He leaned back, his leather chair creaking as he rested his hands on the desk before him.
Larry McGregor cowered in his seat, back hunched and shoulders jutting out as he stared at the room. There was no light on in the office, and dark shadows danced over Larry’s face.
“Please, just give me another chance. Another chance,” Larry begged, words quick and spluttering like blows from a whip.
The other man didn’t say a word. He remained there, still and silent, as he watched in the half gloom. His eyes were practically luminescent, the deep blue pools achieving a color rarely seen. “You had your chance,” he said, voice a rumble like the ocean during a storm.
“Please, just one more chance. Give me just one more chance!” Larry pushed up from his chair, got down on one knee in a supplicating position, and brought his hands up as if praying to God. And in many ways he was – except this god wouldn’t listen.
The man behind the desk rose slowly, clutching a hand onto the polished mahogany wood and pushing up. The chair clattered over behind him as he took one strong step towards Larry.
Along the side of the room, a large plate-glass window offered an unrivaled view of the city beyond. At 3 o’clock in the morning, with its lights aglow under the dappled starlight from above, it looked like a painting, each stroke carefully selected by a master. The view, however, couldn’t match the godlike man as he made his slow, deliberate way across the room. He was wearing a fine, pressed suit made of the most expensive Italian wool. It couldn’t hide his build. With broad shoulders, a tall frame, and an angular jaw, he looked like a carving from old. His stature was nothing compared to his eyes. Set in a strong face, outlined by a halo of golden hair and a thick flax-colored beard, he almost didn’t look real.
But real he was.
His muscles and joints creaked as he leaned down and locked a hand over the back of Larry’s neck.
“No, please, stop. I’ll do anything, absolutely anything, if I’m given one more chance,” Larry begged.
Larry’s face slackened with desperation, for even though he was terrified, he was still frozen by the look playing in those impossibly deep blue eyes.
“Will you really do anything?” the other man repeated, voice once more like an angry ocean being swept around by a violent storm.
“Yes. Yes. I’ll do anything. Just one more chance.”
“Two weeks ago, you sold this item.” The man reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He unlocked it with a slow move of his thumb. The screen was already waiting on a picture, a picture of a simple box. Ancient, made of old, chipped, dark-brown wood, it had a single rune carved over the top by a hasty hand. It was almost as if the craftsmen had been forced to finish the box at the point of a sword.
Larry gasped, his shuddering breath shoving hard into his torso as he almost crumpled forward. The other man wouldn’t let him.
“Two weeks ago,” the man repeated slowly, each word like a drumbeat, “you stole this item from my office. I want it back. You have two days. If you fail—” He didn’t finish. Instead, he turned and walked back to his desk. Picking up his chair in a smooth move, he sat. Just as he did, the door behind Larry opened with a creak.
“That… that box – it will be impossible to get back—” Larry began.
The other man tilted his head and stared with the power of 10,000 suns. “Then it will be impossible for you to live. For, Larry McGregor, unless you bring that to me in two days, you will die.”
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