It was a stormy summer night when she came to my store. I had already closed it down, but stayed a bit to tidy up the place before going home, when I noticed a young woman outside. She stood there, banging on the windows, wanting to get in, as if she had no other place to go. I let her in, not even questioning her or asking her what she did out there.
“What a night,” I said. “Things were never this bad.” She remained silent. She didn’t have anything to protect her from the rain, not even a raincoat. All she had was a cloak and a basket, and I assumed the cloak didn’t really help that much. Apparently she didn’t seem to mind, but I did get a towel for her.
“You know, you’re lucky,” I said, “I was about to go home.” She remained silent. My place was just upstairs, so I wouldn’t have to go through the rain, and I didn’t really feel like sending her back out. I hesitated a bit. “I have a guest room,” I said. “It isn’t much, but at least you’d have a place to stay, at least until the storm passes.” Still nothing. I walked towards the front door. “Well, I’m about to lock this place up, so if you still want to leave, you should do it now, otherwise you’d have to wait until tomorrow.” She didn’t make any move towards the door. I decided to just let her stay, and locked the store. I then moved to the back, towards the stairs, where she followed me. I then showed her to the guest room. “If you want to take a shower, you can just take a clean towel from one of the cabinets. I’m gonna go and make some dinner, you can join me if you want, but it’s just some leftovers.”
It didn’t get any better the next day, and it seemed that the weather got a little worse. I wasn’t sure if opening my store would do any good, but I had nothing to lose anyway. The store, and by extension, my home was located at a high part of the city. If there would have been any flood here, it wouldn’t have affected me anyway. Still, the roads were quiet and almost no other shop nearby opened save for some stores, so I doubted anybody would come by. I would have been the only store still open.
After I opened the store I decided to go upstairs for a bit, to have some breakfast. I almost didn’t smell the freshly made pancakes, it was only after I saw her eating at the table, wearing nothing but a towel, that I noticed the sweet scent, the kind you would expect when visiting your grandma, cinnamon filling the air, almost tasting the vanilla flavor, not just of the powdered sugar, but of the pancakes as well. A plate was sitting there on the table, with servings just for me. She briefly glanced at me, as if she wanted to tell me to sit down and eat this breakfast. I could finally take a good look at her. She had long dark hair and blue eyes, and despite her relatively short size, I could see she was a young adult, at least no younger than eighteen.
“Did you make these pancakes?” I asked. She nodded. Even now she remained silent. At this point I wasn’t even sure if she could ever talk. “Well,” I said, “if you want, you can stay, at least until the storm passes.”
“It won’t,” she said. I honestly didn’t know what to say to that. On one hand, I was surprised that she finally decided to talk. On the other hand, I was curious about what she meant, and I guess that curiosity pushed me to ask what she meant with that.
“If you don’t mind, I’d rather get dressed first,” she said.
I nodded, and said: “I understand.”
First few pages of the chapter The Calm, from my upcoming novel(la) Eldritch Fairytales