The blinking red light taunted Jacob from across the room. It had been steady for hours while he prepped the area, yet now the network connectivity had dropped and refused to reconnect.
“Give me just a second,” he said to the girl in the chair, “it does this sometimes. I hope you understand.”
He went through the setting on the router and the modem, hoping that he could figure it out without calling technical support. He knew that it would take hours if he had to call them, and he doubted his guest would be patient enough to wait.
“I got it!” he said, slamming the laptop shut and setting it on the table next to him. “Sorry about that. I hate when unexpected things happen, as you no doubt know by now. Now, let me just get my tools and we’ll be ready to go.”
He stood and went to the other side of the lower level of the house. His workshop sat in a dark corner, and he loathed where it had to be, but the neighbors wouldn’t understand his art. No one did save the few extraordinary people he had read about from time to time. He took his time, pulling knives from the wall, each unique and serving a specific purpose. His favorite went to its sheath and was secured to the back of his belt.
When he was finished, he walked back, whistling as he went.
“Alright, I’m-” he stopped.
The chair was empty. He felt a spike of anger, and took a deep breath. His art required him to be calm, he could get worked up after he was done. For now, he needed to find the girl.
A sharp pain erupted from the small of his back as he stumbled forward. He dropped his bag, scattering knives across the floor as his hand went instinctively to the source of the pain. When he turned around he saw the girl, small and frail looking, standing there with a wicked smile, her hands covered in blood.
“You’ve been sloppy, Jacob,” she whispered as her head tilted to one side. “I’ve come to collect on our agreement.”