51 Stories from the Fantastic Realm: Bite sized stories weekly from Fantasy-Land. Updates Fridays.

24.24

The Man

Mara faced Rumpelstiltskin head on. Her hands went to her hips. "Alright, what is it you want this time?"

He laughed at her. "You ought to be more grateful, considering all the help I've been. If I had not helped you, you would still be rotting away in Edward's prison cell."

"If you hadn't entered my life, Mother's health would not be in such disarray either."

The little man put up his hands, smiling, defeated. "So, we are even then, Mara Richmond."

"Only we're not. You want me to settle my debt."

He sobered. "That I do. And you must."

She tilted her head. "So, what do you want me to do?"

"I need you, and your mother, to portal hop for me."

"Portal . . . what? Why?"

"I need you to retrieve someone for me."

"Someone . . .? This isn't a kidnapping is it?"

He laughed. "No. It is a young friend. She would get lost alone. So, she must have an escort."

"And my mother and I are perfect candidates because we know the world so well." Mara's voice was dry.

He smirked at her. "Exactly," his tone matching hers precisely.

"I'll tell Mother. Anything else I should know?"

"We leave midnight, in two nights."

"Ominous."

She was acting brave but he could tell under all of that, she was terrified. He liked her terror. He smiled at her. "I try," he said.