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The Unmentionable Bargain



Estimated reading time — 2 minutes

There’s a small, inconspicuous 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.

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No one knows what happens if you sign it.

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CREDIT: Anonymous

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52 thoughts on “The Unmentionable Bargain”

  1. Personally I thought the ending was a bit of a let down. “No one knows what happens if you sign it”. Just dropping that line after all that build up seemed like the writer couldn’t think of an ending. The rest was really great though :)

  2. Some of us didn’t learn of this site until 5-6 years later so umm yeah duh our comments are going to be late smh

  3. I went this year, there were 8 people in the room. All of them were familiar to me, they did not outwardly respond to anything as this wasn’t necessary.
    The document was as described….additionally it said ‘I will trust and love and relinquish resistance and fear’.

    I signed….and no one does know what happens when YOU sign.

    1. Where is it then? I am 33 yrs old and have lived in Birmingham since the day i was born, so give me a street name or an area where this building is and i will go myself.

  4. this is obviously a contract to sell your soul to satan…and therefore as a black chick, i aint doin’ it!

    conjoring and blood magic eh?…now i’m thinking harry potter; when he was punished and wrote ‘i must not tell lies’ on the paper and at the same time got it cut into his hand…

    the ‘ink’ in this case may be blood…your blood

    that is all.

  5. @Ed and comment 4. Im White Wolf’s games, Thurmatagy is blood magoc, yes, but I have no idea what else it means. So in a way, you may both be right.

    1. Thaumaturgy (from the Greek words θαῦμα thaûma, meaning "miracle" or "marvel" and ἔργον érgon, meaning "work") is the capability of a saint to work miracles. It is sometimes translated into English as wonderworking.[1] A practitioner of thaumaturgy is a thaumaturge, thaumaturgist or miracle-worker.

      1. Thaumaturgy is a style of magic where you do something symbolically on a small scale, and get results on a much grander scale. The most famous example of a thaumaturgic work of magic, is the voodoo doll.

  6. I think this is my favorite story on the whole site. I can barely muster the words to describe how good it is. It’s creepy, descriptive, straightforward, and it makes me think about the consequences of signing the arcane document.

    But, of course, this is the “comments” section of the page, not the “gushing admiration” section.

    But I do have one simple question. It was stated in the story that the 5-10 people in the room would be totally unresponsive to me. Wouldn’t that mean that I could punch any of them in the face, put makeup on their faces, redress them or do virtually “anything” to any of them. Theoretically, of course.

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