Letters

Harry reached forward and grasped the rusty doorknob, twisting it to the left and letting the door open with a deafening creak.  Inside, the room was dimly lit from the cracked lighting fixture hanging above an old table.  Sitting at the end of the table was an old man, with a short white beard and thinning white hair.

Slowly, the man stood, with the help of a cane.  "Welcome, welcome," he said cheerfully.  "Sit down.  Would you like anything to eat?  Drink?"

"Sure," I began, but stopped when Harry glared at me.  "Uh.. no, I'm fine."

He smiled, and sat back where he'd been.  "Sit, sit!" He gestured towards two other chairs at the table.  "We have some things to discuss."

Harry sat down straight across from the man, and I sat next to him.  "We understand you have a letter for us to send?" Harry said politely.

"Oh, yes.  Right here."  The man dug in his pants pocket, and retrieved a folded-up piece of paper.  "Not very official.. but it'll do."

He smiled again, staring at the tiny white square.

"And this is to go to the library?" Harry reached for the paper, but the man pulled it away.

"Yes.  But you mustn't open it.  It is not meant for your eyes.  That goes for you too," he said, glancing at me, and laughed.

"How much do we get paid for this?" Harry got right down to business.  "And why do you need to do this at night?"

"Oh, I always like to make things more interesting," the man said, slightly agitated.  "And I'll pay you each one hundred."

I gulped.  One hundred dollars, for sending a note?!  That'd be enough for food and water for a month!  My eyes widened.

The man looked at me, noticing my surprise.  "What's your name, boy?"

"Ollie."  He kept his gaze fixed on me.  "Why one hundred, sir?  Doesn't that seem to be a little... much?"

Harry kicked my foot, and I grimaced.  The man chuckled.  "Oh, of course not."

We all sat there for a while, until Harry said, "We better get going now.  May I?"  He reached out again for the note.

The man frowned.  "Ollie... I want Ollie to carry this letter."

Harry stared at him, surprised, but stepped aside so I could take the note.  With a hesitant smile, the man dropped the paper into my palm, and looked into my eyes, almost scared.

"Ollie, time to go," Harry said, opening the creaky door again.

Slowly, I stepped away from the man and outside into the night.

The End

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