The little black book was bound in leather and had slightly yellowed pages inside. Some of the words on the book was smudged because of the waves that brushed it by the shore. Ryan held the book in his hand, convinced he’d found a treasure.
Dreaming of treasures and riches was a nightly routine for Ryan who lived in a trailer with his mother. He went to school with kids who lived in houses, nice, quiet houses and that was his first obsession. A house, then of course, money to buy snacks, better clothes for his mom and a nice job she can go to, wearing heels and her hair done well instead of her 12 hour shifts as a waitress.
The little book made no sense to Ryan though. It was full of little drawings and instructions. They had unbelievable headings like, “to get rich,”or “to attract luck,” and so on. Ryan believed in the book but the book had a warning.
There was a small card that was tucked into the side of the book.
If you find this book, please return it immediately. Do not read or practise. Contains black arts that can be dangerous to oneself and others. If returned without practising, will give $20,000.
Ryan looked at the book each day and considered doing the fairly simple things the book described and saying the spells. Then, he would imagine something bad happening to his mother, get scared and put the book away.
The man who’d lost the book, Arthur Mclevin was pacing up and down his large porch. Like the book, the enormous house was another inheritance from his father. He could not believe he’d lost it. His parents had always had some strange hobbies and they were fascinated with magic.
That’s how the two florida-born high school sweet hearts ended up getting involved in the dark arts after their only son went off to university.
He never wanted to give them credit but at first, the strange rituals they practised could not be ignored for their merits. His mother looked younger every year, his father won the lottery and they’d been happier.
Then, what Arthur feared started happening. The consequences. The practice that had brought them luck somehow turned around and caused them harm. A lot of harm.
There were sudden deaths in the family including their dog’s. No pet could survive in the house. Then of course, his father suddenly passed away.
The little book with all the spells that his parents thought Arthur would be open minded enough to use one day was hand-written on a small black book and it was handed to him after his father’s passing.
Arthur wrote the warning card and the prize. Only $200,000 and the house remained from their lottery fortune after his parents spent it so carelessly. He didn’t care. He didn’t want it. He just knew it didn’t come by luck. At least not the organic kind and his parents somehow paid the price for twisting their fates with their own lives.
All his mother said when handing the book to him, before her own death shortly after, was that it had consequences and to be careful. “Don’t use it without caution,” but Arthur never planned on using it. Yet, it was the only thing his dad had ever made for him by his hand and so he decided to keep it.
In truth, a greedy part of him had refused to destroy the book. On the first year of his father’s death anniversary, Arthur took it with him to the beach. He was still living in the mansion his parents left him and he’d spent most of the money he’d promised himself he’d donate or get rid of somehow.
He was just going to honour his father’s memory, he told himself when he dusted the old book and put it in his coat pocket. He made a decent, honest income as a bank manager and he liked his job enough. Still, his lifestyle was not fit for a bank manager’s income.
He’d gotten into the habit of playing poker.He’d went from playing every month to a weekly player. He’d even started hosting the games in his house. Now he had some debt and most of the money his parents left was gone.
He just wanted to win the money back and the book can make that happen. He won’t just play poker of course. With the “luck,” he would invest in stocks and real estate. Money would multiply.
He knew the book was dangerous and he wasn’t blind to the hypocrisy of the life he lived and his decision to use the book. Still, things had gone well for his parents at first. Maybe they just made mistakes. Maybe they didn’t follow the instructions correctly. Plus he won’t use it excessively.
It was the same thoughts he’d had before his poker habit settled in and it was the same his parents had when practising magic. This was how they ended up way out of their league, messing with things they should not have.
Still, his luck must have been worse than he thought, because the very day he was going to use it, he’d lost the book. He wasn’t sure how but he must have dropped it. His only real chance of fortune was gone. The worst part was, now some other guy was going to use all that information and strike it big.
Ryan finally made up his mind and walked over to the large porch of the mansion. He shakily rang the door bell and a tall man with a 5’o clock shadow and a voice too gruff for his age stepped out. “Hello,” the boy said and getting nervous under the man’s suspicious glare, handed him the little book.
“Where did you get this?” asked the man, his voice suddenly low. “The beach,” the boy said. “What did you do with it?” The man asked. Jealousy being replaced by fear on the young boy’s behalf. “I never did the stuff it said,” the boy replied. “I hope you won’t be mad…” he hesitated as the man opened the book and flipped through the pages in horror.
“You got rid of it all,” he said. The papers that held the spells written in a granite pencil was now erased. Some of the words remained but now the spells were no longer whole and neither had them memorized.
“They’re gone,” the man stammered. He was expecting himself to be angry but he was relieved. A huge weight of guilt and shame that was hiding in the back of his mind lifted. He wasn’t going to go down that road. The decision’s been made for him. As promised, the boy got his $20,000, the last of Arthur’s inheritance. Arthur hand delivered the check to the boy’s mother.
Arthur went on with his life, taking his time to learn how to make money, he no longer expected luck to help him. He saved money painstakingly, and became the cautious honest man he really was. He also realized that he had to stop gambling. The boy had given him an idea. He’d put all his liquid money into an investment that didn’t allow him to withdraw for months.
He had no choice now. He had to cut the habit. He had to stop the greed. If a boy living in a trailer can do it, then so can he. A few weeks of not being able to sponge money from him and his poker “friends” stopped visiting. His hours spent studying stocks and a bit of luck (the organic kind) made him more money than he’d hoped for.
He even gave back to the less fortunate, the hard working people who worked honest jobs no matter what other temptations they were surrounded with. He was impressed by them. He even went to see the boy a few times in his trailer park. Arthur eventually learned where Ryan got his honesty and faith in hard work instead of luck. It was from his mother.
A few years later, Ryan and his father, Arthur, sat on the beach, drinking ice cream while his mother and stepsister played in the water. Arthur gave Ryan the book with nothing but the indentation of some words still on it. Ryan took it but he would never try to use it.
His father wasn’t wrong, Arthur thought, watching his son run out to join his family in the waves. The book had brought him more good fortune than he ever imagined.