As Creighton had instructed, Marley found the office of George Rendell in the building across the street from the hotel. Alas, he found no indication of Rendell's presence. He thought he'd heard sounds from the office when he'd first arrived, but a knock on his door went unanswered, nor was there any response to his spoken words. He knocked one more time. "Mister Rendell, are you in there, sir?"
"Is Rendell-sahib not inside?"
Marley turned to face the young Indian man who'd approached while he'd been so preoccupied.
"I've knocked by there's no answer."
"I will let you inside, sahib, and you can wait for his return." The young man produced a key and unlocked the door. When he opened the door and they walked inside, any thought of waiting for Rendell's return promptly disappeared.
Rendell was dead! His body lay on the floor, behind his desk. The knife embedded in his chest, and the blood stains around him, told them he'd been murdered. Marley wanted to shout, to panic, to flee. He wasn't used to finding dead bodies. He certainly wasn't used to finding murdered bodies. He especially wasn't used to finding murdered bodies of men he was supposed to meet in order to learn where his crazy future father-in-law had wandered off to. He staggered for a moment, unsteady on his feet, unsure what do, then forced himself to calm down and straighten up.
He looked around the office, briefly, but there was little to see. Bookcases and filing cabinets predominated, but there were a few desks and chairs. It was a fairly normal looking office, really - or had been. Rendell's desk was a complete shambles, as well, papers strewn all about, some on the floor - some even now soaked in blood, from where they'd fallen in the blood.
Behind them, from in the hall, a man screamed. This started the pandemonium that engulfed much of the rest of his day.
copyright (c) The Other Sean