The Hunt

The sun streamed through Cass’s window onto her bed. She felt her knees come up to her stomach and the rush of saliva to her mouth. She managed to drag herself to the bathroom in time to bring up most of her Saturday evening’s extravagances.

As she rested her head against the cool porcelain of her toilet, she realised was still in her clothes from the night before. She could not understand how she had become so drunk, so fast. She could not remember getting home. She heard loud snores coming from her living room.

She wasn’t normally sick. She must be due a period. That was it. Definitely. Then she calculated backwards and realised in horror, she was two weeks late. Stress. She couldn’t be pregnant. Could she? No. Definitely stress. If she stopped thinking about it, she would be fine and come on tomorrow. She just had a hangover. Her dehydrated brain was making her paranoid.

She heard the snore again from her living room. She went to investigate and found the only culprit, not that she was pregnant, lying in his pants and t shirt on her tiny sofa. His lionel head was hanging slightly off the edge of the sofa and his huge feet protruded over the side table. Why couldn’t she get rid of Semyon? He was like an attractive and likeable form of herpes.

She made him coffee, and he grunted his approving thanks from the sofa. She perched herself on a stool by her tiny table. She finished half her own coffee and looked at her work phone. There were 10 text messages and four missed calls, from Rebecca and Dolores.

Julian had escaped from the rehab centre. Have you seen him? Has he contacted you? What should I do? Rebecca’s messages had a sense of resignation. One of the voicemails from Dolores was just tears.

Guilt and slight fear washed over Cass. What if he had done something stupid? What if he wanted to do something stupid to her?

Cass decided to call Rebecca, because her messages were less hysterical,” I will go and check the office. If he is not there, I will go to that club again. Is there anywhere else? Can you call Dolores? She is very upset. Have called the hospitals? How long has he been missing? Have you called the police?”

Semyon lay quietly on the sofa through the conversation, nonchalantly rearranging his testicles in his pants. When Cass finished her call, he asked,” What is it with you? Why do you chase after him? Cleaning up his mess. Why do you care?”

“I don’t know,” Cass said honestly. “He has done some really good things as well as bad. He looks after Delores and all the other damaged goods, which are in the office, including me, I suppose. I have already let him down. I can’t do it now.”

She pulled on her coat over her day old clothes and headed for the door. “Wait. I am coming with you,” sighed Semyon.

As they opened the main door to the office, they could smell vodka. As they reached Julian’s office door, they could smell death.

Julian was sat upright in his leather chair behind his desk staring at them as they entered.   The waxy grey sheen of rigamortis made him look like a grotesque mannequin. His mouth gaped open as if he was surprised by his own condition.

Cass was shocked into silence. Semyon walked over to the body, he was about to close Julian’s eyes, when Cass snapped, “No! Don’t touch him.”

“He’s dead, let him have some dignity,” Semyon plead, shocked at her tone.

“I can see that, but if you touch him, there will be questions,” Cass said. “Get away from him, you idiot.”

“I think you’re going to do well in the FSB,” Semyon smiled ghoulishly.

“I don’t give a fuck about your stupid Bureau. He is dead because of them! Now shut up and let me think,” lashing out made Cass feel better. Her own sense of culpability began to dissipate.

She went to Julian’s desk to use the telephone, but changed her mind when she realised the floor near Julian was covered in piss and other bodily fluids. She felt a wave of nausea come over her again and backed away.

“Come with me,” she ordered Semyon, pushing down the desire to vomit.   She called Rebecca from her office. Cass recalled the same visceral wail, when she heard about Jason’s death. Cass then rang Delores. Delores calm chilled Cass. Semyon waited with her as the police, paramedics and doctor arrived. He did not know why he did this, Cass was right, there would be more questions if he was there. He just felt that he could not leave her.

The police eyed them both with suspicion. Police officers can smell guilt, even if it is misplaced. Cass and Semyon gave statements and showed them the telephone messages. Their stories were confirmed on the arrival of Rebecca and Delores who took over the practicalities.

Semyon had to return with Cass, he had left all the paperwork at her flat. Not that it mattered now, but Cass could still be useful. She understood the business and she was malleable.

When Cass saw Semyon out and bid him farewell, she decided to check her postbox.   There was a hand delivered package in it. She opened it gingerly. She recognized the scrawl as Julian’s manic penmanship.   “You were always a clever girl. You will work it out. I trust you to do the right thing – you always do. ” The package contained his watch. The receipt for the watch was in the package as well, confirming it was worth a small fortune. She turned the watch over, there were numbers purposely engraved in the back of the watch. She looked at the receipt again. The watch had not just come from any jewelers but one of the biggest stores of safety deposit boxes in Hatton Gardens.

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