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Lodestar: Chapter Nine

June 23, 2019

Chapter Nine

 

A small old man in a tan suit is standing in front of a short brick building. The fabric at the cuffs and elbows are frayed and well worn. He has a matching tan trilby that is resting on the crown of head now that the sun is setting. The wrinkles on his face leave deep crevices that compliment the thin, friendly smile on his face. The building behind him has a pink neon sign that reads “The Worthington, Live Entertainment and Spirits”.

 

“Mr. Byrne, are you ready?”

 

The older man smiles and nods his head slowly. The sound of automobiles passing come over the camera. Jeremy Grecian steps into the camera’s frame. Clad in black and physically imposing over the much older Marty Byrne. Marty goes for a handshake but it is ignored by Grecian. The camera is only a few feet from Marty and capturing him from the middle of his torso upwards. The top of Grecian’s head is out of the shot because of the size difference between the two men.

 

“All right, Stephen, let’s get started.”

 

“Gotcha.”

 

A clapperboard reading “08-01-2018” and the words “Trips S4E5 - Lodestar” and the time-stamp 18:24 appear digitally across the front. The clapper slaps shut as Grecian turns to the camera.

 

“I’m here with long-time resident Marty Byrne who has lived in Lodestar all seventy-four years of his life. Marty, what can you tell us about the Holcombe House?”

 

“Well, the Holcombe House has sat abandoned on the edge of the Lodestar Forest now for probably thirty or forty years. The last family that lived there were the Mathis’ and they moved out after six months.”

 

“Only six months? Any idea why they would have left so soon?”

 

“It’s not the easiest place to live. The only way to get there is a four mile gravel road, and it makes buying groceries hard in the winter. If you like solitude it’s probably a nice place to live but the longer you go without human contact the worse it is for your mental health.”

 

“You know, Marty, there are rumors around here that say the Mathis Family didn’t leave the Holcombe House because of the remoteness of the location… but the Bog Hag.”

 

A thin smile spread across Marty’s face as he nodded his head. Grecian looked over at the camera from the corner of his eye.

 

“Yes, there are those rumors aren’t there?”

 

“You don’t sound like you believe those rumors, Marty. The Bog Hag holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Lodestar. Why do you think that is?”

 

Marty Byrne lifts his hat off of his bald head and dabs the sweat that was accumulating from the heat with the sleeve of his jacket. Grecian looks back over at the camera.

 

“Probably because Mayor Queen wants the Bog Hag to be? We started these festivals a few years back, and it’s good for tourism. I’ll tell you I’ve never seen or heard from anyone who has had a run-in with the witch of the woods.”

 

“So you don’t think the Bog Hag is real?”

 

“What I’m saying is if you will run out to the bog tonight all you will see are cicadas and toads.”

 

“You know, Marty, you’re not the first skeptic we’ve encountered in Lodes… sir this is a closed set! Did you not see the signs?”

 

Jeremy’s attention is pulled away from Marty and is looking at something past the camera. Marty follows Jeremy’s line of sight and his facial expression lose any sign of the amusement it had before.

 

“You saw him too?”

 

Marty reached up and grabbed Jeremy by the collar of his black leather jacket. The older man looked absolutely terrified and Jeremy looked stunned by the sudden burst of energy from the man.

 

“Don’t let him touch you. Do you understand me? If you can see him, that means he wants you.”

 

Before Jeremy can say anything, Marty ducks back into the Worthington and lets the door slam shut behind him. Jeremy looks back over in the direction where he had been staring at and raises an eyebrow.

 

“Hey… Jeremy… what’s going on? I didn't see anyone.”

 

“I saw a man with a black jacket standing behind you, Stephen, but he’s not there now.”

 

“Yeah, I saw him the other night from my hotel window.”

 

Stephanie’s voice came from off camera and Jeremy’s eye follow over to the direction it came from. Slowly a grin spread across his face.

 

“Well, this trip finally got a little spooky. Tomorrow’s investigation will be fun.”

 

 

 

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