“I definitely did not write the book.” Lucy stood facing the group, Piper, Enzo, and Sullivan, from the village in the woods. She took a step back. “It’s like a hundred years old.”
“Lucy,” Enzo chuckled, “hasn’t anyone ever told you not to judge a book by its cover?”
Lucy shook her head and furrowed her eyebrows, trying hard not to roll her eyes.
Piper waved off the men and stepped closer. “Look, there is a lot that needs to be said, but we can’t afford to tell all to someone we can’t trust.” A pregnant pause drew Lucy’s gaze to hers. “We’ll give you a chance to opt out, but you must know the consequences if you do are great and fatal.”
The air grew thick in the small room. Even the subtle breeze coming in through the windows did nothing to cool the tension. Lucy felt as if she had no choice at all. She rubbed her arms and her eyes darted around the room. “Does that mean I can go now?”
A scoff bounced off the walls as Sullivan left the house with a slam of the door.
“Yes, you can go,” Piper said softly. “Sullivan and Wesley will walk you back, but please, Lucy,” she took ahold of her hands once more and squeezed, “you may be our only hope.”
Lucy’s mind buzzed and no words came out. This was the weirdest encounter she had ever had. All she wanted was to go home and sleep, but she smiled, or maybe it was a grimace, at Piper and Enzo. They were clearly the leaders here and she didn’t like to come off disrespectful.
Outside, the men waited a few feet. Once Lucy walked up to meet them, they took off through the village and into the woods. No words were exchanged the entire way back into town, but they did make sure to stand very close to her.
Once they arrived at her apartment building, Wesley stationed himself at the front door, while Sullivan walked up with Lucy. She was at the end of the hall on the second floor.
Lucy awkwardly mumbled to stop when they reached her door and pulled out her keys to unlock it. With a click of the lock, she opened her door, but a sharp grip on her wrist halted her movement.
“Piper is nice, trying to make you feel like you have a choice,” Sullivan muttered, “but you don’t.” He stepped back and crossed his arms. She was beginning to think he didn’t know how to smile.
Without giving him anymore time of day, Lucy went inside and shut the door, making sure to lock it as obnoxious as she could.
The sun had yet to set, but Lucy couldn’t handle anymore of the day. She got ready for bed and turned on a movie, snuggling deep into her covers.
Sleep didn’t come fast and didn’t go well.
Lucy woke up with puffy eyes and a sluggish body. She merely went through the routine of getting ready, barely even opening her eyes. Really, she just wanted to stay in bed, but she knew if she didn’t act like life was normal, it wouldn’t be, so to the shop she went.
She left her apartment, hair in her eyes, and clumsily locked her door. A slow turn on her heel and she bumped right into a hard, sturdy person.
“No,” Lucy mumbled and walked by him. She gripped on to the hand rail and jogged down the steps. Only when she exited the building did she look over her shoulder.
Sullivan was there, taking his time following her.
When she made it to her shop, Lucy made sure to lock the door and close the blinds. It was dark inside, but at least he was out of sight.
The shop remained decently clean. Another round was needed, but Lucy wanted to begin planning a layout and for her that meant wandering around the building a few times.
It was pretty simple and wouldn’t need a lot of brain power to figure out. The main space was an open rectangle with the front door being near a corner. Another door was located adjacent to the front, but at the opposite corner. That room was small and must have been used for storage.
Lucy started there. She measured the walls and the length and width of the room. It had been stripped of any shelving units and she thought that would be quite helpful to have. Towards the back of the room, she was measuring the last few feet when she dropped her measuring tape.
Instead of bending down like a normal person, Lucy bent at the waist and placed her palm on the wall to hold her weight. Except the wall didn’t hold and she fell forward.
A groan laced in a whine came out of Lucy’s mouth as she hit the floor stomach first. She pushed up onto her forearms, letting her head drop down. Faulty walls were not something she wanted to deal with.
Eyes closed, she stretched her neck and then opened her eyes. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but an entire other room was not it. Lucy slowly stood up, not bothering to brush the dust and dirt from her clothing.
This room was different from the rest of the building. It held old shelves, a rickety desk, and faded, yellowing papers. A messy pile was stacked in the center of the desk and immediately drew Lucy’s attention.
The words faded into the top paper under layers of grime, but she was able to make out that the document was an old contract and the original owner’s name was Judas Hunt. The realtor hadn’t mentioned anything about the original owner. In fact, there was no record of this room at all.