The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

As Walter listened to Alden, he saw a dark figure moving from the shade of the trees out of the corner of his eye. But, when Walter turned to look, it simply faded away. Maybe his eyes were playing tricks on him, but, he knew what he saw. Someone had been lurking nearby. Walter started to get the jitters.

Alden must have felt it too. “I think we better go,” he said. “It’s getting cold and I have to be back before they think I’ve gone missing again.”

They walked back to town in silence, feeling eyes watching them from a distance. It got dark early as it did when it got colder. The mountains didn’t help as they hid the last rays of sunlight before the sun set, casting a never-ending shadow over Asbjorn.

Winter was coming soon.

That night, as Walter laid in bed he noticed the Odyssey ring. He had been meaning to use it to visit Archibal, but lately he had been too exhausted to even think about it. He also wondered where Cadi was. She had visited him a few times before the heavy rains fell, but even those visits were few and far apart. Weary from his day, he falls asleep.

In the middle of the night, a noise woke Walter, causing him to sit up in a panic. He looked around the room wondering where the sound was coming from. His eyes glanced to the wooden floor, illuminated by the moonlight. He froze in fright when he notices sortie of shadows moving.

The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

“The men thanked the strangers who were in a hurry to find the bird. The woman was never seen again, and the castle crumbled to dust. That night became known as the Night of the Witches. For a month every year, bizarre things occur here. Some say they can see a green glow emitting from the mountain beyond the marsh. Many don’t think she is dead. Haven’t you noticed there are more outsiders wandering in to town?”

Walter hadn’t, but thinking about it, the Swann Inn had been more occupied than ever. “I don’t understand. Why are there more travelers in Asbjorn?”

“Some come to experience the occurrences while others to seek the light, study it, and explore it. They think she is still alive and they go searching for the bird. It’s mostly a sport now.”

“Why do people in town fear it?”

“As I said, strange things happen around here. Mother once found all the paintings in the house turned upside down. Others have complained of other uncanny experiences. Last year, everything in my room floated in the air. Another time, Mother found Father in a frozen state, He couldn’t talk or move until the end of the month when the witching hours passed. Mother and Father dread this time. Sometimes it’s funny; other times it gets really scary. I guess no matter how many times it happens, people dread it. There is still that distant cousin who is a descendant of the Thatch family and he lives in this town.”

“Really?”

“He prefers to deny any relation with the Thatch family,” Alden added. “Bad for business, as my grandfather would say.”

“Why is it bad for business?”

“Because they believe he is as vicious as his family was,” Alden said. “Any business done with him he might settle it with blood, be as vengeful as the family was.”

“Who is he?”

“Mr. Berry. Your sister works for him,” Alden smiled. “He’s not a friendly man. I guess you can say he is the last of their kind. He does his business mostly out of town. Keeps to himself, lives like a hermit. He hates visitors and won’t see anybody. I don’t even know what he looks like. Does your sister talk about him?”

“Not really,” Walter said. “She doesn’t live with us anymore. I don’t see her much. She moved into the manor before we had the problem with the crocotta. Is there something the matter with Mr. Berry?”

“Oh no,” Alden said. “It’s just that…well, anybody who works for Mr. Berry becomes like him. Reclusive.”

“Reclusive?”

“You barely seem them. They keep to themselves,” Alden explained. “My mom has a sister that works for Mr. Berry. To this day she sees very little of her”

“Do you see her?”

“Not often, but I do see her at times,” Alden said. “Father has seen Mr. Berry travelling at night. Father also says he keeps his curtains drawn at the manor. Mom says he is a vampire or a werewolf and has built tunnels underneath his home as an escape route. He only hires females and then keeps them hypnotized. His only male servant is the chauffeur. There have been other rumors about him too.”

“Do you believe them?”

“I believe some of it. Though, I always wondered why he travels at night. My aunt doesn’t tell me much about him, just that he is a good man and that mother should stop talking ill of him.”