Mr. Gilberry of Hubert and Thompson accounting firm was a most typical of accountants. If someone were to describe him they would say he fit the perfect mold for an accountant.
He wore black drab suits, his hair was slicked back as though he had dunked it into an oil drum, he carried around a simple black briefcase, he could multiply then fraction a large number in his head, and he left the office at exactly at 5:30pm.
Yes Mr. Gilberry was the most typical of accountants to anyone who looked upon the surface and if not for a new arrival at the firm no one would really know how peculiar he was.
Jayden Blake was a fresh, bright eyed accountant, his dreams were always bigger than the firm, and to him his job was merely a stepping stone to bigger and greater things, even if he didn’t know what those things were.
Jayden had only been with the company for a few months when he was given the task of entertaining a new client. At first Jayden was excited about entertaining Mr. Peterson, but as the time drew closer and he learnt more about Mr. Peterson, the excitement was replaced by dread. Mr. Peterson was an introvert with a hatred of just about everything, how could he entertain a client like that, he could not do this; he needed to foist this duty upon another. But who?
He walked calmly down the hall while a storm of fear raged inside of him, as he looked upon the plaque wondering who would take this responsibility from him and set him free. Although he could not leave this to any old accountant, he needed someone who could smooze and charm so severe that the client signed over their assets no questions asked.
Looking at the nameplates trying to discern which accountant to leave it with, he came across Mr. Gilberry’s office. A small smile bloomed on his face, he would be perfect for the job as he was one of the oldest workers and the company.
Confidently knocking upon his door he heard a quiet “come in;” opening the door he walked in with false confidence.
Mr. Gilberry was sitting in his oversized brown leather chair typing away on his ancient computer; he looked up briefly and went right on typing. He seemed to find his presence unimportant, this was disconcerting for Jayden. “What do you want Mr. Blake? I’m very busy and have little time to spend on such a person as you.” Jayden’s hopes were instantly dashed, he had hoped that he had made an impression in Mr. Gilberry the last time they talked but it seemed he was nothing more than a fly to him. Gathering his dwindling confidence he asked. “Mr. Gilberry, I was wondering if you can entertain Mr. Peterson tonight.”
Mr. Gilberry looked up from his computer screen staring deep into Jayden’s eyes.
“Jayden may I remind you that I am an internal accountant.”
“I know, but-”
“Maybe you should go back to your community college and take remedial classes on accounting, though I doubt it would help such a man who lacks mental capacity. Now please leave my office I have important work to do and I have already wasted more time than I would like on this conversation,” he responded in a beige tone of voice as he continued to type on his computer. With a shake of his hand he showed Jayden away. Jayden quickly exited the office, he felt as if he was six years old and wearing his dad’s suit again.
Looking at the clock he saw the time was 5:30pm. He couldn’t ask anymore accountants to take on Mr. Peterson otherwise they would know he couldn’t handle it, he would be demoted and permanently stuck in a position he could not get out of. Sighing heavily he walked back to his office to prepare for tonight’s smoozing with Mr. Peterson.
As the clock struck 7:55pm he exited the office building. Nerves were wracking his body as the clock on his wrist struck 8 and a long black limo pulled up to the curb.
Putting on a false mask of confidence Jayden opened the limo door and entered the dimly lit limo and slammed the door shut. Mr.
Peterson was extremely pale, which was accentuated by the black suit he was wearing.
As the limo sped away from the building Jayden began to layout what he had planned that evening.
“So Mr. Peterson I think you are really going to enjoy the-“
“I prefer not to know where I am going on such occasions as these,” Mr. Peterson interrupted. “I’d rather be surprised and be disappointed later than to be disappointed from the start of the evening right to the end. For now let us sit in silence, I have no need for small talk.”
They sat in awkward forced silence as Jayden clenched his teeth in frustration. Introverts are hard to please and even harder to understand, though as a forward thinker he managed to find the perfect place for an introvert such as Mr. Peterson.
As the limo pulled into Lowen Avenue Jayden noticed police cars flashing their lights in front of Lilo Dining Experience. Jayden went pale at the scene, this was not going to look good for him, he turned to Mr. Peterson who he expected was going to look at him as if he were an incompetent child, but was instead playing on his phone not even bothering to look up once. Jayden was relieved he didn’t need to hear Mr. Petersons commentary on the situation.
Getting out of the limo silently so as not to bother Mr. Peterson, he approached a police officer who was standing idle outside the entrance.
“What’s happening, why has this place been shut down?” Jayden asked.
“Not to state the obvious, but a crime has been committed here and the place has been shut down,” the police officer pointed out.
“No, no, no,” wringing his hands together, “this should not have been happening, this dinner is known for it’s boringness, they have partitions around each table so you don’t interact with any of the other patrons, their food is so bland it was given -10 stars. Heck, even all the reviews said that is was the most boring dining experience ever. See in the window, right there is a sign that says most boring dinner experience ever. I mean what crime did the most boring dinner in the world do, put too much salt in their pasta.”
Before he could tear into the police officer. He saw a man coming out of the building wheeling out a black bag on a gurney. The police officer raised his eyebrow giving him a look, huffing Jayden walked back to the limo tapping the drivers window. The driver winded down the window.
“Can you drive us around till I find another place to take Mr. Peterson to dinner.”
“Sure but I can tell you he ain’t going to like what you have in store for him.”
Getting back in the limo Jayden began to search on his phone for another boring diner like Lilo.
As the limo sped slowly into the night Jayden began searching on his phone. As he scrolled through the results, the limo came to a sudden halt; he went flying out of his seat and landed face first on the floor below. Getting to his knees, he leaned against the drivers seat as he was disorientated and needed to regain his senses.
Dragging himself up using the driver’s seat to give the driver a thorough tongue-lashing he noticed why the driver stopped so suddenly. A person dressed quite oddly was leaning against the limos hood but as soon as this person appeared they were gone and although the person was only there for a second he knew who it was. It was Mr. Gilberry and although his image was fleeting he could have sworn he was wearing pink high heels that went up to his thighs and a helmet someone would normally find at a renaissance fair.
Rushing out of the limo he could faintly hear Mr. Peterson shouting after him, but he didn’t bother to turn around or stop, if that was Mr.Gilberry then there was potential for black mail on his and with it he could go anywhere. After running for what felt like hours to him he stopped out of breath in front of an alleyway. He could see at the end of the alley a red light. By the way Mr. Gilberry was dressed it would seem that this is where he would go, as he approached the end of the alley there was an old weathered door. He tried to open the door but it didn’t budge an inch, he knocked on the door and no one answered.
Sighing in defeat he suddenly remembered he left Mr. Peterson all alone in the limo. Turning around he felt a shock go through his body as Mr. Peterson was standing there his arms crossed over his chest looking unimpressed.
“Why did you leave in such a rush?” He asked with hostility.
A million lies ran through his mind but all that came out was. “I thought I saw someone from work.”
He saw restrained rage in Mr. Peterson’s eyes as his lips thinned and his eyes narrowed. “That’s no reason for abandoning me in such a way, it was quite rude of you.”
Jayden was about to make a suggestion that they get back to the limo when the door exploded behind them, wood chips showered them both as they collapsed onto the ground as something hit them from behind throwing them onto the pavement below.
Jayden felt a stinging sensation on his hands and face, slowly opening his eyes he lifted his head squinting through the dust in the air.
Getting up slowly he walked over to Mr. Peterson. “Mr. Peterson are you alright?”
“No.” Mr. Peterson replied his voice muffled, as he was face down on the pavement below.
Obviously he was all right otherwise he would not be responding to him but he needed to assess his injuries and see if he needed to be taken to a hospital. “Ah let me rephrase that, are you in danger of dying soon or in immense pain.” “No.”
Helping Mr. Peterson off the ground to his feet he started to assess Mr. Petersons injuries. It was just a few scrapes and soon to be bruises. He began to apologies to Mr. Peterson but halfway through his second string of apologies he noticed that Mr. Peterson wasn’t staring at him but behind him.
Following Mr. Petersons stare he saw the door was all but gone. A questioning look appeared on his face as he wondered what was that explosion when a strange noise drew his attention away from the door. Dragging his eyes away from the door horror adorned his face at what was making the sound. It was a creature that he had never seen before. It was extremely large with a hard shell covering although transparent so to see all the organs, much like a crab. The eyes were plentiful on what appeared to be it’s face, but what was most notable about the creature was the blood dripping from it’s pincers. Fear paralyzed them both. Jayden could feel his heart beat thumping in his ears as the creature lunged for them. He closed his eyes as he prepared to feel nothing but blinding pain, he was stupefied as warm liquid splashed across his face, poring into every orifice drenching his nicely pressed suit. Opening his eyes he noticed a figure standing on top of the creature with a sword protruding from it’s head. As the figure ripped the sword from the creatures head, he slid down it’s front and approached them.
It was Mr. Gilberry and he was dressed very peculiarly. The hot pint stripper boots and helmet were accompanied by a pink sparkly dress that ended where the boots began, and pink wig covered his normally slicked back black hair. This was perhaps the oddest scene he had ever come across in the accounting world.
“You probably have a lot of questions, do not bother asking I’m not going to answer them, so you should probably leave right now.” Mr. Gilberry walked right past them going through the destroyed door. Jayden stared into the darkness of where Mr. Gilberry disappeared, he could not leave it like that and there were too many questions that needed to be answered. His mind made up he ran into the darkness not caring for the danger that was inside.
As he rushed deeper into the building he took out his iPhone from his jacket, turning on flashlight so he could illuminate his way. He had only been inside for a short amount of time when he realized the building was more twisted than an Agatha Christie novel. The further in he went the closer he heard footsteps approach. Slowing down so he could pinpoint the location. As he waited in the bleak hallway he could hear the steps coming closer and closer and closer, from behind.
Turning around he hoped it was Mr. Gilberry but to his great disappointment it was only Mr. Peterson. “Mr. Peterson why are you here?”
Bumping into Mr. Peterson was quite a surprise as he expected him to have left.
Straightening his suit and tie he explained. “This night is turning out quite interesting, I could not leave it on such a peculiar note.”
“Mr. Peterson you really should leave, you will get hurt.”
“And you won’t?”
“I’m not head of a million dollar company, with a million people depending on me.”
“You cannot get rid of me, this is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to me and I won’t let it go.” Jayden could not be bothered to spout reason and logic at him anymore as it was as if he was talking to a toddler.
They continue to walk down hallways and strange wide abandoned places, till they came across a room that was quite strange and out of place in a building. Consisting of long hallways and small rooms, it was a theatre. They scoured the room for any sign of Mr. Gilberry.
When they couldn’t find hide nor hair of him they decided to leave. They were walking out of the room when at that exact moment Jayden’s phone rang: he quickly declined the call. The tarp on the stage began to move to reveal another of those creatures. The creature was much like the last one they saw, except was much smaller. They were trying to hide in the seats away from the creatures sight but was all in vain as Jayden could feel one of it’s many eye’s on his flesh. Looking up from behind his seat he could see it was ready to attack him as it bucked it’s hind quarters at them. This time Jayden was prepared, raising his fists ready to fight the creature if need be when Mr. Gilberry swung down from the rafters and with one swift movement killed the creature.
Pulling out the sword with a squelch he walked uncharacteristically fast for a person in heels to the end of the stage.
“I was hoping that you were smart enough to leave this place.”
“A person such as myself lacks the mental capacity of what you said.” Mr. Gilberry rolled his eyes at him. “Maybe you can understand this. Leave now.”
“Explain what these creatures are and we will leave.” Mr. Peterson demanded as he approached the stage.
Mr. Gilberry ground his jaw in frustration at how he was cornered. “If you must know I’m apart of a secret society of accountants that protect this world from creatures that come from yonder. Now leave.”
“Yonder, what is yonder?” Asked Jayden.
Mr. Gilberry sighed loudly as he realized Jayden and Mr. Peterson weren’t going anywhere without a thorough explanation. “Have you ever heard of the multi universe theory?”
“Is that for every action or inaction we take in our lives it creates a parallel universe.”
“At it’s most basic sense yes. Well, Yonder is the place that surrounds our world like a protective coating. This coating protects us from other worldly interference but within this world there are creatures that are called Nigh. They are primitive but incredibly dangerous and every once in a while there is a slip between the worlds where a portal opens and creatures from Yonder slip in. It is our duty as Knights of Order to protect this world no matter what the cost.” He explained, as if he was a child explaining how to use Uber to an adult. “Now please leave, I can’t worry about civilians as I do my job, I have to watch my own back now my partner’s gone.” He said looking at his ring with the letters of k and o in the insignia.
“You had a partner?” Jayden asked.
“No more questions. Leave, I have a Nigh to take care of.”
“We will leave, just one more question, why accountants?” He asked slightly confused.
“Don’t you know Jayden?”
“What an accountant is.” Without a single word more he exited stage right.
With very little choice Jayden and Mr. Peterson left the theatre but finding their way out was harder than it originally seemed. This building they had gotten lost in was a labyrinth. Every exit was like a way out and every entry was a dead end. It was quite confusing.
As they approached the final hallway Jayden and Mr. Peterson could hear the sounds of a fight going on. Sneaking down the hallway they peaked around the corner to see the battle.
The Nigh was the biggest of the three; Mr. Gilberry was on the ground, drenched in blood clutching his ankle in pain, it didn’t look like he would be able to defend himself.
Before the creature could strike Jayden dropped his phone and picked up the sword and swung, blood poured from the newly opened orifices of the disgusting creature as it moaned in pain as Jayden continued to hack into it.
Finally ending the creatures misery as he plunged the sword into the empty eye socket, with one last roar the creature collapsed twitching ever so slightly. Breathing heavily as he was hunched over the fallen creature, Mr. Gilberry approached him not saying a word as he grabbed the sword out of his hand and limped away. Jayden picked up his now cracked phone off the ground, sticking it back into his pocket. Jayden and Mr. Peterson followed the trail of blood to the exit. When they reached the end off the alley, they parted ways and went home.
When he got to his office the next morning he saw Mr. Hubert was waiting for him, he looked rather intimidating but that might have been an illusion of how fat he was.
“Mr. Peterson told me all about what happened last night, with you and Mr. Gilberry.”
Jayden broke out in a cold sweat. Mr. Peterson probably mentioned how he abandoned him.
“What did he say?” He couldn’t help question even though he knew the answer.
“He said the oddest and most out of place words that have ever traversed his mouth. He said that last night was fun.”
“Fun. How is that out of place?” Jayden asked.
“Mr. Peterson is a joyless person and for him to enjoy anything, is akin to a fish killing a cat. You are truly an amazing accountant, your going places Mr. Blake, keep it up.” Standing up he was halfway to the door when he suddenly stopped, turning around wagging his finger in the air, “before I forget, Mr. Gilberry told me to give this to you.” Walking towards him he placed a ring with the letters of k and o engraved on the insignia, on his desk and promptly left.
Waiting 20 minutes for Mr. Hubert to walk down the hallway, he rushed down to Mr. Gilberry’s office, knocking on his door very slowly so as not to seem too excited. When he heard him say come in he tried his best not to burst through the door.
“Jayden what are you doing here?” Asked Mr. Gilberry not bothering to look up from his paper work, he looked no worse for wear, which surprised Jayden as he had looked quite bad last night, but then again he was an accountant.
“Mr. Hubert gave me this,” showing him the ring that was pinched between his fore finger and thumb, “I thought you said that there were too many incompetent and stupid people here?”
Mr. Gilberry looked up from his paperwork and looked him straight in the eye. “You are not as stupid as you seem to be and incompetence can be cured as long as you are willing to teach the student. I will see you at 5:30 when we can talk more about this.” “Sure.” Getting out of the chair he walked out the door but hesitated in the doorway before turning around to ask Mr. Gilberry one more question, “I just have one more question for you?”
“Why were you wearing women’s clothing?” Jayden asked a little afraid of the answer but still so curious.
Mr. Gilberry gave him a little smirk and replied. “Being an accountant and being a Knight of Order is not the only thing I do Mr. Blake.”
By Eden van Leeuwen from Australia