Stingy Jack

He couldn’t remember how he got home, but the next morning he remembered the pub, and the stranger, and the drink quite clearly, for his head felt like a drummer’s kettle, thumping and pounding with a colossal ache.

The knock at his cabin door felt amplified tenfold. Flinging it open, Jack stood tall in the threshold, ready to repel whoever dared disturb his mighty hangover.

It was the stranger from the night before.  Jack instantly knew that something was amiss.  The stranger had tracked him down.  Why?  Perhaps he had come to his senses and realized that he had been duped.  Perhaps he was here to demand his money back for the ale Jack had drank last night.

“Sir, I think I know why ye are here.  But before ye speak, I think it me duty to say that we had a legal contract.  Ye agreed to supply me with ale in exchange for me soul.  Now, I understand that ye may have been tipsy last night, and in no condition to barter a sensible deal, but that is not me problem.  It’s not me fault if ye agreed to purchase something that didn’t exist.”

“On the contrary,” the stranger said.  “I’m not here to argue the validity of our deal.  You bought your ale fair.  But I must disagree with one thing; your soul does exist.  And now it is mine.”

Just then, the winds came out of the sky and the clouds blackened.  The stranger, once normal in appearance, began to grow horns, and sharpened teeth, and red skin.  His tongue, like a serpent’s, slithered and curled over his now grotesque mouth.





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