Keeper

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Chapter 2

The visitor appeared to be a businessman, which surprised Cassidie as there weren’t many businessmen in Midnight Haven. At least, there weren’t many that looked like this man did. Apart from the suit, the man looked ordinary. He had slick, black hair and sharp features. he had a straight nose and his mouth pursed in a thin line. A claw-shaped scar trailed down the left side of his face.

Probably got it from some animal in the forest outside town. Cassidie thought offhandedly.

However, what really caught Cassidie’s attention were the man’s eyes. One was a deep, blood red and the other was a shocking, electric blue. Cassidie stared into them for a moment and almost felt like she was drowning in a sea of blood while being electrocuted.

Cassidie sighed softly and said, “Unwelcome to Voodoo and Witchcraft. How may we enslave you?” One of the downsides of having little to no emotion was that she sounded like a boring documentary narrator whenever she spoke.

“I’m looking for Mrs. Harrietta Harris. Is she in?” The man spoke with a deep voice that held a gruff quality.

Cassidie nodded, pointing to the beaded curtain behind her. “She’s in the back,” she explained. “I can get her for you.”

“That won’t be necessary,” the guest told her calmly, heading for the counter. “She should be expecting me.”

Cassidie slowly nodded and watched the man disappear behind the curtain. Glancing around the store, she decided to begin her chores and started on tidying up the counter. She didn’t pay any attention to the voices behind the counter until the voices grew slightly louder, signaling an argument. Cassidie stopped to listen, trying to catch any of the words. Faintly, she could hear the word ‘sell’ among everything being said.

Cassidie’s blood ran cold, but she pushed the feeling away and continued arranging the different advertisements on the counter. Finishing relatively quickly, Cassidie began sweeping around the dust on the floor, swirling it into different piles before using the mop to make the dust into clumps. She was trying to get it as close to clean as possible without making it sparkly. Puffballs wanted sparkly, but Cassidie wasn’t a puffball so she made a fine layer of mud streak across the floor.

Leaving the clotted dust to dry, Cassidie started on the windows. These, she had to make clean because other Goths needed to be able to see inside. While she was wiping them down, the mysterious man strode angrily from behind the counter and back out the door. A few moments later, Cassidie heard Mrs. Harris come out as well, grumbling under her breath.

Despite her best efforts not to eavesdrop, Cassidie’s sensitive hearing picked up a bit of her boss’ mumbling. “…landlord coming in here telling me I might have to sell. For some new complex at that? The nerve of that man…”

Cassidie blocked out the rest as her mind raced. Sell? she wondered. Mrs. Harris can’t sell! I’ve been working here since I was eleven. If this place were sold, that would be five years of memory gone. Voodoo and Witchcraft is like home to me... As Cassidie pondered how she could possibly help Mrs. Harris, she failed to realize that the window was practically as shiny as a puffball’s new car.

Cassidie was jolted out of her deep train of thought by the bell over the door. She glanced over to see who had come in and was vaguely surprised to see no one there. Glancing out the window, Cassidie saw Mrs. Harris hurrying down the cobblestone walk. Watching until she disappeared, the young Goth wondered what could have made her boss flee so quickly. Shrugging it off, Cassidie dried the windows and put away the cleaning supplies. Moving toward the counter to get more dust for the small books that just came in, Cassidie noticed a note addressed to her. Opening the note, Cassidie read:

Cassidie,

Sorry to leave in such a hurry, but you are in charge of the shop. Close up an hour early tonight and don’t let the man from before back in unless I return early. See you on Monday and enjoy your Friday night.

Mrs. Harris

Cassidie couldn’t believe it. Mrs. Harris had left her in charge of the shop. It had been quite a while since she had been allowed to watch over the shop in her boss' absence. Cassidie was distantly excited and was about to smile, when someone walked through the door. Cassidie’s smile disappeared immediately and she glanced up… only to freeze in shock at the man standing before her.

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