Kenneth James was an ordinary man with an extraordinary ego. He had achieved many things in his seventy-two years of life. As he stood in the master bedroom of his estate, fire roaring and silk curtains blowing with the assistance of the violent wind, he recalled some of his life’s greatest moments.
He began with his takeover as the head of his father’s hedge fund management company after spending so many years as a party boy, finally to be taken seriously. He recalled the many family holidays abroad with his children aboard a private yacht. And how could he forget, three no-expense-spared weddings?
It was for his third marriage to Lady Eleanor (a small lady with undistinguished features and the voice of a mouse) that guests gathered outside in his ample garden this evening. It was their 30th wedding anniversary and the social event of the season. Notorious busybody Petunia Porter could be heard admiring Lady Eleanor’s singing begonias from the open window perhaps too enthusiastically whilst her husband started on the buffet. A selection comprising of homemade mini quiche and vol-au-vent’s, he gathered them into his gullet without hesitation.
Lord James was not the handsome bachelor he once was to the outside world, but he felt as youthful as ever. He wished more than anything to be the man he once was. After pouring himself a wee dram of whiskey, he sauntered over to the full length mirror in the corner of the room.
He stood before it.
Bringing up an aging hand up to his face, he examined his furrowed brow and facial wrinkles with his withered fingertips. Reflected in the now glowing mirror was an image of the past, a young Lord James – skin smooth and youthful. Muscular and athletic.
“Like what you see?” a deep, sonorous voice rang out across the room. His Lordship could do nothing but admire his new-found youth, nodding his head rapidly, his eyes wide in amazement.
“All you have to do is give me your body” the voice boomed once more. Oblivious to the events taking place in the master bedroom, the guests of the garden party began to dance to the tune of a brass band as they drank generous servings of rum punch.
Light poured out of the bedroom window, engulfing Lord James in the process. “Yes!” he affirmed “I want to be young again, I want to be beautiful!”.
“Your wish is my command!” the mysterious voice echoed out through the estate, instantaneously dragging Lord James towards the mirror. Within seconds His Lordship was no more, his body passing through the mirror, leaving nothing but a pile of tailored clothes and a smashed tumbler of whiskey on the floor before it. The fine crystal glass sat in smithereens on the floor, happily reflecting the light from the fire.
Maria Fernanda, the family’s maid for many a year passed the bedroom and spotted the glass on the floor. Tutting, she entered the room and swept up the glass with a dustpan and brush. She folded the clothes on the wooden floor and placed them neatly on the chair next to His Lordship’s bed.
“Maria!” a soft voice attempting to assert power beckoned her from outside. She left the room at once and returned to the garden party, serving Lady Eleanor’s guests until well past midnight.