Casual ConversationMature

Miriam was a strange woman, everyone in Cattal knew that. For one thing, she almost always wore articles of clothing that were black, white, or gray, except on Sundays. She always wore robin's egg blue then. She usually stuck to the latest styles, but at parties she loved to wear things that would never fail to astonish the villagers. Once, she wore a billowy gown all the way from the 1920's that showed her ankles. Another time she showed up in a pair of trousers. She appeared to enjoy the chaos her appearances would create. Once, when asked to have pity on the womens' weak constitution, she laughed and called them silly things, saying that those girls wouldn't be nearly as weak if they didn't strap themselves into corsets all the time.

She was old, very old. All the old timers in the village remembered seeing her in their childhood, and claimed that she looked the same then as she did now. And yet, she never seemed to  act her age. She would titter like a schoolgirl one day, and scold like a mother the next. She would complained about her old age, and then she would go flying down the streets after some rambunctious youth, surprised by the speed with which she would overtake them.

She was well known, and yet no one knew her all that well. She didn't socialize much, and was constantly holed up in her house. This, coupled with her old age and strange behavior made many think she was a witch. But she was too well respected and feared (mostly feared) for any one to made that charge against her. Only one person knew the truth, and Miriam followed him that moonlight night, using the shadows for cover. She knew he would notice her eventually, and sure enough, he paused and turned to face her.

"Good evening." There was no 'Ms. Parson, why are you following me?' or 'What in heaven's name do you think you are doing?' Her eccentric behavior was too well known for that. She fell in step beside him.

"What was it tonight, Samuel?"

He scowled. "My name is Demrin, and it has been Demrin for decades."

"Oh, but you will always be Samuel to me." She smiled at him. This argument had been going on for a while, and Demrin still refused to give up on telling Miriam to use his new name.

"So, what was it?"

"A ghoul." He turned to her. "I hope that it did not belong to you."

It was her turn to scowl. "My ghouls are well trained. If they so much as sneeze out of turn I'll have them punished!" Her expression softened, and she began to speak in a casual tone once again.

"What did you do to the creature?"

"I banished it."

"But Samuel, I told you to sent any ghouls you found to me. I could always use more help around the house."

"It is too dangerous to have too many in the village. I worry enough about the three you have."

Miriam sighed. "Very well. Tell the Reverend that I am deeply sorry about his mother dying tomorrow." Before Demrin could ask her to clarify she vanished, leaving him alone.

She ended up being the first person to visit the Reverend Gregory the next morning, long before anyone else even knew she had died. The villagers just shook their heads.

The End

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