Chapter 15: There's an Evil Lurking in This Town

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She crossed her arms. "Nothing."

"Well, hurry up and get over your 'nothing' problem."

Justina opened her mouth, closed it again, and turned back as her toast popped up.

She quickly buttered her toast and threw on some bacon and eggs and a truckload of tomato sauce, grabbed the plate and her juice, and headed out of the kitchen. As she reached the bottom step, Tracy reminded her of the rule not to take food and drink to her room.

Justina kept walking. "Bite me."

A few seconds later, a door slammed.

Tracy didn't chase her up, but muttered something about putting it in her report.

Kellie closed her eyes for a few seconds, then looked at me. "Sorry. She's not normally like this. Well, not this bad, anyway. She's had a rough time of it lately — well, I guess we all have — so she's just acting out." She put her fork down and started twirling one of her rings around on her finger. "I hope you'll still come to town."

I looked into her pleading eyes and nodded. "Yes." What could I say? I wasn't going to let Justina ruin things for me.

Kellie's smile returned at full brightness. "Great! That's great."

─── ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆ ───

A large clock tower caught my attention as we reached the middle of town. I hadn't seen it the day before. It sat in the middle of a huge round-about, surrounded by well-maintained flowerbeds and trees. It was a pretty spot and it made me smile.

Tracy parked the car in one of the diagonal parking spaces in the main street and we stepped out into the spring sunshine. I took a deep breath in when I smelled the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread.

As we walked around, Kellie gave a running commentary of each of the shops and where the best places to buy food and clothing were, and pointed out a bookshop and a cute little business that sold all sorts of crystals and incense and dreamcatchers called Mystical Encounters.

"Ruby has the best dreamcatchers I've ever seen and the range of crystals will make your head spin," she told me as she fingered a pink pendant on a chain around her neck. "I actually need to buy a couple of scented candles for my room."

Without another word, she headed straight for the door and pushed it open. The door chime rang out a pleasant tune as we followed her in.

The first thing I noticed was the dreamcatchers and the crystal chandeliers hanging from the walls and ceiling. They were absolutely amazing. There was such an array of colours and shapes. I must have looked like a dork just standing there in the middle of the shop with my mouth hanging open.

I turned in a circle to take them all in and a short woman with feathers and beads in her long purple hair stepped forward with a smile. "Hello, girls. It's so nice to see you." She turned to me. "And I see you have a guest with you."

Kellie beamed at her. "Hi, Ruby. This is Maddie. She's our newest resident."

Ruby's eyes lit up. "It's so nice to meet you, Maddie. I hope you like it here in our little town."

I nodded. "Nice to meet you, too. So far the town is beautiful. And I love your dreamcatchers."

"Thank you. They are all handmade here in town."

Wow. That was so cool. There was always something impressive about a handmade work-of-art. It must have taken hours to make each one.

I was given the grand tour of the store and felt a little overwhelmed at the wide variety of things on display. I really loved the large dragon figurine with the crystal ball in its mouth. It was about a foot tall and looked so realistic.

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