The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: The Big Bad (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Eleven

March 26, 2013 (Tuesday)

Once Brianna and Joey get home from Seattle, they wash their clothes and go to bed. Later that morning, Brianna gets a text from Carl that he wants to meet. They arrange a meet at Barry’s Drafthouse at 5 pm. At 5, the two spot Carl at the bar.

“What are we drinking tonight?” Brianna asks.

“Wheat wine.”

The three take a table and Carl cuts to the chase. “I thought you might like to know that we’re starting to ship medical supplies again.”

“Do you know where they’re shipping to?”

“Somewhere local, I know. I just load.”

“Have you seen Rupert around any more? Or any new faces?”

“No new faces. Gould goes out a lot. But I saw Rupert today. He came in empty handed. Left with a briefcase.”

Brianna spends the next few minutes questioning Carl on some details. The trucks they use at the warehouse are unmarked and leave at nightfall, at the end of the day. There are usually at least two trucks that head out per day.

“Was Gould there when Rupert was there?” Brianna asks.

“Yes.”

“What’s been Gould’s mood lately?”

“Good.”

“That means trouble,” Brianna mutters. “That’s good to know,” she says.

She thanks Carl and pays him and buys the drinks.

In the car on the way back home, she tells Joey “I don’t like it when Gould’s happy. It’d be interesting to know where the trucks are going. It’d also be interesting to know what Rupert’s up to. It’s hard to maintain one’s innocence in such matters if we get caught at his home.”

Joey says, “I think it’s interesting that Rupert is getting a pay off.”

“You think he’s getting a briefcase full of cash?”

“He’s getting a briefcase of something.”

Brianna says, “My assumptions are that this society is kind of shady, but I wonder if it’s Rupert who’s the issue. What’s Rupert doing for Gould?”

The two discuss their past transactions with Rupert and Gould.

When they get back to their apartment, Brianna notices that the front door is unlocked. She whispers to Joey that she’s going to go in quickly and to come in after her. She darts in with her inhuman speed and finds that Barnabas Gould and his associate, Silas Sharpe are in her apartment. Gould is sitting in an easy chair and Sharpe is standing at the ready nearby.

“You’re not a welcome houseguest,” Brianna says.

“My, you are fast,” Gould says in admiration, smiling.

“And to what do I owe this unexpected house call?”

Joey comes in and shuts the door.

“Excuse the dramatics, but I felt someone should get your attention, and as your silent business partner, I thought perhaps it should be me,” Gould says.

“We have agreements. That doesn’t make us partners. People have been trying to get my attention for two months straight. They can do that without sitting on my couch,” Brianna says through gritted teeth. She sits in a chair in front Gould.

“You say they’ve been trying to get your attention and yet you’re still out of business,” Gould comments.

“I wasn’t referring to any specific group of people. However, my workload is light nowadays.”

“And yet, if you pay attention, that can be fixed.”

“This is starting to sound a lot like a conversation I had with Rupert. I told him I can’t help him. That whatever he’s looking for he needs to look elsewhere,” Brianna says.

“Look,” Gould says, smiling, “It’s nothing me, seeing you out of work. There’s no love lost between us. I’m just trying to give you friendly advice.”

Brianna shrugs. Gould continues.

“Whether you can’t or won’t, it works out well for me. If you do, it works out well for me.”

“I see, this break in to my house was for a bit of a kindly gloating.”

“No. I truly want to advise you that things can get worse. Not to gloat, but to demonstrate that I’m not done playing. Come Silas. I think we’re done here.”

He and his hulking associate make their way to the door under Brianna’s watchful eye and leave. After they exit, Brianna tells Joey to lock the door. “Not that it seemed to make much of a difference.” Joey does it.

Brianna then goes to her room and punches a hole in wall. “I should have ate him while I had the chance. I hate that man.” She goes the bathroom and rinses off her hand, slowly drinking water from the tap to try and calm down. Then Brianna comes out and talks to Joey.

“Well, I don’t know what that was about. As far as I can tell, he was sincere with everything he said. I can’t help but think he’s getting a bit of pressure to get that thing back.”

The two decide to check the house for electronic bugs. Joey is pretty thorough in his search and finds none.

“I’m really tired of people trying to manipulate me,” Brianna says. “I don’t know if they think I’m stupid. Yes, I realize the recent Fed investigation probably has the shadow organization behind it, but at this point I don’t have a lot of options. I can’t actually produce the item for them. And if I could then they would give it to Gould, which would be the worst scenario ever. All I need is for them to start working with the Red Court vampires in Seattle and life will be complete.”

There’s a rapping at the window. Brianna checks it out—it’s Regi. She let’s the pixie inside. “Hiya, lady,” he says.

“Hi Regi. Can I get you something to drink?”

“Sure, but I don’t have a lot of time.”

“What can I help you with? What’s going on?”

“Us little folk have been getting taken as we travel through Forest Park at night.”

“Disappearing?”

“Yes.”

“How many folk so far?”

“Five. Come with me to Mill Ends to see Moire.”

Brianna looks at Joey. “You’ll come?”

“Sure.”

The three load up in the car and head out to Mill Ends Park. They park the car and walk over to the park. The tiny city park in the sidewalk median is lit up with motes of light. Regi says, “Wait here.” He flies into the park and then re-emerges with another pixie, this one a pretty female with dark hair. “I told you she’d help,” Regi is telling her as they fly up.

“We’ll see,” the female pixie says. She then addresses the others. “I’m Moire. I’m spokeswoman for the Wee Folk.”

Brianna and Joey introduce themselves.

“Regi told you what’s been happening?” Moire asks. Brianna reiterates what Regi said about the disappearances.

“There are rumors of a Big Bad in the park,” Moire says.

“Do you know what its doing with the Wee Folk? Is there any sign of them left?” Brianna asks.

“No and no,” Moire says.

“And you’re sure they’re being taken out of the park?” Brianna asks.

“That’s the last place they’re seen,” Moire says.

“Forest Park is really quite big. Is this concentrated in one area in Forest Park or all over?” Brianna asks.

“Near Newton Creek,” Regi says.

“I’ve heard weres are in Forest Park,” Brianna says.

“They just run,” Moire says, dismissively.

“They don’t hunt?” Brianna asks.

“Not usually. Not us.”

Brianna pulls up a map on her phone and finds Newton Creek. “I’m willing to take a look,” she says.

“We’d be most grateful,” Moire says.

Regi says that he will come with them. The three of them, Regi, Joey, and Brianna, all head out to Forest Park.

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