Another wonderful prompt from Write on Edge. This week it used the quote 'You could've made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get, you wake up in the bed you make. I think you made a big mistake.' It's hard to do that justice in just 500 words!
Elaine sat down carefully at the kitchen table. "I can't wait to hear your explaination."
Steve shifted uncomfortably. "Well, I have been dealing with the elfen."
"And werewolves, and goblins, and that nice Mr Beddoes is a vampire." Elaine pointed out.
"It is dangerous to deal with the faerie." Steve rolled up his crisp shirt sleeve. "You can still see the bite marks from when I got chased by Yell Hounds. These are real scars."
"Yes, real scars that you got in the land of Faerie." Elaine waited patiently.
"So I followed some instructions from an old book." Steve glanced at the kettle. "Should I make us a coffee?"
"Not yet." Elaine remained calm. "Where did you get the book?"
"It was part of the job lot from the house I cleared. You know, where the vampire had been staked. I sorted stuff out for the local lord."
"I remember." There was ice in Elaine's voice. "That's where the rug with the strange smell came from."
"Anyway," Steve desperately tried to get back on track. "I found the cave that it described, and all the strange jars. I should have paid more attention to the verse carved on the shelf." He pushed a copy of it over to Elaine.
"'You could've made a safer bet, but what you break is what you get, you wake up in the bed you make. I think you made a big mistake.' Nice rhyme. What does it mean?"
"It means that I get whatever is in the one jar I am allowed to break. I can't break a second, and I can't change what I get. It's a permanent deal. I was heading straight for the one with the golden flower on, right in the centre. Suddenly Lord Marius appeared. That was a bad sign."
"Lord Marius has been reasonable in the past." Elaine wasn't going to allow Steve to get away with blaming Lord Marius. "And he was certainly not responsible for you being there in the first place. That's all your own work."
Steve looked hunted. "If he hadn't turned up so suddenly I wouldn't have jumped and knocked over the one at the corner. And if I hadn't knocked that one over it wouldn't have broken and I wouldn't be stuck with that!"
The imp sitting in the middle of the table looked at Elaine balefully. It's bulging muddy green eyes were unblinking as it scratched at the seat of it's dirty jeans and spat on the kitchen floor. Then it dragged out a miniature tin and rolled a cigarette.
"No smoking in this house!" Elaine snapped.
With studied insolence the imp lit the cigarette with a magical spark and took a long drag. As it coughed smoke oozed not only out of its pared nostrils but off the tips of its pointed ears and the ends of the batlike wings poking through its dirty t-shirt. It spat on the floor again. "Make us a cup of tea, will yer."
Earlier installments of Steve Adderson's story can be found here I'm starting to turn them into a novel which I will be self publishing later. I am looking forward to finding out how it ends.