Chapter 2 - The Corn MoonMature

I hear my alarm going off in the distance, soon I am sucked back to earth again. I open my eyes and find Merlin lying on my phone, almost as if trying to muffle the alarm so we didn't have to wake up. I smile and rub his head till he purrs and moves onto his back releasing my phone. I switched off my alarm and lie there for a moment, just cuddling him. Might be hard to believe, but Merlin works at the shop. Well, sort of. We have him there to make sure that anyone comes in has a good vibe. You'd be surprised the kind of hell you can raise with herbs. 

"Well Merlin, after a few more hours of work today. The store will be opened on Monday. Pretty exciting, huh?" I smile and rub his neck.

*Purr Purr* 

I smile and kiss his head, "Thought so." I reply and move the sheets back carefully not to disturb him. 

I walk over into the bathroom and start running the tap and grab my face cloth, tooth brush and tooth paste. I feel to make sure that the water is warm but not to hot before dipping my face cloth into it. Lately, things have been great. No issues, people alread coming and asking what the shop was. I even started working on the site. Today after breakfast I have to go around taking photos for it. 

The warm water sooths my skin, almost made me fall asleep for a moment. Last night I stayed up a little later then usual chatting with Peter back and forth on the computer. After my skin is refreshed and my teeth get a good scrub I pull out my make-up bag. But before I put my foundation and concealor on, I put on a thin layer of moisterizer. 

I put a little bit on my legs before washing my hands and applying my concealor. I use to have constant bags under my eyes, if it wasn't for concealor I'd look like the walking dead. Day to day I only put the basics on. I actually have to grab a few new things when I get my check. I grab my foundation brush and dabble it into the foundation and begin application. 

"Brrr." I mumble to myself.

I had no idea why, but my foundation always seems colder when placed on my face. After those two, I put on a thin layer of powder to help it set. And finish with a light coat of mascara and lipgloss. I make sure everything is put away and take the stuff I need to go. I secretly stash an extra concealor in my foundation colour so I have some on the run just incase. But I also always take my power in my purse. 

I grab my outfit thats hanging on my closet door. A simple blue tartan skirt with a black tshirt with a small pocket around the breast area. Mostly for style not use, clearly. I change out of my night time tshirt and shorts and slip on the skirt first and put on some deodurent and cucumber body spray my aunt makes and walk around for a moment to make sure its dry so it doesnt leave marks on my tshirt. 

I grab my boots from the hallway and slip them on. I grab my black purse with the tassle and put in my keys, phone and such before locking up and leaving the house. I hop on my scooter and ride on down to the shop. 

"Morning everyone." I greet them as I walk in the door.

"Morning." The three of them smile. 

"I just wanted to drop my scooter off before I went to grab breakfast." I add as I put my purse behind the counter.

"Oh, Margie already picked it up." 

"Oh okay." I smile and walk over to find mine in its paper bag still.

"The coffee slush is in the small fridge in the back." Margie smiles. 

I hug her, "Thanks. Had some trouble sleeping." 

She pinches my cheek slightly, "Got it with a double shot and made with chocolate milk, sprinkled with brownies." 

I beam, "Yum!" I squeak and run for it in the back. 

I sit in a little chair in the corner and enjoy my breakfast. Today she got me two breakfast sandwiches, a muffin, a couple cookies to munch on and my slush. 

"Alright. We'll tidy up when you take pictures and work on the site." Aunt Eden spoke and ruffles my hair.

I finish my muffin, "Okay. I can take a hint." I laugh and toss my garbage out.

"Try not to burn the place down while I'm gone." I laugh and grab my camera and slush.

"I don't think something like that can happen more then once." My aunt giggles.

"Oh my!" Margie replies.

"Dear of dear." Agnes adds.

Me and my aunt burst out laughing, "Kidding." I laugh and go out the door. 

 

I could hear them giggling and cackling as I went across the street to take the shot. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the angle right.

"Grrr." I mumble and try playing with the settings.

"Hey Penny."

I turn and see Lucy coming from the bus stop, she wasn't in her work outfit. 

"Hi Lucy." I smile.

"What are you up too?"

"My aunt needs me to take pictures for her website. But I cant get the right angle for the picture though. Im not really a photography person. I point and click."

"Oh, well, here. Lemme see." She replies and carefully angles herself and the camera for the shot on the stone wall. "You want as much of it in the shot right? But with some of the green around it?" She asks.

"Sounds perfect." 

After a few clicks she hoops off the wall, "Here ya go." She smiles.

I click through them, "Wow. There amazing." I look up at her. "Thanks. Alot. You probably saved my hide." I laugh slightly. 

She smiles, "No problem. I take photography at the highschool."

"Oh, really?"

She nods and hops back up on the wall, "Yeah. Its what I want to do with my life. I love how you can capture an emotion in a mere moment, and have it last forever. The rawness of it. Makes my skin crawl." She smiles.

I lean against the wall, "You seem passionate about it."

"Its my whole existance. Its something that cant be explained. Its just there, flowing through my veins. The only thing that makes me happy." She explains.

"And working at the grill?" I ask.

She laughs, "Thats just for passing time, to save up for my camera equipment. And for clothes and that."

"Ahhh. Makes sense. And I do get what you mean. About an art that calls to you. Well, I use too. I use to write. It was my everything too."

 "What happened?" She asks.

"I suppose life got in the way. Me and my aunt move around a lot. It seemed the more I packed the less time I had to pick up the pen. "

She revealed a small frown, "That's kind of sad..."

 

"Its not as bad as it sounds. Really. My aunt has done a great job raising me considering the circumstances. She the cool aunt that you wish was your mom." I smile slightly.

"Where is your mom? If you don't mind me asking."

I turn my back for a moment and feel the burning sensation of dead tears rising from the ashes, "I'd rather not get into it. Making my life seem like a sob story hasn't done all that well for me." I reply peeling them back and turning to reveal a fake smile. "Anyway, I wanted to apologize for my aunt ambusing you the other night.

She waves it off, "Oh. Its no problem. To be honest its nice having a new face around town. I'm not exactly popular." She responds. 

"Maybe because you have your own mind. Not brainwashed like the rest of society today." I laugh.

"Maybe." She smiles. "Anywho. I gotta get going. Gotta start my shift. I'll talk to you later, okay?" 

I nod, "Sure, talk to you later." 

 

I turn to the shop and see them still tidying up, so I head towards the woods. Growing up the way that I did, you learn to occupy yourself while being alone. I walk into a pathway and find a trail, one that seems to have been forgotten. 

I look back, "Just have to make sure I can find my way back." 

I follow the trail and take a deep breath of the damp earth and crushed leaves. It sent me into a haze. I feel the harsh bark beneath my fingertips, beckoning for me to go further into the soul of the wood. 

*Hoot. Hoot*

I turn into the direction of the sound and hear the painful cry. I follow it and find a small owl lying on the ground, its wing hurt with a twig stuck in it. As I got closer, it seemed to panic and tries to fly off. I rip my sweater off my arm and catch it before it crashes to the ground.

"Shhhh. Its alright. I'm not gonna hurt you." I try to whisper calmly. I lay the sweater on the ground so the owl can balence itself. I see the twig stuck in its arm. I reach for it and it tries to run away again, "Its alright. I won't hurt you." 

It calms itself down and settles itself on its feet. I lean over and take firm hold of the twig and pull it free. I put it on the ground and watch as the owl picks at its wing. It flaps its wings and hovers for a moment. 

"See. All better." I smile.

*Hoot. Hoot.* 

I watch it fly off into the woods, leaving a single wing feather in its place, "Thanks." I smile and head back towards the shop.

I hear a branch break behind me and turn to see what it was. I narrowed my eyes to focus, but I couldn't see anything. 

"Must be my imagination." I chuckle to myself and make my way out of the forest. 

I check back every few steps to make sure that the owl didnt fall injured again, after I reached outside the mouth of the woods. I'd have to play it on faith it would be okay. I find my way back and open the freshly painted door and step inside. Finally, it was finished. Streams of stars on the ceiling, works of art up and product on the shelves. 

"We wondered where you had wandered off too." Aunt Eden greets.

"I ran into Lucy outside. Then I took a walk into the woods." 

"You should be careful of the woods. Bad things happen there." Agnes replies.

"Agie, shush." Margie replies. 

My ears perk up, "What bad things?" 

Agnes sits in a chair, "Well. You see. A long time ago there use to be a society that would keep track of spirtual phenoneonon. Its written that there use to be strange attacks on innocent children. There bodies would be drained of blood and left in the middle of the forest for people to find."

"Dreadful times." Margie says shaking her head.

"Then, one day. A group of men came together to kill whatever was hiding in the woods. But they never came back."

"Never?" I ask.

Agnes shakes her head, "Never."

"The rumor was that there was a coven of evil witches in the village. They conjured a beast that would attack on the innocent children to get revenge on the men or women that scolded them. Every once in a while, they say you can hear the beast howling." 

"Such nonsense." Margie replies.

"Not nonsense. Its the untold history of Willow Creek. The families never talk of it."

"Why not?" I ask.

She leans into my ear, "Fearful that the beast will catch word. And rise again." 

"Woah..." I reply. 

 

My aunt comes over, "How did the pictures come out?" She asks.

"Oh, Lucy helped me. There great. But I have to get some of you guys. Then when its open, and of you guys serving a customer. So mind standing in front of the window?"

"Not at all." She smiles and shoves em to the window and wraps her arms around two of them.

"Say cheese." I smile and get into position.

"Cheese." They laugh and grin.

I capture the moment. 

"We ordered lunch. I got you the club sandwich to try." 

"Oh, thanks." I look at my phone, its almost 4:30 pm. "Kinda ordering lunch late aren't we?" I ask.

"Its already ordered. Yours is behind the counter so you can sit." 

It clicks in, "I really didn't think I was out that long..." 

"Thats what happens when you get lost in nature." My aunt smiles.

"...maybe." I reply and take a seat and rip open the bag. 

 

I take the small cup of mayo and open it. I take off the first peice of bread and smother it in mayo. I dip some fries into the mayo and nomming on them. I take a bite of the sandwich and feel an explosion occur on my tongue. I scarf the first piece down and dip the crispy goodness into some mayo and munched. I didn't think I was this hungry to be honest. 

"This is the best sandwich...ever." I mumble between bites of chicken and bacon. 

"Told you." My aunt smiles. "Listen, I have to pick up the flyers. Mind keeping an eye on the store while we're gone? We're gonna go around to the shops and ask them to post them." 

I nod, "Sure. No problem."

She kisses my temple as her and the ladies go out the door. I pull out my computer and log onto the town site and uploaded the stores entry, as well as posted the link to the stores site. I had a momentary lapse of judgement and pulled up the towns newspaper search engine. I put into the search bar 'beast attacks' and 'involving children' and clicked enter. Articles upon articles started popping up. Some...from present day?

"A group of local teens attended a party just before the schools semester began. Alchohol and music led to the teens moving the party deeper into the woods. After about 3 hours, a local girl 'Claire Lavigne' came running out covered in blood. Screaming at the top of her lungs that all her fellow peers were dead in the woods. After a through investigation the police came to the conclusion it was another animal attack." I read the excerpt aloud.

 

I read a few more articles and look at my phone. It was 6:25pm. 

"Crap!" I curse and put my stuff away and leave a note on the door and lock up. 

I scurry outside and wait against the wall. I touch up my lipgloss and fix my hair quickly. 

I see him rushing across the street, "Sorry. I got caught up finishing up." 

"No problem. I did too." 

"I thought that the grill would be okay?" He asks and holds his arm out.

"Sounds perfect." I reply and pat his arm down. 

We walk across the way and down the sidewalk, passing all the shops. The sky had just finished putting on its starry cloak when he opens the door for me. We walk in, surprisingly it was full of people our age. We walk past the group tables and go up the few steps towards the billiards and take a seat at a cozy table by the fire.

"What can I get for you?" 

"Hmm. I'd like a bacon cheese burger fully loaded with mayo and ketchup, with fries and a chocolate shake." Peter replies.

"Wow, talk about carbivore." I laugh.

"I'm a guy. Guys chow down." He chuckles.

"Well, I never." I pretend to be offended. "I'll have the same. Just to prove its not a guy thing." 

He laughs, "Your stomach will burst." 

"I'm not like most girls. I actually eat carbs." 

"Two soda while we wait tho." He replies to the waiter.

"Coming up." 

 

I looked at the time, Lucy was probably off shift right now. The server looked young though, just old enough to work. 

 

"So how was your day? How are things going with the shop?" He asks.

I break a breadstick in half, "Good. We'll be ready to open on Monday. Have to admit that I'm a little nervous."

"I didn't notice, but what kind of store is it?" 

I take a bite of the bread stick, "Well, its a natural store. We make all the products. Its a botanical shop. We sell lotions, shampoos, conditioners, soaps. That sorta thing." I explain.

"Sounds interesting. Maybe it'll help spice things up around here."

I tilt my head, "What do you mean?"

"Well things have always been the same for as long as I can remember. Same people, stores. Expectations."

"Seems like this town lives with its nose pressed against the glass." I reply.

He shrugs, "Image seems to be everything." 

A blonde girl with the features of a gossip girl comes up to our table, glaring at me with a look of total disgust. "Clearly not for this one." She snuffs.

"Ruthy, back off." Peter replies.

"Peter, look at her. She is a trainwreck. Hardly any make-up, old boots. Don't get me started on her outfit." She shrieks. 

"Just because something is different, doesn't mean its ugly." I reply. 

"Freak." 

I shrug, "Guess its a good thing that this freak doesn't care about what you think." 

She grabs a cup of water and tosses it all over me, "What do you think of that?" 

I stand up and grab a napkin, "I think your pathetic." I turn to Peter, "Sorry. But I really don't need this diva to be all in my face. I'll talk to you later." I reply and walk away.

She grabs my arm, "Don't you dare walk away from me!" She shouts. "No one walks away from me."

I pull my arm free, "Funny. That's exactly what I was doing. Now back off." 

I felt my heart racing, my blood pumping. The winds outside seemed to roar. I could feel her hatred, coming off like a thick black aura. Why, I have no clue. I didn't do anything wrong. The glass in her hand broke under her grip, and I felt a slice of fear cut through me. I stood my ground as I saw her come towards me. I felt my heart explode.

*Crash!*

A loud shatter pierces the silence for a moment. A branch smashed into the window next to us. Ruth caught off guard falls over the railing and lands on her arm.

"What the fuck?!" The girl curses.

I go to help her up, "Are you alright?" 

She smacks my hand away and pushes herself up, "Don't touch me. You'll regret the day you met me. I promise you this." She replies craddling her arm and walks off. 

Peter walks up to me, "You alright?" He asks.

I shrug, "I didn't do anything wrong."

He rubs my arm, "I know. Cmon, go clean up. I'll get our meals to go. We can try this again some other time. After work and the drama, you're probably tired."

"You wouldn't mind?" 

He shakes his head, "Nah. Don't worry about it." 

I pat his arm, "Thanks Peter. I'll be right back." 

 

I walk towards the rest room and try to dry myself off as best as I could. I text Aunt Eden to see if she was back. She had just got back to the shop and would be leaving in a few minutes. I reply that I'll be over shortly. I take my damp sweater off and fix up my hair before going back out to see a bag of food on the counter and Peter, gone.

"Hey, did you see where my friend went?" I ask the kid.

"He told me to tell you he had to go. But to enjoy the food." He replies.

"Oh. Alright." I take the bags, "Thanks." 

"No problem." He smiles and wipes the counter.

 

I open the door and walk down the way towards the shop. I wonder why he took off. My aunt was locking up the shop when I put the food in the backseat of the van. I get in, just as she comes around the hood of the van and gets in next to me. 

"How was dinner?" She asks.

"I'll tell you about it tomorrow at breakfast. I just wanna get home and watch some tv." I reply hiding the shivers.

"Kay sweetie." She smiles and puts the car in drive.

The End

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