Old Town Tavern (Part Three) by Loni Lynne

Thomas worked silently behind the bar, washing the glasses as the customers finished their last mugs of ale. Millie caught the tick in his jaw as he eyed the group harassing Charity. By the looks of things, he didn’t give a rat’s ass who Mark was, he’d love to punch the guy out and take out the rest of them, too.

She waited to see what the young lad would do. Finally he grabbed a bar towel and went to wipe down the tables and chairs before stacking them for the night.

“Hey,” Mark called to him, “aren’t you Steve Mather’s kid brother?”

“Yeah, why?” Thomas admitted.

In the muffled voices from Mark’s friends, someone said something about an ‘ass kicking’.

“Your douche of a brother took out my knee during homecoming game ten years ago. It was the last play of the night, too. Cost me my ride to Penn State.”

“Sorry.”

Millie rolled her eyes. Don’t apologize to this sop! How is his knee your fault?

“Sorry? Sorry!” Mark stood up from the wooden table, scraping the chair against the floor. Some of the regulars at the bar turned around but then went back to their last drinks. “Do you hear this, guys? Little Mather here said, ‘Sorry’,” he mimicked in a tone which in no way represented the deep baritone of Thomas Mather’s more mature voice.

Mark lumbered towards Thomas. His friends were right there behind him. Charity picked this time to enter the dining area again knowing without a doubt what Mark was about to do.

“Mark, knock it off! Just leave him alone?”

“Stay out of this,–” he ended the comment with a derogatory slur. Mark cracked his knuckles against his palm and popped his neck.

Millie gasped at such a word. An ungentlemanly remark in any era of time.  The tick in Thomas’ face intensified, his hands weren’t sure whether to ball into fists or not. Would he turn the other cheek? She thought he might…until Mark had called Charity the “b” word.

“Don’t ever call her that!” Thomas said in a low, throaty growl.

Mark retaliated. “Whatcha gonna do to me? Hit me with your bar towel? Bring it on, Mather!” He got in Thomas’s face.  Mark dragged the foul word out again, in regards to sweet Charity, in front Thomas and turned to smirk at his friends, figuring Thomas would be too weak to make a move. Wrong!

Thomas clocked Mark with a right to his jaw, but the big brute only rubbed his face and raised an eye brow at him. The fighting ensued. Only problem, poor Thomas was out-numbered and Charity wouldn’t be able to fight off all the other guys. Searching her surroundings, Millie tried to find something to use. Her energy to maneuver solid objects drained her most of the time. She’d kept toiling to perfect her art and had been getting pretty good lately, moving things in the attic, spooking the current owners and customers, to let them know she was still here. But would this be a viable alternative?

While she busily looked around, Mark went in for a punch. Charity screamed, bringing Dave running in from the back. Thomas feinted and avoided the hit that would have knocked him cold. Instead, Thomas caught Mark’s forward momentum and took him down in a headlock, somehow securing the beefy guys arms under his own weight and not letting him up.

The words coming from Mark weren’t fit to mention. But Millie noticed the other guys approach as Dave went to call the cops. He knew better than to get involved. Millie still felt bad about the chair she’d thrown at him a few years ago during a similar brawl; she hadn’t realized her strength at the time. But Dave had gotten in her way.

Sighing she went for the only things she could control. Chairs were too heavy and cumbersome but glass mugs would work.  Hurrying to the bar, she began tossing them from the rack hanging overhead.  The regulars sat back in shock, seeing the glasses  magically fall and launch themselves towards the group of trouble makers.

Charity ducked as one mug after another came flying towards them and smacked two of the young men in the head. She turned around and squinted in her direction. Could the girl see her? Thomas looked up from securing Mark, whose mouth needed a good soaping, to see Charity’s gapping mouth. He stared, too.

The few guys who hadn’t been hit crouched in protective stances, covering the heads with their hands, rising to full height as Millie realized she’d run out of mugs. Dave returned to the main room as the wail of sirens filled the quiet night. Everyone stared in her direction. Dear God! Could they all see her?

An officer walked through the door, taking in the halted chaos.  He turned his focus on their bewilderment. Millie looked at him; he looked at her. Now there was a handsome cad! Her heart gave a lurch of excitement when the blond, uniformed man cocked his eyebrow and studied her thoroughly before rubbing his eyes and laughing. Momentarily drawn to the sound of his laughter and the heat in his eyes, Millie forgot those around her.

“Damn! Unbelievable!  Is she for real?”  he uttered, breaking the spell he had on her.

The situation finally dawned on her. Their shocked expressions were from seeing a ghost, namely her. Looking across the room into the mirror, she saw her reflection. She sat on the bar, half formed, in a shadowy outline of her former self. She shimmered like rising mist. The whole incident might have been only a moment but to her, it felt like an eternity as the people around her stopped and gaped. Biting her lip she disappeared all together, letting the mortification take her back to the safety of her attic room.

She didn’t dare go back downstairs for fear of being seen. How had she been able to manifest? Had working with physical objects given her the energy to do so—after all these years? She waited in the eaves under the roof to watch the remainder of the night’s activities. The handsome officer led Mark and his friends away in handcuffs. She couldn’t help but feel a tingle of awareness when she saw him being all ‘in control’. Maybe it was the uniform? She wouldn’t dwell on it, she was a ghost.

Millie cocked her head as two figures emerged from the shadows of the server’s-entry below; Thomas and Charity. They talked.Unfortunately she was too far away to hear what they were saying. Still, the way the lass let Thomas help her with her coat and walk her to her odd horseless carriage showed promise. But the quick kiss Charity planted on his lips had Millie sighing with delight. The night had not been a waste!

Turning back to her dusty attic dwelling she frowned. There was a presence here. Looking around in the shadows she didn’t see it right away. A hand came out and grabbed her around her throat. Gasping, Millie couldn’t believe it, but then a weakness engulfed her soul. She knew something wasn’t right in her world.

“Where is he? Where is James Addison?”

“I don’t know. Who are you?” she gasped. She shouldn’t be able to feel anything, right? She was dead.

Millie stumbled as her assailant shoved her across the room. A man stepped out of the shadows. Henry Samuel! His clothes bespoke of her time period, his familiar periwig askew on his large rounded head.

“You know who I am. I want to know why James Addison is alive!”

As a prominent citizen of Kings Land, Henry Samuel had been the land commissioner even before the town name changed officially to Kings Mill. He’d presented himself as a man of good character to the public, but it was all a façade. He was evil and treated women with a harsh hand. Millie never had him in her bed but knew of others who had. They’d come back from his bed with shattered souls and angry bruises. There’d been rumors he’d been the one to have James executed.

“I…don’t know anything. James was here tonight? But he’s dead…it couldn’t have been him,” she lied, stuttering. Somehow she knew it had been the real James Addison she’d seen tonight.

“It was him.” He glared at her with his beady eyes. “And yes, he is very much alive and I want to know how.”

“I can’t help you. I can’t leave the tavern.”

“Figures! You’re a weak and simple woman. You can’t do anything!  You’re still just a tavern whore.” He turned and walked away.

He disappeared before she could react. Millie sat in the darkness cringing in fear from the ghost of a man. Was it true? She had seen James Addison! Was James really alive? She’d encountered two ghosts from her past in less than a night, and she’d partially materialized; something she’d never been able to do. What was going on? Was it possible she could be brought back from the dead, too?

Let fate guide you to April and James in their story, Wanted: One Ghost, coming June 2013, from Crescent Moon Press.

 

 Want to read this story in one post? Visit the Waterworld Mermaids Free Read page and click on the story title.Come back Monday for the next installment in Ghosts in Mermaid Lagoon with a story by Kerri Carpenter.