The Hunted | George - 1
About 5:00 AM
I wake up in a sweat, unfamiliar to my surroundings. The room is cold, dark and mysterious. The only noticeable feature is a table in the corner, nothing on it but smudges and fingerprints. I stand up and adjust my eyes to the dark lighting. There aren’t any windows or means of escape other than a single door. I open the door open quietly and slowly yet the door still creaks, luckily there is no one in the hall outside the room to hear it.
I make my way towards the end of the hall where I see some metal stairs leading down. I have no idea whether it leads to a main floor of the building or if it just takes me into a basement, although it’s the only staircase in the area so it must lead somewhere.
As I slowly creep down the rusty metal staircase, I see an expansive warehouse-type area. The warehouse is bland with grey walls, floors and a grey roof. The windows are dirty and can’t quite let light in. The only significant lighting in the warehouse comes from blinding fluorescent lighting. The warehouse is mysteriously empty and cryptic with only one person in the entire warehouse. I can’t make out the face of the mysterious person, only his silhouette. He stands near the largest exit which appears to be the loading area. I notice a door much closer to me where he probably wouldn’t see me if I went through it, I’m completely unknowledgeable to whether the door is actually an exit or not, but I’m not risking going anywhere near that man.
I quickly and quietly hurry towards the door, slowly turning the door handle and pushing the door open. I open it as slowly as possible to prevent the door from creaking. The door still manages to be loudly creaking but I don’t think the silhouette notices. I enter the room and close the door behind me as quietly as possible. The room appears to be an office, more vibrant and vividly coloured than the rest of the warehouse. The desk is rather empty and minimalist other than a nameplate labelled SEAN ADDAMS, I’ve never heard of that name before but I would rather not meet him, he might’ve been the one who knocked me out but I wouldn’t confront him about that. I have no idea where this warehouse is located and no idea what his motivation was. Money, power, revenge? Revenge wouldn’t make sense if I hadn’t met the man before. I sneak through the drawers in the desk, not much of interest… Folders, tax-related documents and job applications, I look through the tax documents and notice them directed towards a company titled “Metroname”, I’ve never heard of the company before but I can say that the name isn’t very good nor creative.
I open a drawer and find an iPad meticulously placed… No passcode, standard background and not any different apps other than the standard ones. I look through the notes to no avail other than a grocery list. I check the contacts app, nothing. The messages app is fairly empty other than one conversation between Sean Addams and a private phone number. This Sean person managed to find a way to lock the conversation with the device’s fingerprint identification so it has no help for me. I hear some voices speaking faintly through the doors of the office. I creak open the door slightly to listen in.
“We have our shipment coming in eighteen hours sharp, we will be able to deliver the product exactly one and a half hours after that” One of the figures exclaimed.
“The deal was for the product to come exactly fifteen minutes ago” The other figure replied.
“It was stated in the contract you signed that we are not responsible for any delays in the delivery of the product purchased,” The first figure said.
“Fucking shit, if that’s true, you have nineteen and a half hours to deliver the product, otherwise, the deal is off. Deliver the product to our backup location, the original address has been comprised, police or something. One of my workers snitched so let’s say, he won’t snitch anymore.” The other figure replied.
“Deal, we’ll see you then.” The first figure said.
I closed the door, it appeared as though a deal was going down tomorrow, to who and what was being delivered, I don’t know. This didn’t pertain to me so I wasn’t too invested in the delivery. What I was still wondering about was who the fuck kidnapped me and brought me here in the first place, I assume it was this Sean Addams person, but it could honestly be anyone who saw an old warehouse and just wanted my things so he knocked me out. I took the iPad just in case. As I was grabbing the iPad, I heard the sound of someone jiggling the door handle, I locked the door when I came inside but I assume he has a key. I opened the window and leapt out to hide. The man came inside the office, sounding frustrated. I peaked over slightly and saw him opening the drawer where I took the iPad from, noticing it was gone. He took out his phone, looking at some kind of security camera footage, it appeared to be the room I woke up in.
He glanced up “Shit, he fucking escaped.” He exclaimed. He dialled a number on his cell phone.
“Hey, George fucking escaped, I thought you were watching him from another room? Well, where the fuck did you go? Well now he’s gone, you better fucking find him or you’re dead.” He hung up abruptly and angrily.
I slowly walked away from the window, low to ground as to not let him see me. As soon as I turn the corner away from the window, I run for it. I barely recognize the area which appears to be the industrial district of San Fransisco. I don’t have my car with me, obviously nor my phone. I run a few blocks down the street, not much to see other than bland smoke-emitting factories and warehouses blooming with noise pollution. I finally start to exit the industrial area and come up upon a coffee shop. I enter the shop to use their free Wi-Fi on the iPad I stole from the office. I can’t contact anyone from the iPad but I can install a ride-share app to get to my own office. I would go home but considering that Sean guy has someone looking for me, I feel as though it wouldn’t be safe to go there.
After about fifteen minutes, the taxi arrives at the coffee shop.
“Where to?” The driver asked.
“My office, 1205 Vista Ave” I replied.
I arrive at the office building, the building is massive, about eighty-six floors with every outside wall being glass. It’s a very fancy office space yet I only own one floor of the building. As I walk inside the building, the iPad vibrates, it was on silent for some odd reason. It was a text from a private number
I know you stole the iPad, George. I have a team looking for you and we will find you once again.
My heart nearly stops, I know that was that Sean Addams person from the nameplate, yet he still chose to hide the phone number, probably to prevent it from being traced. He knows I took the iPad. The iPad is the least of my worries at the moment, I need to know who Sean Addams is and what he wants me for. Luckily my staff are trained with combat, you have to be in our line of work, arms deals with third world countries and private armies is definitely a profession you would need a gun in and know how to use it.
The elevators require a special magnetized card to take you to the floor you work on, mine was stolen when I was knocked out. The only way I would be able to get to my office would be to get the receptionist to let me up.
“Hello, I lost my office card so I can’t get to my floor. Would you be able to assist me with that?” I asked the receptionist.
“Do you have some ID I can use to confirm your identity?” He replied.
“Not on me, no. Don’t you have my info in your database? Just look up my name.” I said
“Okay then… Name?” He replied in a bored manner.
He types a bunch of incomprehensible things into his computer.
“You look like your photo, I’m going to need you to look into this camera, it’s some new gimmicky Facial ID to confirm your resemblance to the photo in our database,” I look into the camera until I hear a faint beep. “Yep, it checks out. Would you like a replacement card?” The receptionist said.
“Sure, also could you deactivate the old card?” I ask.
“I can try but our system doesn’t always work when we try to remotely deactivate a card, it’s best to have it in person so we can directly deactivate it.” He replied.
“Doesn’t that defeat the purpose then? If someone needed a replacement card it would usually because it was lost, so how would that work?” I ask.
“It doesn’t, but that’s not my problem,” He scans a new card and hands it to me. “Here’s your replacement card, next time you lose or destroy it, it will cost thirty dollars per replacement.” He said.
I make my way to the elevator and try not to burn this place to the ground, thirty dollars for one replacement card? I try to not let it get to me and scan my new card on the scanner inside the elevator. The doors close and I feel the elevator slowly but surely taking me to my floor, as the elevator doors open again, I see the front desk to the office with the company name on a large sign behind the desk “METACO”. We usually handle weapons deals to private armies and third world countries but we will sell anything we can get our hands on if people want to buy it. We exclusively work in large deals with governments and other companies rather than directly to consumers, we found that we make more money that way. It doesn’t make it easier though, we have to deal with sketchy criminal companies as well who love to steal the product or kill my staff to avoid paying.
As I walk up to the front desk, I see the company receptionist, Matt. He’s a fairly new hire. He handles contacting our buyers and suppliers and setting up new partnerships with other companies in similar fields to us. I can’t say I fully trust him yet, but he’s been doing good so far.
“Hey, Matt. Would there be a way to bypass a passcode on this iPad?” I take the iPad out of my bag and place it on the desk, “It’s not on the lock screen, but there’s a conversation on the messaging app that I want to access, but the conversation is locked behind a passcode.” I say.
“I can try, let me check out the device first,” He takes the iPad and taps on the screen a few times, no idea what he’s actually doing, “It looks like the device was jailbroken, he set up an encryption on the device’s files so it might take a while to decrypt it. I’ll do my best and report back to you.” Matt replies.
“Thanks,” I say.
I make my way to my office, our floor has a minimalist design to it, sleek and brightly coloured walls, furniture and art. We don’t have our customers come into the office too often so the design is mostly because I wanted it, rather than to impress customers. My staff’s desks are all in the same room, although the room is fairly large despite only having a team of five employees.
I enter my office and close the door behind me, the office has a similar design to the rest of our floor with a desk in the back of the room and with some desks along the walls where I keep my classified files and items I like. I sit at my desk and phone my wife to get out of the house. I’ve been talking calmly but I’m mentally freaking out right now given the circumstances. The phone rings a few times and she finally answers.
“Hey Allison,” I say
“Why didn’t you come home last night? I was worried sick about you. This town is full of criminals, I had thought you were killed or something.” Allison replied.
“I stayed late last night and ended up falling asleep at my desk, sorry for not telling you last night,” I say, hoping she actually believes that. If she were to find out I was knocked out and kidnapped, she would freak out and I can’t have that right now.
“Okay, okay. That’s fine, but you have to tell me when you’re going to stay late! Who knows what you could’ve been doing.” Allison says.
“I promise I will tell you from now on. Why don’t you come by the office tonight, I’ll order some food up to the office, everyone will be gone so I can tell you a surprise.” I replied.
I was thinking about telling her about my situation at the dinner, but I think it would be better if we were just out of town for a while, maybe by then he’ll have forgotten about us and we could go back to our normal lives… As normal as it was, anyway.
“That sounds like an attempt to make me forgive you. I’ll take a bribe when I see it, but don’t expect any forgiveness.” Allison said.
“Don’t worry, I don’t expect anything,” I replied.
“See you tonight, love you.” She said.
“Love you too.” I ended the phone call, only to hear a knocking on the door to my office.
“There’s a rep from ZamCo who wants to speak with you? Seems like just some annoying sales person but insists to speak with you.” Matt says.
“Um… Sure, bring him in,” I reply. “Wait, before you leave, any luck with decrypting the device yet?” I ask.
“Not any luck yet but I’m still working on that. Anything else?” Matt says.
“No that’s all, thanks,” I reply.
After a minute or so, the representative my office and closes the door behind him. He wears a leather cinnamon coloured jacket and a pair of blue/white jeans. He wears dark sunglasses indoors, kind of a douche thing to do but he seems professional… Well, as professional as someone dressed like that can actually be.
“So, I hear you want to speak to me, what for?” I ask.
“Our company, ZamCo, has been hearing a lot about your company, and we were thinking about setting up some sort of deal.” The rep said.
“What, do you supply arms?” I ask.
“We supply military-grade vehicles and technology, military weapons you could never get from your current suppliers and we can prove that. We know your suppliers and know their pricing. We can get you everything you get right now at almost half of the cost that you’re paying.” The rep said.
“That sounds like bullshit, I don’t believe a word of that,” I reply,
“It’s not because you don’t believe it, it’s because you don’t understand it. You probably don’t know a single thing about the resources your suppliers are using to get the arms that you buy from them. You don’t know where they come from, how they get them, or how they use them. If you know any of that, you’d have already switched to a better supplier. They get their resources from first world countries where the price to mine is marked up into oblivion by the governments, they use inefficient tools to retrieve those resources and use workers to make the arms you sell rather than automated machinery. I think if you had known that before this, you’d have come to us a long time ago, if not us then any supplier other than your current one.” The rep said. I still doubted everything he was saying, but if what he was saying was true, it could mean something great for this company in terms of expenses and increased profit.
“I’ll look into this claim but let me tell you, I’m still very doubtful of what you’re saying. Do you have a business card of some sort?” I ask.
“Here,” He hands me a business card with the name Nick Trudule on it. “If you’re interested, give us a call, we’d love to be your new supplier.” The rep says, he turns and leaves the office, closing the door behind him.
His offer sounded amazing, but way too good to be true. No matter if I was going to switch suppliers or not, this was not at the top of my to-do list right now, I have way more pressing matters to attend to.