Day 26 of 100 Word Prompts: Shatter
“There’s something I need to tell you,” Evelyn said, looking up from the floor.
“Oh, yeah? What’s that?” Byron asked, a cock-eyed smile spreading across his face.
“Sawyer’s dead,” Evelyn said, her eyes brimming with tears.
“Bull shit,” Byron replied. “I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t have to believe me, Byron. It’s true. I don’t know how, but someone got to him,” Evelyn said, sniffing as she stood from her chair. She walked to the door and paused on her way out, “I’m sorry.”
Byron watched the door close, his eyes locked on the spot where she had been standing. Her words hung in the air around him, despite his smile. He shook his head, wiping his face.
“There’s no way he’s gone,” he said to himself. “He’s pulled scams like this before when things got too heavy. He’s fine. He’s probably a town or two over grifting someone out of a fortune.”
A light knock came at the door.
“Come in,” Byron called.
The door opened, and Dakis stepped through, leaving the door open behind him.
“Did you hear what Evelyn said?” Dakis asked.
Byron nodded. “I think she’s full of shit.”
“I don’t know, man,” Dakis replied, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’ve seen her pull a lot of scams. I’ve seen her convince lords and ladies that horrible things would happen to their unaware families if they didn’t pay her. This is different.”
“It’s not different. She’s lying. That’s what she does,” Byron spat.
“Do you know where Sawyer is right now?” Dakis asked.
“Yeah, he’s in his safe room, as usual. How the hell would anyone get to him if he’s in there?” Byron asked.
“We should check on him,” Dakis said. “Just to make sure he’s okay. What if he did come out?”
“He wouldn’t, and, likely, Evelyn is just trying to find him. What’s the best way to do that?” Byron said, leaning back on his couch.
“Following us,” Dakis answered.
“Exactly,” Byron said. “She’s trying to get us to show her where he is so she can find him.”
“You’re really smart. You know that?” Dakis replied. “I hadn’t even thought about that.”
“Trust me, if we give it a few days, Sawyer will reach out to us, and all your worrying will be for nothing,” Byron said, putting his feet up on the table. “In the meantime, how about we have some fun with the locals? We could rerun your favorite scam.”
“I don’t know, Byron. I still feel kind of weird about this. I know Evelyn is Evelyn, but I’ve never seen her do that, even when she’s pulling a long con,” Dakis said.
“I told you, buddy. Put it out of your mind. It’ll all be fine, I promise,” Byron said. “Let’s make some coin tonight and take your mind off it, okay?”
“Alright, I guess,” Dakis replied, scratching his neck.
Byron rose from his seat and left with Dakis to have a night on the town. Over the next few hours, they ran several scams that they had practiced a thousand times, as well as a few that they were just trying to iron out. By the end of the night, they had raked in nearly five gold.
“Can you believe our luck tonight?” Byron asked as he stumbled down an alley, Dakis following close behind. “I can’t believe we didn’t have to run a single time!”
“That man that kept feeding you drinks was very nice,” Dakis agreed.
“Lucas!” Byron screamed into the night. “Man, that guy knows how to have some fun.”
“We’re near Sawyer’s place,” Dakis said as they came out the other end of the alley.
“Oh, man! We should go tell him about tonight,” Byron said, catching his balance on Dakis’ shoulder. “He’ll be impressed for sure.”
“What about Evelyn?” Dakis asked.
“What about that lying bitch?” Byron said. “As far as I’m concerned, she can piss off and take a long walk off a short pier.”
“That’s not nice,” Dakis replied, shaking his head.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey,” Byron said, pointing his finger at each Dakis he saw, “Don’t get all judgy on me. She’s done some stuff that would make you think less of her.”
“Like what?” Dakis asked. “She’s a professional, sure, but she’s still one of us.”
“For starters, she spread all kinds of rumors about my-” Byron pointed awkwardly to his crotch, “and also, she smells bad.”
“Byron, she didn’t spread rumors about you,” Dakis said.
“How do you know?” Byron said, throwing a hand up as he walked away from him. “How could you know? You didn’t start hanging out with me until after all that.” Byron finished his sentence flipping his hand in the air in a random direction.
“Where are you going?” Dakis asked.
“To prove Evelyn wrong,” Byron yelled as he turned around and walked backward. “To shut you, and her, up once and for all. I’m not a fool. I know what I’m-”
Byron tripped over a lump in the street, landing on his back. He kicked it and struggled to get to his feet.
“Are you okay?” Dakis asked, rushing up to the lump as Byron successfully caught himself and began walking down the street again.
“I’m fine, who the hell leaves, whatever that is, in the middle of the street like that. Some people-”
“-should really learn to be more respectful of the town they live in. And that’s saying some-”
“-thing coming from me. I know I’ve done a lot of questionable things in my time, but I’d never-”
“Byron!” Dakis yelled, bringing Byron’s rant to a halt.
“What is it, Dakis?” Byron asked, turning around.
Dakis shook his head as his bottom lip quivered, and his head tilted. He moved the fabric blocking the view of the lump only enough to reveal a large hand, pale and lifeless beneath. On each of the fingers, various gems were inlaid with elven script intricately scrolled around them. Byron felt the blood drain from his face.
“Is that-” he faltered. He couldn’t bring himself to say it.
“It’s Sawyer,” Dakis said, pulling the rest of the fabric back to reveal the old man’s face. It was white as a sheet, but still wore the familiar smile they had come to know and love.
“It can’t be,” Byron said, falling to his knees. “He’s too careful. He’s too clever. How the hell could anyone find him? He lived in his own pocket dimension for the sake of the gods. Why the hell would he leave? Why would he come out here?”
“His medallion is missing,” Dakis said, as he arranged Sawyer’s body into a peace-filled resting position, rather than the lump they had found.
“Who gives a shit about his medallion, Dakis. There are more important things-”
“Byron, you need to shut up for five seconds and listen to me,” Dakis said. “This wasn’t random. This wasn’t Saywer making a leisurely stroll through the city because he got bored. His rings are still there, all the wards are still up, yet here he is cold and dead.”
Byron crawled over to the side of the only real father-figure he had ever had and wept. On the luckiest night of his life, Byron felt all the luck, and the light inside him, shatter into a million specks of dust and fall away. Things could never go back to normal now. He didn’t believe Evelyn, and Dakis hadn’t believed him. Sawyer was the only one able to keep the three of them together. It would only be a matter of time now before they went their separate ways.