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The Shadow of the Beast

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Cassidy Finch
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 01 Feb 2013
Posts: 55
See this user's pet
Jobs: Artist, Schoolteacher
Can Be Found: Rookery Row
2325.68 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:36 am    Post subject: The Shadow of the Beast Reply with quote

Merry ringing sounded out Cassie?s arrival at Wendenheim?s Books where she paused in the doorway to say goodbye to Tralle. In public his affections were muted but the touch of his hand to the curve of her hip that bordered on possessive told her another story within the context of their private interactions. Their exchange was low, kept between them for the sake of softly mumbled farewells before she cast him the light of a fond smile and watched him go, his shoulders hunched against the cold that had taken hold of the Row.

?You?re lettin? the cold in, girl. C?mon now.? The shop?s proprietor Wilbur Wendenheim called from behind the solid oak front counter. Cassie blushed and quickly shut the door, jarring the bells once more. As they stilled, she unwrapped her scarf from around her head, draping the soft blue fabric over the hook of a coatrack sporting several heavier jackets and a worn felt bowler hat.

?Good afternoon!? She chirped, chipper bright despite the chill that had wriggled its way into her bones on the walk over. There was no denying that winter was here but she refused to let it put a damper on her demeanor. Wendenheim looked not at her but rather the shop?s front windows, watching Tralle?s shadow fade as it passed until he was but an afterthought for the building?s facade. Then and only then did he exhale a breath that Cassie didn?t realize he was holding.

?Afternoon indeed. Whether it?s good or not?s yet to be seen. Coffee? Tea?? He asked, shuffling away from her to stoop before an electric hot pad with a kettle atop it. Already he knew the answer as he poured the hot water into an old, chipped teacup. While he did, Cassidy freed a wooden box of assorted teabags from a cubby behind the counter to fish through for the pick of the day.

?Tea, of course. Slow day so far?? Not a single patron occupied the shop which wasn?t wholly unusual but certainly made the day go slower. Her fingers pinched at a packet of pomegranate tea, freeing it so she could shut the box and replace it in its rightful home.

?Slow enough.? Wendenheim grunted, handing the cup over. She took it carefully, setting it on the counter so she could drop the teabag in. It bled red through the water almost instantly, wafting a soothing smell in the curls of steam that rolled from the top of the cup. ?Finch, have you thought anymore ?bout whether you were going to look at places outside of the Row??

?Hmm? Oh?? Briefly lost in thought, it took his question a moment to register. Weeks prior he had mentioned to her the dreariness of the Row in winter and how Old Temple on the other side of the wall offered a much prettier locale for a girl like her. It had seemed like an innocent enough inquiry at the time but now it set her mouth puckering. ?Not really, no. Why??

?Winter?s no good here. The Piper gets surly and there?s no Yuletide cheer to be found ?round here. Just thought you?d be happier on the other side.? He grasped at a rag and rubbed down an already clean counter. After months of working for the old man, Cassie knew it was how he kept himself busy when there was something on his mind. Tentatively she sipped at her tea, found it too hot still, and set it aside to steep a little longer.

?I?m quite happy as I am, I think.? She was polite, hopefully enough so that Wendenheim wouldn?t press further.

?A light as bright as yours shouldn?t be dimmed, luv.? He said gently. Cassie?s gaze lifted to meet his. He had stopped polishing the counter and was eyeing her with concern.

?Dimmed? By?? She urged him to go on, busying herself with lifting and dunking the teabag over and over. The water was saturated but it was her turn to play avoidance.

?By the Beast?s shadow, Finch. Bad things happen to those who get too close and I?m fond of you, girl. I?d hate to see something befall ye.? He answered, his tone grave. Cassie?s mouth was dry, too dry. She scooped the chipped cup up to her lips and sipped. Still hot but not scalding, she drank and looked at the hunched old man from over the rim of her tea.

?Nothing bad will happen, I promise.? Cassie smiled even if she didn?t feel it. Another sip was taken and the cup set down on a mismatched saucer. ?Isn?t it time for you to get out of here? I?ve got things here, double promise.?

?I hope for your sake that you?re right.? He tried to smile too but it came across as more of a grimace. With a glance to the clock, he furrowed his brow and nodded. ?You?re right, I?m late. Take care of yourself, Finch.?

?I always do, Wil.? The smile flared again as he wrapped himself in an old military style peacoat. Gloves and scarf came next before he topped his balding head with the bowler hat from the rack. He nodded to her and disappeared into the cold beyond the shop?s front door, leaving the bells ringing and Cassie to stew on his ominous warning.
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