“Run, Eric. Run!!!”
I awoke with a start, panting and taking quick glances around my master sized bedroom. The voice I heard in my dream was clear and distinct, frightening the shit out of me. Cold sweat dripped down my back as I recollected the events from my dream. It was more of a nightmare that plagued me day and night, regardless of my physical state. It got considerably worse whenever I closed my eyes to sleep.
“Is everything alright, honey?” The slim blonde girl lying beside me asked.
I must have awakened her with my startled rise but I didn’t care.
“Get out!” I snapped.
She quickly scampered out of the bedroom, muttering curses as she did.
I buried my face in my palms. Everything I worked so hard to get would mean nothing if I lost my sanity over my best friend’s murder.
“Is everything alright, boss?”
I lifted my head at the sound of the voice. It was Dwayne, my assistant on a number of issues. He had walked in through the door the blonde girl left open. If I wasn’t expecting important updates on three cities, I would have sent him out too but business was more important than anything else.
“Yeah, I’m good. How are we doing on the storefront?” I asked.
“The shipment was successful in Florida and Michigan. Dollar bills are seated in the bank.” Dwayne replied.
“And DC?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.
“DC is pending. The boys ran into an unexpected issue with the feds. They’re lying low at the moment, will update you once the status changes.” Dwayne replied.
“Away from business, Boss. You look like you haven’t closed your eyes in days. Didn’t the blonde do a good job with putting you to sleep?” Dwayne continued.
I wanted to lie but I couldn’t. Dwayne was no idiot. Once he latched onto something, he pursued it until the end. It was the main reason I took him under my wing after my not so pleasant takeover of the underground drug ring.
“She didn’t. I need something better. Something… different. These girls do nothing to distract me. I need to be distracted from myself.”
I stopped talking at this point. I didn’t want to appear crazy. Dwayne hadn’t done anything to make me question his loyalty but that was the same way I was with my best friend, Rupee. If the way Rupee’s life ended was anything to go by, I knew not to expose certain secrets. We lived in a dangerous world and any sign of weakness was an opportunity for a takeover by a young blood looking to prove himself within the circle.
“Hmm.” Dwayne placed a finger on his chin for a few minutes.
“What?” I asked. “I know that look.”
“There’s this place I heard about in the underground. It’s for prime members only.” Dwayne replied.
He knew I didn’t like half info. If someone starts talking about something, I expect them to finish it. Dwayne was such a tease. He always pulled me in with his little snippets, making me ask for the rest.
“Okay… What do you want in exchange for this very valuable information?” I asked, sarcastically.
“My own prime membership.” Dwayne replied.
I looked at him again, but with heightened curiosity this time. Whatever this place was, it had to be good for Dwayne to ask for it in exchange for his info.
“Deal. Make sure it’s good.” I replied.
“This place I’m referring to is hidden in the woods. I hear it’s a harbor for anything and everything pleasurable. Whatever your desires are will be fulfilled, and you don’t even need to ask. Somehow, they know what you want and they give it to you exactly how you want it.” Dwayne replied.
I laughed. It was true I looked like a mess. But was it that bad? Did Dwayne have to lie and patronize me?
“Come on. There’s no way they’ll know what I want.” I replied.
“I hear they’re legit, boss.”
“Have you checked them out?” I asked, still skeptical.
“That’s the thing, boss. I can’t! It’s members only.
“So how do new members sign up if no one can check them out?”
Dwayne looked at me and smiled.
“You just need to wish it and a scout will approach you.”
I raised my eyebrow at Dwayne. Here I was thinking I was the one losing my sanity. Dwayne clearly lost his centuries ago.
“Um… how many places have you wished to go and a scout approached you?” I asked.
“None, but that’s the way this place works.” Dwayne replied.
“Do you know how insane you sound?” I couldn’t help asking.
“Do you want to bet on it?” He asked.
Now, that was one thing I couldn’t resist. I loved to bet. It was synonymous with the underworld. I bet thousands of dollars on things with just my gut feeling to go on. There was no way I could turn something like this down. It was a sure winner for me.
“How about we actually do that? Just to humor you, whoever loses will pay for the winner’s prime membership at this place you speak of.”
“Deal.” Dwayne was so eager to accept.
“How can he be so sure he’ll win when he’s never seen this place?” I thought.
I knew people bet and lost all the time. Dwayne was probably just being foolhardy. I decided to let him have his day.
“Think about it and wish you were there.” Dwayne mouthed, making a funny face.
I laughed as I watched him walk out of my bedroom. Even if I wanted to think about this place, I didn’t have a name to go on.
“At least he distracted me from Rupee.” I thought, getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom.
I was done trying to get the rest that was never going to come. I had a business to run. It was the reason I did it all in the first place.