241/366 – Guess

Day 99 of 100 Word Prompts: Guess

The humid air outside instantly made Travis’ skin feel sticky. The sound of the bussing insects in the nearby trees, made the hair on his arms stand on end even as the sweat began to bead on his forehead. One foot in front of the other, his body moved twitching violently as he fought whatever it was making him step forward.

Travis’ head snapped up and his eyes locked on the moon hovering just above the treeline in the distance. There, before the shiny silver orb in the sky, a black dot darted from side to side as a cackling laughter echoed through the night air.

“There you are, my dear,” a sharp, feminine voice said. It sounded as though it came from right next to him, but he knew it belonged to the dot his eyes followed. “Why don’t you come to me?”

Travis’ hands shot out, gripping the bannister as he hoisted himself up. Instintively, his eyes looked down the four stories to the pool in the courtyard below. He felt his heart slamming in his chest as he thought of falling.

“Don’t worry, my pet. I won’t let anything happen to you,” the voice said. This time he swore he could feel the breath of the voice on his ear. “Come to me.”

Travis’ right leg shot out oevr the edge, forcing him to lean forward. He closed his eyes, expecting to feel either the pavement or the water break his fall, and, in either case, likely his neck as well, but it never came. A moment later, he dared to peek and found that while he was definitely leaning out from the balcony, his foot appeared to have landed on something solid.

“I told you, darling. You are safe,” the voice said as he felt something brush his cheek.

“What are you doing to me?” he asked, forcing his mouth to function as best he could.

“You signed the form in the shop today, remember? When you agreed to the price for the necklace you wanted? Didn’t you read the fine print?” the voice asked as the dot grew closer, becoming a clearer outline of a woman.

“You!” Travis said, his eyes going wide. “But you’re just an antiques dealer.”

“Yes and no,” she replied, coming even closer to him. Now he could see the purple eyes and the white teeth of her bared smile. “I collect and trade many things, you see.”

Travis’ panic only escalated.

“You don’t have to guess what will happen to you,” she said, suddenly appearing rigth before him. Her hand touched his cheek gently before descending to his shoulder and then around his waist to his back as she pulled herself against him. “You aren’t going to be traded to anyone. You’re going to stay in my personal collection.”

“You can’t do this,” Travis protested, his jaw clenching.

“I actually can,” she replied, producing the rolled piece of paper with Travis’ signature at the bottom of it. “This form, while trivial to you, grants me a certain amount of freedoms with you, and there is nothgin you can do about it.”

“What freedoms?” Travis asked.

“We’ll get into that once I get you home,” she said. “My name isn’t Claire, by the way. It’s Helen. I have to change it ever few decades or people grow suspicious.”

“I’d say it’s nice to meet you, but under the circumstances,” Travis said as his other leg left the banister and he began walking through the sky, fifty feet in the air. “This is impossible.”

“Improbable, sure, but impossible?” Helen said, waving him off. “Most people just don’t know how to do it.”

“I don’t know how I’m doing this,” Travis fired back.

“you don’t need to, I told your body how,” Helen smiled. “Now, march that adorable sense of determination back to my house, will you?”

Travis’ legs sped up of their own accord until he was traveling at a full sprint over the tops of the trees in the distance. After a few miles, his legs slowed and he felt himself begin the descent down through the canopy into a familiar part of the town.

Travis’ feet landed quietly on the pavement outside the slightly leaning building in which he had found himself earlier in the day buying the necklace. The whitewashed slat walls of the building seemed far creepier in the dark than it had during the day. The gas lamps mounted to either side of the front door flickered as though expecting something.

“Here we are,” Helen said landing softly on the pavement next to him.

“So, what was it you were saying about limited control?” Travis asked, hoping to find a loophole to free himself.

“Oh, that, right!” Helen said, producing the contract once more. “It says very plainly that I can’t force you to do anything illegal, sexual, or otherwise defined henceforth as immoral, blah, blah, blah. It goes on at length at various definitions and whatnots. It’s all very technical, and exceptionally binding.”

“So what was that earlier when you hugged me?” Travis asked.

“I’m allowed to hug you, just not take off your pants without permission,” Helen said with a wink. “Come inside now. I’ve got some chores for you.”

Travis’ body moved once again, though his mind went elsewhere. He thought about everything that Helen had just said and wondered if there would be a way that he could break away from whatever was happening. He felt the urge to call it a spell, but didn’t know if it was some sort of demonic influence.

“What are you thinking about?” Helen said, snapping her fingers in front of his eyes. Travis found himself standing in the middle of the shop with Helen standing before him, hands on her hips looking unhappy with him. “You weren’t even listening were you? I asked you to organize the shop. get some of the cobwebs out of here, you know? Having a strapping young man around is going to make life a lot easier for me, you know that?”

“Why not just use magic?” Travis asked.

“Magic comes with a price, dear,” Helen replied with another wink. “As you have figured out by now. I told you that the necklace was magic. If you had just left it be, you’d probably still be in that nice little hotel room there, waiting for that blonde girl to come back still. She left, by the way. I watched her leave the building. She didn’t go get ice. Can you guess where she went?”



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