Blizzard

The blizzard rolled in to town a couple of days ago, so everything got put on hold. I’ll be frank, I did not enjoy the boredom of being stuck inside the house for the last couple of days. Especially not with a house full of people and the emotions that were flowing through the house.

The good news is that with all the people in the house, it decided to open up more rooms Thursday night. As it stands now, instead of my small two bedroom cottage, I have five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a new office in the fully converted attic with its own widow’s walk, a full library (with books, don’t ask me how that happened, I don’t know), and a much bigger kitchen with attached dining room. All of this is now packed in to four floors.

All of this has made me re-think the idea of having someone come in and clean the whole place, top to bottom, at least once every two weeks. That’s a lot of room for me. Well, I guess it’s not just me now. Mark has agreed to move in for a while, just until he’s gotten his feet back under him after last weekend. I’m a little afraid of him being alone right now. He loved Max so much and they were so happy together.

He spends most of his days up in his new rooms, writing in that journal of his. I’m giving him his space for now. He goes back to work on Monday though. I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like for him. He’s a CPA and his office faced Max’s, who was a real estate attorney on the same floor. I have a feeling he’s going to take Gibbs with him for support. I can’t imagine anyone is going to tell me he can’t have his puppy with him.

The Sheriff came and took Mark to identify Max’s body at the morgue now that the blizzard is over and the roads have cleared. He came back looking pretty destroyed. The part of me that was never really around relatives when something like this happens means that I don’t know how to really handle it when it happens to family I do care about. Normally I was the family member that was notified the night before the funeral and wasn’t really expected to show up. Anyway, Mark went straight up to his rooms after grabbing a bottle from my cabinet and I didn’t bother to stop him. The last week has shown me just how unprepared I would be if Ben or Miles ever died. I think that’s why I want Mark close by for now.

Ben showed up shortly before dark with the dogs in tow. They were all covered in snow which meant that Ben had outside appointments. After clean up and filling Ben in on what happened, he managed to coax Mark out of his rooms to watch the football games in the living room. I went up to my office until Ben came up to tell me that Mark had gone to bed early. We went out to dinner instead of staying home. Don’t worry, we made sure to bring home food for Mark. Grandmama Murphy wouldn’t have let us forget him. Though, she did send home enough to feed an army. I’m pretty sure that woman knows more than she’s letting on about things. Even after we filled her in on Mark, she just nodded and advised us to keep doing what we’ve been doing for now. She also reminded us not to over crowd him. Which won’t be a problem. Ben and I have been trying our best not to try to force him to spend time with us.

After bidding Grandmama Murphy goodbye, Ben and I went home. We separated in my driveway, him to his house and me to mine. It’s been six months since I moved to Blueville. I’m still finding this town weird. Why? Because when I turned back to wave to Ben, I caught sight of George who was flying over head. I still have her egg in my fireplace, which did not make me feel comfortable with her flying so close over head. Ben keeps assuring me that she gave the egg freely as a gift and that there are no repercussions from accepting the egg and keeping it safe in the fireplace.

I’m not entirely convinced though and I don’t think that I’m going to sleep very well tonight.

-Marlowe

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It’s Over

Ben came in with the news tonight as I was sitting on the kitchen table, trying to avoid the puppy-vs-dog play battle that was going on underneath said table. He got one look at me and laughed.

The rat.

It’s his fault I have two dogs and a dragon egg in my fireplace. He separated the two combatants, dumping Gibbs in Mark’s lap as he was watching some movie on the TV. Winston immediately sighed and went off to find a place to nap.

“You know, it’s not good for him to play so much that you’ve retreated to the top of the kitchen table.”

“I’m up here because they’ve spilled my beer four times and I’m trying to balance my books for the shop.”

Ben leaned in and stole a kiss before I remembered that I was mad at him for the puppy.

“Gibbs ate your tie, by the way. The red one that we used on Friday night.” I said as I watched him take off his coat.

Ben groaned and I got a little satisfaction from the noise. After all, it was his favorite tie.

“How much did he eat?”

“Enough to have me feeding him pumpkin.”

Ben dropped his head to the door frame he was standing in and tapped it lightly over and over again. I couldn’t help it, I laughed. That made him scowl at me.

“You find this funny do you?”

“I find this about as funny as you do. Especially since he ate my only good pair of white heels yesterday night, while we were all asleep.” I put the laptop I was working on down and tugged Ben over to me by his blue tie. “Looks like I’ll have to go buy another pair. Wanna go shopping with me when all this mess dies down?”

Ben leaned and kissed me, before murmuring in my ear, “only if you wear the skirt.”

“I think I can do that.”

“Oh please, why don’t the two of you just get a room already?” Miles said as he walked in to the room. Mark followed.

“They do, we’re invading it.” Mark said.

Miles rolled his eyes. “You’re not helping.”

Mark just shrugged.

“What are you doing here, Miles?”

“The word around town is that Ben here saw the finale to the ritual as he was checking on George.”

“Who’s George?” I asked.

“The dragon behind camp ground. The locals named him George last year.” Ben said as he tugged me off the kitchen table and plopped us both into one of the chairs.

“Oh. I thought it was a she?”

“She is a she. Her name is George.” Mark said, sitting at the table.

“Anyway, yes I did see the end. They were leaving as the worst of the storm hit. The Priestess looked a little worse for wear and the Sheriff had all available ambulances there for the survivors.”

“Max?” “Mark asked quietly.

Ben shook his head. “I didn’t see him walk out, but the Sheriff said he’d be calling the survivor’s families as soon as they’d been checked out.”

“Do we know who did this yet?” Miles asked.

Apparently his little network was failing him.

“Not that the Sheriff is saying.” Ben said.

Before I could ask a question, Marks phone rang from where it was on the side table. I watched Mark lunge for it and held my breath as he answered. He walked to the windows at the front of the living room. We could barely hear anything from the kitchen. I reached for Ben’s hand and gripped it tight as we waited. When Miles reached for my other hand, I gladly obliged and gripped his hand tightly.

Mark finally hung the phone up and turned back to us. His eyes were filled with tears and grief and my heart shattered for him. I was so hoping that he would survive this and come home. I pushed myself out of Ben’s lap and walked over to Mark, wrapping him tightly in a hug.

“He’s gone.” Mark whispered.

I couldn’t say anything, I just held on as he started crying. I started to cry too and when I looked over, I saw that Ben and Miles were both crying as well. We’d lost a friend, but that was nothing compared to what Mark had lost and there’s nothing that we could have said or done to make it better.

“You’ll stay here.” I murmured to Mark. “Stay here until you’re ready to go back home.”

Mark nodded and kissed my temple.

It’s funny, friends can mean more than family when they care for you like family.

-Marlowe.

The Next Day

Ben arrived well after midnight last night. He was carrying a puppy and an egg. 

No, really. He had an egg in his hands. 

That excuse “It followed me home, can I keep it?” worked for the puppy. Winston was smitten with it as soon as Ben walked in to the room. 

The egg? I banished it to the fireplace after he explained that it belonged to the dragon. Don’t roll your eyes at this post, you would do the same thing if you were in my shoes. It’s a dragon egg.

Anyway, Ben and I had a very late dinner with the dogs while Mark slept on the couch still. Ben was full of news about what happened out at the site, more so than Miles who showed up at about 2 am. Apparently after I managed to get Mark home, showered and tucked in on the couch; the specialist arrived. Her name is Morgan Le Fleur. I won’t even try to guess what she’s a Priestess of, that way I won’t offend her later. 

Ben tried to describe the ritual that was performed, but he could only see bits and pieces of it from where he was on the road. Apparently, all those horror movies and TV shows where the main character gets killed by being where they shouldn’t be has made us both a little leery of being involved in anything dangerous. We’re both happy and content to not be at the center of things where it’s possible to get killed. 

I do still worry about the fact that when Ben left this morning, the dragon egg is still in my fireplace. That is something I worry about, what he decides to drag home. 

Where was I? Oh yeah, the ritual. It’s apparently still going on and Ben’s out there to finish up the job he was doing yesterday before he found The Park and all that hullabaloo happened. So while he’s out there, I’m assuming his curious nature will get the better of him and he’ll get an update on the ritual. 

I think Mark is awake again, I can hear muffled laughter, so I’m assuming he’s found the puppy. That’s a good sound. I didn’t think I’d be hearing it so soon, but it’s probably good that it happened. 

Maybe there’s hope that Max will be alive and come home soon. It’s probably stupid to hope, but I hope all the same.

-Marlowe

Missing!

So I woke up this morning to Winston freaking out and someone pounding on my door. I got up and shuffled my way to the door, opening and sticking my head out side. It was Mark. He was frantic.

Max was missing.

I’d be frantic too if Ben was missing, so I tossed some clothes on and put my hair up into a ponytail. We drove out to where the Business Park had located itself last Friday, near Pinks Pumpkin Farm, but it wasn’t there.

I should probably explain the Blueville Business Park further before getting back into what happened.

You see, the Business Park moves itself every Friday. Normally, it’s to one of seven or eight different locations. This time however, the Park had managed to move itself to an entirely new location and everyone was out looking for it because their loved ones hadn’t come home.

There are other things that happen in the Park too. Like people disappearing for years at a time and coming back looking exactly the same as when they left. Jack Higgins is one of those people. He’d been missing for nearly 40 years before coming back. By then, his children were grown and his wife had died. That was a sad day when he showed up at Miss Maggie’s.  I thought she was going to have a heart attack when she saw him. According to her, he looked exactly the same.

So Mark and I drove around trying to find the park when Ben called and told us that he and Justine, his assistant, had found the Park. It had moved itself to just outside the campgrounds off of Green Arrow highway, south off the Blue Rabbit junction. That surprised everyone because that spot had never been one of the Park’s previous spots. That’s when we knew something was wrong.

So Mark and I drove out to Camp Street, where the Park was at and when we got there it was covered in police and local authorities. Mark panicked when he spotted all the ambulances and was out of the car before I could stop him. I parked my car on the side of the road and made my way over to Ben, who was talking with the Sheriff. Ben spotted me and started making his way over to me as well. We met and I immediately slipped my arms around his waist and buried my head into his chest.

“I’m okay, you know. It didn’t happen  to me.”

“I know. I feel better now though.”

“Really? that’s weird, so do I.”

“That’s good. I’d have been sad if you hadn’t.”

Ben tipped my head up and kissed me. “Not a chance of that, ‘Lowe.”

“Tell me what the sheriff said.” I said as I slid around to his side and we walked down the road away from the scene.

“Well, apparently someone inside the building turned everyone in to scarecrows.”

I stopped dead and looked up at him. I studied his face and found that he wasn’t joking. “How bad is it? Are they still alive?”

Ben sighed. “Some of them are, but they’ve got to call in a specialist to turn them back. Something about a Priestess.”

“Max?” I asked and I looked up at him.

Ben shook his head and rubbed a hand over his face. “They’re not sure.”

I didn’t have anything to say so I put my arms back around Ben and held on. I didn’t cry either, I didn’t think that I could. We stood like that until Mark came walking back up the road. From the slump of his shoulders I knew the news wasn’t good, but neither Ben nor I asked him anything. We just opened up our hug and tucked him in, holding on as he cried. I looked up at Ben and he nodded. As Ben slipped away to go talk to the Sheriff, I managed to walk Mark back to the car and sat him down on the hood. I didn’t care about the paint at that point.

All I knew was that my friend was hurting. I sat there with my arm around him as Mark buried his head in to the side of my neck and cried. We both rocked back and forth, until Mark started babbling the story out. He was allowed into the Park to see if Max was one of the ones they’d declared dead. He searched through every row of scarecrows until he’d gotten to the second to last row. Max was the third one in, marked with an orange X on his trouser leg. They’d checked and he was gone.

They’d just gotten married. Ben and I were at their wedding. At that moment, I was angrier than I’d ever been and I’d wanted something to be done. I looked up at Ben as he came walking back with the sheriff and he spotted the look on my face. His skin went pale and I could have sworn he’d made a sign against bad juju on his leg. I murmured to Mark that I needed to talk with the Sheriff and to stay on the car, that I’d be back in a minute. Mark was reluctant to let go, but eventually did.

I stormed over to where Ben was talking to the Sheriff and planted myself in front of both of them.

“Any news? Anything at all for Mark?” I demanded.

“Still the same. We’re still waiting for the specialist.”

“What about the dead?”

“They’ll need to be transformed back before they can be claimed. I’m sorry, Marlowe.”

“Who did it?” I asked, brushing aside the Sheriff’s apology.

“We don’t know just yet. That’s why we’re still waiting for the specialist.”

I huffed out a breath. I was angry with no place to put my anger.

“If I can talk Mark into going home and getting some rest, can we take him?”

The Sheriff nodded. “We’ll call you if we need him back here.”

“Okay.” I said as I stormed off, fully prepared to badger Mark in to going home and catching a couple of hours of sleep.

Ben caught up with me and kissed me, pulling me in for a hug after and murmured that he’d be over as soon as he wasn’t needed. Apparently, the reason why he’d been out to the Camp was to treat the dragon that lives in the woods behind cabin six or seven.  That was fresh news to me, I didn’t know Blueville had a dragon resident. I told Ben I’d see him at my place later and browbeat Mark into the car and going to my place for a shower and food. I didn’t want him to be alone.

As I’m typing this up, I’m watching Mark sleep on my couch with Winston covering his legs. Poor man. Married and widowed within two months. I can’t imagine the pain. My heart sinks thinking if it was Ben in that Park and I don’t really want to think about it anymore.

I’m going to go try to make bread. I’m terrible at it, but maybe forcing myself to think about the steps will help me keep from worrying about Ben. He’s still out there at the site and it’s been hours since we left him there with the Sheriff.

I just want him to come home.

-Marlowe