Aleksander Hampton gazed through Philip’s lenses at the willowy female standing in the middle of his parking garage. As soon as she had spoken her name he’d started a search through the web to find out more information. He had to ensure she was safe and she would be oblivious to the party which was just starting.
Constance Smith, 31, held a BFA from Columbia and currently worked at Calling Shots. Alek tented his fingers as he read more about the location scout but was pleased to find the female had not lied to Philip. She shared a decent sized 2-bedroom apartment in California with two roommates but from her online travel bookings, it appeared she was rarely at home. A few more hits told him she held basic loyalty cards to big box stores, a rarely used gym membership and a platinum membership to all the airlines and hotels.
According to her social media information, she used to date Trevor Giles. This was the person she had mentioned had given her permission to be on the property. Alek ran started a search on Trevor as he’d never met him or heard of him. Trevor’s information told Alek all he needed to know about the male. Through mutual friends, Trevor knew one of Alek’s drugged out family members. They’d spent time drying out at the same wellness center.
Alek speculated Trevor tried to impress Constance by telling him about the estate. Maybe he even told Constance it was in the Giles family believing the property to still be abandoned. He wouldn’t have guessed Constance would drive there in the future or that Alek would be living there. If only she had come to visit on a different day, Alek would have been happy to welcome her and proudly shown all the restorations.
Now, though, she could never leave.
“Philip, you know what to do. I’ll see you in twenty in the ballroom.” Alek broke off his connection with Philip and blinked several times, regaining his own eyesight in his office.
He gazed up at the wall of tiny CCTV monitors which encompassed the property. The screens on the far right showed him the smartly dressed males and females all socializing in the main hall and 3rd ballroom. They were most likely on their second glass of champagne and beginning to wonder why he hadn’t made an appearance.
His eyes began to travel the monitors toward the left side where Constance and Philip were beginning their journey through the tunnels. Philip held on to Constance’s hand and was leading her down the middle of the tunnel. Alek smiled as he saw a familiar black tie covering the female’s eyes. He wondered how hard Philip had had to work to convince her to wear the blindfold. Why the devil hadn’t she left? Shouldn’t she have been scared shitless?
A flash in the middle of screens alerted him and caused him to pull back in his chair. Defensively, he shielded his light eyes from the bang even though it was on the TVs.
“What the fuck is going on?” he barked into his com unit. Smoke and debris filled three monitors trained on the top terrace on the west side of the estate. “Col, I need a report. Now.”
While he waited for his lead in the area to update him, Alek reviewed all the screens to see if the incident had sparked any alarm in his guests. Neither the party guests nor Constance looked as if they’d experienced a tremor in the property or were aware there was a small commotion going on.
Alek’s gazed dropped to view on the sub-basement, the rooms directly under the smoky terrace. Every guest located there held their head up to the cameras and grinned from ear to ear. Some of the faces looked supernaturally stretched as they all cocked their heads to the right side and then began laughing. Alek swallowed hard and cleared his throat, the only sign he was unsettled by the event.
“God dammit, I’m here,” he heard his lead’s gruff voice come over his earpiece.
“I fucking heard you the first time, Alek. We had to move some of your rented staffers out of the way before we could begin the assessment.” Col continued to grumble into the com as Alek finally spotted him walking out on the terrace.
“Just give me the report, asshole. I’ve got guests to go see.” Alek rolled away from his desk and then stood up and walked to the opposite side of the room where he’d left his bowtie and mask.
“Don’t get your panties in a twist. I’ll need a few to get an update from Moore about the cages but so far, no casualties, except for your dumbass lawn jockeys. Good riddance. Doesn’t look like there’s any big structural damage.” Alek breathed a sigh of relief as he finished tying off his tie. “Oh, shit,” Col cursed loudly.
“What? Col?” Alek dashed back to his desk, throwing his mask on the floor. “I’m turning your lenses on.”
“Hell no. You know the fucking rules, Alek. Stay out of my eyes. Just take deep breath and look at this.” Alek scanned back to monitors and spotted Col, a sick feeling in the back of this throat. What was Col doing on that part of the terrace?
He watched as Col’s eyes dodged from the camera to a crate in front of him. He nudged it with the toe of his boot and Alek watched as the open crate revealed 10 black bottles where 12 used to reside.
“Shit, we’re fucked.”