the fat surrounding his chest as if he could soothe the wound.
Emerson came at him again, gripped his head and shoved his finger in next to his eye.
“Tell me what the password is, quickly or I’ll flick your eyeball out and then the other.”
The thought of being blind stung Simon the most, and a finger right inside his eye socket brought its own pain. While working for the Gorbenko family he had endured worse. Still, he screamed for him to stop, he was not immune to pain after all.
His bodyguards called from above.
“Shoot him, shoot—.”
Emerson crashed into the stairs, drowning out Simon’s words.
Simon did not hesitate, he ran with a wide waddle to the back of the basement, wincing with each foot fall, and entered the end room. He pushed against a part of the wall which then slid effortlessly and noiselessly across giving him access to a secret hallway hidden along the middle of his home. He then hit another switch which closed and sealed the secret door behind. Now it could only be opened from within.
He moved further through the hallway to the edge of the basement and made the difficult and arduous climb up the thin ladder. Another of the things he should have replaced when his stomach became more jolly.
Small LEDs illuminated as he passed them by, picking up movement and activating as he neared, then turning off once he passed. The carpeted floor dulled his foot falls and the cushioned walls absorbed all other sounds he made, including his laboured breathing. The house creaked and spat dust from above in puffs. He knocked against the wall and cursed for letting himself get so large. He had been happy only minutes earlier. Outside, a drink in his hand and a large win which he would have collected later that day from his bookie.
Damn this Emerson.
At the end of the passageway he reached a rickety but comfortable stool. Worn and stretched, he had sat here many times. Pondered business takeovers, accessed his safe, spied on guests or clients and updated sensitive work with his laptop, all of which continued to remain secret. Simon sat and pulled his laptop from a recess in the wall.
His eye still throbbed. Mr Emerson would regret he had ever touched him. He would have the man killed, eventually, for now he would be happy with escaping with his life and freedom.
His laptop began its startup process. Simon turned and looked through the dark cobweb ridden hallway. He liked it this way. At first he had thought to make a proper room where he could sit and enjoy the benefits that wealth offered him. Just a few extra comforts. A cup of tea would have quenched his thirst and soothed his gurgling stomach. However, the more appliances and comforts he used in here, the more chance the room would be discovered. Better to leave it drab and dark.
Today, the room seemed even smaller.
A dull light dangled above his head, the only light source, and draped in cobwebs, probably the only thing holding it to the roof. The desk before him was constructed of good quality solid timber. It had never lost its shine after all this time. Simon took a cloth from his desk drawer and wiped across the surface and it immediately returned to its former brilliance.
He licked his lips, still thirsty. His friends from the old country would have laughed at the mere word, tea.
The computer screen finally flashed up ready for his use. No beep or chime.
The noises downstairs had also stopped. Maybe Mr Emerson had died at the hands of his men. Simon grunted. More likely they had perished. At any rate he would see soon.
Unlike his computer in the basement, currently downloading data by tethering the internet through his mobile phone, this laptop could connect to the internet independently, or log in directly to the wi-fi at his home, which he did now. He brought up all the security cameras installed within the basement. These cameras usually had physical lens caps—a precaution against hackers, or the government if they had the gumption. Before leaving the basement he had removed the covers.
He clicked through each of the rooms, study, bathroom, bedrooms... Then paused on one particular bedroom. His night chef had used the guest room one night, an urodlivuyu bol’ shoi zhenshchina*, she was. He had considered yelling out an obscenity to her through the microphone while she stripped and changed, would have been a very good laugh, but may have ended with problems for her continued service. He shivered as he thought of the grotesque sight he had witnessed that day. If only it had been the pretty young maid who had worked for him last month. Seeing her would have been a delight, instead of an ogre in her undergarments.
Later he had showed a recording to his men, telling them they would see the maid. They had instead seen the chef. That had been a good day.
Antivirals might help slow this Emerson man down.
Simon watched him move from computer to computer, trying to make sense of the information still remaining after the partial deletion. Nothing of value remained on these computers. Why did he bother?
Simon chuckled to himself as the not so intelligent Mr Emerson attempted to get to the next floor. Although it hurt his cracked rib to do so. When Emerson almost fell Simon had to put his hand over his mouth to stop from a full belly laugh.
Emerson finally made it the next floor by stacking assorted furniture. Now he would go. Simon amused himself with his notes on the laptop while he waited. To his surprise Emerson came back to the basement. He looked over the computer that was connected to the mobile phone and internet. Simon brought up the remote access program which allowed him to make copies from the basement computer.
Larry Emerson looked to be just about to pull the internet tether from the computer when he stopped to investigate further.
Now Simon knew he was a duak*!
Instantly Simon cancelled the copying. He then sent an e-mail to his computers at the testing facility that would start a series of events. Lastly he set all files to immediately delete. Then logged off so Mr Emerson could not trace him, although he highly doubted that this man had any idea.
Mr Emerson began writing on a piece of paper. Surely he had not found something of worth. Simon’s face reddened and his frustration grew. He may not be able to kill him at this moment but he could dream about how he would one day.
Mr Emerson talked to someone on the phone about explosions. Simon had preferred every person die in the destruction. It had been quite a large and expensive loss to destroy the testing facility. He would have only needed it to stay operational for a few years. Maybe longer once he moved his plans onward to the United States. Still, the data from the satellites would be recorded by his off-site servers and that would at least give him all the data required to continue research and eventual development.
At least nothing essential remained to implicate him.
Simon heard a door close and so lifted up from his seat and walked the long hallway to the front of his home. There he saw the little man walk away. At last.
Emerson turned and stared back. Simon’s heart stopped. He crouched from his spy hole and winced at the sudden movement in his chest. A minute passed before he raised his head again to chance another look. Mr Emerson had already headed away, and gone.
Simon waited another ten minutes before heading back into his home. He retrieved his phone and re-initiated the deletion Emerson had cancelled earlier.
Simon packed only the possessions he held dear, but still filled his suitcase. In his private garage he chose the only vehicle he enjoyed driving in this country, his BMW X5, and drove it steadily out onto the main road and away from his mansion.
A car pulled up seconds later at the end of his driveway. The car door opened and a man in a tracksuit stepped out and approached the entrance. He looked over to the security vehicle and began walking toward it before Simon lost sight of the man.
Not the police, not yet. No, someone else, an accomplice of Mr Emerson’s, maybe? This mattered little now, he would never return here ever again.
Before the on-ramp, Simon slowed when he saw a pretty young woman on the side of the road. The bonnet of the car up. She bent over to talk to someone in the front seat. That’s what he wanted right now. He would make a small detour to one of his well paid whores, it would be his last chance to visit any of them in this city again.
That was until he returned to finish what he had started. He increased speed, looked into his rear view mirror at the girl, then headed on into Manhattan.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Mat ClarkeWrite a Review