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Pen

(Excerpt from Devil’s Daughter, Lucinda’s Pawnshop)

Brittany picked it up and turned it in her hands. It was heavy, solid, and felt good in her fingers. As if it just fit there. As if it had been waiting for her to walk into Lucinda’s Pawnshop and find it.
“This is a real fountain pen, isn’t it?” she asked. “The kind you have to fill from a bottle?” She tapped the little silver lever.
“Exactly. The filigree is fourteen karat gold, too. The barrel is lapis lazuli—which is why it’s so heavy—and the nib is sterling silver.”
“It still works?”

“Oh, yes. It still works. It’s not an antique, though; it was a custom piece made for a local attorney.”
“It’s from the estate of a criminal lawyer named Adam Clinton. Maybe you’ve heard of him?”
She looked down at the instrument in her hands. Suddenly the whole outing seemed like kismet. She came to a firm decision—glad she could be confident about something—and set the pen back on the pad.

“Adam Clinton,” Brittany repeated as she watched the shopkeeper wrap the little velvet box in paper and tie it with string—something she thought quaint. “I haven’t heard that name for ages. He was such a luminary in criminal law. A real success story.”
“They say success comes at a price,” the older woman said thoughtfully.
Brittany stifled a shiver, covering it with nervous laughter. “Funny. Someone else actually did say that to me today. Or something like it.”