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THE STRANGER
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THE STRANGER

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What happens when Joe Eriks, a successful farmer and his wife, natives of a small town called Plumpton, who have been childless for so long find a child in the most bizarre of ways? This too, almost at the same time, their relatively peaceful and quiet town resumes being attacked by ravenous beasts they presume are werewolves? Could it be that the strange child habited by the Eriks is the cause of this great destruction? Could it be that she's the werewolf? Or are the sons of Plumpton searching the wrong place? Follow this thrilling story of love, sadness, fear and desolation to find out.

Chapter 1

Black fumes escaped from the chimney, kids rushed to school, sweaty men and women in their batches, rushed to their work places. The men, with suspenders holding up jumped up trousers and the women, flare skirts and dresses with puffy sleeves. A typical morning in the small town surrounded by hills in the east, a town called Plumpton. She was distinctly known for its small landmark and the culture of peace and kindness that existed within her people. Her members were familiar with each other, in a single sense of “everyone knows everyone”.

In Plumpton lived Joe Eriks a notable crop man, known across the province, he was also a rearer of horses and cattles, an accomplished man endowed with all blessings that defines a successful man such as farms and healthy crops, horse steeds and pens with domesticated animals. They had everything but the one thing he yearned badly, the one blessing that eluded him and his wife Haina,

“A child”

For several years of their matrimonial union a child had not strayed off its part to them hence by families, friends, competitors and even foes they were termed cursed and objects of ridicules they were made symbols of bad omen.

His wife frequently appeared at the yard gate glancing furtively in different directions, her arms, firmly perched beneath her ample breasts and a sigh escaping her lips at short intervals but there he always sat, rooted firmly in the lawn chair kept in the right corner of lawn which was filled with evergreen grass, Joe. He was a man that worried less than the flies that dance round him, always consoling himself by gulping down fresh wine as though it was from Bacchus (God of wine) himself. This was his deliverance from anxiety and his opium to worries.

"Better a little caution than great regret." Haina his wife would  always tease,

 “Happiness is plentiful to those who understand the simple rules of acquisition” He would reply as he urged her to join him. His wife knew his routine as a distraction to push aside demanding issues of life grand among which was childlessness but Joe Eriks will would always say,

“I can’t kill myself over issues I can’t handle”

And this was his mantra to true happiness.

This province has always been quiet, free of unecessary drama and quarrels but something strange happened on a certain night, the moon was full and from that notable night, Plumpton became a changed town.

Joe and Haina were doing their daily evening ritual with the former on his beloved rocking chair sipping away all his worries the latter, positioned at the yard gate with a faraway look in her eyes when she heard the familiar sound of a horse, neighing. She turned to look at her husband who seemed not to have heard anything, how could he? When he was drowning himself in alcohol, she couldn't drink alcohol neither could she pretend she didn't hear the constant gossip from her townswomen,

“Look at her” They would say, “Worry free, when she should have hung herself by now, 15 whole years and nothing to show for it.”

 Or they would say,

“Oh poor Joe, such a good man, that one, truly baffling how he ended up with a witch for a wife!” 

She couldn't even blame them, sometimes she herself wondered if she was cursed. She had gone down that dark road of thoughts again when she heard another sound from the horses and as she made to go check on them she looked up and saw that it was sunset, she gasped as she thought,

“The horses must be hungry”

So she called on Joe and together they went to feed the horses and clean the horse steed before they retired for the day.

 Joe went out back to get his feeding troughs and other tools but Haina went ahead, she walked slowly but steadily until she got to the gate of the open field where their pen stood. It was a very large space bounded by a short wooden gate made of bamboo sticks, it was connected to rows of wood joined together in a cross like manner which went round the entire perimeter.

She pushed it open and went to the horse steed which was an extended shed with a hay covered floor and a roof, made of raffia and sticks. She went directly to her favourite horse, Milly and was rubbing her mane adoringly when something caught her eye, she moved slowly towards the left corner of the shed and in a second, she screamed loudly!

Joe was walking quietly to the steed when he heard a loud wail, he knew immediately that it was Haina and thinking she had met danger, he raced into the main house, got his shotgun and raced back to the pen. He stopped abruptly when he was nearing the horse steed and started taking slow menacing steps towards the area, his gun cocked all the way, he stopped near the entrance and then turned again, entering the steed with his gun facing forwards, he stopped and looked and realized that there was no one there, fear filled his mind as he contemplated what to do, ‘Had the intruder taken Haina?’ ‘Was he hiding because he could sense his presence? ‘Who was the intruder?’ ‘What did they want?’ Those were the thoughts that ravaged his mind as he stood with his shotgun ready to attack.

Haina heard footsteps but it was only a distant sound as she was completely out of it, the shock that ceased her was out of this world as she watched the sight in front of her. It suddenly dawned on her that she should call Joe and as she raced towards the entrance, she bumped into him, her eyes wide and questioning as she wondered why he was with a gun. She didn’t stop to think, she just held his hand tightly and dragged him to where she had just been and soon enough, Joe's expression mirrored hers from seconds ago.

In front of them, was a human girl, as naked as she was the day she was born, her eyes were closed and she was the most beautiful sight they had beheld in all the years of their life.

At first, they were afraid to approach her but you can never be totally afraid of something unless you know it’s a threat to your life. In their indecision, Joe picked up a short stick nearby and poked her just to confirm if she wouldn’t attack and if she was alive. She stirred and her eyes fluttered, she opened her eyes and Haina gasped at the colour, or colours. One was a radiant sparkling blue, so bright one could be forced to look away and the other was hazel, a swirl of beauty one could get lost in.

She was beautiful.

Joe bent down to her level and asked,

“Child, what might you be called?”

She looked startled at first at the sound of his voice but calmed down, she looked right back at him without a response. Joe repeated his question but she still gave no response.

“How did you get here?”

She looked thoughtful for a second before she returned to that blank stare she was used to.

“Child, we want to help you, do you know where you're from?”

Still no response. He sighed and rose up and looked to Haina, in his eyes, a silent question, ‘What should we do?'

Haina seemed to answer him by walking towards the girl and taking her hands, she lifted her up and started walking in the direction of the house, her husband must have gotten the answer he was looking for because he followed her and left the horse steed, the horses that needed to be fed, all forgotten.

Chapter 2

Haina couldn't believe what had happened, she still felt like she was dreaming, she couldn't believe that she, Haina Eriks, after all her years of crying and torment, mockery, after the lonely nights and the never ending tears that she would get salvation but it was true.

They took her into their home.

The lonely couple made a silent agreement to take her into their room, to accept her as theirs. Both Joe and Haina knew that she was heaven's blessing to them and accepted this blessing while it was still in their grasp.

Haina cried tears of joy, no atom of scepticism in her, she wasn't afraid in the least, maybe she was crazy for just accepting her with open arms so easily, but so be it. Let the world call her crazy, it was better than being called barren or a witch or...

She stopped the train of thought before it even started as she focused on the girl in front of her, she had arranged a bath for her and scrubbed her thoroughly with the sa

Heroes

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