“Finally, you’ve arrived.” I didn’t recognise the young woman’s voice. This must have meant that this was a different eye than the ones that I had talked with before.
“Alright. Where will we be meeting him?” I asked.
The eye shook her head. “Not me. Just you will be meeting him. Either way, we’re going to go to his office.”
“The business district? Do you understand how far away it is? How do you intend for us to get there?” I looked out on the street, looking for some sort of car.
“We’re going to bike there. If I was informed properly, you were gifted a bicycle previously. Use it.”
I sighed. “Hold on. I left it at my home. It’ll take around ten minutes to get back.” Of course. I had forgotten that bike was even there, and now I needed it. Figures.
So, I went home and got my bike. The eye followed me the whole way. Once I got that gift, we biked for what had to have been an hour before we finally got to the place we were supposed to be. A large, rather nondescript, glass tower. Death’s eye motioned for me to enter, then turned away from me.
“Wait a moment, Eye. What’s your story?” The eye shook her head and hopped onto her bicycle seat. “My story doesn’t matter. Death is waiting for you at the top floor. He likes the height. Take your time speaking with him.”
I shook my head. “Thank you. Not you as an eye of Death, but you as a person. Clearly you are sacrificing something to be here now. Take care of yourself.”
The eye looked at the ground. She put her hand up to her mask and held it there. “I’m finished here. Just go see Death.”
With that, I entered Death’s building. The lobby was dark, and primarily empty. There were only a few chairs and tables lining the walls, and one receptionist’s desk at the end. None of them were filled. The only light that was on loomed over the receptionist’s desk. There was a large analog clock behind the desk that said 12:47.
I hurried to the source of light, and looked for the ways up. There were two elevators on either side of the desk, but I wanted stairs. Death might have some monitor for his elevators, but I knew for a fact that he didn’t have one for his stairs. I didn’t want to be tracked going up or down.
The trek upstairs took me about five minutes, and I jogged up at least ten stories. I didn’t keep particular track.
Once I got to the top floor, I chose to take a few breaths before going on. I was slightly worn from the stairs and I wanted to be composed once I got in.
I entered the doorway from the stairwell, and found myself in a hallway lined with offices. All of the lights were off in every office except for the one straight across from the stairs. Death liked to make it very clearly where I should be heading.
I pushed open the door to the office and saw a dark skinned man, cleanly shaven, typing away at a computer desk.
“I presume you are Death?” I asked from the doorway.
“You presume correctly. That means you are Renegade or Fifteen, depending on the crowd you are with. Welcome. My name is Hassan Ikram, and I am Death.” Death stopped typing, looked at me, then pushed himself away from his desk. He stood up and walked in front of his desk, holding out one hand for me to shake. I approached him and did as such.
“As you can see, this is why I kept my identity a secret all this while. I can’t trust every member of our revolution to not rat me out. They would be paid way too handsomely. However, what’s an army without a fund?” Hassan patted my shoulder, and motioned for me to sit in one of the two chairs in front of his desk.
“Alright, Death. Why have you asked me here?” I took a seat, and Death sat opposite of me.
“It’s just as my eye told you: My eyes have been paying close attention to you, seeing as how you were our second police member to join, and they reported to me. You made many actions that I greatly approved of, as they made my life much easier. Would you like a drink? Perhaps wine?” Death stood up and moved over to some cupboards. He took out two glasses and a bottle. He poured one glass, then looked back to me.
“I’ll pass on the offer. No offense,” I replied.
“None taken,” he said. He put away the second glass and the bottle, and took the seat next to me, rather than across the desk. “So you’ve been something of a great resource to the resistance, and that’s absolutely wonderful.”
“I’ve been a resource to you,” I interjected.
Hassan laughed. “Yes, that’s true. I already said that. However, you can be a resource to more than one person or group.” His eyes had a certain glint in them. I didn’t trust them.
“So what do you want from me?” I asked.
“Straight to the point, I see. That’s respectable.” Hassan took a drink from his glass before continuing, “I want to offer you a partnership in Ikram Corporations. You gain a certain amount of stocks from the company, and you get to be employed under me. Don’t worry, I won’t ask for you to work for too much more than your day-job requires.”
I leaned back in my chair. “Alright. So what do you want from me?”
Hassan leaned a little forward some more. “That’s all. You have some lovely talents that my business could use. I believe this would also be a good choice for you to continue pursuing the various things you want to pursue. We both have plenty to offer each other.” Hassan smiled at me.
“I don’t believe this is something that I should commit to,” I said, “There is a lot I need to consider here, such as various conflicts of interest. I also would need to consider the ramifications of receiving resources that an individual in my neighborhood should not have, such as a vehicle. I will deny this offer.” I stood up from the chair.
“I suppose I did make it sound as if you needed to decided tonight. That was not made very clear. You have as much time as you need to decide, within reason. Here’s my card,” Hassan handed me a small business card, “All of my contact information is on that. Feel free to discuss whatever you may need to with me. Have a good night.” He handed me his business card, and I placed it in my pocket.
With that, Hassan stood, and guided me out of his office. “I’ll look forward to working with you,” Hassan said before shutting the door behind me. I took the stairs back down, and left the dim building.
Outside, my bicycle was exactly where I left it. However, hanging from the handlebars was a circular shape. I pulled it off of the handlebars and examined it.
It was a mask. It was the exact same one that the last eye had been wearing. I looked around some more, either for the eye or for a note. Neither were to be found, just an empty mask.
I stepped onto the bike, and pushed off. I pedaled for just a short while. The mask hung from my handlebars once more.
“There was a person behind this mask,” I told myself, “and now I’ll never know.”