This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge.
This is from Miranda's post: This week's photo was taken by a guy called Garret Stark who likes gaming. From what I can gather he took a lots of shots of his dice, and this is one of them.
Here's a link to the prompt photo.
My entry for this week is a little horror tale called Bones. Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words via Miranda's website. My story has 502 words for those who are counting. A PDF version can be downloaded from the link at the end of the story.
by K. R. Smith
"Here?" William asked incredulously.
His guide, a young boy, smiled and nodded before running back down the trail.
"All this way to ask for help from someone living in a shack." He shook his head. "I must be crazy."
He pulled back the cloth covering the entrance. A small, old man sat cross-legged in the center of the hut. A candle burned in front of him barely illuminating the shadowy interior. The air was infused with the scent of jasmine.
Without opening his eyes, the man waved his hand indicating William could enter.
"I hear you're a mystic, a wise man, a man of magic," he said standing over his host.
"Many believe that."
"I've been told that, should I be chosen, you have the ability to grant insight and wisdom which can bring great power."
The old man opened his eyes. He stared at William for a moment before speaking. "If one is willing to accept the truth, to listen with an open mind, to be curious about the world, magic is not needed to gain wisdom."
William knelt down in front of him. "Look, I need an edge, something to give me a leg up. The world's a tough place. I don't want to end up just scraping by in my old age." He glanced at the man's shabby confines. "What do I have to do for you to choose me?"
The old man smiled. "You have already been chosen. But there may be a price."
"There may be a price? I don't understand."
"If you wish to proceed, roll these dice." The old man held out his hand. In his palm were an old pair of dice. Each of the six sides was marked with a different number. "If you roll an even number, no payment is required."
"And if I roll an odd number?"
"Then you must pay."
"That is all. Think carefully, young one. Before you take the dice, I will tell you this. It has been many years since anyone has chosen to roll the dice."
"Sounds like you been entertaining a bunch of fools. How do you want to be paid? Money, precious metals, gems. What will it be?" William cocked his head slightly and raised an eyebrow. "Women?"
The old man laughed, then his dark eyes looked directly into William's. "Another pair of dice like these."
"A pair of dice? Nothing more? I can get you hundreds of these things."
"Not any pair of dice. They must be made the same way as these."
William smirked. "Give me the silly things." He snatched them from the man's hand. "Where do you want me to do this?"
A gesture was made towards the bamboo mat in front of him. William juggled the dice in his hand before starting his roll.
"What are they made of? Gold?"
The old man answered as the tiny cubes tumbled off the ends of William's fingers.
"From the bones of the last one who had to pay."