Children look for monsters in odd places. Under the bed, in their closet, outside their window. Really, monsters are all around us, but they take the form of people. People with money and ambition. However, every once in a while, you find a monster that doesn't desire to hide his true nature.
Just last year a friend of mine found one of these monsters, a master of mercantile, who flew him to the moon only to drive him under. Simon Winters was a good friend of mine, and I was planning to blow the lid off the man who ruined him.
Farside Pub. That's where he said they'd met before Simon disappeared. It looked like a pretty average place for a middle-of-nowhere roadside bar, but I've heard rumors of the place having some weird patrons. Demi-humans, undead, demons, the list goes on. I didn't believe a bit of it, though.
"Hey there, what can I get goin' for ya?" The barkeep asked as I walked in. He had a thick southern accent, as I expected, and was cleaning a glass. The pub was pretty empty, only with a few off-looking characters here and there. Some dudes dressed up as animals, a younger chick in 1960's provocative clothing, and some skinny dude dressed up as Dracula arguing with the otherwise nondescript security guard.
"A glass of Scotch," I ordered, figuring it'd be the most appropriate thing here that wouldn't get me too drunk, "-and information on a guy."
"Oh yeah? What's his name?" He asked, pouring a small glass for me.
"Jacollo Armani. I've been told he's a regular here." I answer. This made him stop and look at me, as if analyzing my expression. I had a straight face, and tried to keep anything from showing through.
"...Ol' Jack? A city slicker like you should probably stay away from him. Good customer for who he is, but not exactly the business man he claims to be. Anyways, he's a regular here sure enough but I hadn't seen him in a while." He answered, handing me my drink. "Though he's like the Devil in that merely speaking his name can make him appear."
"That's hardly a fair comparison." A faint Yankee accent spoke from behind me. The accent itself was almost hard to hear with the sophisticated tone in front of it. An unsettling man sat down next to me. Though he seemed human at first glance, his features were like that of either a mangled, Tolken-esque elf or an exceptionally well groomed goblin. Further more, much of his color palette seemed to have an obsession with purple. Purple business suit, purple tie, purple hair, even his eyes had a violet glow to them.
"See, what'd I tell ya? Anyways, came here to order a real man's drink for once?" He asked. I couldn't tell if he was genuinely annoyed or just making fun of this odd business man, but regardless the half-goblin laughed it off.
"No, no, I'll just have a Redbull this time." He answered, turning to me. "Excuse us, I heard you were looking for me. Are you an investor, or an entrepreneur?" Jacollo asked. I knew this had to be him, as he matched the description Simon had given me.
"I'm here to offer something for that new smartphone that your company came out with a while back." I answer, trying to hide my true intentions.
"Ah! Mr. Winter's invention! Of course, but why not speak to him personally?" He asked, his voice almost mocking.
"I think you know why." I reply. I must have been visibly angered by this, as he grew a more sinister smile.
"My boy, you must be Mr. Rodgers. Winter's friend, right?" He asked, his shadow flickering as if he had busted into laughter.
"How did you-"
"I own the computers he sent emails from. I know of your investigations on his disappearance, and seek answers yes?" He asked, opening the Redbull with his bony fingers and handing it to me. "Please take a drink, caffeine is an anti-psychotic you know."
Just so everyone's on the same page, scotch and Redbull is a weird combination of flavors. Not bad, just weird.
"Yes, I'm here to ask about Simon Winters. As well as the finer details of your agreement with him." I answer, with him gaining a more serious look. Though the way his teeth clenched together in their almost triangular points it seemed hard for him to fully close his mouth, but when he did it was as if his mouth disappeared entirely.
"Well, I can't disclose everything, company policy and all that, but I can tell you all I'm allowed." He answered, stroking his chin. "Mr. Winters couldn't pay back what he owed, you see, so we had to recollect in another manner. The details of which I... would rather not speak of, only that Mr. Winters is in safe hands for the time being."
"Then why has he vanished-" Another interruption.
"Because we can't have him running off with company funds or property, now can we? Mr. Rodgers you must understand that Simon is alright, but he must remain isolated until we can reclaim our investment." He explained, his voice much calmer than merely five minutes ago.
"...if I worked with or for him, could I see him?" I ask after taking another drink of my scotch.
"That... would be tricky, but I suppose you could." He answered, his grin growing again. The barkeep glanced me a worried expression, but didn't speak his mind. "Come, I'll take you to see him." He offered, getting up.
We walked together out into the parking lot, but as I stepped out I felt this odd sinking feeling. Not like the one people get in their chest when something bad happens, but like my whole body is sinking into the floor.
"You two get to talk and work as much as you like now Mr. Rodgers." He assured me as we hopped into the car. And then everything seemed much more flat...