It was the oddest business card Zach had ever been handed. There was only a logo along with the address. He triple-checked with Matthias if it was correct, but was still not convinced after. Zach didn’t want to go to the wrong place, especially when Matthias requested him to make the trip on Saturday morning. Even though his job did not require him to work on the weekends, he knew he would eventually have to. How could he say ‘no’?
“It’ll be a quick drop, I hope you don’t mind,” Matthias said.
Matthias arrived at Zach’s house at close to 12a.m. It seemed like an urgent matter and Zach wondered why Matthias could not do it himself. Unfortunately, that was not the kind of question one would ask their boss.
“Sure,” Zach replied.
“I’ll leave the car with you. You can take it to Skypeak tomorrow,” Matthias said.
Matthias patted him on the shoulder before entering the taxi that was waiting for him. After the taxi drove out of sight, Zach groaned. He weighed the heavy brown envelope in his hand but was too tired to speculate its contents. Pulling himself to bed, he hoped there wouldn’t be an early call time tomorrow. Did it even matter if he showed up at the clubhouse on time? Zach’s eyelids shut before he had an answer.
The next morning, he received a call from Ms Leona. Right before he could start the engine of the sedan, she was ringing for attention. Zach hesitated for a moment, before deciding to answer it out of courtesy.
“Good morning,” he greeted.
“Good morning. You’re up early. I’m surprised,” Ms Leona said.
“Yea. What time do I have to be at Skypeak?” he asked.
“OK. I’ll be there then,” Zach said, and heaved a silent sigh.
But before he could hang up, Ms Leona added, “I’d like to meet with you earlier, Zach. Will that be alright?”
“What for?” Zach did not hide the suspicion in his voice.
“Something special. I’ll tell you when I see you. What time is good?”
He wasn’t surprise. Zach was the ‘special’ one after all. He was the most important pawn. Unfortunately, he did not know what his job was.
“After lunch, I guess.”
“Great. How about 3pm at the east lounge?”
“I’ll see you then.” Ms Leona ended the call before he could say another word.
Aside from leaving him a time and place to meet, she left him worried as well. Zach had previously contemplated on dropping out of the challenge entirely. When he told Matthias, he was reminded of the contract he signed. The only way to escape was to first discover the plan of his captors. It shouldn’t be too hard with all the gossipy wives at Skypeak, but somehow it was.
Deciding to think about Skypeak later, he typed the address on the business card into the GPS and began following its lead. It was not a long journey, but it was a questionable one. After ten minutes, he was directed into a narrow alley that led him off road. He was amazed to find a hidden forest in the city, but became more hesitant to continue on. Five minutes into habitat of trees, he pulled the handbrake and reached for the envelope.
Zach held it in his hands and contemplated opening it. After what felt like an hour of thinking, he decided not to. It was sealed tight and it would be obvious if he had torn it open. Shaking his head, he stepped on the gas. Shortly after, he drove into an open area where a wooden cabin stood, isolated from the world.
Smoke rose from the chimney, indicating someone was home. Getting out of the car, he strode to the front door and gave it a knock. A second later, the door opened and a man stepped into the doorway.
“Are you lost?” the man asked.
“No. I was told to give this to you,” Zach said, handing the envelope over.
The man took it and tore it open. He pulled out the thick stack of paper and flipped through the first few pages. Then, he smiled.
“Thank you. Tell Matthias his sister says ‘hello’,” the man said.
The way the man said it felt odd, but Zach merely nodded his head. The man remained standing at the doorway, as Zach hurried to the car and drove off. Once Zach made it back to the main road, he sent Matthias a text. Matthias’ no reply was the least of his worries. He now had to meet with Ms Leona and face her special ‘something’.
Arriving at the clubhouse, Zach handed the car to the valet. It felt good being able to do that, but the feeling only lasted awhile. The east lounge was a short walk from the foyer and he soon found Ms Leona.
“Busy morning?” Ms Leona asked.
“Not really,” Zach replied.
“Don’t worry. This week’s challenge only starts tomorrow.”
“Ah, I see.”
“But for this week’s challenge, I need your help.”
Zach held his tongue as he watched Ms Leona place five cards before him. Each card had an image: a knife, a ball, a dumbbell, a baby, and a towel. He gave each image a good look before asking, “What are these for?”
“I need you to tell me which card to give which contestant.”
“Why me?” Zach asked.
“Why not you?”
Her question was the answer – there was an audience that wanted more action from him. Zach imagined cameras zooming in on him right then.
“Fine,” Zach replied.
Zach decided to match the cards to the first name that came to mind. Knife for Matthias, dumbbell for Jodie, ball for himself, and then he paused.
“Ball?” Ms Leona asked surprised.
“I play sports,” Zach simply stated.
Her interruption caused him to ponder, not on his own pick but on whom the baby card should go to next. Neither Richard nor Guinevere came to mind at the sight of the baby. They both fitted the towel card more. Will it matter whom he gave it to? Whether it did or not, Zach had to choose.
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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.