This is a follow-up to Strange Rain.
* * *
Callie White made a hurry-up motion with her old wrinkled hand. Miss Hill didn’t react at all. She just stood there.
“Well?” asked the old woman in the cloak.
“Well, indeed,” Miss Hill finally spat out. “I’m not going to put this … this thing on,” she said shaking the cloak, “or go anywhere without a few answers.”
The old woman was completely unruffled. She seemed, well, bored. Seconds ticked past. An old grandfather clock in the back of the antique store began to chime. “Oh, dear me, Miss Hill. I would be ever so glad to answer your questions, but,” she pointed a crooked index finger in the air, “you haven’t asked any.”
She stomped her foot on the dusty hardwood floor. “Ahhh!” she wailed. In her exasperation, she had forgotten she was wearing flip flops. “Are you kidding me?” she asked rhetorically.
“No,” replied Ms. White. She folded her hands over her chest, tilted her head, and grinned an all-knowing smile.
“That wasn’t … oh, just never mind. Who are you people anyway? How come you keep popping up and seem to know me? It’s unnatural.”
Ms. White cackled loudly. It startled Audrey. Frightened her even.
“What’s so funny?” Miss Hill did a double take, stared at the old woman’s mouth. “Your teeth are … perfect,” she mumbled. They looked like the teeth of someone much younger. Perhaps a teenager’s.
The old woman wheezed in a huge breath and the laughter stopped quicker than it had started. “It’s not unnatural at all, my dear. It’s supernatural. But, I can see my colleague Mrs. Black has done a poor job of it. That, I can.” She tapped her pointy toed black shoe three times on the floor.
Miss Hill’s stomach growled as if on cue.
“Precisely,” said Ms. White as if she was talking to Audrey’s stomach itself. “There is a nice little place down the street. We’ll get a piece of cake, some coffee, and, well, discuss the business of the Wentcloutan.” She tapped her chin, pondering. “Yes, I think so.”
Miss Hill still stood in the entrance way, once again slack-jawed.
“Do put the cloak on and come along. I’m wise enough to know that if we stall around here too much longer, the buttercream cake will sell out.”
Copyright © 2014 Eric Schweitz