The man stood a proud six feet with a bright pink vest and white collared, blue striped button-up shirt; his couplings were of laden gold airplanes. His checkered pants fit well to his circus-like figure and about his identity was a mouse costume mask—the man must have lost his dignity long ago to dress so bizarrely. And yet he stood composed, his hands propped into the small slits of his pink vest.
Carls was hesitant.
“Do you wish to see my merchandise?” the man asked, a red glove reaching out toward his cart. Carls betrayed a quick glance down at the Hensers. Hensers? He was selling cards?
“The Gambler,” Carls inquired, “do you know him?”
The man’s shoulders lowered, as did his tone. “Oh… so it’s you. Pity… you should have come to me first—for you can only deal with one.”
It had happened so fast. Before Carls had any moment to respond the man had vanished before him only to reappear with a boot to Locke’s chest—Carls hit hard against the center block behind him—a blade penetrating his right palm to concrete. The man reared and threw a pounding fist into Carls’ left cheek, then stepped back, scoffing.
“Nice coat you have there,” the man spoke. “Can’t say I’ve witnessed one hold so true….”
Pain surged every bit of his chest and palm. He struggled to breathe.
“Usually the first blade breaks a man—but yours withstood. Interesting, I wonder what else it can withhold.” The man stepped back and withdrew a single card from his back pocket. Carls stared blankly at the Henser as it lit to the force of blinding red rushing toward him. He felt warm; he felt the blood dripping from his palm; he felt the bruises from where blades had failed to pierce his chest (and would have if not for the miraculous coat wrapped about him).
Truly, the toy merchant it was one of the most confusing reoccurrences within the Grand Attraction. A playful game turned into a painful awakening… did he cause it all? Who is this man behind the mask of a mouse? Why is he? Carls, having chased the toy merchant all too many times, finally confronts a character all too mysterious in the first book. But questions still remain… and sometimes questions can only be answered by even deeper questions previously unasked… why another dealer? There has always been far more going on than perceived, and I am eager to unveil it all to thee in time. The first step will be in the chapters contained in the Grand Illusion, the sequel to the Grand Attraction.