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TV Review: Goblin Episode 05

Year: 2016 – 2017
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr. Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

After helping out the ghost of a recently deceased student,  Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is asked by Kim Shin (Goon Yoo) to move into his place. After returning to the bridge where she first met our resident amnesiac Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook), Sunny (Yoo In Na) is finally able to go out on a sort-of date with the clueless immortal. This, unfortunately, results in him feeling more and more out of sorts as he had no name to give her. With Ji Eun Tak’s arrival comes the requirement for both Kim Shin and the Reaper getting a mobile phone for the first time.
Reaper enlists Ji Eun Tak’s aid in creating a name for himself to go by. Over the following days, we see Kim Shin’s growing jealous over the short periods of time she spends with Reaper. It brings to a head an argument between Ji Eun Tak and Kim Shin that adds to Kim Shin’s already difficult problem in being in love for Ji Eun Tak, the Goblin’s destined and the catalyst for his death.

Episode 5 sees the focus moving towards Sunny and Reaper’s relationship. It was neat seeing the awkwardness of Reaper’s character, showing just how inexperienced he is in dealing with living, breathing people. His issues with the forgotten bits of his past life make him a genuinely sympathetic character. He doesn’t know what actions caused him to not move on and therefore cannot make amends. The previous episode also showed that he is capable of being kind to the souls that he acts as a facilitator for. Sunny’s character is still a bit of an enigma but there have been hints from previous episodes that the Samshin Lady has some purpose for bringing the two together. The more that I watch the series, the more that I am convinced that it is less vindictive than I initially believed.
As for Kim Shin, we see his own awareness of his feelings for Ji Eun Tak becoming more and more difficult for him. However, this also makes the choice easier for him. He wants Ji Eun Tak to be happier and the last few scenes of the episode give the audience the impression that there is likely a lot of other stuff that is happening off-screen. We got a glimpse of this during the previous episode as well, with Kim Shin enlisting the aid of Reaper to speak with one of his wards for the last time. I am hoping that the focus on Sunny and Reaper’s relationship allows us a reprieve for a while as Kim Shin’s situation is dragging on a bit.
For the previous four episodes, we’ve seen both Reaper and Kim Shin continually using magic to move around. In this fifth episode, we learn the major problem that both face in regards to the house. Reliance on their magic has resulted in them ignoring simple things like remembering the security code for the house. In Reaper’s case, we also see a steep learning curve when he receives his first phone. As amusing as this is, the odd nature of these two immortals does threaten to distract from some other aspects of the story.

Whilst I enjoyed this episode, some things about it concerned me. This is less about what happened and more about my anticipation about how the writers will address the next half of this series. I am worried that some stuff will be dragged on for too long thus undoing some of the entertainment value of the series so far. I suppose that I will just have to trust that the writers had enough sense when they planned out the main arcs of the story.  Regardless, I will continue watching this series because there is so much to love. It is the attention to small details, the ability for those small details to tell us so much about the characters and their situation.

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TV Review: Goblin Episode 04

Year: 2016 – 2017
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

At the end of the previous episode, Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) discovers that Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) can see the sword in his chest. He must now deal with the ramifications of this discovery. Where previously he liked the young woman but had resigned himself to continuing his search for the priestess that could remove the sword and put an end to his existence, he is confronted with the possibility that his days are numbered. Both Kim Shin and the Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) begin taking anti-anxiety medication for their woman troubles, with amusing consequences.
As our resident Grim Reaper and Goblin begin tripping balls because of their issues, with Ji Eun Tak being put up in a nice hotel with Yoo Deok Hwa (Yook Sung Jae) being roped into helping her out. (The young man is still being watched like a hawk by his grandfather’s investigator.) The ghosts that Ji Eun Tak begin helping her deal with the girl that has been bullying her. However, she is getting more and more worried that Kim Shin doesn’t like her as much as she likes him. Eventually, Kim Shin visits her and the two go on some outings together, all the while Ji Eun Tak talks about the sword without realising that the removal of the sword is supposed to end his life.

This fourth episode certainly knows how to step things up a notch. Just when I thought that I had a decent grasp of Kim Shin, we see hiss reaction to the death of man that we met in a previous episode. It gave us more of a glimpse into his character, showing that Kim Shin has affected many lives over the centuries.
We also got to see the ongoing issues with Ji Eun Tak’s Aunt and cousins. We knew that magic had been involved but up until this point in time, it seemed like the gold bars were quite mundane. Between where they came from and the forgetfulness spell put upon the bars, the trio of nastiness and greed will likely be busy for a long time.
Finally, we see both Kim Shin and our Grim Reaper dealing with the implications of love. Whilst Kim Shin has a mortality problem, Grim Reaper has somehow lost the phone number of Sunny (Yoo In Na), Ji Eun Tak’s boss. Of course, he isn’t aware that Sunny is Ji Eun Tak’s boss yet but that will likely happen in the next few episodes. After all, there is only six more episodes to go and pacing dictates that it will have to happen soon.

Anyway, it was another solid episode and I look forward to watching the next. If you watched this episode, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section. Until next time, have an awesome day!


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TV Review: Goblin Episode 03

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 3/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I watched this episode more than a month ago and never got around to review it. Because I wanted to discuss it with the instalment fresh in my mind, I decided to rewatch it today. It turned out to be just as enjoyable as when I first watched it.

N.B. Spoilers below.

After being kidnapped by debt-collectors of her horrible aunt, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is rescued dramatically by Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) with the resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) in tow. Over the span of the previous two episodes, Kim Shin has taken a liking to the young woman but has to deal with her attempts to not get her hopes up by relying on him.
In the midst of this, the resident Grim Reaper is reminded of his own situation. We also get to learn more about the organization that he works for, including talk of an upcoming Grim Reaper workshop and reunion. As Ji Eun Tak makes sense of how she feels about Kim Shin leaving for Canada, Grim Reaper meets Ji Eun Tak’s boss Sunny (Yoo In Na) at the stall of the magically disguised shaman lady that protected Ji from the Grim Reaper years before, making it apparent that she has her own plans for the pair.

This episode does a great job of kicking the second major arc into gear. Whilst we got to see the old shaman lady in passing over the previous episodes, we now get to see what she is up to. We also know that it has something to do with Sunny and Grim Reaper. There is also an emerald ring involved, something that is likely related to both of their past lives.
We also get to see the developing friendship of Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, after years of being at each other’s throats. We see that both are capable of kindness and that they heavily misunderstand each other. There is some nice commentary from the older of Kim Shin’s servants talking about how the two need each other in spite of their reluctance to accept this fact. Whilst Kim Shin has servants and memory of his life, we see the loneliness and frustration of the amnesiac Grim Reaper. Now, if only they’ll put aside the childish bickering…
As for Ji Eun Tak, we see her grow heavily during this episode. Her attempt to not rely on Kim Shin is endearing as it comes from multiple places: she doesn’t want to be an imposition on Kim Shin and she is also concerned that relying on other people will likely end badly. And yet, she makes a decision this episode that shows a clarity of purpose. She wants to be with Kim Shin. This decision also results in the confirmation of something that we have known for a while, that Ji Eun Tak is Goblin’s bride, the priestess that will be able to remove the sword that keeps him alive.

In conclusion, this episode knocked it out of the park. The character development and plot are moving along nicely, with some genuinely funny moments that add to the story rather than subtract from it. This continues to be an enjoyable series and I look forward to watching more episodes.


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TV Review: Goblin Episode 02

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 1/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: Wikipedia, MyDramaList,  HanCinema, KoreanDrama, AsianWiki, DramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

*waves* I finally got around to watching the second episode of Goblin. Yes, I did take a few weeks to get to it along with some other stuff. Sorry for the delay.

The second episode follows the events after Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) follows Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) through the door to Canada. After spending a day in Quebec, Ji Eun Tak is returned to Korea where she has to put up with her crappy relatives. Our resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) discusses the task of retrieving several missing souls with another reaper, then gets into a pissing contest with Kim Shin after the Goblin keeps him up all night trying to think of the most trendy way to look when summoned next. Ji Eun Tak gets a job at the least busy Chicken restaurant in the city where she works for the most deliberately disinterested and pretty manager. Our heroine is also watched over by a transformed version of that old spirit-seer that her mother used to know, the one that stood up for the girl during the Grim Reaper’s delayed retrieval of her mother’s soul. After her horrible aunt is visited by nefarious loan sharks, they kidnap the girl for the bankbook for the girl’s insurance money from her mother’s death. In lieu of the young woman being in danger, Kim Shin and Grim Reaper’s telekinetic fight at the dinner table is disrupted and they come to her aid.

Though this show isn’t necessarily a comedy, it had large amounts of funny moments. We still get the feeling that Ji Eun Tak’s aunt’s family are a bit like Harry Potter’s horrible relatives but we also learn how much her family rely on her insurance money. As for the Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, the two show themselves to be more than willing to behave like children when competing with each other. We aren’t given much information about their long-term feud but one gets the feeling that their history will be elaborated on in future episodes. In any case, the episode was highly enjoyable and a good fit for watching in tandem with Dame wa Watashi ni Koshite Kudasai. I will definitely be continuing this highly entertaining series.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 10

Another week has passed. I finally got this chapter done. The story is obviously still very rough but I hope that the story is beginning to take shape. Man, I will have my work cut out for me when I finally get around to editing this story when it finishes later this year.

***

Thomas was sitting in the sunroom eating a toasted sandwich when his mother’s Camry pulled into the driveway. His aunt’s dog started yapping and jumping about as if its life depended on it. The young man was quickly growing tired of the dog’s excited behaviour along with a host of numerous other bad habits, his aunt and uncle had never seen fit to address.
As for the duo in question, they were gone a lot during the daylight hours. They would usually return around four o’clock in the afternoon from whatever it was that they did. He still didn’t know exactly what that was and had thus far been too embarrassed to ask.
The engine switched off and Thomas heard the sound of two doors opening and shutting. He sat up slightly to see what was going on. He saw a strange long-haired man through the window walking with his mother towards the front stairs. He noticed their body language as the man carried the groceries that she’d purchased from the service station.
“Weird…” he thought. “They look chummy.”
Thomas got up and opened the door for them, the little dog continually barking and attempting to mark its territory as “top dog” and “defender of the household”. In contrast, Egg merely lifted his head from where he had been laying down beside Thomas’ feet and barked once. Thomas looked down at the dog and shook his head at the lazy response.
Maia laughed, then said, “Hey, kiddo. This is Michael a new friend of mine. We’ll be out back chatting about some stuff.”
“Want me to make some ham and cheese or something?” he asked.
She smiled, “That would be great but I was thinking that you might want to listen in to the conversation. I did promise to explain some things to you a few days ago. This might give you an opportunity to learn something about your dear olde mah.”
He sighed, “You seriously want me to come with, don’t you?”
Maia nodded, “It would save me explaining things again later.”
“Okay but you get to make the ham and cheese sandwiches.”
Maia smiled at Thomas. “Okay… fine…” she replied feigning defeat.
A few minutes later, the three humans and two dogs found themselves sitting around the small round table on the back veranda. In the middle sat a pot of tea as well as finger food such as grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and Iced Vovo biscuits. Michael and Thomas stared at each other, with Maia wondering which male would grab some food first. Eventually, she grew tired of the silence and the lack of food being consumed because of their odd staring competition. Her son looked at her with murderous intent when she grabbed a couple Monte Carlos from the biscuit sampler pack. She stifled a laugh.
“So, I guess that I need to explain a few things,” she said after a few sips of tea and finishing one of the biscuits.
Thomas looked from Michael to his mother and nodded, “The first thing is who this guy is.”
“I met Michael today. It appears that he needs help with an unusual circumstance…”
“And what circumstance is that?”
“Should you really be telling the boy…” Michael asked.
Maia looked at Michael and nodded, “Your situation is rather simple compared to some of the other things that I have seen since the attack. You and your tagalong are safe in comparison.”
Thomas wondered what the heck that the two were talking about.
Maia took a breath before seemingly getting an idea. She then looked at Egg who was sitting to her left in between where she sat next to Michael.
“Egg, please place your left paw on the table and bark three times.”
Egg raised his head and barked, “Why?”
“Thomas needs a demonstration…”
With nothing more than a reason, Egg walked around to the other side of Maia and placed a paw on the table. He then barked three times.
Thomas raised an eyebrow, “He knows a trick. So what?”
Maia grinned, “He is not doing tricks. He perfectly understands what we are saying even if he doesn’t know the meaning of some words.”
Thomas wasn’t convinced.
“Why don’t you ask him to do something yourself?” Maia suggested.
“Do I have to?” he asked.
“You don’t have to but you are a better judge of what you’d be willing to accept as evidence.”
As much as Thomas agreed with the logic, he also disliked the ramifications of what his mother was implying. It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought of it already but it also meant that a dog was capable of having higher intelligence beyond the simple act of eating its own poop and barking at its own reflection. It was easier to think of an animal as being led by instinct. There was something pure about that notion.
“Okay then.” Thomas looked into Egg’s eyes and said, “Well, turn clockwise three times and anti-clockwise once.”
Egg looked at Maia, “What is this clockwise and anti-clockwise business?”
Motioning with her left hand, “Clockwise is like this… and anti-clockwise is like this…”
Egg barked out a thank-you. He then looked at Thomas. Thomas was about to say something when Egg got up and walked clockwise around the table three times followed by a single time anti-clockwise. Thomas was more than a little surprised. He’d expected the dog to chase its tail instead of the elaborate show.
“As you can see, he understands what you are saying. When I saw him on the side of the road a few days ago, I recognised him right away.”
“And?”
“When you were little, we got a puppy from the pound. Egg was that puppy.”
“He doesn’t look that old to me.”
“I was curious about that myself. I haven’t seen him is more than twelve years. Last time that I did, I took you to daycare on the way to work. I put up fliers to find him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find him. I suspected foul play.”
Thomas recalled seeing some old photos from when he was a kid. He just couldn’t remember what the dog looked like. He supposed that was to be expected given how young he was at the time. He wondered what would motivate a person to kill an animal that was simply sitting in its backyard minding its own business.
“So, he didn’t run off or anything like that?”
“The thing is that he sort of remembers us but not specific details. There are times when his memory is more clear. What I do know is that Egg was always a lot more than he appeared even back then. He was never just a smart animal.”
Michael listened in silence as mother and son continued to discuss the enigma that is Egg. Every now and then, he noticed Egg watching him from the corner of his eye. As Thomas and Maia began to talk about Peggy and Alan’s little dog, Egg walked over to the man, sat on his hind legs and placed a paw on Michael’s leg.
Michael looked down at the dog curiously. He began to feel a wave of calm wash over him as the dog wove its own magic upon the stranger. The dog ruffed a few times and Michael found a part of himself responding.
“What are you?” he asked Egg.
“I am Egg.”
“No, Egg is your name not what you are. What are you?”
“I don’t know!” the dog replied truthfully. “I am not a dog as my small companion is. And yet, I understand it. You ask me what I am but what are you? ”
“I am a man that simply wants to live his life without being afraid that he will hurt those that he cares about.”
Egg nodded understandingly.
Michael looked up from the dog to see Thomas looking directly at him.
“Mum, you still haven’t told me who this guy is.”
Maia grinned, “Don’t worry, kiddo. Michael is just our resident werewolf.”
Thomas looked at his mother and shook his head, “If you aren’t willing to give me a straight answer…”
Maia’s face became serious, “I am telling you the truth. I wasn’t kidding when I said that he needed help either.”
“How pray tell, did you figure out this shit?”
“Did I mention that I am psychic now because I was attacked by a Grim Reaper? I could talk to animals before that, though.”
It sounded preposterous. Thomas promptly got up from his seat with a saucer of cookies on it and left for his room downstairs.
“Bunch of freaking weirdoes…” he mumbled under his breath as reached the bottom of the stairs.

“You do realise that he doesn’t believe you,” Michael stated.

“I know that but he will soon enough. This little town may not seem like much but there is a lot more than meets the eye. Take yourself, for instance. Of all of the small towns on the east coast, why did you pick this one?”
Michael considered it for a moment, then said, “For the life of me, I can’t remember.”
Maia nodded, “Exactly. When I lived here as a kid, I wasn’t able to see what I can now. I can’t help but think that things would have played out a lot differently if I’d known what I do now.”
Michael stared down at his cup of cooling tea. He couldn’t agree more. However, with all of the musings about the past both Maia and Michael knew that they would soon have to deal with a threat that they were currently unaware of the nature of.

Elsewhere, several other pieces of the puzzle would soon fall into place.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 9

Yo! I hope that you’ve had an awesome week so far. I am back with another instalment of the serial. This time around, we are introduced to a character that we heard about previously but are now meeting for the first time.

***

It was morning.
Michael Hecker was in a bit of a pickle. He’d lost some keys several days before and now needed access to the safe. Okay, maybe “need” was a strong word. Perhaps “wanted” was a better one.
He’d started feeling odd at the beginning of the most recent new moon. It was bad enough when the full moon came about, but the new moon was becoming difficult to manage as well. He sensed something evil and the beast was now reacting to its presence. As such, he’d woken up two nights in a row partially changed.
He suspected what might happen if the beast grew out of control and sort to keep it in check. This is where certain contents within the safe under his bed came in handy. A capsule of wolfsbane and silver flakes was usually enough to weaken the beast enough to stop the change. The beast, of course, heavily disliked Michael actively working against it.
He’d never really got along with the beast in the twelve years since he’d been bitten one night during a breakdown on a trip to Singleton in New South Wales. He’d been found heavily injured by a truck driver an hour and a half later. He was told by the doctor at the hospital that the cold winter air had likely saved his life but he now suspected that he would have survived regardless.
Michael had been housesitting for a friend during the next full moon, still recovering from the attack when he’d first changed. Thankfully, the residence was away from a populated area. However, he remembered killing several sheep over the following three nights. On the first night, it had seemed like a nightmare seeing the terrified eyes of the Ewe staring back at him. On the second, it had felt more real as the beast began to share more of its senses with him. Michael had remembered the taste and the smell and the feel of cold wet grass beneath his paws. By the third, he knew what was happening with an unsettling clarity.
Michael had grown scared of what he could do to the people that he cared about. He purchased some books on the subject but they offered nothing but folk tales inspired by individuals with a gene that caused excess body hair. This was not helpful at all, nor were all of the silly horror movies about werewolves that he’d made the mistake of watching. In fact, the latter simply intensified his anxiety until he finally decided to move somewhere with enough distance between inhabitants that he would be a lot less of a risk to other people.
So, now he lived in a small country town along the coast of Central Queensland away from the big city where he’d grown up. He’d always thought of moving to a small coastal town when he retired, but that dream had been dependent on having a wife and family. His dream of finding a good woman was no longer an option because he wouldn’t put another person’s life in jeopardy.
Exasperated by his unsuccessful search for the keys, Michael decided to go into the township to pick up some seasoned chips and a flavoured milk as a means of clearing his head. He was thankful that he hadn’t lost his car keys at least. He pulled some sweat pants over the top of his shorts and threw on a jumper before grabbing the keys and heading out of the door of his home.

*

Maia Dunham was getting milk from the fridge of the service station when a strange man walked past her. He was tall, with shoulder-length brown hair that barely covered the beginning of a wicked scar at the back of his neck. The man looked almost as tired as she felt. He looked at rows of flavoured milk, considering which one to purchase.
“Hi!” she said.
He looked up, dark brown eyes staring back at her. They were almost black. He croaked out a hello in reply. Then his eyes grew large and he stumbled forward, hands upon the glass door. As the strange man looked about to fall backwards, Maia reached out to stop him from hitting the shelf behind him. As soon as her hands made contact with his arm, everything went black.

*

Michael found himself in a white room with the beast nearby chewing on a large meaty bone. It was a bipedal creature with shaggy light grey and brown fur. Its lower legs bent back bizarrely, giving it the appearance like it might lunge forward at any moment. It had a long snout with numerous large teeth peeking out from its mouth every so often as it crunched into the bone. It wasn’t a tall creature, but it was stocky enough to be intimidating even without the fangs and fur.
Michael had often found himself in this same room whenever the change threatened. However, this time was different. This time another person was with them.
The pale and fragile woman that had been getting milk at the service station now stood several yards away looking at the wolf-creature. She didn’t seem phased in any regard, though. Most people would have dropped to the foetal position at the sight of such a monster, but not this woman.
“Where are we?” she asked.
Michael had wondered this many times since he’d been infected. Every single time that he was about to change, he met the wolf in this place. It would usually be gnawing at a bone or grooming itself. It would then stand up on its hind legs and chase after him. Of course, he’d never thought to hold his ground because the flight instinct usually kicked in.
“No idea…” he said, then paused. The lycanthrope looked up from its bone and tilted its head as it considered the woman. “Aren’t you scared of it?” he asked.
She shook her head, “No, actually. I have seen scarier things. As it is, he doesn’t seem to be aggressive. So, why should I be afraid when he is not attacking?”
Michael thought about it for a moment, then answered, “Well… because it is a freaking werewolf!”
Maia wasn’t moved by the argument. Instead, she walked up slowly to the creature. Michael warned her against it, but she continued on until she placed a hand on its head and began to pat it.
Michael couldn’t believe his eyes. The creature wasn’t attacking like he had thought it would. Instead, it was nuzzling into her hand like a child receiving affection from a loved one. Then it stopped and looked at Michael.
“See, I can play nice!” it projected.
“What do you mean by ‘scarier things’?” he asked the woman.
She looked back at him, “I am talking undead and Reapers.”
“Reapers?”
“Yeah. They don’t send people to the afterlife like many people seem to think.”
“And how do you know this?”
She dropped her head and lifted the wolf’s to scratch under its chin. She took a deep breath. The lycanthrope looked deep into her eyes.
“Because I’ve been wounded by one…” she stated.
Michael swallowed.
“Your werewolf friend here is not a threat and I doubt ever will be. Unless somebody is threatening a loved one… that is. But I suppose you couldn’t know that.”
“And how do you know that?”
“Let’s just say that it is a perk of the wound.”
Michael found himself curious. She struck him as a good-natured person and seemed to have some knowledge that he was horribly lacking. She was pretty as well.
“My name is Michael Hecker.”
“Maia Dunham. I recently moved back to Carmila for health reasons… I was hoping to find somebody to help deal with my particular problem.”
“Perhaps we can help each other out… but probably better to go back first.” Michael looked at the wolf, “We need out.”
The wolf nuzzled Maia’s hand one last time before it allowed itself to fall back into Michael’s subconscious. Slowly, the white room faded and the two humans found themselves leaning against the glass doors of the service station fridge. The air felt heavier.
Michael leant to the side as Maia picked out a chocolate milk. She offered a shoulder to Michael who was still feeling light-headed and they made their way to the register where Debbie was waiting.
“What’s up with him?” Debbie asked.
“Probably low blood sugar… Mind bringing this up for me?”
Debbie shrugged and allowed her friend to purchase the drink. With flavoured milk in one hand and woozy man on the opposite shoulder, she walked over to the side room where visitors often ate and drink at the several tables available. She helped him into a chair, feeling weak herself. Maia opened the plastic bottle and plonked a straw into it before offering it to Michael. He took it and drank slowly. Maia sat down.
It would be several hours before he was feeling well enough to drive, but Michael had somehow made an ally because of this chance meeting. He wouldn’t forget it. He was afraid, but he now knew that he wasn’t alone. However, there still remained the mystery of what had occurred during the last few days of the new moon. It would be some time before they discovered the truth.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 8

Sorry for the late post. My day was unexpectedly busy. Anyway, this instalment continues on where the last one left off, in the aftermath of Bernard Haney getting murdered by a big-ass monster.

***

It was around one a.m. when Karen was awoken by the sound of her work phone ringing. She rolled over and groggily picked it up from her bedside table. She yawned as her hands went through the now automatic tasks of unlocking and answering it.
“Karen here. What’s up?”
“Hey, Karen! Taylor here. There’s been an accident down on the highway…”
“Well, shit on a breadstick! Send the job details to my printer and I will fetch it after I get my kit on.”
“No problem, Karen. Have a safe one out there.” With that, Sargent Taylor ended the call.
She took in the pitch black room. She yawned again and got out from under the warm covers. She felt the cold air on her now exposed skin and wanted to crawl back in. However, work was work.
In the dark room, Karen quickly donned her police polo shirt, cargo pants and dark blue police jumper before slipping on some dark blue socks. She began to hear her brother moving about in his room of the house, likely awoken by the sound of her phone. She pocketed her keys and both phones exiting the door adjoining the sleep-out.
She was greeted by the lanky form of Luke as he wandered out of his own dimly-lit room in a pair of flannelette pyjama pants. His arms outstretched as he yawned out a hello. He was exceptionally tall, with dark brown hair falling past his shoulders. She’d been told by several of her female friends that he was attractive but she didn’t get it.
He was now twenty-nine years of age and uncaringly single. He’d had numerous boyfriends and girlfriends in the past, but none of those previous relationships had led to anything meaningful. He’d simply grown disinterested in putting in effort into finding somebody special.
It had long been her observation that men, in general didn’t seem to feel the cold as much as their female counterparts. Luke seemed to feel it even less than other males as well and she had long joked about him being part-Eskimo. He had always smiled and joked about wanting his very own igloo on several occasions. Her brother was serious as well but had never been able to achieve that dream.
He lazily gave her “first dibs” on the toilet with a simple wave of the hand. Whenever she wasn’t going to some job or working, he deemed in necessary to have some sort of toilet dash competition. Most of the time he won, but she’d recently resorted to cheating. Luke had simply found it amusing.
Not long after that, she had some shoes and a belt on. Luke handed her a cold can of coke as she exited the back door of the high-set Queenslander with a flashlight in hand. She offered a quick thank-you before leaving.
It was times such as this that she was especially thankful to have her younger brother around. Melody was too young to be in the house alone at night and there were often times during the day when he helped out. Simply put, Karen couldn’t do it without him around. Melody seemed to like having her uncle around as well. Most of all. Karen liked the company.
Karen picked up the rest of the necessary notebooks and belt paraphernalia from the police station, grabbing the job details from the printer before locking up. She was grateful that fewer people tended to travel during these colder months. In the warmer seasons, she noticed a steady flow of tourists moving about her piece of highway even late at night. That meant extra business for the twenty-four-hour service station and increased work dealing with petrol drive-offs. It was par for the course.
Karen hopped into her truck and plonked the notebooks and tablet in the passenger seat. She placed the can in the door holder, before taking a deep breath. She flicked on the overhead light, then picked up the printout of the job details and began to read. She frowned as she realised where the accident had taken place.
From a mechanical standpoint, the area would likely have restricted room due to a steep ditch nearby. She was thankful that there wasn’t a lot of traffic around at this time of night.
It was also not far from the turnoff to the road where she’d rescued Sue Williamson the previous afternoon. She was thankful that it wasn’t on the side road in question, but she still found it disconcerting.
She put the printout back in the seat next to her and turned on the car.
Ten minutes later, she arrived at the scene.

*

Bernard Haney was now dead. He understood from a physical standpoint what that meant, but he now had to deal with the metaphysical aspects of being deceased first-hand. He’d remembered that feeling of drifting upward momentarily just before the monster had dragged his spirit back down with a deep and ongoing growl that severed his natural passage to the afterlife. It resulted in a jarring pop that sent his senses into a whirl. He felt dizzy and soon dropped to his knees next to his former body.
Bernard was intimately aware of the monster several yards away, but it seemed oblivious to his presence. He macabrely wondered if it was even possible for the creature that had taken his life to do further harm to him. He hoped that he wouldn’t learn the hard way.
His body was so close. Large puncture wounds were present where they shouldn’t be. Saliva dripped from the skull, moistening the pools of blood below. As close as it was, it was no longer a part of him.
Not far away, the B-Double truck rolled to a stop in a parking bay. The driver’s door opened, light emanating from the cabin. Bernard tried to yell a warning to the driver, but his voice didn’t pierce the veil. A large rotund man with a scruffy beard climbed down.
The monster looked up from the body and growled deeply. Seeing the creature in the dim light created by tail-lights, the man hurriedly climbed back up and slammed the door shut behind him. The monster looked back down at the body and nudged it with his snout. The driver’s window was opened soon after and a hand came out with something in it. There were several quick flashes before the hand retreated back and the window was wound up. The monster looked from truck to body several times before it stood up. It was now bored and no longer hungry. Moments later, it started toward the side road from whence it came.
It took several minutes before Bernard’s spiritual body recovered enough to stand up and walk around. He felt different. He wasn’t out of breath or sore anymore. He felt better than he had since his youth running around the neighbourhood getting up to shenanigans with several of his friends. He felt stronger as well.
Not long after that, he saw the yellow, blue and white of the RACQ truck drive towards the scene. It parked several meters from the corpse on the road with the headlights on. Then came the muffled sound of his damaged mobile phone before it abruptly stopped. He heard talking from within the car. He considered walking over to see what we happening, but something compelled him to stay close to his body for the time being.
An indeterminable amount of time later, Karen’s car drove in front of the other vehicle. Bernard saw her get out of the car and look around before cordoning off the scene with high-visibility cones. She headed over to where the truck driver sat nervously, eyes moving back and forth to either side of the road. She headed back to the mechanic in the RACQ truck.
Michael was a tall and stocky man in his mid-forties with light brown hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow. His voice was deep and made her think of several soul singers that her parents had listened to when she was growing up. He also appeared to have a clean record. All in all, she considered him to be one of the more attractive men in the region. If she’d been in the market for a man, then the single father of two might have been a good choice.
She began to question him. She quickly learned that he’d been called to assist with Bernard’s car. He had driven up the road and found the car with the driver’s side door open but no sign of Bernie. He had also mentioned large holes and indentations in the bonnet. After she was done jotting down notes, they arranged to talk again the following afternoon. He soon drove away.
Phone calls were made as she evaluated the scene with a flashlight in hand. She scratched her head at yet another oddity, Bernard following close behind. Finally, she went back to inspect the bloodied and broken body. She recognised the dark grey jacket and the stained blue jeans. She looked sad.
“What the hell happened to you, Bernie?” she asked the air, but no answer seemed forthcoming.
Bernard considered his death. It was not how he’d envisioned that he would pass on. No, he expected to die old. He’d pictured his death to be simple, such as dying in his sleep or in a hospital after reconnecting with his children like some television drama. Now, he looked down at his chewed up body as Senior Constable Karen Johnson stood there unaware that his spirit was beside her.
He wished that he had answers but even if he did how could he convey how screwed up the situation was? He’d been killed by something unnatural. He was certain that the monster had stopped him moving on to his afterlife as well. It was bad enough that it had happened to him. However, he knew that others were also at risk.
The question was: How do you kill the unnatural?