Hammond looked at the girl, the anger plain on his face while the bewilderment surged through his voice, somehow making one word sound like a death threat.
The girl nodded.
“Cornucopia.” She repeated, the fact that she seemed thoroughly unconcerned by the tone of darkness in his voice displeasing Hammond at an even higher rate. “It was a cornucopia of sounds. At the street.”
Hammond rubbed his temple irritably in an attempt to cut off the headache he could feel coming on before it reached its full potential.
“And what does cornucopia mean?” he asked in a grinding voice, only slightly less threateningly than his previous sentence. Or word. Whatever.
The girl frowned and looked up at the ceiling.
“I don’t know.” She said slowly after a long pause just, answering just in time to stop Hammond commanding an answer. “But it sounds exotic, don’t you think? ‘Cornucopia’…”
Hammond growled menacingly… If this girl had been anyone else, she would be dead at this moment. Actually, she would have been dead long before this moment. Most likely the second she had set foot in his office. For she had annoyed him the second she had stepped into his office. But unfortunately, this girl had just happened to be his niece. Hammond’s sister had asked him to take care of the girl for a few weeks. This was day two and already he was thinking about killing her in the most painful way possible. He had hoped that she might have her mother’s evil streak, but instead she got her father’s idiotic head. And she had picked the worst possible name ever for herself.
The stupidity of some people…
A small translucent button suddenly flashed blue and Hammond pressed it at once, opening the door in front of him to let in one of his workers, relieved at the excuse to end the horribly structured conversation with his niece. A small man dressed in a black suit with dark sunglasses walked in slowly, professionally, as he had been taught. It was a well-known fact that Hammond hated bad news. Most people would almost always be punished if they bought to him nothing but bad news. Punished quite brutally… Yet it was also a well-known fact that Hammond wanted to know anything and everything that happened, good and bad news alike. Piles of unread mission reports on successful or failed Remaining assignments lay neatly stacked on his desk while the reports that had been read lay crammed in a huge filing cabinet behind him, having slowly amassed over the years.
“Sir, I’m afraid we have some bad news,” he said hesitantly once he had come to a halt in front of Hammond’s desk. Hammond now recognized the man; he was Arlov Travvinks. Hammond knew his workers, employees, servants and slaves all by their voices rather than appearance. This was mostly because Hammond was almost always reading a report while talking to his working Remaining’s and therefor, did not actually look at them. It may appear weird, but, naturally, Hammond killed anyone who raised the matter. He did not have time for such impotent pests…
“Yes…” Hammond asked him, already short on patience “What is it?”
“I had a dream about fluffy cloud bunnies last night.” She said expectantly. “They were incredibly vicious for their size and the way they ripped apart the goat like that really made the entire thing vivid.”
For a moment, Hammond was slightly stunned at the sound of his niece, who he had thought to be something of a day dreamer of things most people thought were comforting, say something so evilly explicit. It was only for a moment, however, and Hammond was soon pointing a gun at the back of Clousdina’s head while she examined the wall with a fascinated expression. It took all of his self-control to put the gun down and face the man again, and even then he had come far too close to putting a bullet through her brain of which who knew what went on inside…
“Sir,” Arlov said, coughing himself into speech. “Galko’s plans in England have been delayed due to cause of the Sanctuary, unfortunately, venturing too close to his base of operations in an unrelated investigation. He has had to pack up the machine and move elsewhere.”
Hammond took a deep breath, which, instead of calming him, only aggravated him more.
“Why? Why hasn’t he just killed them all?” he asked irritably, turning around to the cabinet in search of Galko’s file.
“Because, uh, he can’t, sir.... He doesn’t have the resources we have here. Sir.” Arlov added quickly.
Hammond abandoned searching for Galko’s file and leant forward on the desk, his head pounding.
“You don’t need resources to put fear into people.” He said confidently. “Just me getting out of jail has put tons of fear into people. With a small group, you can do any number of things.”
“Yes sir.” Arlov said, bowing slightly. “Of course sir.”
“Shut up.” Hammond demanded of him and Arlov straighten up looking flustered, even with the sunglasses on. “And what of our plans then?”
“Going forward without interruption, sir.” He said, seemingly glad that he could bring Hammond some kind of good news. “Forgive me, sir, but may I ask…Why did you let Keeve be captured?”
Hammond’s hand found the gun which he had lay down on the desk and aimed it at the man’s face who recorrected himself at once.
“My deepest apologizes, sir.” He gasped, bowing again. “I meant to disrespect, sir.”
“May you ask?” Hammond repeated Arlov. “Why, of course, Arlov. Go ahead.”
There was a slight hesitation befoee Arlov straightened up again slowly.
“Really, sir?” he asked nervously.
He was dead before he hit the ground.
“No.” Hammond growled at the corpse. “No you may not ask.”
“Can I ask?” Clousdina looked over at Hammond, a curious expression on her face. She didn’t seem bothered by the dead body lying on the carpet. Perhaps there was hope for her after all.
Hammond struggled to stand; he had spent a long time in prison, cut off from his magic. Being a warlock, they had to have a special cell to make sure he didn’t die, and that kept him from completely aging. Instead, he just aged faster than a sorcerer, and slower than a mortal. So instead of the young man that had entered the cell, and the old man that should have come out of it, he was about forty five. Not too bad, but it was still taking some getting used to his new restrictions.
Hammond stood up, looking at his niece.
“No.” he said with much less aggression than the last time he had addressed her.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because I said so.”
“Why should I listen to you?”
“Shut up…” Hammond growled.
“You know, it would be easier to just tell me.” Clousdina said teasingly. She knew what she was doing.
“Because, my dear girl,” he said, trying to bring a smirk to his face. “If they know they have a traitor, they won’t trust anyone else. They won’t trust their team, and they’ll make the mistake of thinking that they don’t need the team. We’ll take them down, and nothing will stand between us and victory. Happy now?”
“That’s kind of an overused line, don’t you think?”
“‘Nothing standing between us and victory’. It’s a little overused.”
“Isn’t there another word for that?”
“Isn’t there another word for that?”
“You mean repetition?” she asked.
“No, I meant cliché…”
“Oh. Well come to think of it, the world ‘cliché’ is a little overused too.”
“Shut up.” Hammond sighed.
Hammond stepped over the body and made his way over to the door. He opened it and shouted for the nearest girl to come over. She trotted over as fast as her little high-heeled shoes allowed her to, a terrified expression plastered to her face.
“Send someone to clean that up,” he said, nodded his head back into his room. “Or do it yourself. I don’t care.” The girl peered over his shoulder and her face turned even paler.
“And spread the word. We need to start phase two.” He added with a note of urgency.
The girl nodded and walked away. Actually, it was more of a stagger…
A few seconds later, Clousdina yelled from the room.
“Phase two? That’s the best you could come up with? What a terrible title!”
Hammond closed his eyes.
He needed to kill someone soon.