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Lazarus Cane

(a novel)

 

[Author's Note: I'm really excited about this one. On the surface, it looks like a werewolf story, but don't be fooled. That would be like saying Jack and the Bean Stalk was about plants. The following excerpt is Chapter Two's beginning, ending about mid-way through. Agent Teller is a recruiter for someone readers of Primaland will easily remember; a certain keeper of mythological entities who calls himself Malabar. Teller and his crew of "collectors" have come to a remote town in the Rockies (and a fictional one) called Belmont, to secure a certain acquisition by the name of Lazarus Cane, but also to recruit a highly-talented private investigator named Carver, who's following Cane to retrieve one of Cane's traveling companions, a "trust-fund baby" with aspirations to learn Lazarus' particular talent. This excerpt starts with Teller sneaking into Carver's motel room in Belmont to go through his things, trying to find clues to the man's "capabilities".]


 

(Beginning of Excerpt)

 

Teller expected to find nothing in Carver’s room, and Carver did not disappoint him. If he had found something that illuminated Carver’s habits, or points of travel, he and Louis would have likely abandoned the prospect of recruiting him. Louis had planted an eye in the lamp fixture hanging in the hall, thus allowing them to notice when Carver left the motel in the morning. This time, Louis made the tail. Teller went in to check the room.

Nothing inside gave any indication that Carver, or anyone, had spent the night here. The bed was untouched, no clothes hanging from the open closet space by the door, no signs of food consumed. The first thing he did was dust the flush handle on the toilet and found no prints. This was not by chance. Even if Carver had not touched it, previous guests would have and there were no prints of them, either. That was a mark in Carver’s favor. The man anticipated everything, even when he had no reason to believe he was being followed. Briefly, Teller considered that maybe Carver had discovered he was being followed, not letting on that he knew, planning the moment that he would choose to confront them. Not likely, and he would cover any wager against that possibility. This kid was good, but not that good.

Carver believed he was invisible, probably even prided himself on his abilities to be so. He was a ghost. Quite alive and well, but in many ways anyone would notice. Nothing they had seen, including Louis’ sojourn into Carver’s apartment, yielded any evidence that he had people in his life who wished him harm, but nothing implied otherwise, either. The man didn’t seem to know enough people to have enemies. He had books, of all things, four bookcases to hold them all. In general, someone used to being on the run wouldn’t have much time to read. Teller believed such a pastime implied a heightened sense of empathy, somehow, an introverted nature. Ironically, Louis had noticed that two shelves held nothing but mythology.

So why did the bookish Mr. Carver believe that someone might be following him, waiting to dust the flush handle on his motel toilet? Why, in fact, was he used to leaving no trace of himself, whatsoever?

For whatever reason, he was perfect for the collection business. This was a man who treated his job like an art form, operating without any affirmation of what he was doing, and happy only with the continued ability to perform the job, itself. If he wanted to badly enough, this was a man who could move mountains.

Teller had little doubt that what he had to offer would inspire Carver to successfully perform tasks almost as difficult, and love every minute of it.

The ceiling of the room was tile panels. Teller went to the towel rack in the bathroom and carefully removed the bar from its brackets, then returned to the room, itself. Standing on tiptoe, he could just barely poke the bar upward against each of the tile panels in the ceiling, trying to raise each one. The first five rose with barely an effort. The sixth wouldn’t budge at all. Teller smiled, and dragged the desk chair over to a spot right under the tile next to it. He pushed the tile up carefully and reached inside, feeling for the duffel bag, finding it easily. His position was too precarious to allow him any kind of thorough search of the bag’s contents, but it didn’t really matter. The man had guns. It didn’t much matter what kind; Teller wasn’t planning to attack him. Besides that, there was almost guaranteed to be some kind of indicator attached that, if trifled with, would give away that the bag had been moved. A popular version of this was a thread left hanging in the crack of a closed door. If the thread was on the floor, the closed door, at some point, had been opened. Teller couldn’t even see up there, let alone spot the traps that could be attached. It couldn’t be assumed that no traps existed. A man who was thorough enough to clean his fingerprints off the toilet could not be assumed to grow lax toward the discovery of his concealed weapons.

Teller climbed down then, gave the drawers an obligatory check, (keeping an eye out for fallen threads here, as well), and then vacated the room. The search was done and he had his confirmation. It was time to meet the new troops.

Out in the parking lot, Murlay was waiting in the rented Buick as planned. Teller took the passenger seat, and offered his hand. “How have you been, Murlay? It’s been, what, three and a half years?”

“Almost four, boss, and life’s been good.”

Teller was glad to hear it and said so. “Did Malabar fill you in?”

“Nothing but the names of the guys I was going to be working with, the motel, and town.”

In other words, Malabar had left the briefing for Teller to give. Quickly, he ran through the genesis of the chase, the potential recruitment of Mr. Glenn Carver, and the reason for requesting reinforcements. “Carver is here to secure the girl, who is traveling with none other than Lazarus Cane. She’s his girlfriend.”

Murlay looked at him sharply with a mixture of interest and dread. “The Lazarus Cane? The werewolf? That Lazarus Cane?”

“’Fraid so.”

“You were right to call for backup.”

“So, who did you bring?”

“Keever, Biltmore, and new guy, name of Helms.”

“New guy? As in, this is his first hunt?”

“I discovered him, myself. He was in Hollywood, doing stunt work. He was two years into med school when he dropped out in favor of the high life. He’s only thirty-two. Smart and active.”

Teller let it go. Right now, there were far bigger fish to be tended-to. “Louis is out on tail-duty right now. He should be checking in soon, if he’s able. This Carver will lead us right to Lazarus.”

“What about the girl?”

“Who knows, who cares? She’s expendable. Carver’s a good find, but Cane’s the find of the century. If you have to put the girl away to get to Cane, do so. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: if she realizes who we are, then we have to put her away.”

“Of course. Except, no one knows who we are, yet.”

“Hope it stays that way, except for Carver. Somehow, I think we’re going to absorb him the minute we make the offer.”

Murlay believed so, too. Not many men who were made the offer said no. Such would be like turning down the answer to “Is there a God?” Who in their right minds wouldn’t be interested in seeing proof of such a thing? “I just want to see him find the girl first, and see how he deals with meeting a real, flesh-and-blood werewolf. Cane and Carver will be in the same place, and neither of them will be expecting us, so we should be able to get the jump on both of them.”

“Two birds, one stone.”

“Exactly.”

 

(End of Excerpt)

 

 

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