Author's Notes:

Well I tried to fix the typos and make the quotes new paragraphs. Thanks for the tips Krazy4Christ. There's also a reason why my stories are so short. They were originally written to fit within the constraints of "one post" in a gamefaqs message board. I pretty much just used what I had previously with a few slight changes. If I write anything new though, I'll be sure to make it longer. It's much more difficult to make a story shorter than it is to make it longer. This one, for example, had to be seriously crunched down, which accounts for the hurried pacing. I had to leave out things that probably would have made it flow better.

The Most Heartless Human Being Alive

Manna, Anna, and Sasha were in the town square. It was Saturday afternoon, and they were gossiping as usual. Just then Gotz passed them by on the way to Jeff's store. He barely glanced at them and gave only a grunt as a greeting.

"He must have been in a hurry." Sasha said kindly as she followed Gotz with her eyes.

At this Anna sniffed.

"Well, he must always be in a hurry then, because he never seems to have time to say a kind word to anyone."

"Well are you really surprised? You do know his story, don't you?" Manna whispered eagerly, as she leaned in closer to her friends.

"I don't!" Sasha whispered back.

"Neither do I! Tell us!" Anna cried.

Manna's eyes brightened at the opportunity to spill such a juicy piece of gossip.

"Gotz is probably the most heartless human being alive." she said emphatically. "You know about his wife and daughter? How they both took sick and died?"

"Yes." Sasha said, "Poor things. How old was his daughter? It was only a few years ago, I believe."

"His daughter was five, the poor dear." Manna continued, "And it was three years ago yesterday."

"Yesterday?" Anna said incredulously, "but Gotz was working as usual yesterday. I wouldn't have even guessed it."

"Well, that won't be a surprise after you hear this story." Manna replied. "Gotz's wife and child had been sick for a while, and it was not very likely that they would get well. Sure enough, after a few months, Gotz's wife passed away, and his daughter soon followed. A small funeral was held a few days later."

"Yes." Sasha said gently, "It was private. No one was there except for Gotz and Carter."

"Duke was there." Manna said. "Carter needed help with the caskets. Duke told me that Gotz didn't shed one tear for his family. He seemed hurried and eager to leave. He claimed he had work to do."

"Work?!" Anna exclaimed, "On the day of his wife and child's funeral?"

"Yes. On that very same day he chopped all the lumber that he could find and dragged it up to the mountain. That's when he built the mountain cottage. He spent months on it." Manna said angrily. "He never even grieved for his supposed loved ones."

"The mountain cottage, is that the one he's selling for 100,000,000g?" Sasha asked.

"Well! we know what is in Gotz's heart." Anna said acidly. "Money and nothing else. I hope he's satisfied with his wealth. He'll never get much more out of life with his sour attitude. Imagine such a high price! who would pay it?!"

"He must think someone will." Manna said. "and to think...to this day he hasn't shed one tear."

"Disgracefull!" Anna said angrily.

By this point in the conversation, Gotz was on his way home. The anniversary of his family's funeral was fresh in his mind. Voices echoed in his ears.

"Daddy! Daddy! Can you build anything?"

"I'll build anything for you, my love."

"I want my own cottage so I can play house in the mountains and be near you while you're working!"

Laughter echoes in his ears.

"A cottage in the mountains! now when is your father going to find time to build that?"

"I'll make time! I have all the time in the world for you two."

Gotz had reached his door. He was staring at the price list for his services. Next to "Mountain Cottage" the price of 100,000,000g was listed.

"No one will be able to afford it."

Something welled up in Gotz's heart, got caught in his throat, and reached his eyes. His vision was blurred so that he could no longer read the sign, but in the pouring rain, no one would ever know.

By Zinovia H. Hatzipetros