In the odd, quirky place called Rowan Springs the supernatural exists side-by-side with small town politics and unusual characters. Don’t be misled by the pretty houses and gardens, for where the sun shines the brightest, the shadows are the darkest.
Did you see my NEW STORY SERIES on INSTA? To get caught up, just start reading below (and follow the hashtag #RowanSpringsStories to get new installments as they happen).
He’d walk by the gate 100 times and it was never opened. However, today it was ajar. Perhaps someone was finally going to buy the Whyte’s old place.
He stepped closer, just for a quick look to confirm the condition of the garden was as bad as he believed it would be. Someone would have a job making this manageable again.
In a moment, he was surprised to find that he was across the threshold. There in the back – a black rectangular void set inside the bluff’s wall at the far end showed yet another door.
Hello, he called and hearing a voice, so familiar, so urgent, he rushed forward.
When Albert returns home he is accompanied by his new wife: a lady with long golden hair that sweeps the floor, eyes the color of ice, and a fixed grin that shows the points of her teeth.
His neighbor’s make a call to his out-of-state children but neither are concerned. Their father has no money and if this new woman thinks that she can discover it on her own, good luck.
The garden store has a rush on Rowan bushes even though the hot weather makes it a poor time for planting.
Each day Albert’s smile grew more blindingly manic as his wife’s form grew fatter. Together they strolled the crooked sidewalks through town, him patting her hand as he repeated the same phrases over and over again.
“This is the church. We got married there. This is the store where we buy our bread. This is the bus stop. Let us get on, supper will be waiting.”
Contented, she waddled beside him, curious about the places around her. But her eyes were always watching him with a hungry worship comparable to children seeing the pie table on Christmas Day.
A Beguiler does not let go until her appetite is fully satiated and Albert was being scooped out by her devouring appetite, transforming him into a grinning Jack-O-Lantern.
Finding a fast food chain, the couple stopped for a quick drink and sandwich before leaving the small tourist town. As they pulled up, the teen girl at the drive-through window repeated their order in a voice limp with boredom. :
She had long straight black hair, black eyeshadow, and a septum nose ring. It was her first day at the job. Standing behind her, the round, humpty-dumpty form of her manager gave his trainee an encouraging smile while nodding to the customers. “You’re doing great!” he told her before scampering off to pull fries out of the fryer. :
After hexing her brother’s girlfriend, her parents had insisted she show some responsibility by getting a job. The witch hoped she could survive until her first payday. She needed to buy some more spay paint.
Mayor Hennessy really didn’t want to deal with the Albert problem. Ever since Albert had ruined her book club meetings she hadn’t felt very forgiving of his little foibles.
Spending time on trying to foil a Beguiler who was sucking an irritating town resident dry wasn’t high on her list. She was already juggling the 911 calls about tourists falling down the steep stairs on Spring St., the sinkhole on Maple Ave., and the flagrant disregard of the sound ordinance by the bar downtown.
“But there’s no guarantee the Beguiler will go back when it gets done with Albert, is there?” said the astrologer who had brought the problem, not for the first time, to her office.
“Why did he open the damn gate to begin with?” fumed Hennessy. The astrologer replied, “Knowing Albert, he probably opened that gate out of curiosity.”
“Does Albert like to watch Mooncalled?” asked Lyssa, while continuing to text on her cell phone without pause. Her mother, Mayor Hennessy frowned. “Why aren’t you at work? And what does a television show, no matter how popular it is, have to do with anything?”
“It’s a soap that sucks you right in,” explained her daughter.
“And everyone knows that the only way to detach a Beguiler is to give its victim a better obsession,” mused the mayor, who if her daughter’s idea actually worked, meant she might have to lift her punishment for hexing David’s girlfriend.
Rowan Springs is definitely an odd little tourist town in Mid-America. But don’t let the Painted Ladies and flowers fool you!
About twice a month I’ll post a recap here on my blog for those who may have missed the stories on my Instagram or for those who might have lost the order of events.