The next day both Jack and Bill came to visit me and we all walked to the local coffee shop and sat down at a table.
After the usual small talk, Jack said,”We have been wanting to talk to you ever since you came to town and to warn you about some of the people here that you need to watch out for. We can’t prove it but we think that Mrs Duncan and a couple of others are mixed up in something and have ways to make people disappear. It didn’t matter when you first came here but you decided to stay a while, we both felt that we should talk to you about it”.
I looked at them both and could see they were very serious. I laughed nervously and said “Wait a minute. Are you telling me that they are practicing some sort of witchcraft here in this little town and that some of you know about it”.
“That is exactly what we are saying” said Bill “We can’t prove it but too many strange things have happened in her house with too many people for there not to be something going on”.
“Is that why you think something happened to those two men that she claims were her brother and son” I asked. “Weren’t the police involved and didn’t anyone check on them. Didn’t somebody make enquiries”. “Yes” said Jack “all of those things happened and in the end, there was no evidence of any foul play so the cases were dropped”.
“OK” I said, “Now you are beginning to worry me. What should we do. Is there any way that we can follow-up on this and try to prove that there is something going on”.
“I would suggest that you get out-of-town and forget about this whole thing” said Jack.
Bill nodded in agreement “The sooner the better” he said.”If you don’t I’m afraid that you will disappear like the other two guys”.
“OK, let me think this over. I like it here and have made some friends. I don’t like being run out-of-town because maybe there ‘s a chance that someone is using some form of hocus pocus. This is the 21st century for goodness sake. I thought the black arts were long gone” I said but for all of my bravado, was getting a little worried. “How do I know that this won’t follow me wherever I go? Maybe it’s too late and I should stay here and try to fight this”.
We left the coffee-house with the promise that we would meet later that evening and discuss this further. In the meantime I was filled with both fear and curiosity wondering just what it was that might happen to me.
I was due at Mrs Duncan’s that afternoon to finish the painting and to get paid for the work. I didn’t want to skip out without at least getting what was owed me and I could only get that if I completed the painting. Kind of a catch twenty-two. I decided that I would go ahead and finish the job and now that I was forewarned, to be on my guard against anything unusual.
Mrs Duncan, Fiona, answered the door and welcomed me inside as though she hadn’t seen me in a while. It had only been a few hours but she treated it as though it had been weeks. She seemed very pleased to see me and she exuded a glow of anticipation as though she was expecting something to happen. Maybe, I was just imagining this knowing what I thought I knew about her and that in reality, she was just pleased to get her work completed and for me to be out of her hair and house.
I accepted her offer of coffee but instead of sitting to drink it, opted instead to drink it as I worked and then get out while I was still in one piece. Fiona, sat in the kitchen chattering away about the village and the people she had met there and other stories that actually were quite interesting while I worked on painting. I chatted as best I could but I was so much on my guard that my efforts were a little hard to come by and I know that I wasn’t being the best conversationalist. I hoped that I wasn’t giving anything away with my poor efforts to be entertaining.
I was finishing up and cleaning the brushes out the back of the house. I put them away in the shed and noticed that she had started work on another sculpting this time of a full-sized bear standing on it’s back feet with the arms upraised. It stood well over six feet tall and when I moved over to take a closer look, wondered why I hadn’t seen this before on my various trips to the shed. It was so big that it had to weigh a couple of thousand pounds and certainly was going to take a lot of moving. How could she have carved it so quickly as it was not here yesterday and quite obviously, the work would take quite a bit of time and effort.
I turned my back on the bear vowing to get the hell out of there as soon as possible and I turned towards the door. I heard her call to me and turned back around but didn’t see her anywhere but when I turned back towards the door, the bear was now in front of me blocking the way out. I thought, how can this be, how is this two thousand pound wooden bear moving on its own.