That Which Remains by Olivia Batker Pritzker

unnamed-7Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Juliette looks up following an argument with her brother to see a woman sitting in the rafters of her house. Readers voted that Juliette has seen the woman around town, but has never spoken to her before.

Episode 2

With feline agility and grace, the young woman swung down from the rafters and landed with a soft thump in front of the shocked Juliette. She brushed her short, roughly chopped blond hair from her face and grinned, cocking her head to the side.

“This is a sturdy house. Wide beams, easy to climb. I could sleep up there very comfortably.”

Juliette surveyed the girl. She had seen her before, around town, but had never spoken to her. She hadn’t seen her for several months, actually – As far as Juliette recalled, she would appear every few months, ducking into an alley or peering from behind some crumbling brick facade, always with the same patchwork backpack and mischievous look in her eyes.

“Who are you?”

“Roxy.” The girl extended her hand enthusiastically but Juliette did not shake it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” The girl held her hand out for a moment longer then dropped it back and sighed.

“I’m looking for a…temporary roommate. I don’t really have a place to live right now and this house seems so big, well, from the outside, and I thought you might enjoy some company and help with the upkeep.”

She paused, and when Juliette didn’t say anything she continued brightly.

“I’m really very respectable. I’m an orphan – like you – but of course unlike you, I wasn’t left a grand house with tons of empty space. I’m just passing through town, and it seems to me that we’d get along well, so…”

Roxy didn’t say how she knew so much about Juliette, but Juliette found that she didn’t care. She’d been so lonely lately, working so hard, that she was craving some kind of change. Roxy might be just the adventure she needed. And if she turned out to be a murderous psychopath, well, that would be an adventure too.

“You can stay here,” Juliette said, breaking her silence suddenly. “There’s a spare room upstairs with a mattress on the floor, it’ll be more comfortable than the rafters.” She smiled, and Roxy smiled back happily.

“Excellent! Thank you, Juliette.” Roxy rummaged in her bag and produced a half-empty bottle of whiskey. “Celebratory drink?”

Juliette hardly ever drank, except occasionally after work with Dinah, her spirited, red-haired, harmonica-playing co-waitress. Sitting on the floor against the old brick wall, they took turns drinking from the bottle.

Roxy had arrived in town the previous day via freight train, her preferred method of travel.

“Odd sorts, the people in this town, but I like them.” She grinned, then looked suddenly serious. “I remember when they found your parents. I had just arrived that morning. Horrible thing.”

Juliette, who had been quite enjoying the feeling of the whiskey and Roxy’s stories of life on the road, felt her stomach clench as the image of her parents’ mangled bodies swam into her mind again. She forced them out.

“What’s your connection with Anchester Falls,” she asked to change the subject. “Were you born here?”

For a split second Roxy looked uneasy, then her face split into a cheerful smile.

“No, no where near here actually,” she said. “I’m from a very small town. I passed through here once and kept coming back because the town just appeals to me.” She took another swig from the bottle and jumped up. “Well, plenty to do! I’ll go find us some dinner, shall I? Maybe your boss Cal will give me a deal seeing as I’m new in town”

And without another word she was out the door.  Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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