Another Bit of Fiction In Honor of NaNoWriMo
November 11, 2011
Uncle Moriarty's Will
He slipped. The rain-soaked tile moved. With one hand clutching the window sill, he tried to trap it under his boot, but the angle of the roof made the thing too fast even for him. Half in, half out of the window, he held his breath as the clay tile smashed on the patio three floors below.
His heart hammered in his chest, a sure sign he’d let himself get rusty. He tuned it out along with the patter of rain and the rumbling bark of the dog chained out back. He cocked his ear and listened for any reaction in the house.
Typical McMansion, twenty five rooms, three people. The dad was still in his man-cave putting balls into a little cup and talking on his headset to his mistress. Skinny mom on another floor had her eyes glued to the TV mounted on her treadmill, drinking designer water, in designer workout gear. Kid...boy or girl, he hadn’t been able to tell. Pasty skin, red-rimmed eyes fixed on You Tube puffing away at a cigarette, unconcerned about being caught by oblivious parents.
He shook off his focus, blew out a long breath, and settled on the window sill to think. He’d been through every room, even checked the basement. No manacles on the walls. No dank, dreary cells. Nobody here to rescue.
What had Uncle Moriarty expected? The old man’s will gave specific instruction if he hoped to receive his inheritance, "Go to 501 Waverly Place, London. Rescue the prisoner. Bring steak." Uncle Moriarty rescued anybody with the funds to pay.
"But nobody here’s in trouble," he hissed. His breath plumed on the cold night air. He’d left the family business six months ago when he’d grown sick of rescuing clients from self-inflicted quicksand. Leave ‘em up to their necks, he’d decided. Do the world a favor. But jobs with martial arts, parkour, and lock-picking in the skill requirements were few and far between. The half-million that this wild goose chase for his uncle had promised would have set him up for life.
Doing what exactly, he hadn’t decided.
"You were wrong if you thought this’d pull me back in, Uncle," he muttered irritably.
He raked his fingers through sodden hair. Was this his uncle’s last practical joke...a last jab from beyond the grave to punish him for leaving? Had he missed something?
The sky grayed as the rain let-up. He stared morosely down into the manicured backyard letting go bit by bit of the hope he’d started the night with. Out by the fence, beyond a glowing, kidney-shaped swimming pool, the dog stood in liquid shadows cast by the underwater lights. The big, square animal had stopped barking, but it strained against a short chain, ears pricked, staring up at the third floor window, at him.
He huffed out a breath. "You’re the only one here with a brain cell, big boy." He crept down to the edge of the roof and focused his Sight on the dog. "Big girl. Sorry."
The heavy chain attached to her studded collar shone dully. It looked far too tight. Her rain soaked coat spiked up at the tips of sharp hip and shoulder bones. No designer dog house, not even a tree for shelter. A circle of bare dirt marked the circumference of her world.
"Rescue the prisoner...bring steak," he whispered. He fingered the plastic bag tucked in his tool belt. A slow smile spread across his lips. "Ah, you crafty old devil. You have sucked me back in."
He stood quickly and ran along the edge of the roof, climbed the downspout till his toes touched a balcony railing, and then leapt to a tree branch. By the time the soft thud of his boots blended with the last drops of rain, he had a plan.
The family business was about to add a franchise.