The tavern was quiet and cool that morning.
A strange gust of morning air rattled the door on its hinges, then it broke free and swung wide. Then as suddenly as the light came in, it was taken away. Her broad captain’s hat scattered it into a million colors as she rode the current in. Her boots came to rest on the well-worn, well-polished broad plank floors. A gentle shove from her gloved hand closed the door, letting the air settle. She pulled off her hat. Bob, the barkeep, smiled at her and nodded as he drew a fancy canister of the finest coffee off the shelf. Kate pushed back her finely constructed brocade coat as she slid into a booth. The garment wasn’t the latest fashion, but suited her well in that subtly colorful, broken-in-just-right way that she preferred. Her repast, however, was always top quality and Bob knew that well as he assembled her tray of coffee, thick cream and a fresh hot roll and jam. He glanced over to her table. A glint of gold caught his eye. She was holding a small golden ball in her hand, turning it over in the strong sunlight that shone in the window. Bob’s interest was piqued. He strode over with the breakfast tray and slid them down in front of her.
She leaned back in the booth and turned the ball over in her hands. Small drops of gold seemed to ooze from the ball and the liquid was coating her fingers. “Hi, Bob” she said. “Morning to ye Dr. Kate.” Bob casually replied. “What have you brought back this time?” Kate put the ball deep inside her inside vest pocket and wiped her fingers on the fresh cloth napkin as she drew it across her lap. “I visited with a financial advisor last night.” she replied as she patted the place where the gold ball was hidden. “I don’t know what it does, but I know it feels good. Helps me relax just enough.” Kate took a sip of her coffee.
Bob, ever the practical one, asked “How do I get one?” Kate didn’t answer.
Instead, she reached into her satchel and pulled out a fountain pen and a thick leather-bound journal. Inscribed on the cover was “Magic Nights – Captain’s Log”. Bob, intrigued, reached a hand over to try to get it. Kate just scowled and slid it away from his rough fingers.
She flipped through the pages until she found an empty space. Kate raised her pen. Bob, in protest. cajoled her. “Ah, you know, I’m not such a good reader. Just tell me what to do.” Kate took a piece of the fresh bread, spooned a bit of jam on it and took a bite. Bob sat down and waited. Kate looked up at him. “You sure?” A strange glistening ray of sunlight sliced through the window. They both winced. It was followed by another swirling gust of wind which rattled the shutters. Bob’s face betrayed a hint of fear. Kate just observed. “Strange weather we’re having.” she stated.
The door blew open again and a few townspeople hurried in, escaping the unpredictable elements. Bob’s young barmaid swept into the room and tended to them, giving Bob a sidelong glance. Bob stood, but waited for Kate’s response. She looked up at him pointedly. “Do you believe our brains and the universe out there are capable of more than we know?” Bob, ever practical, hesitated, but stood firm. “Maybe.” He finally said. She rubbed the tips of her gold-dusted fingers together. Bob took notice. She sighed. “I guess it’s time enough. Okay. Tomorrow. Now go, take care of your people.” Kate smiled pleasantly at him. Bob turned on his heel, but repeated his request “Just tell me what to do.” Kate watched him walk away, then looked back down at her book. She picked up her coffee and her pen and began to write.
Through the window, the daylight was somehow brighter and had a quickness to it, a glistening that made people nervous, as if bad weather were surely coming. Townspeople hurried by, worried, with their small bundles. Many shops were open, but some were vacant or abandoned. Things had been hard for quite some time and everyone was suffering, though they tried hard to make everything look the same as it had always been. But things weren’t the same. On one end of the street, the town crier was crying out news of storms and earthquakes in other regions. On the other end of town someone was on a soapbox trying to tell the truth of corruption, but was getting heckled. The wind and the earth shifted, throwing people off balance slightly. But they regained their footing, kept on their brave faces and made their way through.
Kate’s pen wrote, then paused, then wrote again. Over to the side was a piece of paper ripped out of the back of the book. Scribbled on it was an address, “Mariner’s Cove, Slip B” and a time, “sunset.”