As Joseph Strunk sat down for a meal with his family, he imagined it was considerably more subdued than other dinner tables around Townsley. The arrival of the stranger would no doubt dominate every conversation. Theories would be discussed. Assumptions would be made. And thanks to the lack of facts and evidence, it was safe to assume that fear would grow and spread before night’s end.
Joseph chewed thoughtfully on leftover chicken and remembered the looks of wonder and awe on the other villager’s faces as the storm had rolled in. The hissing sounds of their whispered concerns whipping by on the growing winds. And then, how they had all fallen silent—momentarily stunned he supposed—as their widened eyes drew like magnets to the unfamiliar car as it rolled into town. He had watched as the shock and confusion morphed its way into curiosity.
“Who is that?” Ben Waller had said.
And although he was the only one within earshot of the question, Joseph hadn’t dared to assume it was directed toward him. Ben was Townsley’s only lawyer. In a town where everything had its place, there was certainly no slot that would involve a conversation between a lawyer and a garbage man. Joseph wandered off before the conversation continued, but he was sure it was filled with misinformation and speculation.
What he really knew was that he had just witnessed the seeds of fear being planted. A fear that would not bloom in his household. Neither Joseph nor his wife, Clara, were afraid and their children were much too young to care about the village’s goings on.
No matter how historic.
Watching his children’s chubby cheeks bob and squish as they ate their dinner, he considered their future. The Strunk family had lived in Townsley for almost as long as the village existed, but have never at any point been affluent members of the community. At least not under the definition of what seemed to matter these days. Theirs was a wealth whose currency was knowledge. Secrets passed down from generation to generation. Ones that involved the truth behind why Galloway house stood abandoned and shrouded in mystery for so long. And more importantly, what it meant now that an heir to the Galloway legacy had returned.
[Read Part 5 here]