"Hey, stranger," the man before me smiled. I blinked the sleep away and sat up, rubbing at my eyes.
"Sorry," I mumbled and then yawned. "I don't have you pegged down yet. Welcome to Creake and my bustling cafe."
The man raised a brow and then laughed, shaking his head, "That's probably the best welcome I've had since arriving."
I hopped off the stool, pushing it to the side and noticing that Annalise was gone, and cocked my head to the side with a frown, "People not welcoming you nicely? I figured they'd be clawing after you. You are fresh meat, after all, not to mention you decided to move into the old Bosworth mansion."
He cocked a shoulder, "No, they've been rather...excited. I just like my space and not a number of questions. Plus, some of the more forward ones make it very hard to be comfortable."
"Get used to it, bud, you're the first person to come down here in the past three decades plus you moved into the freaking Bosworth mansion. Ain't much gossip here that could top that and we forgotten folks of Creake don't have much in terms of entertainment. But anyway," I spread my hands out with a flourish. "What can I get ya?"
"Coffee'll do. And your name, if you wouldn't mind."
"Oh right. Elias, but I go by Eli, you?" I asked as I rung him up. "£3 and I'll throw in a free welcome cookie."
"Ryker, and I do not go by Ry," he replied as he handed me a couple bills. "Do you have wifi here? I won't be getting mine set up for a couple weeks."
I nodded as I put a large chocolate chip cookie on a small plate and prepped his coffee. "The password is HU4L. Take a seat, I'll be like five minutes."
"Hollywood Undead fan? You are quickly making your way to the position of my favorite person here."
I chuckled but didn't reply even though I was slightly excited that he shared the same taste of music as me. Not many people around appreciated the kind of music I listened to.
Ryker went to a table in the corner and pulled out his laptop from his backpack, immediately settling down. When I came by to give him his drink and cookie, I saw that he was researching the Bosworth mansion.
"Not to pry or anything, but wouldn't it be easier to get the locals to give you info on the place you've moved into? Creake's pretty low key so you might not find much on the internet."
Ryker looked up at me and gestured to the free chair opposite him, "I figured, but I wanted to try my hand at the internet first. And since you suggested, I'm going to take that as you offering your own brain for interrogation."
"I dunno," I hummed, pretending to think. I looked around the shop and held my hands up with shrugged shoulders, "I mean, I've got a cafe to run. Lot's of business, ya know?"
Ryker deadpanned and I gave him a lopsided grin as I took the offered seat.
"So, what can you tell me about this haunted mansion?" He had his fingers hovering over his keyboard so I figured he was going to be transcribing notes or something.
I shrugged, "It was built around the eighteenth century but about a century ago it was rumored to have been lived in by an occultist who died in the middle of a summoning and no one's lived there until you. That's what you'll get from anyone you ask. The variations lie in what the guy was summoning. The popular theories are that it was a demon of some sort for a personal slave, several demons for a demon orgy, or that he was trying to make a contract to seek revenge against his brother who stole the girl he loved."
"Demon orgy?" Ryker raised a brow as he looked up from his screen.
I shrugged, "Hey, you're into what you're into. I'm not gonna judge unless it's illegal and/or non-consensual."