Phoenix and Shadow

I stopped and walked back a bit, prompting him with my hand to go on. Behind him, Meena gave me the thumbs-up as if it had all been part of the plan to do that and make him talk. I shrugged lightly. It wouldn’t hurt to contribute for once.

“First, I’ll have to return these babies,” he smiled, patting his pocket. Meena rolled her eyes but hefted herself out of the sinking sofa cushion, and Willow followed suit. He walked over to the other doors at a normal pace as opposed to speed-of-light-vampire-pace. He wasn’t showing off today, huh?

He reached for the left handle, and before his hand covered it I saw that there was a word carved into it. His name, in careful script. The right handle bored the word Shadow. Phoenix and Shadow.

What was this place?

He opened the door and led us inside, waiting until we were all through and past him before closing it behind us. We were in an office-type area, by the looks of things; half-wooden-panel dividers with Plexiglas for the top halves split sections into more private areas. There was a clear aisle down the centre to another single door, metal and bordered with rivets. It looked like it belonged deep underground in a bank vault, not on the top floor of a residential apartment building. I could see clearly that none of the areas were occupied - in each was an empty desk. The styles varied from types of wood to metal and glass, and in the farthest corners two rooms had tinted Plexiglas and what looked like marble desks. For the richer clientele, of course.

Phoenix led us straight down the middle to the vault door. There was a keypad on it, very high-class technological human style. It was thumbprint recognition, from the way Phoenix pressed his thumb to the small blue screen before typing in the access code. It bleeped quietly and Phoenix pushed on it, gesturing for us to follow as it swung open slowly. Passing through it, I noted with surprise that it was about half a metre thick. What could need so much protection?

It was dark in here; all I could see was a section of whitewashed wall in the light from the other room through the door. Phoenix, moving in the dark, must have hit a switch, because suddenly I was blinded by a blazing white artificial light.

“Ouch,” I grumbled, shading my eyes with a hand as they slowly adjusted. Phoenix grinned again. Meena and Willow were squinting in the brightness.

“You get used to it after a while,” he said. I looked around at the room we were now in; it was like a colder version of the Archive library, made up of metal shelving units and racks, except all this one seemed to catalogue was weapons. Every kind. I took in the variety of blades, fire-arms and medieval weapons - crossbows, longbows, staffs, clubs, pikes. It was amazing, chilling and very terrifying. I could even spot hand grenades, canisters of what presumably was some kind of toxic gas, tangled wire-coated boxes of black plastic and metal which looked like bombs. Also, even more chillingly, there was a white booth in one corner with a yellow and black radioactive sign on it. I so did not want to know what was cooking in there.

The End

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