The Unmentionable Bargain

March 25, 2008 at 7:08 PM
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There’s a small, inconspicious building called “Padraic Willoughsby and Co.” in the industrial district of Birmingham, UK. Most of the time, its doors are locked and the windows are draped. However, on February 29th of every leap year, there will be a small plastic container outside the front door containing business cards. On the front of the card it says in large capital letters, “PADRAIC WILLOUGHSBY AND CO. ENGLAND’S THAUMATURGICAL SPECIALISTS”. On the back, in nearly illegibly small type it says “The blood of the innocent.”

Any night after midnight one can come to Paidraic Willoughsby and Co. and slide their card through the door, and the door will instantly unlock. Inside there is an empty room with white walls. No light reaches this room, except for a small sliver from the other end of the room. When you approach this room you will find that it is actually another door. When you knock on it, a voice will ask “What makes a man become exalted?” and you must respond with the phrase on the back of the card: “The blood of the innocent.” The door will open and you will come into another room, a kind of lounge. Inside it you will find around 5-10 people, depending on the night, sitting around smoking and drinking brandy, all in late Edwardian period dress. There is absolutely no conversation at all in this room and, it is nearly silent except for the phonograph which plays the exact same record over and over, ad infinitum. If you attempt to speak to one of the patrons, they will promptly ignore you and pretend as if you were not there.

Towards the south wing of the room you will find a large, round table, slightly different from the others. On it will be a quill pen and a document. The document shows all of your personal information: name, birthdate, place of residence, criminal record, greatest fears, etc. At the bottom of the document is a long line that asks for your signature.

No one knows what happens if you sign it.

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