That Which Remains by Olivia Batker Pritzker

unnamed-7Vote at the end of this episode!

Previously… A stranger arrives in town and introduces himself as Jasper. Readers voted that he is a fortune teller.

Episode 4

Juliette cupped her hand around a tall white candle, attempting to shield it from the wind whistling through the windows behind her. The flame flickered a few times and then died as another gust of wind blew in, causing a collective shiver from the restaurant’s guests and causing Juliette to exhale in frustration. She turned to get another match and as she did her eyes lit on a man who had just walked through the front door. Tall and neatly dressed, the man looked around the restaurant with a small smile playing on his thin lips. Juliette watched Cal approach the man, his wooden leg echoing across the floor. They shook hands.

Cal acted warm to his customers, roughly slapping the men on the back and kissing the old women’s hands, but Juliette knew that he had a deep distrust of all people. She didn’t think anyone, except maybe Dinah, was really close to him. She’d asked him once how he lost the leg, conversationally, and the flinty cloud that had passed over his eyes was enough to silence her about the matter forever. He was a fair enough boss, but Juliette often wondered what he was doing in this old run-down town where he didn’t have family or really any friends. She remembered something her mother had said shortly before her death – something about Cal being “more than he appeared to be.” She had been confused at the time, what did that mean, more than he appeared? Her mother just shook her head and smiled in that mysterious way of hers.

Juliette was jolted out of her thoughts by a signal from Cal, and her mind returned to the stranger as she made her way over. Standing close to him, Juliette was amazed by the hypnotic pull of his eyes. Even behind relatively thick rectangular glasses, his black eyes glittered like onyx. She tore her gaze away after a moment, embarrassed, and offered to lead him to a table. She could feel Cal watching them as they walked away. She sat him in a corner with a friendly smile, and was about to walk away when he spoke.

“Juliette, stay a moment would you?”

She turned back around. Had she told him her name?

“As you know I’m new in town, and I will require an assistant in setting up my business. I thought, perhaps, you could use some extra income?”

His glasses glinted in the candlelight. He continued.

“I would be happy to work around your prior commitment to this job, of course. If you’re at all interested, I suggest we meet at my new premises tomorrow morning to talk it over further. You have tomorrow off, correct?”

He didn’t wait for an answer.

“My work is…unique, but I think you’ll find it interesting. In fact, I would be so bold as to say you may find it extremely illuminating. But we can get more into that tomorrow. What do you say?” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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