The Gallant Tailor

The Gallant Tailor.png

Thread is stronger than you think.

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The tailor placed the last stitch and stood as the clock struck with seven light bings.

He cringed.

Guess he could still make it to dinner, but it would be tight.

“What do you think of this, Mr. Thatcher?”

His client, a boorish man with a never-changing rigid frown, examined the sleeve of the cashmere suit. It was one of the tailor’s best works. But that frown said differently.

The client had demanded an embroidered insignia on one cuff when he had put it on. Right when he had come in. Right then.

The tailor wanted to wring the man’s neck. He couldn’t have said something during the planning stages or when he saw the original design of the suit. No! That would be too easy.

So right after Mr. Thatcher had chewed him out for doing an incompetent job, the tailor set to work undoing the cuff, embroidering the insignia, and sewing everything together. The client had stood in the shop for the entire process. Very annoying.

“Very fine work.” Now that was a surprise. “You are indeed a master of your trade, Mr. Gallant.”

“Thank you, sir.” The tailor snuck another peek at the clock. Seven fifteen. “Would you like for me to hold onto it until the day of the gala? Or would you prefer to–”

“I’ll take it now.”

“Very well, sir.” The tailor gathered his tools and walked toward the counter. “Would you like me to wrap it?”

“No. I’ll wear it out.”

He stopped at the unusual request but decided to ignore it. “Very well, sir. And how will you pay?”

It was then he noticed how close the man had gotten – so close he should have felt his breath. But he did see his fangs.

“Like I said, I’ll take it now.”

Before the tailor could leap away, the monster wrapped its claws around his neck.

“Too bad I’ve already eaten.” Mr. Thatcher’s fangs glistened.

Great, the tailor thought as he gasped for air. His father always warned him against taking a custom order from immortals.

“I guess I’ll just break you instead.”

The monster twisted effortlessly, getting a satisfying snap out of the tailor’s neck. He let the poor soul go and walked to the door. A satisfied grin broke up the sides of his face. Job completed.

Mr. Thatcher straightened up, hiding his fangs and smoothing his new suit. As he placed a hand on the doorknob, something tugged on his wrist. He looked down. A black thread was wrapped around it.

“What the–”

Thread cut the hand clean off throwing it across the room.

His eyes followed it, locking onto the tailor. The other stood, neck still broken. A crack of the neck fixed the broken bones, reformed the vertebrae and healed the muscles and crushed windpipe.

“I don’t take five-finger discounts.” The thread flew back to wrap neatly around each of the tailor’s fingers. “Please, pay for your suit before you leave, Mr. Thatcher.”

Fangs resurfaced. “I see you’re not easy to kill.”

“Pay, then leave.”

The monster’s hand reformed. “Why should I?”

It lunged for the tailor.

He leapt and landed behind his client.

Thread sliced away at fabric.

Claws swung forward.

The tailor ducked and launched thread up, through the monster’s chest, piercing its heart.

It screamed, smacking the tailor away.

He rolled, stopping right at the glass shelves.

The monster grew, muscles tearing away at the suit. Horns sprouted atop of snakelike hair. Skin broke, revealing blood-stained flesh. Veins pulsated.

The tailor groaned. Not a vampire, an ogre. A gruesome one, too. Fantastic.

A giant hand flew through the air.

He dove out of the way.

Another hand struck from above.

He vaulted and slid between the monster’s legs, thread wrapping around each one.

He pulled. Hard.

The monster fell, its ear-splitting howl breaking the glass shelves.

The tailor released more thread, wrapping it up like a Christmas ham.

One jerk and the monster was cut into pieces.

Chunks of mud covered the floor and walls.

The tailor wiped it away from his shirt as he stood up.

An applause made him jump.

He twisted around, prepping an attack.

A man, a little taller than he was, walked up to him and shook his hand.

“Bravo! You are surely a master of your trade, Mr. Gallant!”

The tailor tried to pull away, but the man’s other arm wrapped around his shoulders.

“Seeing you fight my golem was the highlight of my day! Truly magnificent!”

“Would you let go–”

“Oh! Of course!” The man pulled away from him.

Thread wrapped around the man’s neck.

“Now, now. I’m not an enemy.”

“Then, who are you?” The tailor gritted his teeth.

The man’s grin widened. “Just a messenger. I can kindly tell you the rest if you let me go.”

Against his better judgment, the tailor loosened his weapon.

“Fine choice!”

“Get on with it.”

“Very well.” The man snapped his fingers.

Mud clumps crawled behind him, forming into the ogre once more. “This is my darling creation, Mr. Thatcher. I brought him to test your skills. And what fine skills–”

“Get on with it.”

“You’d do best to let me finish.” A tinge of irritation laced around the man’s words.

“Fine.”

“I was sent by my mistress, in order to ask for your attendance to her gala at the end of the week.”

“The same gala Mr. Thatcher is to attend?”

The golem, now back to a human form, huffed.

“Yes. Though you don’t have to worry about another attack. I promise.”

“And who is this mistress?”

“If you come, you’ll find out.” The man pulled out a card. “Here. Call me if you decide to come.”

“And if I don’t?” The tailor took the card, keeping his eyes on the golem.

“No worries. It is completely optional.” The man and his golem walked towards the door. “And don’t worry about the damages or the suit. The money has been sent to your personal account.”

With a wave, the man left. The golem growled on his way out.

The tailor waited until he heard the roar of an engine. As the card drove off, the tailor finally let his guard down.

He looked down at the card. ‘Talos Thatcher’ was inscribed in gold at the top. He recognized the first name, but couldn’t place it.

It didn’t matter. Not now.

The tailor looked up at the clock, which barely hung on the wall. Seven fifty. Ten minutes before his date.

He reached into his pocket but found his cell smashed. He looked up at the counter. That phone was broken too.

Great.

The tailor sighed.

He started to clean up the mess, ready for the day to be over.

Distracted by busted glass and shredded material, he never noticed the bee-sized mud clump crawl into a high corner. A makeshift eye blinked, focusing on the tailor.

A mile away, Talos Thatcher watched the young man from an orb in his hand.

“You see that!” He smacked his golem’s shoulder. The creature kept his eyes on the road as it drove.

“This tailor is going to be our ticket to even more magicians like him! Mistress will be so proud of us!”

Soon she would have everything she needed. And so would he.

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© E.N. Chaffin 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.

 

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