Someone had keyed his new Porsche sedan. He tried not to snort as he took in the scene, though he wasn't really surprised. Why should he have been? He knew that he was not very well liked, and honestly? He was perfectly fine with that. At twenty-three he made more money than most of his friends, and he had an amazing apartment on a high floor of a coveted apartment building in a gorgeous neighborhood. His friends would often make fun of him because the only reason he was able to get the pharmaceutical rep job that afforded the life he was leading was because of his father, but he would honestly swear that it was more than that.
Vaughn Kenndrickson the 3rd was the type of person you made fun of behind their back. Guys like him. You usually thought they experienced their life with a silver spoon in their mouth and you hated them for that. They would never actually laugh at people but the way they would walk, the way they would dress; just their entire demeanor would piss you off. Vaughn knew that and honestly it made him laugh. In his mind, it wasn't his fault that his grandfather had money and influence. It wasn't his fault that he wanted to make a lot of money and had been born under resources could give it to him. That was simply the luck of the draw.
He smirked as he looked at his car, touching the key marking delicately with his pointer finger and shook his head. He wondered if the person who had done such a thing was watching him in the parking lot, gauging to see what his reaction would be. Vaughn pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number, making a show of owning the new type of cell phone and set it on speaker.
"Ray?" Vaughn said loudly. "Hey it's V, listen…some jack ass keyed my car today. Yeah I know, some people just can't handle the success of others." He chuckled loudly, running a free hand through his sleek black hair. "Yeah…tomorrow. Set me up a rental. Something fun. You know what I like." He hung up before Ray could confirm, he knew he would be ready and waiting for him at any time. Vaughn tipped well enough that he was seldom messed with. Still, scrunching up his nose he wondered what jerk had the nerve to approach his vehicle.
"Makes sense though," he muttered, realizing that even though he was done working for the day, that he still had things to do. Stepping into his car, he folded his long and lean legs to sit inside and began to crank the AC at full-blast. He pulled his Gucci shades from the dash and settled them on his nose that was just a bit too large for his face, covering his pale green eyes. After turning on the car, it began to purr like a kitten, appreciating his long form in the driver's seat. He smiled. He wasn't going to let this key thing bother him. He already annoyed with the fact that he had to stop at the local retirement home. He thought about blowing it off, but figured it wouldn't hurt.
"Crazy ass Uncle Omri," he muttered again to no one in particular as he sped down road. Uncle Omri…he was closer to his Great Uncle but he didn't feel like saying the extra word. Apparently Vaughn was one of the few relatives left that he could contact. He didn't want to visit him, but apparently there was something that he desperately wanted to keep in the family and everyone else had refused to visit him. Honestly…Vaughn wasn't even sure why he had complied. He had enough money…but as someone with money it was hard not to want to collect. Perhaps he had an old book set that he wanted to get rid of. Maybe some classic family heirloom. He was looking for something to fill the empty space above the gas fireplace in his condo…perhaps some old books? Add some 'rustic' charm to his otherwise new age apartment.
He wasn't exactly sure what Uncle Omri was going to offer him, but when he tried to ask his mother's maid…she basically shook her head sadly.
"Poor Uncle Omri," she hushed.
"What do you mean?" Vaughn had asked her sharply. "What's wrong with him? And why do people say he's so crazy?" He had heard his father talking about him before…he wanted to know what he was getting into. Was he dangerous? The maid shook her head.
"He says the craziest things," she said quietly and looked around to make sure Vaughn's parents weren't around. Despite Vaughn's aloof personality, the parents were much worse. It was as though they were stuck in another time. The 'help' should be seen but not heard. Vaughn was usually this way as well, but he was becoming desperate about learning about Omri. She lowered for Vaughn to come closer then, beckoning him. He leaned forward.
"He claims that he has magic," she whispered to him.
"Magic?" Vaughn said back loudly but she hushed him again.
"Yes…and hush. As a child…he claimed many things but as an adult…he grew up. But now in his dying days, all he can talk about is protecting his cupboard and key. And something about a 'box of people.'"
"Box of people…" Vaughn repeated with disbelief. "What nonsense. Do you think that's what he's giving to me?"
"More than likely. Apparently he talks about keeping them safe. Keeping the magic within the family. He sometimes talks about Indians and Cowboys…little folk. It's odd. No one really knows what he's talking about. Perhaps he will share it with you."
Vaughn pulled away with disgust on his face. "Oh goody. Magic and cowboys and Indians. Crazy old timer."
He pulled into the parking lot of the home. It was a typical retirement home, cold, unfriendly and well kept. For a moment he considered simply pulling away again and going home. He could use a drink and a vintage bottle of red was waiting for him. Shaking his head, he assumed that this wouldn't possibly take this long.
Humor the old bat.
Get the goods.
Get the hell out.
It was simple enough.
Vaughn checked in and the woman at the desk rose her eyebrows in suspicion.
"What's a fancy young one like you visiting Omri? I thought he said no one would be coming to see him?" she asked with skepticism.
Vaughn snatched the VISTIOR badge from her fingers. Why must people be so nosy?
"Just take me to his room please. He was the one that called me, so how about you do your job and take me there?"
The woman's face blanched at his sharp tone but she quickly regained her composure, stepping away from the desk.
"If you want to follow me," she said curtly.
Vaughn followed a few steps behind her trying not to chuckle at her frumpy form. She was young…too young to be looking the way she did. If he had seen this woman at a club…it would not have been pretty. He wondered if she found him attractive. Perhaps if she did, she would make more of an effort to look good. She stepped in front of a door.
"Here he is," she said with a frown. Vaughn lowered his chin to look at the strange woman.
"How old are you?" he couldn't help asking. Despite her unkempt appearance he was genuinely curious.
"Twenty-four," she responded. "Not that's any of your business. I'm in a relat…"
Vaughn laughed out loud. Did she think that he was hitting on her? How funny. He held up his hands.
"Calm down, I'm just wondering. You look much older than that…I'm sure…well never-mind."
"Jack ass," she mumbled and stormed away.
"Oh you like it," Vaughn spoke quietly. Shaking his head again he poked his face in the doorway.
"Uncle Omri?" he asked. "I'm here."
"Who's there?" a raspy voice came from the corner of the room. "Come inside will you?"
Vaughn stepped in to the simple room. There was a twin bed, a couch, a chair, a table, a nightstand and a TV. There was a private bathroom with a shower. But there wasn't much else. It was cold and it smelled like the inside of an unpopular library book. Vaughn shivered slightly, fearing old age. He hoped that he would never be sent to spend the rest of his older years in a room like this. It reminded him of death. Cold. Empty. Strange.
"You must be Vaughn…Abner's son," Omri spoke from his bed.
"Uh yeah…that's me," Vaughn said as he stood in front of the bed. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously as he took in the strange broken figure on the bed. You could see the hintings of what must have been a full head of strawberry blond curls, but those days were long gone. His eyes were blue, and soft. Vaughn didn't want to like him, but found himself softening under his gentle gaze. What a strange breed old people were. "So I heard that you had something?" he asked, getting straight to the point. "Something that you wanted to keep with in the family?"
He expected Omri to shame him, tell him to calm down and not be so antsy, but to his great surprise…the old man grinned.
"Under the bed," he offered to Vaughn.
Vaughn approached the bed and began to kneel down when he heard a light chuckle from the bed.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"Wasn't expecting you to muss up your suit so easily. What did that thing set you back? 100 dollars? 200?"
"You don't want to know," Vaughn grumbled and let his knees hit the floor. He nearly gasped. Despite the clean and almost empty appearance of the room, under the bed was filled with knick knacks of all sorts. "Damn, are you a hoarder or something?"
Omri chuckled again. "Something like that. Now don't get all excited, that isn't all for you."
Vaughn huffed. "Well what do you want me to grab?"
"There's a cupboard," he responded and Vaughn immediately spotted the decrepit medicine cabinet. It looked so old and so dirty that he almost didn't want to touch it but reached out any way.
"What else?" Vaughn asked next.
"The box next to it," Omri said.
Vaughn grabbed that as well.
"Is that all?"
"That's all that's under the bed. I have one more thing for you," Omri said as he listened to the spoiled boy come out from under the bed. He quickly deposited the cupboard on the box on the bed next to his feet without thought and dusted off his hands. Wouldn't want to mess up his manicure, Omri thought.
"So what is this jun…I mean stuff," Vaughn quickly corrected himself. This was what he came for? A dirty old cupboard and a box of crap?
"Open it," Omri commanded and Vaughn found himself easily complying. Swiftly he opened the cardboard box and looked in.
Hundreds of them.
Vaughn tried not to roll his eyes. An old cupboard and some damn junk. He decided to reach his hand in and pick up one of the figurines. It was old, a plastic and crude shape. It looked like a man, but Vaughn couldn't be too sure.
"So…" Vaughn asked.
"The cupboard," Omri asked. "Go ahead…put one in."
"I rather not," Vaughn huffed. "So is this it?"
"A busy lad, aren't you?" Omri chided. "Won't you humor an old man?"
"I'm humoring you by being here. Is there anything else that you need?"
"Will you take care of them?" Omri asked, his eyes glossing over slightly.
"What?!" Vaughn spat out. "Whose them?"
"My friends," he said quickly and pointed to the box. Vaughn quickly dropped the figure back inside, shutting it.
"Listen," he said with a growl. "I've had enough, okay? I've got a big day tomorrow and I can't be here playing games with you. May I please leave?"
"Are you alone?" Omri asked, ignoring his outburst.
"May. I. Go. Now?" Vaughn repeated but quickly picked up the cupboard, tucking it under his arm. Great. This suit would certainly need replaced now.
"Do you live alone?" Omri repeated back to him, just as sharply.
Vaughn rolled his eyes. "Yes. I live alone. Anything else?" he asked and sloppily picked up the box, jostling the great amount of 3-12 inch plastic figures inside.
Omri reached under his shirt, pulling out a small key hanging on his neck. "Take this," he offered to the boy. He had no choice. Vaughn was not his first pick, but he did live alone and he seemed greedy and curious enough to listen to him. The boy snatched the key out of his grasp without thinking, tossing it into the box. "They work together."
"What works together?" Vaughn asked as he strode back to the door.
"The key, the cupboard, my friends. It's all magic," Omri said. "You will see."
"You are a crazy old man," Vaughn scoffed but to his anger Omri just smiled again.
"You will see. One that lives alone…is always looking for friends. You wouldn't have come here if you weren't."
Vaughn felt his face grow hot.
"Of course I have friends! I have plenty you crazy old bastard! Now if you'll excuse me…"
"I'm sure this won't be the last I see you," Omri called to him.
"I hope to hell that it is!" Vaughn shouted back at him, ignoring the surprised looks from those in the home walking the halls.
He couldn't even control himself, he had a right mind to just throw everything in his hands in the garbage right then and there…but…
"Taxes…I'll just donate them," he muttered as he threw the cupboard and the box in the passenger seat. "I'll do that and then I'll come home. A couple figures spilled to the parking lot floor with his sloppiness but he paid them no mind. He just wanted to get home! But…he picked up the key, tucking it in his jacket pocket. "No harm in keeping this," he muttered and started the car.
That damn crazy old man! Just what the hell was he talking about? Friends…magic…toys and cupboards and keys! What rubbish! He glared at the cupboard as he drove. It was getting late.
"I'll donate the damn thing tomorrow," he grumbled. "Not that anyone would want such junk." He looked at the box. "Oh screw it!" he shouted and jerked into a parking lot. "What is a full grown man going to do with a bunch of toys??" He leapt out of his car and snatched up the box of figures, leaving the dirty cupboard. "I'm not keeping these," he said clearly as he dumped the box into a toy donation bin.
"Good riddance," he said loudly as he heard the satisfying THUNK in the bin. "At least some kid will get some joy out of those old toys."
He drove home then.
Not knowing that one figure had somehow fallen into his coat pocket…right next to the key that Omri claimed was magical. What crap, Vaughn thought as he pulled into his apartment complex.