Chapter 15: Samantha the Seamstress
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
Adette smiled and took the extended hand. She gave the woman’s hand a good, firm shake. One thing her father had always said was to shake someone’s hand like you meant it. Adette blinked. She hadn’t thought about her father in a long time. The woman was staring at her. She’d held onto her hand for too long. Adette smiled and pulled her hand away.“I meant to ask. Is your son alright?”
Money sparkled in the dim shop light and tinkled down onto the counter top. Air whooshed out through the woman’s lips.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…it’s not really my place to ask.”
A bell rang as the woman wrenched the lever down. The register drawer sprang open with a metallic bang. Her long fingers scooped up the stray coins and tossed them into the drawer.
Adette could tell that the woman was thinking furiously. Clearly to the trained eyes of his mother, the child was not acting like his normal self. She seemed on the verge of talking to Adette several times, and several times she would turn around and busy herself with some task. It was probably the most nicely wrapped package she’d ever sent out with one of her customers. When it came time for her to hand the package across the counter, their eyes locked and something inside the woman seem to crack.
“I don’t care what that quack, Maximillian, said. There is something still not quite right about my boy. Everyone already thinks I’m crazy though on account of his father not being around, so I didn’t really want to draw attention.”
Adette leaned forward onto the counter.“I didn’t want to say anything, but I’d wondered about that myself. Maximillian’s medical ability seems to stem more from his own high opinion of himself than any real training. Clearly he’s had some training, but only in medicine–not in listening to his patients.”
“That’s exactly right. Most of the other woman in town take him at his word simply because he’s good looking,” Samantha spat. “He’s really the worst kind of gossip.”
“Oh, I quite agree. He’d hardly known me two moments before he was spreading some nonsense or other about people in town.”
Samantha looked up knowingly.
“I know it’s not really my place to say anything, but I do know a little bit about medicine. Would you mind terribly if I had a look at your son?”
Samantha’s eyes narrowed in thought. Adette’s reference to Maximillian’s early indiscretion had not gone unnoticed. She nodded and motioned for Adette to follow her around the corner of the counter. Adette, hardly believing her luck, followed the woman into the back of the shop and out of a small door. The courtyard beyond connected the small shop to a larger house that Adette assumed went all the way to the other street beyond. It was a surprisingly large set of buildings. Adette was sure that there was a story behind it, but now was not the time to ask.
Samantha led them into the large house. She motioned up the stairs, but went no further. Pain was easy to read in her features. Alone, Adette made her way up the stairs. There were only two rooms at the top of the steep steps. From what she could sense, the boy was in the room to her right.
Slowly, hesitantly, Adette pushed her way into the room. The curtains had been drawn and a single candle flickered on the bed side table. The boy lay on the bed unmoving. His eyes were shut, but Adette could feel the thing inside him watching. With each step closer, a sense of foreboding grew inside her chest.
The young face snapped to face her. Two eyes slowly opened and trained themselves on Adette. What looked back at her was not the consciousness of a young boy. The creature lurking inside of him knew it was looking at a potential enemy.
“What are you?” Adette demanded. Rasping, coughing laughter came through the boy’s lips in great wheezing gusts.
“What is it to you, little witch?”