Written and Illustrated by Jesaya Tunggal

 

For a moment, time stopped, and the old man’s world ended.

A pause hanged in the air like so many prisoners on death row. Mr.Sirius’ little magesmith shop, only a few short minutes ago cozy and warm, now brimmed with an unfathomable tension. Mio, the young girl who had unwittingly walked in to the negotiation between her uncle and a snakish looking stranger, held her arms across her chest, anxiously twiddling fingers upon shoulder. Sirius’ puffs on his brazen pipe intensified, as the look of shock moments earlier shifted to a defensive annoyance. Mr. Rupert Wendell Kench seemed to be the only one remotely calm. He was, after all, a businessman, and this seemed like a good opportunity to make a deal. He made an off-beat pointing motion at the old man.

“Aha! Gotcha!”

Kench did a lighthearted twirl towards the counter and was once again face to face with  Sirius.

“Sirius, you old devil, taking a young girl like her into your home…”

The magesmith’s face contorted with anger, he chewed the metal pipe, arching it to the back of his mouth.

“Why you little-!”

Kench put up an impudent finger, wagging it under the man’s nose.

“Ah ah ah! I’d like to remind you who you’re speaking to. Just in case you may have forgotten, I am but a lowly pawn in this magnificent game we call corporate crime! My words are not my own, silly man! Hell, I’m not even my own! Every utterance, every syllable, every pause for air is the sole property of the big slave boss himself! Not, as you seem to have gotten in your mind, to me.”

scan

Kench had been wandering away from the register, arms raised. He turned back once more to Mio and her uncle.

“As such, you would do well to heed my words! After all, it seems you’ve found something to lose…” he said, indicating towards the girl with his eyes.

“Now, do we have a deal?””

A proverbial lever was pulled and another pause hanged. Sirius looked away from a smug Kench, who’s hand was extended to seal the deal. Shakily, the old man took it, giving a weak tug.

“…Deal.”

Mio’s face quickly contorted with a plethora of emotions.

“W-what?!” she cried.

Kench clapped his hands together happily.

“Wonderful! The raid boss will be most pleased!”

“I’m sure he will,” replied Sirius, “Now get the HELL out of my shop.”

“Ooh, feisty,” remarked Kench, turning to leave.

Leisurely, the abrasive man waltzed towards the exit, stopping only to shout one last thing back into the store.

“Real pity about the girl eh? Pretty face, but she’s a damaged product!”

Sirius turned to Mio in time to see a twinge of pain circulate across her face, only to be momentarily painted over. She stared sullenly at the pair of mechanical prosthetics where her legs ought to have been before lifting her head to make eye contact with Sirius. The pain made a brief return at the back of her greenish eyes before they broke off from the old mans’ as Mio returned to the back room.

Sirius remained alone in the shop, and a pause hanged in the air.