Everyone around me panicked and ran and trampled each other to get out, go someplace safe. Fools. What difference would it make?
I noticed a woman at the other end of the bar eyeing me, calm as a meditating monk. I threaded my way to her. “Not running for your life?” I asked.
“Nope,” she replied.
“You know how.”
Could she be…? My surprise must have shown, ’cause she hid a chuckle behind a sip from her drink.
“Still,” I said, “the end of the world and all. This is my fifth end of the world and I’m still enjoying it.”
“Oh, you’re a child. How sweet.” Another sip of her drink. “I got bored after the twentieth. That was millions of years ago. These primates are no longer entertaining. However, this end comes too early. Your doing?”
“How would you know?” Anuk stabbed her finger on his chest. “You haven’t died a single time yet! Not once! Try dying a hundred thousand times, jumping from body to body, then tell me if it’s bad or not. Not so bad, he says… pfff!”
Horace opened and closed his mouth. His eyes glided over her. “Well, you look great in this body.” He smiled.
Anuk folded her arms and cast Horace a malevolent narrow glance. “You eye-grope me once more, I’ll show you how annoying death is right now.”
“No, I told you. You only pay once,” the dark-skinned, white-haired, pointy-eared creature said. “You pay once upfront, and you get access to magic. Simple as that.” She snapped his fingers to drive the point.
George scratched his chin. “Yeah, but two litres of blood? That’s like all of it.”
The pointy-eared creature sighed. “You have more than that in you and you’ll replenish it in a couple of hours or so.” The creature flashed a row of white teeth and put a slender arm around George’s shoulders. “Besides, it’s not like it’s going to kill you or anything. I wouldn’t allow that, would I? We’re partners.”
“I don’t know…”
“OK, listen. Do you want to learn to use magic yes or no?”