There it was. You could see the corner of the folded yellowed parchment sticking out of the torn lining of the battered book. Excited about my discovery, I pulled the parchment out of the book. The ink had already half faded, but I could still read it. I stared at the numbers and symbols, astonished at the amount of detail and accuracy. I was one of the very few to have ever held Einstein’s work in my hands. Perhaps even the only one ever to have held this exact work in my hands. My fingers tingled with the thrill. Soon I would be rich. This work must be worth millions, perhaps even more.
I clutched the piece to my chest and turned around to leave. I froze. A gun was pointed at my head. The corners of the mouth twitched in amusement at my expression.
“Hand it over,” the man said through the slit of his hood. He was dressed entirely in black, his gloved hands curled around the gun.
Trembling, I reluctantly handed over the paper. The money that I had been imagining just seconds before seemed to vanish to dust and I was once again just a beggar on the street.
The man carefully took the paper and, the gun never wavering from my head, he backed out of the basement. Then he was gone.
I dropped to the floor and wept.
Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, Week #8 – 2016