The trip back home was in silence. Jack had received a simple job by Varnes Goodbody, his father, and not only had they failed it, they had failed it in spectacular fashion. The worst part was that Jack had offered to help his father and he had failed. He failed in the same city in which his father had worked so hard before Jack had been born. That Jack failed did mean that someone had gotten the information out to that mysterious punk first. This meant someone either knew about the set being collected or knew that Jack was going to grab it and poached it before he could. Either way, it would be best to find a job out of the state as soon as was possible. Jack hardly liked the idea of leaving his normal customers in a lurch so soon after he had taken his last trip, but under the circumstances it was safer to lay low.
They ended up stopping for the night at the safe house on the outskirts of town that Jack had set up for occasions when he didn’t want to deal with family members. Only one family member knew about it and that was his sister, Sam. Early the next morning, he regretted his decision to disclose the location to her when the AC/DC approaching down the road was loud enough to cause a glass coffee mug to bounce off the table and shatter on the floor. Oddly, despite her normally boisterous manner, a minute or so after the music had stopped, she actually knocked on the door. Sam knocking on the door was never a good thing. Polite Sam was confused Sam and confused Sam was scared.
Jack opened the door a crack and peeked out at his sister, “To what do we owe the honor?”
Sam pushed past Jack and skipped into the room. She had forsaken her usual work outfit, keeping her jacket but wearing looser fitting jeans and a white t-shirt, “So I guess the last job father sent you got messed up.”
Jack seethed for a moment before calming down and closing the door, “We got poached. Whatever it was Father wanted, it got taken before we could get there.”
Sam patted his shoulder gently, with a flat hand very slowly three times, “I figured, it’s not like you to screw the pooch this bad without help.”
Jack brushed her hand aside and ignored her slight smirk. Despite the circumstances, some siblings just can’t help themselves, “We had help from someone else who found out about the silverware before us. It seems like I have a secret admirer. This summer has been very strange. Has father found out?”
“An admirer, Jack? Seems like you’ve been busier than you know. Father hasn’t found out yet, but I figured you would want to be gone when he does. I know that I will.”
Jack let out a deep sigh that came from the depths of his frustration, “Pretty much, but we can’t just head out without a job. We’ll be stuck here for weeks at this rate.”
Sam waved a piece of paper in front of his face, “Thank me later, brother.”
Jack snatched the piece of paper from his sister and scanned it. There was a sports resort looking for cleaners to prep their cabins for the incoming tourists and also to kill the pack of feral goblins that had taken over the resort grounds sometime in the off season, the note was vague about the specifics, but the situation seemed pretty dire. The very end of the note, which trailed off into a scrawl of almost unreadable letters, promised a chance to really unwind. Jack crammed the note in his pocket and rubbed the bridge of his nose. The resort was in Maryland, a job that would take them out of state for around a week at least. “Thank you,” was all Jack could manage.
“Don’t worry, Jack. I’ll come and collect on this favor later, you know I always do.”
“I was hoping you had forgotten, but no such luck it seems.” Closing his eyes, Jack mentally scanned the things they would need. Their most important tools were already in the van and everything else they would need was readily available on the road.
“Stanley, we’re leaving for Maryland! Pack up everything we can from here and we’ll restock later!”
Stan shambled into the room and started gathering up supplies, “We gonna leave before that family a’ yours finds out we goofed?”
Sam covered her mouth with her hand to stifle a sudden burst of laughter, “Something like that, buddy. You two better leave town fast, though. Father is scary quick at finding out when we’ve screwed up. It’s uncanny, really.”
Jack looked out the front door at the town they lived in off in the distance. Leaving it really was no problem because Jack hardly considered it home. His office was a place where he rested his head. The road and his job were the places where he rested his heart. In times of doubt and confusion, Jack found he could drown out the pain in the cleaning and the simple acts that comprised each job. Even kicking a rogue tribe of feral goblins out of the area, killing them or getting them to leave, was simple enough when you got down to it.
Stan sat down in the driver’s seat, leaning the van towards his side with a slight squeak when he got in. Jack stayed in their safe house for a few moments longer before locking up and getting into the passenger seat. The open road no longer held the thrill that it did at the opening of the summer, but nothing held him back and recent events pushed him forward so on he went. The trip to Maryland would take a couple of days from where they were, and while the recent trips had been rested from or uneventful, Jack found himself worn thin by the stress. Perhaps this trip could ease the tension and restore a little faith in himself.