DeMobbed: Raven Tricks

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What follows is the first draft of what is currently scene 31 of DeMobbed.

Context: Raven Albright has been sent by the head of DeMob to find his runaway daughter and the other casino escapees. Raven has his own agenda and a serious loathing of his father.

POV: third person, Raven’s perspective.

***

Raven scanned the terminal building for Maury and his father. Russet maple leaves decorated every storefront, just in case anybody forgot they were in Canada. Raven had been accosted outside Wendy’s by a fan of rock star, Damon Avery. It wasn’t the first time. It didn’t matter how many times he denied it, nobody ever believed he wasn’t Damon until the guy tweeted that he was elsewhere. Apparently, Raven’s frosty demeanour didn’t go over well with the fans. One of these days, he was going to give the fans something to gossip about as payback for Damon stealing his face. Still, it wasn’t as bad in Canada as it was in the US, or in the UK, where Raven had lived until he reached adulthood. Raven had a mishmash of an accent, but it was mostly posh London, unlike Damon Avery’s fake English accent. Everyone knew the guy was from Ohio.

Raven liked Vancouver Airport with its cedar statues, and its glass ocean, and its aquarium. His favourite piece of art was the Raven Transformation Mask, which he’d always thought was a perfect metaphor for his own transformation. Unlike the Raven of legend, he had not brought light to the world, nor cared that humans lived without shadows. There was much to be said for the dark. Nor had his voice been ruined by smoke when he brought fire to humans. Raven hadn’t had a voice at all until his transformation began. Now he sang more beautifully than the man who stole his face, and people listened when he spoke. Raven had always been dark. He was deceitful, selfish, hungry, and he knew how to prey on the fears and failings of others. He knew how to feed greed. Raven always did appreciate a trickster.

Raven’s phone chirped. It was his father. Terrence Albright never much cared for efficiency. He was happy resting on Dom’s dime. What did he care if the search for Sunny Wyatt was delayed? He’d get paid either way. Raven was already annoyed that he had to detour to Canada when he could’ve simply flown directly from McCarran to his final destination.

The cloudy sky was bright with solar flare, hanging above the indifferent, hazy blue mountains. The angular architecture of the hotel, with its white tubes and blue glass, seemed too tall for the sprawling landscape and its squat, maze-like airport.

Raven tucked his sunglasses into his pocket as he entered the building. If his father was playing games, sending him on wild goose chases, Raven would send him home with Maury. The man at the glossy black piano watched Raven pass, his notes faltering. Raven threaded his way through caramel velvet chairs, and skirted around a huge stone block fireplace. He found his father and Maury seated in blocky, white chairs at a square, black table beneath a cobalt chandelier and surrounded by tiger-striped plants. They were sipping coffee on Dom’s dime.

Maury stood as Raven approached, leaning forward to shake his hand.

Terrence sprawled in his chair and scratched his nuts. “Nice of you to show.”

“Nice of you to switch venues when I’d already been waiting at our agreed rendezvous point for forty minutes,” said Raven.

Maury eyed his companions, and looked fitfully around the room. Terrence flicked his head at the empty chair and kicked it towards Raven, causing it to shriek across the floor. Raven wanted to remind his father that he wasn’t a pre-schooler, but unlike his father, he was prone to efficiency. An argument would cause unforgivable delays.

“Father, do you have your luggage with you?”

“Now, why would I need my luggage with me?” said Terrence, leaning back in his chair. “It’s in the car.”

“Well, get it,” said Raven. “You and I are flying to Denver.”

Terrence laughed. “I’m calling in.”

“Do that,” said Raven. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate you wasting his time.” Raven eyed the empty coffee cups littering the table. “Wasting his time even more than usual, I mean.”

“You’re getting mouthy, boy, you know that?” said Terrence.

“I take orders from Dom. If I tell you we’re going somewhere, it means Dom has ordered it. Take my word, don’t take my word, but the flight is in forty minutes. You can explain to the boss why you’re not on it.”

Terrence glared at Raven for too many seconds, then he held his hand out for the car keys. Maury wrestled them from his pocket. Terrence sauntered away, jangling the keys. He was an obnoxious son of a bitch.

“Sorry about him,” said Raven.

Maury shrugged. “He’s different lately. Ever since New York.”

“Since I got promoted,” said Raven, arching an eyebrow.

“You’re a good kid,” said Maury.

Why did he have to say something like that? Raven already felt guilty enough over what he was about to do.

“Aisling MacFarlane will be coming for her spy soon,” said Raven. “Tell me it’s not you.”

“What? Why would you think it was me?”

“I don’t think it,” said Raven. “It’s not me calling you back to Vegas.”

“The boss thinks I’m a spy?”

“You’d have to ask him,” said Raven. “I’d advise you to take a gun, but that would be pointless against him.”

Maury leant forward, lowering his voice to a hiss. “For fuck’s sake, Raven. I’m not going to kill the boss.”

Raven shrugged. “You heard what happened to Red?”

“Yeah, he killed himself.”

Raven shook his head. “I thought the boss would ask him what happened that night, the night everyone fell asleep on his watch. I thought he’d be given a chance to explain himself. He wasn’t.”

“Shit!” said Maury.

“You remember before she went to San Fran, Aisling crashed the magic act, and you talked her down? And you remember when she lost her footing on the stairs, and you helped her to the bar to put some ice on her ankle?”

Maury frowned. “I don’t … ah, fuck, I remember.”

“The boss has had Burgess going through every last scrap of footage,” said Raven. “Those tapes are mounting up, Maury.”

He nodded, his eyes wild. “Fuck it, I’m screwed.”

Raven bit his lip. “I like you, Maury.” He laughed at Maury’s horrified face. “Not like that. I like them young and pretty.”

Maury laughed nervously. “Well, thank fuck for that.”

Raven pulled a silver stake from his pocket, and pushed it across the table to Maury. “This will do it. Just in case. Put it away, my father’s coming back.”

Maury reluctantly pocketed the bullet, and was sweaty and red by the time Terrence threw the keys back on the table.

“Ready?” he said.

Raven stood, and shook Maury’s hand again. It was clammy. “Good luck,” he whispered.

“So why are we going to Denver?” said Terrence, following Raven to the exit.

“Connecting flight,” said Raven. “We’re visiting Dorothy.”

“Huh?”

Uncultured swine. “Kansas. Jesus, we’re going to Kansas.”

***

The source image above is from Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay.

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