The letter leads him to his family’s plantation home in Athens, Georgia. There, he discovers not only his family's secrets, but also The Gentleman’s true intentions. The Gentleman offers James a deal he can’t resist. Play the last game, and if he wins, he gets to keep his soul.
James squeezed his eyes shut and prayed to God, any God that happened to hear him. He prayed until his mouth was too dry to open. Then he prayed in his head.
The commotion ended, and the ominous presence left. He lifted his trembling hand to the newly cracked window, pushed the curtain away, and saw nothing. After turning on the lights, he sat at the edge of the bed with his head in his hands.
“Only one more day. I’ve had one hundred fucking miles, and now this.” He drove his fist into the wall beside the bed. The pain caused him to wave his hand.
“It’s one of the hallucinations. You haven’t slept in what, three days? It’s like the time in Macon.” He rubbed his head.
A letter swished into his room from under the door and floated beside him onto the tattered covers. James leapt from it. His eyes widened at the sight of the handwriting.
“It’s just paper,” he muttered. Mustering the courage, he seized the letter. It shook in his unsteady hands as he read the words.
I want my soul, and since I’m such a nice guy, I’ll give you until December 22 at 1:30 am. I know where you’re at. No need to run, it’ll only make things worse. Oh, and clean up.
From The Gentleman, with Love
James’ thoughts spun. He looked around the room for something, anything, to help him stand upright, but instead landed on the bed. The words raced through his mind, smashing the good memories aside.
“I can’t leave?” He tugged at his hair and wiped the sweat from his face. What he’d spent the last several months planning was all for nothing. A deep emptiness filled his soul. Not even the burning of the rum could fill it. He curled into a ball and wept himself to sleep.
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