What dogs do best

Thaddeus grunted as the light came on, pulling his jacket back up his to his shoulders before he’d even taken it all the way off. He’d expected he would have time to sort the work he’d accomplished this week, finally sending the pile of folders off to be filed.

Instead, a new pile of folders waited in his office inbox.

His was an unusual existence, namely in that he did not exist outside his line of work. His office door was one of only two places one could find his name. The other was in a document entailing his family’s genealogy, sparing only one line: Thaddeus Birch, deceased.

He had a life of his own, of course; he enjoyed opera and a fine cup of tea, so long as it was brewed in a cast iron kettle. The flavor was unpalatable otherwise. He kept a kettle in his office as well as his home, which was a stately old place he shared with a much younger Keeper. Not out of necessity, of course, but the boy was a new addition and not yet used to their order’s rules and customs. Despite sharing lodgings, the two of them rarely crossed paths. The boy worked in a different office, and Thaddeus… Well. He rarely stopped working at all.

Scooping a folder from the top of the stack, he flipped it open and stood behind his desk. There was little reason to sit, since he’d be out the door again in a moment.

Every folder was the same, in a way. Someone had a problem, one they couldn’t resolve on their own. While it pained him to think of it in such simplistic terms, solving problems was–in essence–a Keeper’s job. The nature of those problems varied, of course, and not all of them warranted a Keeper’s attention. But those requests were screened, and the half-dozen new problems in his inbox had been approved for intervention. And judging from the folder in his hand, he’d have no time for tea tonight.

“Have someone prepare a car for me,” Thaddeus called as he took a slip of paper from the folder, tucking it into the pocket inside his suit jacket before putting the folder on his desk. “And fetch my hounds.”

Their order worked with simple efficiency, and Thaddeus smiled to himself when he reached the garage to find both his requests fulfilled, a valet standing beside the unremarkable black car, leashes in hand.

“Hello, pups,” Thaddeus said. Both blue shepherds stood, tails wagging. Most dogs disliked the undead, but any animal could be trained to overcome such shortcomings with the proper care. As far as he knew, among vampires, Thaddeus was the only one who kept such well-trained canines.

“Going for a jaunt, sir?” the valet asked as he opened a door and ushered the dogs into the back seat. The two hounds bounded into the car without hesitation, tongues lolling.

“Going back to work,” Thaddeus said. “The problem with being efficient is that there is always more work.”

The valet nodded. “Simple task?”

“Simple enough.” Thaddeus took the keys from the lad, pausing to note how young he was. Unlike most, Thaddeus had turned at a senior age, doomed to be gnarled and gray forever. Some nights, he felt it more than others. “A fellow in Saint Louis needs someone to disappear.”

“Ah,” the valet nodded again. He opened the car door and stepped back, glancing to the back seat. “And the dogs?”

Licking his fangs, Thaddeus gave him a toothy smile as he settled into the front seat. “My boy, making people disappear is what the dogs do best.”


This week’s prompt was “Committing a crime.”
The lovely Megan Cutler already tackled this one, and you can see her response here.

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