“Hey you! Do you want to know an easy way to get money?”
Daniel is an ordinary, average young man with everyday problems most average people could relate to. At 20 years old and while struggling to find a job while facing being turned away, life goes haywire when he is handed a red banking book with the words, ‘Life Bank’ scrawled across the front.
Little does Daniel know, the book – and issuing bank – belongs to the devil. When faced with the choice of trading years of his own life for large sums of money, Daniel gladly obliges. But before he knows it, his life is cut short by more than half, as every action he partakes in proves to have dire consequences.
‘Money is the root of all evil’, as the saying goes. Just how much do you think your own life is worth?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Time = Money is a concept we all know but doesn’t truly understand. We humans have the tendency to spend most of our time (life) in getting money only to discover that money cannot buy us the happiness we wanted so badly.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
They are just normal day to day people you meet on the streets.
Daniel looked up and stared at the tall skyscrapers blocking the majority of the sky and clouds. He sighed. So many buildings, so many companies, so many jobs, and yet he still hadn’t managed to secure employment. He looked down, his heart hurting. He had failed the interview that had ended a few minutes ago.
He thought back to what had happened. The interviewer had told him, “Can you make me remember you in one minute?”
He stood up and walked up to the interviewer and slapped him.
Well, he was extremely sure that the interviewer remembered him—but oh, well, he’d lost the job.
His mind continued to wander as his heavy limbs continued to carry himself home. How should he explain what had happened to his mother, who had such high hopes? This was his tenth interview, and he’d gotten it based on the recommendation of a friend. He had absolutely promised his mum that he would secure this job no matter what. It was all the interviewer’s fault! If he hadn’t wanted Daniel to slap him, he shouldn’t have made such a silly demand! Daniel had only done what he’d asked!
“Hey there, young man!” someone shouted in the background. “Stop!”
Daniel felt a tap on his shoulder, which woke him up from his reverie.
“What is it?” Daniel flicked the hand off his shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” The man jumped back, a little startled. He was an ordinary, bespectacled middle-aged man. He was clean shaven, and wore a well-pressed shirt and a tie.
It is his fault for disturbing me. Daniel thought, his bitterness over the interview seeping through.
“I just need a minute of your time,” the man said.
“Can we talk over a drink?” He quickly added, “My treat, I insist.”
Daniel thought for a second. Having a drink with a stranger was definitely better than returning home to face his mother. Even a few hours of delay would be welcome. “Sure.”
They walked into a burger restaurant and sat down in a corner by the window. “Here, go get whatever you want,” the man said and handed him a ten dollar note.
“What should I get for you?”
“Cappuccino will do. Thanks.”
Daniel walked over to the counter, and then briefly looked back. What a weird man. Is he a con? He wondered. But then he assured himself, there is nothing for him to con. I’m totally broke. He’s the one giving me money! He returned his gaze to the menu on the wall. He might as well get himself a good free lunch.
Shortly thereafter, Daniel brought back a tray of hot food and sat down. “So, what do you have to tell me?” he asked.
“There is no hurry. Come, eat your meal first. I have good news for you.”
Yeah, right! Good news, just what Daniel needed right now.
“Go on, eat.” The man urged.
Daniel picked up a fry and began to chew. “I can listen while eating. So, what is your good news all about?”
“Ever heard of financial freedom?”
Ohhhh noooo, it’s a boring insurance agent’s speech. Daniel swallowed the fries and heaved a little sigh. At least there is free food¬—and a delay before I have to face my mother.
“Yes,” Daniel said noncommittally. “I’ve heard of it a few times.” He made sure the words ‘a few times’ were emphasized.
“Ahhh, that’s good. That will make this a little simpler.” The man smiled and continued, “Oh, I think I forgot to introduce myself. I am Raphael.” He stood up and extended his hand.
Daniel started, but recovered. “Nice to meet you, Raphael, I’m Daniel.” He briefly brushed his oily hands on his trousers before taking Raphael’s hand and squeezing tightly, giving him a slight nod.
Raphael sat and began again. “So, I am talking about financial freedom. A simple way to explain it is that it is having enough money to live without needing to work actively for basic necessities.”
Daniel nodded, not exactly interested. He eyed his big burger with great interest. Soon, he was savoring the juicy beef patty in his mouth.
Raphael didn’t seem to notice or care. He continued his well-crafted speech. “There are a few ways to achieve financial freedom. You can invest in stocks and shares that give dividend, buy an insurance that pays out when you reach retirement, or start a business that provides a passive income. I am here to offer you something else.” He took a red booklet from his pocket and placed it on the table. “This is a bankbook.”
Daniel turned his gaze from the scenery outside the window to the table top. The red book had a special draw to it, as if it were alive. He put down the burger and wiped his hands with his napkin before touching it. The book pulsed with energy, drawing him to it.
“This is a special bankbook; we called it the Life Bank.” Raphael spoke, drawing Daniel’s attention. “It converts your life into money. Open it and take a look.”
Daniel hands trembled as he slowly flipped open the bankbook. His eyes opened widely when he saw the number: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven digits. Wow, a total of more than seven million dollars! $7,524,765.86, to be exact.
“This is how much your life is worth. In other words, it is how much life you have left,” Raphael explained. Daniel didn’t really bother to listen; he was totally engrossed in the string of numbers.
“Hey, listen here!” Raphael waved his hands in front of Daniel’s face to get his attention.
This managed to break his mesmerisation. “Yes, you were saying?” Daniel said sheepishly.
“Before I give it to you, I need to explain a few things.” He took the red booklet from Daniel’s hand and put it back into his pocket. “Now that I have your attention, let me ask you this important question: how much do you hope you can earn a month by the time you retire?”
“Hmmm, with my education and polytechnic diploma, if I can hit five to six k a month, I will be very happy,” Daniel murmured to himself as did mental sums. “At least eight thousand a month,” he replied to Raphael, with a smile. Better to give a higher value so there is more room for bargaining, right? Just like any smart Singaporean will do.
“What if I told you that I would give you ten thousand, tax free, for every month of your life—by which I mean, in exchange for a month of your life?”
“You want me to sell you my life?” Daniel was shocked.
“What’s wrong with that? Is it not what everyone is doing when they sell their lives to companies for their monthly salaries?”
Daniel gave what he’d just heard serious thought. “Well, you do have a point there.”
“This is even better than an ordinary job like that, because you don’t have to do a single thing. When you sell your life to a company, you need to sweat and work at least eight to twelve hours a day. Occasionally, you may even need to work overtime.”
“Hmmm, that’s also very true.”
“So, do you want it?”
“Do I have to decide now? Can I have a few days to consider the offer?”
“Sure.” Raphael smiled and brought out the red bankbook again, this time with a cheque-book. “Here. Take them.”
Daniel took them. “So if I accept it, how should I withdraw the money?”
“That’s what I am going to tell you next. Now, listen carefully. If you agree to sell your life, all you need to do is place a drop of your blood on the dotted line in the contract page.” Raphael took the bankbook and flipped to the first page. It stated the following:
Yes, you. I hear your frustrations and now offer you this chance of a lifetime. The bankbook in your hands holds the money that your life is worth. Sign on the dotted line below with a drop of your blood and the contract is sealed.
Let me warn you though: this is an account that only allows withdrawals. If you understand, I wish you luck and hope you enjoy your new found wealth.
Oh, and another thing. When the account reaches zero, I will claim your soul!
(Signature of person whose soul is to be sold)
Daniel felt a chill running down his spine as he finished reading the contract and he swallowed hard.
Raphael ignored his reaction and continued. “Once you’ve signed, you are officially the owner of the bankbook. To withdraw money, all you need to do is fill out a cheque from this cheque book. Tear out the cheque and burn it. Within 24 hours, you will receive the money.”
“Huh. What if I don’t receive the money?”
“Don’t worry about it. It can come in any form, but you will surely receive it,” Raphael assured Daniel. “Now, go home and think about it. You have only five days to decide, so I wouldn’t think on it too long. If you don’t sign with your blood by the end of the fifth day, the bankbook and cheque book will disappear.”
Daniel reached his house, mind still filled with dollar signs. He had forgotten about his failed interview.
“Daniel, how did your job interview go?” A familiar voice broke out, and it wasn’t his mother’s. It belonged to Linda, his girlfriend of four years. Shouldn’t she be working right now?
“Er, they say they will inform me within the week,” Daniel lied.
“I thought they would tell you today, since it was your friend who recommended you.”
Ignoring that, Daniel asked, “How come you are here? Shouldn’t you be working?”
“I took leave today so I could surprise you.”
“Yup, I am surprised.” He smiled, wondering whether he should share the bankbook with her. He concluded he shouldn’t; no one would really believe it anyway, and who knew? That Raphael might just have been playing a prank on him. He knocked himself on his head. How stupid was he, to believe such a trick?
“What happened?” Linda asked, with a puzzled look at the sudden change in Daniel’s mood.
“Nothing. Nothing. I am just tired. I will take a nap before we eat.” Daniel walked into his room, feeling really stupid.
“Okay, I will call you when dinner is ready.”
Back in his room, Daniel took out the bankbook and cheque book and dumped them on his super-single bed. He slumped onto his bed prone, facing them. He felt like kicking his own butt. This must be a fraud, he thought. Whoever heard of selling your soul for money? As an atheist, he didn’t even believe in souls.
Somehow, his mind could think much better when the salesman was not around to urge him on.
Daniel opened the two books and flipped through them multiple times. There was nothing special at all about them; they totally looked real except for the bank name and logo. The balance was tempting, very tempting.
He pulled a calculator from his side table and started punching in numbers. “Divided by ten thousand and then divide by twelve,” he murmured softly as his heart pumped excitedly. “Wow, 62 years plus. I am twenty… so I can live to almost 85 years old!”
He smiled sheepishly and said to himself, “Minus a few years—also not an issue. I will be happy to live till 75.” His mind drifted off, fantasizing about how much the bankbook was worth and what he could buy with that money.
Twenty minutes later, he woke from the daydream when he heard a call. “Dinner is ready! Come out and eat.”
“Coming!” He stared at the bankbook again. Too bad it wasn’t real, really too bad.
“Arghh, how stupid of me to believe him!” Daniel exclaimed as he got off his bed. Angrily, he threw both books into his drawer of the writing table and closed it—as if to lock up his memory of all that that had happened an hour ago.
Born in 1978 and raised in Singapore, Author Magus Tor is a Freelance Medical Doctor (M.D.) by day, and a witty, thought provoking writer and game designer by night. It was by a strange, mysterious happenstance that he began writing, as he always despised the very thing he does so well.
Magus began writing when he realized he needed an outlet for the images and ideas crammed inside his overcrowded mind, it was then that his first book, New Dawn, was written in 2007 and published in 2008 by way of iUniverse.
After a writing hiatus spanning over the course of a few years due to working on game development, Magus emerged back onto the writing scene with a vengeance, publishing yet another work of art–‘D-Nine: Protectors of the Crown’, after working on a card game called Dragon Nine Playing Cards. It is within real life and dreams that Magus Tor finds the inspiration for his most famous and thrilling novels, which can be a blessing…or a curse.
With other releases such as Life Bank, The Phantom of Misery Sea, Dream Killing and other must read novels available in Paperback and eBook format, Magus Tor is only just beginning. The works of Magus Tor can be found available for purchase on Amazon.
Although writing for Magus is a Love/Hate relationship, Magus Tor writes all of his stories and novels to keep you on the edge of your seat gripped with suspense, and dying to know what the next page holds.
So, hang on to your seats and grab a Tor classic – it’s about to be a bumpy ride.
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!