Harold’s Stolen Book

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This post was originally published through Patreon on April 23, 2019

The night was cold and Harold curled into his jacket, mist rising from his lips like dragon’s breath. Where was Michelle? She was supposed to have met him an hour ago, before the sun set and the world grew dark. What if… No, he wouldn’t think about that. She was late, that was all.

A twig snapped, and Harold spun. Just a rabbit or a squirrel, he thought. Nothing to worry about. Then someone touched his shoulder. Harold spun again.

“Jesus, Michelle. Don’t sneak up on me like that.”

“Sorry,” she said, the street lights above setting fire to her face. “I would have said something, but I wasn’t sure if it was you. I didn’t know if you were— Never mind. You have the book?”

Harold reached into his jacket and produced a thin, leather-bound volume.

“Right here.”

The two of them stared at it in silence.

“It’s so…ordinary,” said Michelle.

“Looks can be deceiving.”

“Are you sure it’s the right one?”

Harold rolled his eyes. “No, I just broke into a dark wizard’s apartment on a hunch and bagged the first book I could find. Of course it’s the right one.”

“And you’re sure you weren’t followed?”

“I don’t think so. Not unless he was invisible, and no amount of magic can accomplish that, whatever J.K. Rowling might have to say about it.”

Michelle peeked over her shoulder, then nodded.

“Good. You did well. Can I hold it?”

He peered at her a moment, uncertain. He’d gone through hell to retrieve this book and he wasn’t sure he should let it go so easily. Then again, the two of them were more than partners. They were best friends. They’d grown up on the same street, attended the same schools. She’d even been his first kiss. If there was anyone in the world he trusted, it was her. And so, after a dusty, bone-weary sigh, he handed it over.

Michelle cradled the book in her arms as if it were a newborn child. She held it to her breast, closed her eyes, pulled her head back, and took a long, deep breath.

When she opened her eyes, Harold leaped back. Her pupils had expanded until the whites were black as marbles, shining in a face that was too gaunt, too pale to have ever been human. How could he not have seen her for what she was?

“You— You’re not— Where’s Michelle?”

“In the place where all humans who meddle in the business of others go. In a moment, you’ll join her.”

The creature flashed Harold a wicked grin, then summoned fire and hurled it in his direction.

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4 thoughts on “Harold’s Stolen Book”

  1. You are driving me crazy. Your shorts keep getting better and better. They all leave me wanting so much more! Please say that you will start writing books to finish your stories. The world needs to enjoy your talented story telling but I am dying for you to just finish one of your stories to publish. You will be Always in the top 10 list. Please just get started while we are still alive! You are amazing!!

    1. Thank you, Cindy! That means a lot to me 🙂 I do finish some, but it’s a lot of work to complete every idea I come up with. I do have a book coming out soon that concludes one of my shorts (you’ll be hearing more about it soon.) I also have a Patreon tier that will let you decide which of my stories I turn into a longer work (you can find out more about that here: https://patreon.com/jeffcoleman)

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