A Lady's Prerogative: The Curse Of Hallow's Eve Part One - Includes English And Japanese Audiobook Version

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Shhhh! Digital Media
Brian Joseph Johns

Shhhh! Author

Read below or listen to the official audiobook part one on YouTube.

Or, listen here for the English version...

And no, Mishima Sato is not Bobby and I'm not being remotely controlled by anyone.

A Lady's Prerogative: The Curse Of Hallow's Eve

Daily Ritual

Once upon a time, in a small shop in a London suburb just off of the Thames river, there lived an elderly man. On this particular morning of this particular day in late October, he was already most of the way through his routine which had begun at seven in the morning. At eight o'clock, and like clockwork by which one could set their watch, he was outside of his shop, sweeping the front of his corner lot. His little dog who'd just exited the store through a little tiny door, one that was specifically designed for the pooch, would find the dirtier parts of the sidewalk, and then bark once, guiding the elderly man and his diminishing eye sight.

After sweeping the front area outside of the store, the elderly man, followed by his little dog, would stow the broom. He'd then walk to the back area of his store, which was his living space. Once there, he'd retrieve a paper bag from the fridge, pulling a custom made treat from within. Gourmet food for his dog, made by the pet store a few doors down from his shop. The elderly man would give the treat to the little dog, placing it in his food bowl. After the little dog had hungrily finished the treat, it would then take several gulps of water from the neighbouring water dish before it slowly walked over to a cushion where it would curl up and fall asleep until noon. In the meantime, the elderly man would then go about the task of making himself two cups of tea.

The first cup was standard fare in his neck of the woods. A cup of English Breakfast Tea, with a little dab of milk, enough so to lighten it some. The other was a tea he'd had imported from Osaka. The Japanese tea company from which he'd regularly purchase it, produced that blended tea by utilizing the tea of local farms, while blending it with the best teas imported from China, Korea and India. After brewing the two cups, he'd make himself a plate of fish he'd cooked the night before. At his kitchen table he'd top it with wasabi and consume it cold, washing it down with his tea. After finishing the fish and one of the cups of tea, he'd take the dishes and load them into the dishwasher, after which he'd take the other cup of tea out to the cashier's desk where he'd place it beside the register.

He'd then collect a grocery cart he'd filled part way the night before, using stock he'd collected, which he kept in the basement. He'd put the books with the books. The jewelry with the like. The cutlery and tools with the same. Finally, he'd stock the toys and seasonal knick knacks in their respective places. Once he'd emptied the cart, he'd return it to a closet near the back stairs to the basement, and return to the cashier's desk.

The next part of his routine involved his checking the cash register to ensure that it had enough small change for the morning customers. He'd often sell specialty candy and gums he stocked at the front, produced by a local chocolatier. Those morning customers often bought a book to accompany their treats for their trip to work. Once he was sure of his float, he'd walk over to the front door, unlock it and flip the switch that illuminated the sign in the window. The one that simply read: We're Open. He'd then return to the cashier's desk and drink the rest of his morning tea, signalling the end of his morning ritual.

All the while during the elderly man's morning routine, and for a great deal of time before that, sat an old man out front of a tiny park on a bench across the street. He sat there keeping a distant eye on: the shop, the elderly man and the little dog during. The old man's nose protruded from his face, long and pointy, far more so than what would be natural for a person. A pair of heavy set eyebrows framed the top of his beady eyes, making him appear gruff and guarded. A long sinewy moustache lined his top lip, while beneath, a goatee underpinned it, giving him the appearance of a devilish man. 

His skin was thoroughly saturated with the colours orange and brown, prominently distinguishing him from others, making him seem almost otherworldly. His breaths were laboured, and with each one he'd exhale a cloud of smoke and sulphur, and the fragrance of brimstone. Had someone been close enough to him, they'd have found his breath scalding and unbearably hot. Most of these qualities remained concealed beneath a tall brimmed hat perched atop of his head, from which he'd peer at the world and his surroundings. 

After he'd oberved that the elderly man across the street had finished his morning ritual, the old man on the bench got up, using a cane to support his wieldy frame. He then made the difficult journey across the street and into Sato's Curios And Treasures.

Visitors From The Past

At five minutes to three in the afternoon, the elderly man in the shop had poured his afternoon tea and was drinking it at the cashier's desk when the front door opened and a familiar face stepped in.

"Ahhhh, such a lovely day for a visit to my favourite neighbour. Neighbour at a distance better put," Nelony said, brandishing a familiar paper bag in her hands.

"Your favourite neighbour? I thought that horrific fate was reserved for Shaela, leaving me to ask to what ends do I owe the indignity of your presence?" Mishima Sato responded to the strawberry blonde haired woman.

"Charming as usual, though I'm guessing its far better that I caught you later rather than earlier," Nelony replied, unphased by Sato's remarks.

"I agree. I suppose I should thank you for waiting until I was better able to cope with your presence," Sato responded, taking a sip from his tea.

"Well maybe, I wasn't coming here for you," Nelony said, looking up at the ceiling. 

Her gaze returned to Sato as she presented a paper bag of gourmet dog treats.

"Happiu-isuka has barely made a dent in the last bag you brought. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were buttering my little friend up so the two of you could outnumber me?" Sato implied to Nelony, raising an eyebrow as he did.

"Ruff!" Happiu-isuka wagged her tail enthusiastically, licking her lips already anticipating treats.

"Somebody knows I'm here to visit!" Nelony said in a cartoonish voice.

"Why are we suddenly imbeciles when in the presence of a pet," Sato quipped sarcastically.

"People you mean? Awwww, did you hear that puppy lumps? He thinks people are imbeciles," asked Nelony, then sucking up to Happiu-isuka once again.

"Not people. Just you. Animal kind are going to look at humanity like we're a bunch of idiots with you as our ambassador to them," Sato responded.

"Ruff, ruff! Ruff!" Happiu-isuka responded.

"Happiu-isuka said, not all people are imbeciles. Just you," Nelony replied, offering up her translation services for the little dog.

"You've confirmed my suspicions and turned my own baby against me! Impressive, even for a dumbfounded Nature Witch like yourself," Sato said, amused by her wit.

"I think you had it coming to you. Both of you," Nelony handed Happiu-isuka a treat from inside of the bag.

"Which brings me back to my original point. To what occasion do I owe the indignity of your arrival?" asked Sato, returning to their conversation from the beginning.

"Well, if you must know, so I can drag a cranky and persnickity elderly man across the road for a surprise. But I'm going to have to blindfold you first," Nelony insisted, standing up after having given Happiu~isuka her treat.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm about to become the dupe in an insurance fraud scheme. Perhaps when you mentioned blindfold and crossing the road in the same sentence?" asked Sato, bitterly.

"Not the first thing that would have come to my mind," Nelony replied, defending her own innocence.

"Well as long as my name isn't Anastasia and this isn't Fifty Shades Of Grey, I suppose there's no harm blindfolding me," Sato responded, accepting the blindfold she'd withdrawn from her purse.

"I'm not even going to give that response the dignity of an answer," Nelony said, making sure the blindfold was tight.

"Lead on, oh harbinger of my doom. Please be gentle," Sato said helplessly as she took his arm, leading him out the front door.

"Let me lock my door at least?" asked Sato.

A young man met them out front of the store.

"Hi Mister Sato. I agreed with Nelony that I'd look after your shop while you were in the park," the young man said to Sato.

"Timmy? My part-time help? Ok then, but this time make sure you leave me some food in my fridge, and don't eat all my cookies?" demanded Sato, causing Nelony to giggle slightly.

"Alright," Timmy replied, sounding very disappointed as he walked into the shop and took his place at the cashier's desk.

Happiu-isuka in the meantime had followed them out of the store and waited with them for the street light.

Once across the street, the trio walked a short distance until they were upon the path through the park, where Nelony led Sato over to a picnic bench and sat him down.

"Before you run for it Nelony, dare I ask how many piles of doggy doo you walked me through on the way here?" asked Sato still blindfolded, hearing several people struggling to contain their laughter.

Nelony, now behind him, lifted the blindfold.

All at once, Sato was overwhelmed with what he saw.

To be continued...

When the new audiobook part two is ready, I'll post the link here in addition to the text of the story.

Artwork: Amy WongWendy PuseyGhastly, Brian Joseph Johns, Daz3DUnreal Engine...

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Written by Brian Joseph Johns

200 Sherbourne Street Suite 701, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
and fav.inbox@gmail.com (they both come to the same person, me).

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