A Trumpet Sounds: Part Three

Submitted by C B Wright on
Haruspex Analytics

The walls and floor of the long rectangular room are granite. The ceiling is covered in baroque plaster tiles. It is fancy, but empty: no furniture, nothing hanging from the walls. The only door leading into the room is plain, almost shabby. It’s a simple, solid wood door, painted a neutral gray color that is slightly lighter than the granite.

Few Haruspex Analytics employees know this room exists. Fewer still have been inside.

Lights embedded between the baroque tiles flicker to life, filling the room with soft light. The plain gray door opens, and a man steps into the room. He’s tall, older but still vigorous, with sharp blue eyes and silver hair that falls to his shoulders. He’s expensively dressed, in a dark gray three-piece suit and a matching silk tie. In his hand is a long plastic tube, the kind used to carry rolled-up posters, blueprints, or pieces of art.

The Chairman walks to the center of the room, stops, kneels. He opens one end of the tube and pulls out a rolled-up piece of paper. He sets the tube aside, and spreads the paper out on the floor. It’s a large map of the Atlantic Ocean.

A Trumpet Sounds: Part Two

Submitted by C B Wright on
Haruspex Analytics Situation Room

“Article Thirteen.”

Phyllis Tanner stands in front of Jason, arms folded, her face completely, utterly blank. Simon Yin sits in front of his laptop set up at the long table running down the middle of the Situation Room. Michelle Lawrence stands, fidgeting nervously by the door. Neither of them look at Jason or Phyllis. Simon pretends to be working, his eyes locked on his laptop screen without actually seeing anything. Michelle plays with the drawstring on her sweatshirt, pulling first one end and then the other down as far as it will go before the other end disappears entirely.

Jason sighs, and forces himself to meet her gaze. She looks uncomfortably like the other board members when they have their game faces on—no trace of emotion, not a single tell to be seen. Her eyes are hard and calculating as she scrutinizes him in return.

“I’m sorry, Phyllis. I don’t know the specifics. But an entire fifth of the company is gone, and Billy was caught up in it.”

A Trumpet Sounds: Part One

Submitted by C B Wright on
Haruspex Analytics Boardroom

The Haruspex Analytics boardroom is emptier than it was the day before. The men and women sitting in it don’t know why—not precisely—but they are painfully aware of the rumors.

Each man and woman waiting patiently for the Chairman to arrive has received an unending stream of worried calls from their own underlings about an unusual level of absenteeism all over the building. No part of the employee population has been untouched: every department was reporting that at least one employee, often more than one, had not arrived that morning. What’s more, attempts to contact those employees had failed.

A company specializing in handling sensitive information can’t afford to overlook such things—as such, this emergency meeting had been called, at which point it was discovered that the absenteeism extended even to members of the board. It didn’t take long to determine that roughly 20% of the Haruspex population is missing.

A Price Collected: Part Four

Submitted by C B Wright on
Staten Island, NYC

Billy Davison wakes up reluctantly.

His bedroom ceiling slowly comes into focus as his brain tries to engage. He’s always suffered from grogginess when waking up—something Phyllis never gets tired of teasing him about—and this time is no different. The problem is compounded by how long and hard he and the rest of his team have been pushing themselves. This was supposed to have been his first full night of sleep in days, and now he’s awake.

Why is he awake?