Thank you, Kevin, for your hard work and for allowing me to post your story up on my blog.
SENTINELS by KEVIN G. BUFTON
Copyright Kevin G. Bufton 2011
Lehman walked awkwardly down the corridor, the soles of his shoes squeaking on the ornate marble floor as he struggled to support the girl's weight. She had been gratifyingly mute since leaving the limousine – a potent cocktail of champagne and sedatives had seen to that – which was all to the good. After all, he had not purchased her for her conversation.
He stopped before the boy's private quarters and rapped sharply on the door with his free hand. He entered without waiting for an answer and was not surprised to find Michael sat up in bed, reams of computer printout spread before him. He did not look up from the work and Lehman was not entirely convinced that he had even noticed him coming in.
“Good morning, Michael,” Lehman said.
“Mr. Lehman,” the boy replied, his eyes not leaving the pages before him.
“How are you this morning?”
Michael ignored the question. “We should get out of United Steel,” he said. “Their stock will spike on Thursday morning, but it will crash by the time the market closes.”
Lehman did not bother asking him how he knew. “Then we should wait until it spikes?” he asked.
“No, before that,” Michael replied. “We need to sink that money into Denton Holdings before the drop.”
“Of course,” Michael said. “Their value will skyrocket within hours of United going under. We stand to make a small fortune.”
Lehman nodded to himself and half-dragged the girl towards a low chair at the side of the bed. As he threw her roughly into it, Michael looked up from his paperwork, his eyes suddenly alight.
“You brought me one,” he said, breathlessly.
“First of the month, Michael,” Lehman said. “Have I ever let you down?”
“No,” the young man replied. “No, indeed not.” He moistened his dry lips with his tongue, swinging his legs out from the bed and dropping to his knees before the woman. He waved his hand in a serpentine motion before her face and smiled as her glazed eyes followed its every movement. He covered her eyes with his hand.
“Name,” he said.
“Sarah,” the woman replied, tonelessly.
Michael took her head in his hands and, leaning forward, gently kissed her forehead. Lehman found this display of affection sickening, considering what was to come. He left the boy to his charade and stepped over to the mahogany bureau. When he returned, he saw that the girl was now compliant with his every command, all in a matter of seconds. Whether hypnosis or witchcraft, the effect was unnerving, even after all these times.
“Sarah,” he cooed. The woman raised her head a looked at him with glassy eyes. “Do you love me Sarah?”
“Yes, Michael,” she replied.
“How much do you love me, Sarah?”
“I love you with all my heart, Michael.”
“How much do you love me, Sarah?” Michael persisted, a distinct edge to his voice.
“I love you more than life itself, Michael,” she replied.
Satisfied, the young man took the tools from Lehman's clammy hands and, placing the point of the metal stylus in the centre of Sarah's forehead, brought the hammer down with a single, decisive blow. A thin rivulet of blood trickled from the hole and Michael scooped it up on his forefinger, tracing a red oval around the wound.
“This is the all-seeing eye,” he explained. “You will watch over me Sarah. You will protect me from harm, because you love me.”
“I love you, Michael,” she said.
He took her head in his hands again, his thumbs covering her eyes. Lehman knew what would happen next and excused himself from the room. Every month he did this. Every month he brought someone who would not be missed to the house and every month, he buried them somewhere in the extensive grounds as they succumbed to shock or infection. The life of a whore didn't amount to much when he stood to make millions from the forthcoming deal, but that didn't mean he had to watch.
As far as Michael was concerned, she was an all-seeing guardian, perceiving the whole of creation thanks to his impromptu surgery.
It stood to reason that she would no longer need her eyes.