Sample – The Millionaire’s Gambit: A Toy Chest Tale

TC4

 

“My name is Ellington Rawls. As you can see, I am a very old man.”

Magda moved closer, green eyes burning. “How do you know me, and how do you know about Beth?”

“My time, it has been assured me, is growing short. I am not one to allow nature to have its sway with me. I have explored many dark alleys and found a world most never know. Forgive me,” he said, moving to the counter, then behind it, resting on the stool there. “My body aches, Magda, and it is uselessly weak.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“I have learned that those who traffic in the supernatural are both very secretive, and terrible gossips. As I began my search for someone who may help me, your name came up time and again.

Your work with the poor boy, er, girl named Beth was the topic of many whispered rumors.” He looked almost pleased by his revelation that Beth’s plight was well known. “I also know about The Mother.”

If his knowledge of Beth’s existence had been surprising, the fact that he knew something about The Mother positively floored Magda, and she found her mouth stuck open, unable to form words.

“Before you ask, here’s what I propose. I would like you to do for me what you did for your schoolgirl friend. The exact same. In return, I will provide you with a way to rid yourself of The Mother forever.”

“What do you know about The Mother?” Magda found that her tone was as dark as her thoughts. She shouldn’t use her power so recklessly, but if it afforded her the opportunity to be rid of this thing that was haunting her…

“I know that it is quite old, and has been trying to find entrance to our world for some time. You, Magda, are its way in. Your power is undeniable, and it is drawn to it like the proverbial moth to a flame. What my friends assure me they can do is send The Mother down the line, to some dimension not quite so close to ours. You and I would both be quite dead by the time it found its way back.”

“So, we’re just leaving someone else to deal with it?”

“In several hundred years or so, yes. I think the offer is a good one. You do what we already know you are capable of doing, I get a longer life ahead of me, and you no longer have to worry about The Mother.”

“And if I say no?”

“Then I don’t help you and, eventually, The Mother will find you at your weakest. It will possess and consume you, and heaven help us all on that day.”

Magda’s shoulders sagged under the weight of Rawls’ words. He was right, it was a small price to pay for a life of relative peace.

“Even if I wanted to do this,” Magda said, pacing before the counter, “what happened with Beth isn’t just cosmetic. The way magic works, if you didn’t already know, is that the world bends to shape itself around the changes. You wouldn’t be you anymore. You would have no way to use your money or influence. You’d be some young kid with no idea of the life you’ve lived.”

“Not just a kid,” Rawls grinned, “A lovely young woman. I have seen the power such a woman can wield, and imagine if there was a vast store of wealth and influence behind such a lovely face. And I have taken precautions against my memory being erased completely. As I said, I have been searching in these circles for some time. As I see it, there is no risk for either of us, only mutual benefit.”

“I can try,” Magda said with a sigh.

“Excellent!” Rawls slipped from the stool to the floor, steadying himself on his expensive-looking cane. “I have made all the preparations. You only need to come to your door at seven p.m. My driver will be waiting for you.”

Rawls said no more, hobbling out of The Toy Chest on his frail legs, leaving Magda to stare after him.

 

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