Stranger, part 7.

The next day a description of the man was given out to police in the area, to less official security personnel in the employ of the Pierce family, and a patrol car was temporarily stationed outside of Joe’s house. So it was that he went about his day normally, completely unconcerned with the crazy vagrant, and confident that he’d just admirably dealt with a trying situation.

But some time after midnight, while he and his wife slept, he was awoken by a tap on his shoulder. He slowly opened his eyes, and found another set of eyes, surrounded by many collars and hats, mere inches away. He was so startled that he jumped, but his breath caught in his throat and his yelp of surprise and anger came out silent. The little man held a finger up to his mouth and shushed Joe, pointing at his sleeping wife with his other hand. He didn’t wait for Joe to recover before he started whispering.

“Now, we had a bargain, fair and square, and I could press my rights. But I’m a reasonable sort, I’m fair and generous to a fault, and I’m in the mood for some sport. So, you meet my challenge, and you’re off the hook, scot free. Fail, though, and you’ll owe me another favor.” The little mans eyes twinkled as he said all this, and his mouth twitched up into a vicious, joyful, unsettling smile. He said it all blindingly fast, and was finished before Joe even had time to reach for him. When he did, the little man had no trouble avoiding the groggy swing, and he shook with amusement.

“You’ll be lucky to end up in jail. You break into my house in the night to play this stupid game of yours? I’ll have every cop in the city and worse looking for you tomorrow.” Joe growled through clenched teeth.

The little man responded with a snicker and a tip of the pile of hoods and hats he wore, then disappeared.

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