The Netherwalker [The Witch-Walkers #1]

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Chapter 04: The Special Girl

Three months later, Penelope Walker and Francis Atkinson had become quite close friends.

For the most part, because, she was the only one who could see him.

Francis was rather surprised when the little girl brought over the boy and the girl he had met before!

Penelope Walker had known of Francis’s existence since the day her family had moved into the house. Yet, she was unaware of his past and how he had died. He made sure she would never know.

If she did, she would run away from him, never to come back. And he was already feeling a little attached to her. Maybe too much…

Then again, she possessed a kind of power he had not even dreamt about – a kind that he had never seen …

Here she was, chatting away with her friends, innocent about the kind of life she had entered into. The town that was so old and inaccessible that their entering the house came as a surprise to him. It was ever more surprising that her family had even heard of it. Nobody ever did.

So now, he decided that the only person who would answer his questions was the one who had been around all this time…


The next morning, Francis Atkinson left the place of his haunt to pay a visit to his old friend.

“What do you want now?” asked the old lady behind her desk, as she typed away on her laptop, a pair of pince-nez sitting atop her nose.

Francis gave a sheepish smile. Despite acting like an old hag, she was a very kind-hearted person inside and he knew she in fact cared about him.

And besides, he had most definitely nagged her more times than he could count!

“Well, I need some information on ancient Witches,” Francis told her, a pleasant smile on his face. When she raised an eyebrow in question, he went on: “You see, there’s this new family that moved into town about two weeks ago –”

“The Walkers,” Miss Cecelia Jones interrupted him. “Yes, I’m well aware of that. I’m even aware of the kind of powers their little girl possesses.”

“What?!” asked Francis, incredulous. This old woman always managed to surprise him, never mind the fact that he had known her for over a hundred years. “You know all this – how?!”

Miss Jones gave a low chuckle, something she reserved only for the people she held close to her heart.

“I know many things,” she told him.

He rolled his eyes at the typical response. “I know that! All right, I’ll take your words for it…again! Now, what do you know about her?”

Miss Cecelia Jones turned away for a bit, before she turned back to him. “Well, I’m not sure about that, but I am sure that she will be the one to break Rose’s curse.”

“Fair enough, I suppose,” sighed Francis.

Cecelia Jones hit him on the shoulder. “Even I’m incapable of predicting the future, you know! Just because I’m the daughter of a Witchling and a Wizard doesn’t mean I’m all-knowing!”

“All right, all right, I’ll accept that.” Francis turned around to go, when her voice stopped him:

“Wait.”

“Yes, Miss Jones?”

“Keep a close watch on that girl, Penelope Walker. Do not let your guard down – it doesn’t matter what kind of a girl she is, but I think there’s danger wherever she’s around.”

Francis nodded his head once. “Right, I’ll do that.”

“Good. Now, leave me in peace!”

He smiled to himself. He knew she didn’t mean to yell.

Francis drifted back to the house he had been living in for over a hundred years now.

On the way, he thought about how he had watched Penelope coming back to her room later that afternoon. It was only when she had opened the door that he had noticed the loud clicking noise from the corridor he knew well.

It existed only because a certain someone had desired it.

And no matter how much Francis had protested, she would adamantly stick to her wishes.

She’s no harmless lass, either,’ he thought with a sigh as he approached the house. He did not bother to go to the front door. Rather, he flew up towards the window that led to Penelope’s room and in through the closed and shuttered window.

The room was dark and rather empty, so he knew that she was still downstairs. This was his chance.

He drifted towards the door that should open to the terrace garden and knocked on it.

A muffled voice sounded: “Who is it?”

“It’s me,” replied Francis.

“You may enter.”

Francis opened the door. As was usual, he saw her sitting against the wall. Her green cloak was shielding her from the eyes of normal, living human beings, her arms hugging her knees. As a result, her head was almost invisible, sunk into the cradle of her arms.

“You need to face her sometime, you know,” he told her, his voice lacing with concern.

“Why?” her voice came out, muffled again.

“Well, she’s supposed to play a role in your cause.”

That did it – for, she finally lifted her head up and gaped at him.

“Could that truly be possible?” she whispered.

“I’ll answer that when you tell me why you scared her away in the first place. She’s scared of the dark, you know… And, she’s actually rather innocent – she only knows that she’s a Mediator, nothing about who you are…were.”

She sighed. “Well, I suppose you’re right,” she said. “Well, she had a lot of power emanating from her essence and I was in fact afraid that she was working for him somehow.”

A slight chuckle escaped from Francis, before he bit his lower lip to stop it. He shrugged. “I believe she’s unaware about anything…even about this town. If she did, I doubt she’d have agreed to come here in the first place.”

She stood up abruptly. “I suppose you’re right. I must apologise to her.” The old fire came back into her eyes. “I can do that!”

“Hey there, horsey, wait right there!” said Francis, holding up his hands and eyes wide in amazement. “How is it that you changed your mind all that quickly?!”

She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. “I don’t know. Must I?”

“Er… I suppose not…” his voice trailed off, completely baffled.

“So, it’s settled then—I’ll meet her tomorrow and beg for her pardon in the right way.”

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