by J. D. McLean
(Flash Fiction) Two men meet to discuss a trade for a mysterious, black object.
|"I've never seen anything like it," the gruff, middle-aged man said as he settled his mug onto the table. "Have you?"
The man sitting with him, at least half his age, shook his head. "Of course not."
A strange object of some black, textured material much like stone rested atop an open cloth on the table. It was 'L'-shaped, the shorter length about the size of an average hand. A smaller, curved piece of the same black material connected the two box-like sides of it.
"Is it dangerous?" Paul asked. "I mean really, Jay, should we be messing with it?"
"I'm not messing." He took a sip and wiped his mouth with the back of his palm. "But I do want a fair trade."
"I can offer you this trinket." Paul reached into his sack, pulled out a silver chalice, and placed it on the table.
"I will take only what we agreed on. Do you have it?"
Paul sighed. "Yes, but..." He pulled shards of colored glass from the sack, laying them one by one on the table. "Perhaps you can piece it together. I promise, it was not my fault."
"I care little whose fault it was. You have made a grave mistake."
Paul saw the flash of the dagger long before Jay's hand had risen above the table. The younger man grabbed the black object, resting it in his hand. He stuck his forefinger through the loop in the middle and squeezed.
An immense crashing sound rang from the object, like thunder from lightning mere feet away, accompanied by a blast of light flashing toward Jay. The older man collapsed to the ground.
Paul stepped over to him. "I've never seen anything like it, either," he lied.