She was lying down on her bed, asleep, when she got the call.
“Good evening, Miss. Alicia Spinner. This is Judy from the Office of Magical Defense. I am calling to inform you that your mail order Guardian will be arriving shortly. This transaction was carried out on the nineteenth of October, two thousand and ten. Thank you for conducting your business with our company.”
And before Alicia could get so much as a word in edgewise, the woman had hung up, leaving her with only the dial tone for company.
When did that happen?
She stopped short. That night, last night, Luke had left her for that bimbo of a redhead, Molly. She massaged her temples, trying to recall what she did that night. After she saw Luke and Molly together, she ran away and bought as much alcohol as she could before driving back and drowning her sorrows in booze.
“Give me someone who I can trust! Someone who won’t leave
me!” she had yelled before collapsing on her bed.
Don’t tell me…that they took that seriously?
Panicking, she tried to redial the number, but the number didn’t show.
In fact, it was as if the call had never taken place.
Maybe she had just imagined it. Funny things happen when you’re in the twilight land between the land of dreams and the land of reality. She put the phone down wearily and drew her hand over her face.
What time was it?
She glided weakly to the window and pulled the curtain back ever so slightly only to find a green eye staring at her from the other side of the glass. Shrieking, she fell backward and clambered back into the bed, her blankets up to her chin.
The owner of the eye walked through the window, as if it was nothing more than a sheet of water, and stopped at the foot of her bed.
She took in his appearance. Jagged pieces of black hair poked out from under a purple top hat, the rest of which was tied into a low ponytail that ended at his waist. Underneath the brim of the top hat gleamed a pair of violently green eyes that eyed her curiously. He was in a purple suit with a green cravat and the mere sight of him made her head ache.
He swept the hat majestically off his head and bowed. “Good evening, Miss. Alicia Spinner,” he said before taking out a white card from the inner pocket of his coat and clearing his throat. “My name is Alexander Finn Beck and I am your Guardian that you have purchased. Henceforth, I shall be protecting you from harm and will accompany you as a general companion. I will carry out any order you give me without question or complaint and will protect you with my own life if I have to.”
“Wh-wha-what are you---that is why are you---I mean---”
He smiled as he put the card back into his coat pocket. “It’s all right. It usually takes a bit of time for our masters to adapt to having us around.”
“That’s not the problem!” she squeaked. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to go back.”
He frowned slightly. “Go back? But I can’t. Surely you read the contract…?”
She flushed and looked down at the covers.
“I take it that you didn’t look at the contract, then,” he sighed before snapping his fingers and a formal looking paper appeared out of thin air. “There, see? No refunds, no returns. All transactions are made at the purchaser’s own risk. You signed here, remember?” He pointed at a scribble that she recognized as her own signature.
She held her head in her hands. “This is a bad dream, this isn’t really happening, you’re going to wake up and find that this room is empty. There’s no strange man in a top hat Alexander Finn Bucket---”
“---this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening---” she muttered to herself, rocking back and forth.
“Ah, shock syndrome,” he muttered. “Well, that’s easily fixed.”
He walked around the bed and put a hand softly on her head. “Mementum,” he murmured, causing a soft glow to emanate from his hand and engulf her head. Her mind went blank and her eyelids closed.
The last thing she saw were the green eyes.