Cat’s mother had described her completely different from what Marcus recalled. The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to figure out which one of them was correct. The best way to figure out what makes a person tick is to get a look at what they were like behind closed doors. He owed part of his success as a bounty hunter to the ability to put himself in his target’s shoes. Being able to assume the mindset of the target enabled Marcus to anticipate their movements.
He could count on one hand, the number of times the two of them had a conversation. Nevertheless, those encounters had left a strong impression of her as quiet, soft-spoken and very down to earth. Chester had not given him any reason to revise that opinion. So he was thrown for a loop, when Aria painted her own daughter as devious and ruthless. As Marcus turned it over in his mind, he realized Chester had never said much of anything about his sister.
Unable to sleep that night and wanting to see for himself which version of Cat was correct, Marcus used the keys Chester had given him to let himself into her apartment. He stepped across the threshold. A sudden prickling sensation alerted Marcus to the fact that he had just walked through a magically charged energetic force field. More than likely, he had inadvertently activated a protection spell. Marcus stood stock still and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, resisting the urge to turn on the lights.
Moonlight streamed in through the slats of partially open blinds on the living room windows. His gaze travelled around the room, looking for traps, and settled on the room sized oriental rug. He detected a slight luminescence in the intricate vine-like design that could not be explained by the window’s dim illumination. Marcus was making a mental note to avoid stepping on the carpets, when he heard a noise.
He remained silent and motionless for several seconds. Another small sound reached his ears. Marcus quickly reached into his jacket and drew out his revolver. He quietly made his way around the rug to flatten himself against a blank wall and peering around it into the hallway.
A small hairy man was ensnared by the glowing chain print of the carpet which had lifted and attached itself to his ankles. Frantic efforts to free himself resulted only in the shackles tightening. He looked up anxiously and heaved a sigh of relief, when he saw Marcus.
“Hey man get me out of this.”
“You got yourself in, now get yourself out.”
“C’mon man, help a brother out.”
“What’s in it for me?”
“Whatever you want. I got plenty of money.”
“I don’t need money.”
“Well, what do you want. There’s gotta be something you need.”
“As a matter of fact, I do need some information.”
“Alright man, I’ll tell ya anything you wanna know. Just get me outta here first.”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“I give you my word. Now, come on man!”
Marcus knelt down and counteracted the binding spell. The chains fell off of the man’s ankle and resumed their place in the weave of the carpet. The furry little man smirked and instantly transformed into a six foot tall bear-like creature.
Momentarily immobilized by shock, Marcus was slow to respond when the big furry beast turned and charged at him. One crushing swat from the creature’s massive paw and Marcus was too dazed to fight back. The beast quickly overpowered and battered him to the floor. He awoke the next morning with a splitting headache and very little recollection of his encounter with the beast. Had he just passed out and dreamed the incident?
Marcus sat up slowly and gradually became aware that he was clutching something in his right hand. Looking down, he saw that it was a medic alert bracelet. Marcus turned it over and read the owner’s name, “Travis Singleton, I’m coming for a rematch! You owe me information and I intend to collect, after I kick your ass!”