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“I’d knew you’d show up again. Just my damn luck.”
“Language, Abe, language.” Silas crossed the office and sat down. “A man your age should know better.”
Peter Abernathy harrumphed and crossed his arms over his chest. His spectacles glinted as he looked at the young man. He was trying to evoke a commanding air. It wasn’t working. Silas could taste the old man’s apprehension. The detective also noticed the protective charm sticking out of Abernathy’s shirt. Silas smiled at the sleepiness nights he must have had worrying about the lich.
“What’s with the arm?” the old man asked. “You tried skateboarding again?”
“I’ll have you know, Poppin’ Fresh, I’m an excellent skater.”
“What do you want?”
“I come with good news,” Silas said. “You can unclench. The lich is dead.”
“So, you got it done. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I was busy.”
“Are you absolutely certain he’s dead?” Abernathy asked.
“Yep,” Silas said. “Not something you can forget.”
“How were you able to kill him?” he asked.
“I’m not giving you a play-by-play,” Silas said. “Just know it wasn’t easy.” He tapped his cast.
Abernathy studied his face. After a moment, he relaxed.
“Fine.” He unclasped the talisman from around his neck and tossed it into a drawer.
“Is that all? I’m a busy man.”
“Your Monte Cristo can wait, Abe. I have more.”
With his good arm, Silas reached into his satchel. He retrieved a bundle roughly the size of a football, wrapped in newspaper. Unceremoniously, he dropped it onto the desk.
Abernathy gawked at the parcel. “What’s this?”
“What do you think?”
Adjusting his glasses, the old man scooted forward. Slowly, he peeled the paper away. His eyes bulged as he got a look at the thing. With both hands he picked up a seven-headed leopard made of black stone. Light refused to reflect off its surface. It seemed to suck it in like a black hole. Awe washed over the old man’s face. Silas thought he saw a tear trickle down his cheek.
“It’s more beautiful than I remembered,” Abernathy said.
“Beautiful? I can see why you never married.”
Anger flashed over the man’s face. “You said you didn’t have it.”
“Whaddaya know, I was wrong.”
“Are you really just giving it to me?” Abernathy asked.
“Come on, Abe,” Silas said. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
“I see,” the old man said. “You want money. That’s fine, it’s what I promised.” He took out his checkbook. “Will ten thousand be enough?”
“Yeah, ten’s good–no. No money,” Silas said. “Not everything’s about money.”
“Silas, I’ve known you your whole life,” Abernathy said. “You’re just like your father. And neither of you were generous.”
“Maybe you didn’t know Henry as well as you thought,” the detective said. “I said I’d get you the stone. Here it is.”
Abe nodded his approval.[Read more…] about Black Days, Epilogue: “Thank You’s Aren’t Necessary”