Todd threw pebbles down into the stone well. The moon shone fully onto his lean face. His eyes slowly moved to look behind him. As he turned, a smirk came over his face. "Ah, so you did figure it out."

"Well, there aren't many true wishing wells in this country." The young man was casually dressed in a t-shirt and trousers. "I hear that there are normally three tests..."

"And you wonder if this counts as your first," Todd chuckled. His chuckle sounded empty of mirth. Taking three strides, he arrived in front of the young man. The shirt had the name of some band that he had never heard of. His eyes took notice of the simple leather necklace around the young man's neck. "Take your hands out of your pockets." As the man's hands left his pockets, Todd grabbed one and pushed a coin into it. "Make a wish."

The coin was old and made of silver. Following Todd towards the well, the young man flipped the coin across his knuckles. "What does this exactly show?"

Todd leaned against the stone well. "Go on. Make one." Sighing, the young man flipped the coin into the well. "Now, remember. Don't tell anyone, or it might not come true." Todd walked over to another side of the well, and pulled out a rope that went down into the depths of the well. "There's an old fable about the wishes in a well." He began pulling the rope up. "It's said that if a wish comes true, one will pay a price."

"Of course, it only makes sense."

A bucket began to show as the rope came further upward. "But there's an old trick that most people don't know about." The bucket reached the top of the well, and Todd pulled the bucket on top of the rim of the well.

The bucket was full of coins, including silver and gold. The young man bit his lip.

"The trick says that if one simply plucks the coin that the wisher used, the wish will go to him while the wisher still has to pay the price." Todd pulled out a large gold coin from the bucket. "Would you like a free wish?"

The young man nodded slowly, and Todd tossed him the coin. As he held the coin in his hand, the air suddenly felt colder. The coin warmed his palm, but his wrist felt as though it was being held by ice.

Then he felt a tug. A pull. "What's going on?" Glancing upwards at Todd, the moon reflected perfectly into a skeletal face. Todd was simply standing there, watching the struggle. The young man hit his head as he was pulled fully inside the well, no scream coming from him.

A splash could be heard, and then nothing else.

"Brave boy. Stupid, but brave." Todd took the silver coin he had given from the bucket, and put it in his pocket. "Never take a Well Spirit's possessions without having protection." He pushed the bucket back into the well, and calmly walked away from the well.

This has been A Modern Magician's Tale.

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