“I need a story. Have you got one?” the small boy asked.
“I have many. Why do you need a story?” the Story trader replied.
“Because I am empty.”
“You want me to make you care?”
“Yes.” The small boy was determined.
The Story Trader bowed her head and the hood of her cape fell over her face. “What have you got to trade?” her voice seeped out from under the fold of dark material.
The small boy swallowed hard and forced his hand deep into his pocket. He paused and breathed deeply. He held out his hand and opened his palm.
“This,” he said, “is what I have to trade.”
On his palm sat his attention. He knew it was all the Story Trader needed. The whole town knew it was all the Story Trader needed. That it fed her, nourished her, and encouraged her. It was a small price to pay for the world she would give him in return, for the emotional journey he would take when she told him tales of wild and wonderful things. Stories happened all over the town, but only the Story Trader was clever enough to lure people in, to make them gasp, and to make their hearts pound. Without her, the town’s stories were lost in boxes, cracks in walls, under loose tiles, and in cobwebbed corners.
With a sudden and fast swoop of her caped arm, the Story Trader grabbed the boy’s attention.