The Mansion in The Mountains Part Five, By Stella Brians

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The Mansion in The Mountains Part Five

Leon

His employers came in that day looking haggard and sweaty, their minds elsewhere and their eyes downcast. It was difficult to not notice blood underneath the wizard’s fingernails, or the way his cold blue eyes surveyed Leon like a steak.
“How have sales been, are you making money or strumming your guitar?” His blasting tone took Leon completely off guard. The wizard and his associates, or at least that was how Leon always thought of them, ranged from soft spoken to silent speaking only in whispers.
“Sales are fine, sir. Everything is ship shape.”
“Keep it that way, granola boy. Here’s your week’s pay.” A check appeared from somewhere in his robe, and he carelessly tossed it on the counter before Leon’s face.
Beyond the wizard, through the windows he read the lips of his associates sitting in the long black cadillac.

Mansion in the mountains was all he could make out before the wizard blocked his view.
“Pay attention,” he shouted, the book of sales in his hand. “If you can’t make us more sales, you’re gone Leon. Just like that. No one will find you.”
He threw the book at him and with a sweep of his robes, left the health food store and sidled into the passenger seat of the car.
“Mansion in the mountains.” Leon said out loud to himself, trying to find something in the very words. That could mean anything, northern California had many mansions in the hills for the very rich and eccentric. He watched which way the car went, and scrawled the license plate down on a pad of paper he used to orders from customers on the phone. Leon wanted to know who that car was registered to, and where they lived. He wanted to follow them, and prove to maybe the police, to anyone really that there was something dangerously strange about his employers.
Starting with the fact that there was never an address on his checks, just the generic name of where he worked, Sunflower Health Food. He didn’t know how he would get the license number checked, who would believe some granola boy foreigner? The San Francisco police department was so full of junkies, prostitutes and hippie protesters, Leon doubted they would have time for him but he owed it to himself to try.
He tried to keep his spirits up as he left that night, but he felt threatened by his maniac employer and missed Eloise considerably. While he drove home, her face continually came to mind while she said that words that had torn them apart. Her soft features had been so saddened, her beautiful auburn brown hair a mess, eyes crying and bags packed.
“I am not worth it, Leon. You..and this place…,” she looked up at him then. “Everything is so beautiful, including you…and I am not deserving of any of it. I let Lyle slip through my fingers, and I’m pretty sure he’s dead. I love you, but I can’t live the guilt any longer of living a good life while he’s under the ground. I think I’m going to San Fransisco somewhere.”
“Come back to me, stop condemning yourself.” He whispered as he turned down the street that was his, for now. As he climbed up the poorly lit stairs towards his motel room, the sign advertising his home flickered over his shoulder.
He smelled the stale cigarettes of the man who lived next to him, heard the prostitute moaning underneath him, and wished he could fall into the crack of the concrete beneath him.
Once he was in bed, he spoke to her in the dark staring up at the ceiling, imagining he was holding her face.
“I’m still trying to find you, but I’m going to work harder, do a better job. I’ve looked all over, and I’m going to look in places I haven’t. I’m going to the police tomorrow with the license number too. Have you ever heard of a mansion in the mountains, lovely one?”
His letter to her that night was willowy and sad, not written with the usual hopefulness and zest.

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