Suggested by: Lindsey Bruno
Name: Alexander VanTussel
Place: A Library
Time: 1 am
Object: A rocks glass
The grandfather clock in the hallway struck one, and the chime echoed through the empty, dark halls.
He lifted the tumbler to his lips, and the caramel-brown bourbon slipped down his throat from between the half-melted pebbles of ice.
They were late.
He sat among the shelves stacked high with wonderful volumes full of vast power and immense treasure. He set the glass on a coaster. What a shame none of these books could tell him the information he needed. That was why he had sent them out in the first place.
He heard the wet smack of their soft feet on the patio as they neared the house. His lip curled in a sneer. How had it come to this? Alexander VanTussel, confined to his home, all of his best-laid plans at the mercy of a gaggle of slimy, slow-witted goblins? Each warty foot-pad only reminded him of the number of times he had failed to get what he really wanted—what he was only moments away from achieving now.
Alexander rose from his low-slung armchair and flung the French doors open wide. A dozen squat, grey-green creatures with yellow eyes carried a struggling black body bag into the library.
"Well?" He demanded, his piercing grey eyes surveying the promising prize.
One of the disgusting scavengers gave the signal and they all dropped the bag, which landed with a thump.
"All in order, sir," the goblin grunted, a dopey smile plastered across his frog-like face.
Alexander eyed the unmoving bag. "Alive?"
The goblin rubbed his head. "And kicking, if you get my meaning, sir."
Alexander rolled his eyes; how did the expression run? "Subtle as a goblin"—and this was all he could manage to conjure from the Otherworld. Mordecai VanTussel would be turning in his grave if he knew what his descendants had been reduced to.
"Open it!" He commanded.
The goblins hastily unzipped the bag. A head of bright-red hair flopped forward when they raised the body.
Alexander glared at the goblin.
"My instructions were absolutely clear."
"That they were, sir, no question. He's probably just a bit winded from the journey—was a powerful long ways. Just give it a mo'." The goblin, anxious to please his master, gave the prisoner a lusty crack on the head. The young man jerked back into consciousness and blinked weakly up at the tall form leaning over him.
"Darren Alexander," VanTussel uttered the name contemptuously and with a cruel smile. "Protector of the Ecrivaine."
Darren tried a smile, but his face was so swollen after taking such a beating from the goblins that he could only manage half a smirk. "That's me," he croaked.
VanTussel leaned in close. "Then why did my minions find you alone? Where is she, Darren?" He spoke softly, the malice saturating his velvet voice. "Where is this Dragon-conjurer you should have been protecting?"
Darren allowed his head to loll forward, so the goblin on his right grabbed a tuft of red hair and yanked it back, forcing him to look up at Alexander.
"Where is she?" Alexander seethed. "Where is the Ecrivaine?"
Darren winced as the goblin jerked on his hair. "You'll never get her," he shot back.
Boiling with rage, Alexander grabbed the front of the young man's collar and hoisted him into the air.
"I am Alexander VanTussel!" He thundered. "My family has always borne a connection to the Otherworld, and hanged if I don't get myself the bloody dragon!"
Darren struggled to breathe under the furious grip of the older man, and his toes just barely brushed the ground. But he managed a cocksure smile. "Go hang, then," he rasped.
Alexander dropped him with a forceful push, and Darren collapsed on the floor.
"Take him to the dungeon!" He ordered the goblin. "Torture him till he tells everything he knows. I will find the Summoner myself."
The goblins complied willingly, leaving Alexander alone in the library once more. Scowling darkly, he poured himself another drink. He would get no sleep until he had found a way to recapture the Midnight Dragon who had escaped from his ancestor so long ago. It belonged to the family, and Alexander wanted it back.
And when a VanTussel wanted something, he got it.