“Watch yourself Alana, don’t want to knock this old man down do you?” He chuckled, a deep barking laugh that rumbled in his chest before he would let it escape. Alana was embarrassed; she had a fear of the dark...well not of the dark, but rather the things that lurked there. She blushed brightly as she regained her balance and looked sheepish as she looked at Samuel. With her head down she smiled at Samuel who, after seeing that Alana regained her balance, lowered his arms and laughed softly.
“Thank you Sam, I really should remember not to run up stairs shouldn’t I?” She grinned and leaned against the counter by the register. Her hip leaned gently against the strong wooden surface of the counter. The wood had been permanently warned away by years of use by the patrons sliding money across the counter to Samuel. “Did you meet anyone interesting today? Was there anyone new in town for once? Alana smiled ruefully, the last time Westerfield had a new person come for a visit, had been well over two months ago. When that had happened, a couple had gotten lost after turning off their GPS and making a wrong turn. They stopped by the Town Hall for directions and made it back to the interstate safely. Samuel laughed a bit louder and shook his head.
“I’m sorry Alana, but there weren’t any new visitors in town today. Just the usual townsfolk and Mr. Jenkins, my lawyer; and you know that I find everyone interesting, otherwise we wouldn’t spend so much time people watching.” He chuckled softly and coughed as he ran out of air before taking a breath in. He had a habit of running out of breath while talking ever since his wife passed away. Samuel smiled as he thought of Mr. Jenkins. Jenkins was an older lawyer, around the age of sixty-five, with a balding head of smoky gray hair. He once was a well-muscled man; but as his age progressed, his muscles turned into a potbelly. Alana knew that Samuel trusted the younger man, using his services annually from taxes, to legal paperwork for the store, and Mr. Samuel’s will. After he coughed, Samuel gave Alana a reassuring grin and glanced down at his hands.
They were like any elderly person’s hands, wrinkled and tanned by old age, with long fingers that tapered away like pillars. His hands were surprisingly agile, able to mend any binding and flip through the pages of a book faster than anyone Alana had ever watched read a book. She had attempted to mimic the way he read once, only to have the bookstore filled with the thunderous laughter of the elderly man. Alana still wondered what Jenkins and Samuel had spoken about, but she thought that it would be rude to ask Samuel. Taking a quick glance out the window, Alana frowned softly as she noticed the orange hue entering the sky, the ominous sign that the sun was starting to set.
“We should probably start heading home Sam, I know how you dislike walking about town after dusk. We mustn’t break the curfew either…” Since she herself had started abiding by the curfew, every mention of the night, of darkness, sent shivers down Alana’s back. Her voice had an edge of panic to it as she looked at the setting sun. She did not fear the consequences of breaking the curfew, however she did fear seeing the figure with the dark hair and eyes; nothing frightened her more than legend coming to life.
It seemed as though the rest of Westerfield shared her fear. There was no confirmation that the family line had been cut; that there existed no remaining spawn of Edmund and Emilie. The men who stormed the manor never told anyone the events of that night, only returned with the corpse of Pastor Grant and the only explanation was that the world held great evils. They never spoke about that night; they never told a single soul what had happened in the manor of Westerfield, keeping silent until their deaths.