Morna Barrier Travel Services
Ms. Barrier provides travel services
The Experienced and Seasoned Explorer and Adventurer
By Appointment Only
There was no phone number on the card on the back was a handwritten address to a building hiding in the middle of the Warehouse District in Seattle. The building was old and the windows were barred. If you asked the people who caught the bus at the stop not even a dozen steps from the front door, they’d say they were sure it was empty.
There was always a light shining from a brass lamp on in the corner window where Ms. Barrier planned trips for many clients.
Morna didn’t advertise on the internet or on Social Media. That didn’t hurt Miss Barrier’s business though, the type of person looking to travel to the places Morna always seemed to find her. Had they not been able to do that, they wouldn’t have been the type of person who would be going to the places Morna sent them too.
One of those people who found their way to Morna’s office just before April was Leandro Tullio.
Leandro pushed Morna’s door open just before nightfall.
When a fine mist of dust drifted down from the ornate ledge above the door, he stepped back out and pulled the card from his front pocket and checked the address printed on a small steel plate to his left.
He put the card back into his pocket and went through the door, not noticing that the card had fallen out of his pocket.
It drifted for a moment in midair and then it was caught up in a draft and it sailed quietly to the curb where it joined dozens of others just like it in various degrees of decay- all of them with them waiting to be finished off by the elements with address side up.
Morna’s office was painted pale green and the furnishings were decorated and ornately carved with lions and sphinxes and birds- all posed in watchful positions.
There were no travel posters on the walls, no brochures with smiling couples in bikinis and swimming trunks on the end tables, but there were books and had you looked, you’d have seen none of them were in English.
Morna was standing by the window.” Mr. Tullio. Thank you for stopping by.”
Leandro smiled a wide toothy smile- ” My friends call me Lenny. You can call me Leandro.”
Morna smiled and extended her hand- ” Leandro.”
” I’m just kidding there Ms. Morna. Call me Lenny. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. Cal said I should just stop on by. He said he was sure you’d be in. Good thing too. “
Morna showed Leandro- Lenny to his friends- a seat in front of her desk and she sat down. ” I’m going to guess you had a free week spring up? “
” More like drop on my head. I was supposed to go on a hunting trip but the trip was scuttled because the Guides were buste- I mean they got called away on a family emergency. You know how it is.”
Morna pulled a desk drawer open and pulled her laptop out of it. ” I hate individuals who don’t keep their word. They should have made other plans for you. I certainly would have. Not that I have ever had a client’s adventure spoiled by a family emergency.”
” I sort of had my heart set on a little big game hunting, but I’m sort of over it right now, you know? I was ready to take down and elephant or maybe a lion. Probably would have gone for both. I was in the mood, you know?”
Morna tapped a manicured nail against her eye tooth.
” So wherever I go, I don’t want it to be a resort. I want it to be-“
Morna stopped tapping. ” Dangerous? Forbidden. Strictly. Off. Limits.”
” Right. You got me Miss Morna.”
” You know Leandro I think I do.”
Morna opened her laptop and started to tap on the keyboard. She looked up at Lenny and winked. ” I’ve got it, here.”
” It’s a cave.”
” Mr. Tullio. This isn’t just a cave. It’s the entrance to one of the most important archeological discoveries of our lifetime. Priceless artifacts,the rarest of creatures waiting to be won, all of it waiting for an intrepid explorer to brave the risks and claim the prizes there for his own.”
” You’d think the Government or Military -”
” I can assure you, they’d rather pump this cave’s entrance full of concrete and call it a day. I won’t sugar coat it. It’s extremely dangerous. The question is. Are you willing to risk it where this entrance will take you?”
” Well. I mean, if I -”
” Discover ” Morna said.
” My discoveries are mine to keep. ”
Morna looked slightly offended. ” Of course they are. That’s the entire point of the service I provide. But you realize of course when I see there are all manner of creatures waiting to be tracked and won, I mean all creatures.”
Leandro leaned back and Morna leaned forward, with disgust fighting for a place on her face with amusement. She put her hand on the top of her laptop and was about to shut it when Leandro ” my friends call me Lenny” put his hand on top of her’s.
She stopped smiling and Lenny sat up straight. ” I’m in. I’m that seasoned Adventurer you cater to Ms. Greer. I’ve taken down the biggest game and the rarest game you have ever laid eyes on. My women wear jewels buried with god damned royalty from places that haven’t existed for thousands of years. I have art hanging in my bathroom that those big deal galleries would sell me there Mothers for. So you sign me up Miss.”
Leandro reached into his jacket and pulled out his wallet. He pulled a credit card and slid it across the desk.
Morna looked at it. She hit a key on her still opened lap top and a printer started to work behind her. She winked and reached for the paperwork and set it in a neat stack in front of Leandro.
” Your itinerary.” she slid the top pages to one side.
” And this must be the bill-” Leandro said, pretending not to look at it.
There were no numbers on the sheet of paper. Just a line for him to sign.
” And what are the fees for this adventure?” he asked.
Morna handed him a pen. ” You, Mr. Tullio are going to set the price. What would you give me to send you on an adventure to a place where are accountable to nothing, to nobody but your own desires. What will you give me?”
Leandro took the pen and signed. Then he said, ” You drive a Hell of a deal Morna.”
And she said, ” I sure as Hell do Lenny.”
Writers Write January Prompt: At The Bar