CHAPTER 1 - The Brewery Beast

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Monstersand maidens; you've probably heard of stories where a heroic youngman saves a beautiful maiden from being devoured by a hideousmonster. Listen, however, as I tell you of when eight strange, yetbeautiful ladies come to rescue two men. They rescue them from alarge, particularly grotesque, monster. But are they really womenrescuing men from a horrible creature? Yes, the girls are beautiful.But they are not quite human. And yes, the creature is hideous but Itmay not even be alive.

Thisincident occurred in the historic riverside, brick and mortar, cityof Wilmington, North Carolina. Moments before the eerie attack, oneof the men who is about to get into this predicament is currently athis Antiques shop. It's called Antiques and Automatons. His name isMr. Schnoz. Unaware of the trouble that is about to take place, hebusies himself behind the glass display counter, examining the innerworkings of a fob watch.

Thesun shines through the window logo illuminating old furniture andmetal automatons (machines that mimic an animated creature; usually ahuman). But a form now darkens one of the large windows that makeupmost of the double doors. The orange-brown door opens and the antiquebrass bell rings. A young woman with wavy dark-chocolate hair tied ina braid steps in. Her name is Elizabeth, Schnoz calls her Lizzy.She's his niece. At the shoulder of her yellow t-shirt she adjustsher purple bag with with its pattern of large yellow flowers. Itcontains her computer (used mostly for playing games and surfing theweb). Her t-shirt hangs untucked over her purple shorts. She wipesher yellow flip-flops on the welcome mat like a foraging hen.

"Uncle,People say weird things are happening in town lately." He looks upfrom looking through a jewelers loop. He's a thin, middle-aged, manwith an ample nose and dull chestnut hair that turns gray at thewaves that crest over his large ears. He's wearing dark blue jeansand a navy polo shirt tucked into a dark belt; his usual attire.

"weird?"he asks.

"Yeah,poltergeist stuff. You know angry ghosts. The ones that moves thingsaround and make noise. People say they've seen that happening intown. Oh, and they say you're getting senile, too. I could've toldthem that," she explains. He returns to his antique watch.

"Senile?"

"Yeah,people say, that you say, you have employees, but no one has everseen them. Though, you could use some strapping young men to helpwith the furniture. But where are they? They must be ghosts too."

"Aroundhere some place. Shy, I suppose."

"Yeah,shy," She adds doubtfully. He abruptly stops his examination andpulls something from under the counter.

"Anyhoo,"he says. "Have you come to check on my sanity or have you come tosee if this came today?" he chuckles as he holds up a small longpale postal box. Lizzy brightens.

"Itcame? My necklace came today!" she goes to meet him behind thecounter.

"What'sthis?" she asks as she pauses at an open letter on the slate-bluecounter at the back ceramic-tiled wall. He scratches his dark-brownwaves.

"Theywant me to shut down the shop and auction off the antiques to pay mydebt," he admits. She shrugs it off and comes to get the parcel.

"Bummer.It's a wonder you kept the shop this long." But the quiet of themoment is about to be disturbed.

Thedoorbell complains. A young red-haired business lady burst in wearinga Kelly-green business suit complete with skirt and high-heels.

"Schnoz,you gotta see this! Stuff is flying around on their own at Joe'sbar!" Schnoz hurriedly puts his watch away.

"Beright there Alex, let me lock up real quick." Lizzy hurries tofollow Alex but turns to see what Schnoz is doing. He opens the oldthickly painted, pale-blue door to the back rooms. He cups a hand tohis mouth.

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