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“Where’s Malcolm?” the old man growls impatiently.
“In the back” Eduardo calmly replies closing the ledger before him. “He is ready for you.” Eduardo beckons for another to take his place and then leads the old man down a dimly lit side corridor to the back of the building.
When they reach the end of the corridor Eduardo holds a door open motioning the old man into a large office overly stuffed with items of all shapes and purposes; one pile is so loaded it nearly reaches the ceiling. A single window against the further wall is partly obscured, barely illuminates the shadowy interior; the only other light is from a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, its shade badly browned with age.
There is a soft click behind him as Eduardo closes the door seemingly leaving the old man alone within the dusty darkness. The old man stares around him, irritably stifling a sneeze as the overpowering smell of ancient things assaults his nostrils.
“Don’t make me wait Malcolm!” he menacingly calls out.
“And what would you be wanting of me?” an older but equally strong voice calls from the within the mass of items stacked and stored in every conceivable place available. “I have many great treasurers to offer…” the voice continues as the old man searches through the dimness, “…gathered from all the corners of the known and unknown world. Just look around, I’m sure there’s something that would interest a man of your great stature.”
The old man follows the sound of the voice to the further corner where an even older looking man sits behind an equally old and worn out dusty wooden desk. The desk’s top is nearly empty and about the only unencumbered surface to be found in the place. The person behind the desk looks more like a gnome then his name implies. A short bushy white beard contrasts his bald pate and a pair wire rimmed glasses make his intense blue eyes look even larger than they really are.
“And you are Malcolm” the old man ground out with a grunt; not as a question, but a statement of fact.

Science-Fiction und Fantasy
10. Oktober
M. L. Humphrey

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