Lachlan – Part Five (Final)
“Alex, we need to talk.” Henry’s voice sounded brittle and croaky. Lachlan walked around to the side of the desks, his eyes focussing on Alex’s head. “He glazes our eyes with his cryptic runes.” he hissed.
Alex continued to click his mouse and clack his keyboard behind his flat screens.
“Alex?” Lachlan scuttled round and stood behind Alex, opening and closing his claws.
“What!” Alex said sharply and looked up.
Henry reached forward with both hands and parted the monitors, revealing Alex’s corpulent face. “What the fuck???” Alex glared at him, confused and hostile. Then he screwed up his face in disgust. “Jesus Henry, you look awful. And you reek of booze. What the fuck’s happened? Nina finally thrown you out?”
Henry felt a surge of hot blood inside. He looked up to see Lachlan change. Red hot coals bulged from his eye sockets and singed the surrounding flesh. His mouth yawned open to reveal row upon row of sharp steel spikes. His chest burst through the white shirt, sending the buttons flying around the room. He threw out his arms and extended his sharp metallic claws. The flesh on Alex’s ample neck looked loose and vulnerable.
Henry remained calm, but this time he did not swallow his anger. He looked up at Lachlan’s contorted, snarling face and shook his head. “I’ve got to handle this my own way.” he said softly. Lachlan deflated. His eyes became small and yellow again, he retracted his claws, and let his hands hang limply from the ends of his arms. He jerked his head from side to side and chanted in a high pitched effeminate voice. “I’ve got to handle this my own way.”
Alex looked puzzled, cross and slightly concerned. “And what is your own way, Henry?” he said sarcastically but softly, with pity.
“I’m going to take the day off.”
Alex smiled sympathetically. “I think you should.” he nodded.
“And that will give you a chance to come up with a plan that will convince me not to cease funding this enterprise.”
Alex’s jowls fell. “What?”
The hot blood had cleared Henry’s head, and he found the words he needed with ease.
“I have a finite amount of cash. The original estimate for getting up and running was a year ago. If the technical side of things isn’t ship shape-”
Alex snorted. “Oh that’s very professional language. What’s your exact definition of ‘ship shape’?”
Lachlan’s eyes glowed red again and Henry thought he heard a deep rumble and felt the room shake, as if a tube train was passing underneath. He took a deep breath, then continued. “If the website is not technically able to support the business model we thrashed out two years ago in two month’s time, I will not continue to fund it, and I will look for a full time job.”
Alex’s face shrank. “But what about all the work I’ve put in so far? What about all the work you’ve put in so far?”
Lachlan was opening and closing his claws, using them like a couple of glove puppets, miming their conversation.
“There are other things I need to consider.”
Alex stared at him for a long while, looking resentful. Finally, he pulled the flat screens back into place, and muttered something about looking after number one.
Henry was glad to leave the claustrophobic little office. He felt drained and exhausted, but also calmer than he had felt in months. As he walked towards the tube he could hear
Lachlan behind him, singing “Henry’s found a back – bone! Henry’s found a back – bone!”
Henry stopped at the top of the steps down to the underground. Lachlan sidled up and leered and grinned into his face. “What now?” he hissed.
“I’m going to walk back home. I need to think of how I’m going to make it up to Nina…”
Lachlan nodded energetically. “For being spineless!”
“For being…. an idiot really….” he trailed off. “What are you going to do?”
Lachlan was now dressed in black combat clothing. In one hand he held a large barbed hook, in the other a thick length of rope. “Oh…. I think I will travel under the ground to the Dock – Lands where I will return to the surface and leap from roof to roof and feast upon the money lenders, and suck fresh hot blood from live pulsing flesh.”
Henry was not sure how to respond to this, so he said “Well, er, enjoy….”
Lachlan cackled. “Oh, always!” he croaked, then scuttled down the steps, hissing obscenities at the people he passed. No one looked at him in the face.
previous: Lachlan – Part Four
all chapters: Lachlan
more by ALAN KILLIP
photograph by Alejandro Escamilla