A House Of Photographs

Upon discovering magic, Brandy and Dawson must help a hermit shaman and magical performer to get back home safe and sound when they are thrown back in time while avoiding trouble themselves.

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1. Prologue

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In Which A Wizard Is Met

And A Circus Comes To Town


    Heavy steps and the ring of a bell sang out into the store. Rain hit the window, leaving streaks running down the glass. Water dripped off his hair and coat onto the floor, leaving a trail of puddles behind. The shop was quiet, the only sound heard being the visitor’s footsteps. The shopkeeper looked at him while reading a book on the desk. The shelf behind him bore an array of odd knickknacks and old photos.

    “Haven’t seen you around here,” the shopkeeper said, not looking up from his book. The visitor didn’t answer for a long time, inspecting a book on the shelf. The sound of water dripping tapped on the floor three times in three minutes before another word was spoken.

     Finally in a soft voice he said “No, I don’t ‘magine ya would.” His height made him easy to spot behind the short little bookshelves. His face was long and thin with a concentration of freckles on his cheeks. The hat he wore on his head just seemed to top it off. An old floppy cloth farmer’s hat covered in sewed on patches with feathers, claws, and strings of beads sticking out of the ribbon wrapped around it.

     “Looking for anything in particular, stranger?”

     It was then that he looked up from his task. His freckled face had a look of surprise in it for a moment, then he shook his head. “Unless you got typer’s ink?”

     “Pardon?”

     “Typer’s ink…..a you know a….a...typewriter!” the man said, flustered with his own inability to articulate what he wanted. But his voice still remained quiet and gentle despite his annoyance with himself.

    The keeper scratched his head a moment and put a scrap of paper in his book before shutting it. Searching in a drawer in the desk, he rustled through old papers, paper clips, and keepsakes, finally resting his hands on a dusty old box labeled ‘Typer’s Ink’ in bold letters. When the keeper brought it onto the desk he saw the man leaning over it and peering into the open drawer. The man’s coppery braid fell over his shoulder and brushed the stack of books on the desk.

     The sudden closeness spooked and surprised the keeper, making him fling a hand to his heart. “Ah, I may be young, sir, but I frighten easily. Whew, how much ink would you like?” the keeper asked, leaning on the wall trying to steady his heart.

     “All of it, if I may. I don’t come to town much. Almost out of what I have at home.”

     “Oh? Where do you live?”

     “Far out of town on the Grimsby side. Li’le place with a stream not a stone’s throw away,” the stranger told him, pulling coins and notes out of his pocket.The keeper said nothing as he looked at the cost of the books and the ink. The tag on the ink confused him. “Problem?” the stranger asked curiously, cocking his head to one side. The keeper didn’t know what to say. He reread the tag carefully over and over again.


Reserved for a tall, polite, eccentric.


     He looked the stranger up and down. He was the posterchild for eccentric, unusual, and any other synonyms the keeper could think of. This man put the strange in stranger. Finally finding the words, the keeper told him, “Eh, it’s free of charge for you, I guess. Mind telling me why that is?”

     “Can’t say I have any idea. I knew the owner of this place awhile back though,” he said as he pulled out a burlap sack and carefully laid his books and ink inside. Walking out the door and into the pouring rain, bell ringing overhead, he added “that could be it.”

 


    The house was quiet, all except for the rain beating hard against the roof. No. Too dull, perhaps. Of course it was hard to remember. And what he had already written was atrociously long. Documenting his life was a difficult task indeed. Thankfully he had purchased a few bottles of ‘White Out’ for just such an occasion. Too many times he was forced to rewrite entire pages to fix the most minute mistake. Removing the paper from it’s place on the typewriter, he erased his folly.

    A tiny drop of crystal clear rain fell from his hair and onto the page. “Hmph,” he grunted. Leaning back in his chair he listened to the rhythm of the rain overhead. It was starting to lighten up. “Hmm. Maybe the wash tub is full now,” he told himself. Getting up and wringing out his braid, he marched down the stairs and to the little nook that house the wood stove and opened the door. All that was left were dying embers. Taking a deep breath, he blew on them, feeding them the air they needed. After a second or two, the embers grew to a tiny crackling flame. Reaching over, he grabbed a log and pushed it in. Reaching for another, he heard a knock on the door.

“Eh? Who’s there?” he asked, straightening himself and taking a step towards the door.

    Without an answer, he peeked through the peephole into the rainy night. No one stood there. Only a note. Opening the door slowly, he looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the person knocking. Stooping down to pick up the note, he read it.


Hello there. How’ve you been? I guess that you’ve been doing good? We’re back in town if you’d like to visit.

-DeeDee


    “Ya don’t say? That will be a treat,” he muttered, retreating back inside where it was warm. He laid the paper on the dinner table with the remains of bread and a fish. Opening the door once more and circling the house, he found the wash tub, beginning to overflow with rainwater. Grabbing the rim, he dumped some of it out and dragged it through the front door.
    From behind the front gate, a pair of friendly eyes watched him retreat into the house and let out a stifled chuckle.

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