It was a tempting offer. Delia studied the contract again. It was a simple trade for a limited time. There was just something not quite right about. She couldn’t put her finger on it exactly, not then anyway. Her head was starting to hurt. She needed something to eat.
She mulled over the terms of the trade, while slowly savoring her beef stew. She stopped to twirl a chunk of potato while trying to imagine what it would be like to make the trade. It was an adventure to be sure, but there was some nagging doubt at the back of her mind.
She needed to find someone who had made the trade; to find out what it was like. Delia was not about to enter blindly into this. They were very secretive about the deal and not likely to hook her up with anyone who could answer her questions.
It was time to pull out the big guns.
Delia walked into the room and smiled sweetly at the lawyer. He waved her to a seat and pushed the contract back at her. “She’ll sign,” he thought. “They always do.”
Delia spoke softly, but firmly. “I have a few questions.”
The lawyer stared blankly at her, like the proverbial deer. He cleared his throat and adjusted himself in his chair. Delia smiled at his obvious stalling and turned to the second page of the contract. “Is the length of time of the trade negotiable?”
“I don’t know,” he leaned forward, “no one has ever asked for a change in any part of the contract.”
Delia smiled. “What if I need more time? Would I have to arrange another trade?”
“Pardon me?” Delia stifled a laugh at the surprise on his face. She had found out more than she expected.
She considered leaving then, but decided to probe further. “You’re not from around here, are you?” The question was a cliché, but the sudden flash of terror in his eyes followed by his stammered response was all the encouragement she needed to dig deeper.
“What I mean,” she stood up and leaned across the desk, “is that you aren’t Mr. David Warren. So, who are you?”
“I…I…I don’t know what you are talking about,” he stood up to meet her gaze.
“You aren’t the first species to discover this little rock. And I really object to what you are doing here, but if you are bound and determined to enter the food chain, far be it from me to stop you.”
A wave of terror emanated from Mr. Warren’s “guest” as the words “food chain” slipped out of her lips. It had never occurred to them that they may have strayed into someone’s feeding ground.
Delia decided that it was a good time to leave, before he recovered from her assault. She walked out the office door and kept going until she had reached the elevator. Sensing a threat to her freedom, she took the stairs at a fair clip, stopping to catch her breath in the street level stairwell.
Delia started to sort through the images she had pulled from the lawyer’s mind. There was something about them and the floor below that bothered her. She had to find the answers to her new questions.