CHAPTER 1 - The Brewery Beast

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Theyare not of this world. They are beautiful, but they are not quitehuman. Yet, they will rescue two men who are. And they will come totheir defense against a very real hungry monster that, itself, maynot even be alive. It all happened in the historic, brick and mortarcity of Wilmington, North Carolina. It was known more for ghoststories than of fairy tales...until now. Here, it would seem,creatures of myths and legends have come to life.

Thisold city continues its long abode on the dark waters of the Cape FearRiver many miles from the vast ocean. Here, Moments before the eerieattack, one of the victims is at his quaint little shop. Some may sayhe's a senile old fool.

Thereit is, where he started that adventurous day peacefully enough. Thereis his shop under the shade of old yet thin trees in small squares ofearth in the sidewalk. This shop is called Antiques and Automatons.The owner's name is Mr. Schnoz. Oblivious to the injury that is aboutto befall him, he busies himself behind the glass display counter,examining the inner workings of an ancient fob watch.

Inside,the sun peeks through the Old-style lettering of the window. Filteredrays illuminate old furniture and metal automatons (animated machinesmeant to mimic creatures; usually people). But, just outside, the dryhusk of lifeless petunias hang in woven baskets on both sides of theteal awning. But, a form now darkens the frosted windows of thedouble doors. Before entering she glances at the lifeless plants andher young articulate voice complains.

"He'sno green thumb. His flowers are brown. He can't take care ofnothing," she mumbles. The citrus-tan doors open and its antiquebrass bells alert with dainty, sharp voices. Hazel eyes blink in thedimly lit showroom as a Grandfather clock chimes. Though she isaverage height, her face is round with small features. Her wavydark-chocolate hair is pulled tight to form a braid, leavingdisobedient strands. Like a ghost, they form a thin wisp at herhairline; visible only in the sunlight. Her name is Elizabeth. Sheshrugs her dark-purple bag with its splashes of day-glow colors. Itcarries her computer (used mostly for playing games and surfing theweb). Her lavender t-shirt hangs untucked over her pastel yellowshorts. Like a foraging hen, she wipes her yellow flip-flops on thewelcome mat and enters.

"It'sHappening, Uncle Schnoz," she announces.

"Hey-loLizzy. What's happening? Aren't you suppose to be planning yourwedding?" replies the middle-aged man at the counter.

"Ghosts.That's what's happening. And I don't buy it for a minute. Sometrue-believers say It's some Union soldier. He's mad that he diedhere in the south," she says. Other than a glance, he continues tostoop in his examination.

"A century and a half; that's the trouble with ghosts, can't letbygones be bygones. Oh, and You mean 'the Union ghost is angry,' not'mad'. Mad' literally means insane." he says without looking up.

"Thattoo. You're weird. Yep, ghosts. People say weird things are happeningin town. And they agree with me that you're weird too." He looks upfrom peering through a jewelers loop protruding from his right eye.He lets it drop into his hand. He's a lanky, middle-aged man with aruddy complexion. He has an ample nose and dull wavy chestnut hairthat turns gray at the waves that crest over his large ears. Beforereturning to his watch, he scratches the chest of his navy-blue polo.It is tucked behind a caramel belt in dark-blue jeans. Save for aadding a sweater in winter, this is his perpetual attire.

"Weirdthings? What's weird?" he humors. Though southern, he has anunusual accent; his lifelong attempt at proper English. But, she isnot humored.

"Weirdstuff. Haven't you heard, a poltergeist. You know, those ghosts witha bad attitude. The ones that move things around and make noise.People say they've seen it in town. Or, at least they see the thingsit moves around. Oh, and they say you're getting senile, too. Icould've told them that," she explains. He returns to his watch.

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