We never went to Charlestown. I was dismayed. I can’t recall the whole journey it was a blur, but the road was familiar. It was enchanting, yet eerily uncanny with it’s scenery. I felt my heart drop when we stopped in front of the house that had sheltered us in the night we were stranded at the train station.
We slowly got out of the car. I waited for Stan to proceed up the stairs, but he only stared at the house. It was dark and it appeared no one was home. I was wrong. When we finally walked up the steps the door creaked opened on its own. I expected to be greeted, but no one did. I took hold of Stan’s hand as we walked inside.
“I thought you would be back,” said a familiar voice.
“I want to know about Charlestown,” Stan said out loud.
“A man on a mission,” a tall man appeared from the shadows. It was Mr. Jarsdel.
My eyes grew wide and I held my breath when I saw him. He was cloaked in black from the neck down, not even his hands were exposed. There was something enchanting about him, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was handsome in a dark way. He had long, sallow, pale hair that grew past his shoulders. A clear, white complexion that had never touched the rays of sun. His eyes, were a bit hard to describe. They reminded of the eclipse, where the penumbra is black, forming an annular, showing only the rims of the glowing sun, but the rim of his eyes were blue.
I wanted to be afraid of this stranger, but instead I was mesmerized by him.
“There is nothing to fear me,” he smiled at me. “I will do no harm.”
“Will you tell me about Charlestown?” Stan spoke out.
“So determined,” Mr. Jarsdel turned and walked towards the parlor. He disappeared in the darkness before we were able to follow him. The candles lit themselves one by one, leading into the parlor. Stan wasn’t afraid, but I was. He strode in the parlor with me behind him. The fireplace came alive by itself and seconds later Mr. Jarsdel reappeared next to it.
“I thought it was best we get comfortable,” said Mr. Jarsdel. “It will be a long story to tell.”
That’s when I noticed his long, thick, black nails. He hid his hands before I could take a better look as I approached the fireplace.
“Please, sit,” Mr. Jarsdel beckoned us to the sofa.
Stan and I obeyed.
“Do you want to know everything about Charlestown?” Mr. Jarsdel asked Stan.
“Yes,” Stan said.
“Be careful what you wish for,” Mr. Jarsdel eyed Stan.
“I need to know,” Stan was relentless.
“What is the urgency?” Mr. Jarsdel asked stoically.
“Something happened to the people in Charlestown,” Stan said, “what happened?”
“What happens to all civilizations,” Mr. Jarsdel said, “they eventually die out… and replaced by a new modern world.”
“Is that what happened?” Stan asked.
“In a way, you can say that,” Mr. Jarsdel said. “It’s not a story for the faint in heart, especially those that cherish humanity.”
“I still want to know,” Stan said.
“Very well,” Mr. Jarsdel said.