The price of doing business

“You will be returning the body, right?“ I ask. The man sitting across from me looks surprised by this request. 

“Whatever could you want with his body?” He asked. 

“I’m sure he has family somewhere and he had a few pseudo-friends in my organization and really, what do you need the body for?”

“What makes you assume that I still have it?”

“Because the moron only broke into your base last night and while you do move quickly, there’s no way you’ve had time to dispose of it given the weather conditions.”

“I am still not entirely sure I believe he was not acting under orders.”

“I promise you, he wasn’t. Even if he drastically misinterpreted them you have in front of you all of the communications he recieved in the past week. We have been over this.”

“Yes, yes. I am sorry for questioning again, its a force of habit.”

“Occupational hazard, I understand. There has been much cause for distrust between our factions for generations. It will take time before we have really turned our new leaf, but with these negotiations, we are taking a step in the right direction.”

“I agree, I am just wondering what his body would be worth to you. He did strike a blow against my organization and I cannot let this slide.”

“Of course, and he has already paid the price for his foolishness with his life. I promise to keep this facet of the agreement private, in order to help you preserve your reputation among your people.”

“He nearly destroyed your hard work…”

“Davis was impulsive and reckless and prone to bouts of irrational decision making, but he was one of mine and I have a reputation to uphold as well. He was also acting on what I assume to be good, if incredibly misguided intentions. I want to see him laid to rest properly. Then we can put all of this behind us and move forward in our partnership.”

He thinks for a moment, feigning like he is going to say no. I grab a pen and scratch out a few numbers, replacing them with something I think will make up the difference. It does. 

By the end of the day the agreement is signed, the peace has been declared, and we are one step closer to an alliance. Davis’ body is loaded into the back of my vehicle, as requested. I climb into the back with him. 

Once we are far enough away, I threw off the top of the barrel Davis was stuffed in. 

“I am so sorry boss…” 

“Save it, Davis. You owe me big time. Next time you pull something like that, you can find your own way out.”

Spirit of the Mountain

Hidden within a cavern within a sprawling mountain range, seated so high that it has never not been covered in snow, there is a temple. 

Within the temple is a set of secrets that the world is not yet ready to know. For generations, that secret has been kept safe by various families from around the world. 

Each family is chosen by a spirit that calls them to trek through the mountain, overcoming challenges to both prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead. It was also a test to prove to those who wait within the temple that these protectors are worthy of the task. 

It is not an easy thing, to uproot ones life to begin anew in response to a calling you do not understand. But to answer this calling was to find oneself steeped in a life they could not imagine. So many impossible things happen within and around the mountain peaks. 

Some say that the spirit was the first keeper of the temple, perhaps even the one who created it. If it has a voice, it has not used it for some time and the truth of where it came from only it knows. But the purpose it serves now is clear. 

Once the new family is settled in to their duty, the spirit leaves and begins the search again for whoever will take up the mantle next. It roams the earth, taking care to watch and study those it thinks might be worthy until it is ready to give them the call. 

Meanwhile, the previous family dedicates themselves to preserving the temple and uncovering those of its secrets that have been lost to the time and snow. They find pieces of the history of the place, unlock some of its secrets, and preserve what was left behind by those who came before. 

They continue on in this magical world until the return of the spirit. Then they pack up their belongings and leave, letting the next family take over. 

They take their memories with them, though try as they might they will never be able to find that place again. Unless the spirit returns to guide them home.