The boy dashed down into the safety of a gloomy alleyway and examined his prize. He'd been afraid he'd get caught, and he'd be stuck up here in some gloomy cell, rather than... well actually, getting caught didn't sound so bad in retrospect.

The wallet was black leather with a silver clasp, inside were some useless notes, pristinely folded, a number of plastic cards that the Marks liked to carry about with them. One of them seemed different, it had a picture on it of the man he'd stolen it from. Useful that, there was a power to returning things 'lost' and this made finding him again all the easier. It wasn't often an urchin like him got the opportunity to strike a Bargain.

However, the prize was only a consolation. He'd escaped Gnasher easily enough but not before it had taken a bite out of him. His tail was gone, not even a bloody stump left, only a bloody red smear on his bottom where it had once been. It was still bleeding and he was shocked, realising that the Gnasher could follow his trail unless he sorted it out. Sinking back further into the backstreet, he tried to wake up the leather.

"Psst! Hey you, wake up." He whispered harshly at it.

The wallet just sat silently in his hand.

"Oi! If you don't stop mucking about I'll fill you full of bird seed and leave you for the pigeons. You'll get covered in bird poop. Don't think I won't."

The wallet opened a single lazy eye and stared pointedly at the boy.

"What do you want? Why did you wake me?"

"I need some new skin. I'm bleedin' here!"

"What's in it for me?"

"A Bargain."

"What Bargain?"

The boy bit his lower lip. He hadn't thought that far ahead. "Umm, I'll take you with me, it'll be an adventure like."

"Who is this skin for?" The wallet said, suspicion in it's voice.

"Umm, me."

"You cheeky little... well, I am bored, so very bored. You wouldn't believe how boring my owner could be. Hitching a ride could be fun. For now."

The boy grinned.

"But, you can do something for me. You can give my owner his stuff back. For free, no Bargains."

"What? Aww, come on."

"No buts. I store things for people, it's my job and I take it very seriously." The wallet said, puffing itself up with pride. The boy rolled his eyes, it was one of those wallets.

"You want to make a Bargain?" the wallet continued, "There it is, take it or leave it."

The boy mumbled something under his breath and the wallet pretended not to hear. Then the boy spat into his palm and shook the wallet in his hand. The area became eerily silent for a moment as the deal came into being and then the wallet was no more, instead the boy's missing tail was now a smooth patch of dark black leather, a clasp of silver poked out from beneath the skin like a surgical accident.

The boy patted himself down and shoved the loose wad of notes and plastic cards into a filthy pocket and then took off. He wanted to find the man from the card before the wallet became impatient. There were words on it, probably the man's name and address, he hoped. It was a pity he couldn't read. 

"Gnashers and Bargains. I didn't run away from the Marketplace for this. Ugh." The boy moaned as he slid back out onto the street and back towards the park, making sure to stay away from the shadows. The Gnasher was still out there somewhere.

The End

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