It was 6:30 in the morning, and despite staying up late reading things from Forgotten Hollow’s website, Kathryn was up before dawn. She had found the information on the site both disturbing and fascinating at the same time. Wanting to know more, she decided the best way to find answers was to go out and talk to people.
She went to the Hare & Hedgehog in Windenburg, where she ran into her neighbor, Eliza Pancakes. They had become good friends in a short span of time. Kathryn found Eliza very funny, as well as helpful. They had spent some time together chatting, and Kathryn hoped she would have time this morning to talk.
“Eliza, I was wondering if you could tell me about Forgotten Hollow,” she asked as they waited to place their orders.
“Good Lord,” Eliza gasped, “why do you want to know about that dreadful place?”
“I read something about it last night, and I was curious,” Kathryn admitted.
Eliza shook her head. “You’re better off not knowing anything about that horrible town. Promise me you’ll never go there.”
“Is it really that bad?”
Grabbing her order, Eliza nodded. “Hardly anyone goes there anymore. A few teenagers did shortly before you moved here, and they came back terrified. They said there were strange things going on there, but they wouldn’t say more than that. It’s like they all took a vow of silence never to speak of what they’d seen.”
“What do you know about the town?” Kathryn asked.
“Nothing I’ll repeat to a newcomer,” Eliza said sharply. At the shocked look on Kathryn’s face, she gave her a hug. “Some things are just better left in the past, Kathryn. I’ve got to go. Bob and I have plans today. Let’s get together soon for dinner!”
Kathryn watched Eliza hurry away. Well, that was odd. She turned, picked up her order, and walked over to a table near a pair of couches. An older woman was sitting on one of the couches, looking at her tablet. She briefly glanced up, gave Kathryn a rather dismissive look, and returned her attention to what she had been reading.
Eating her food, Kathryn looked around and noticed that most people were getting orders to go. Probably the early morning crowd grabbing something before work.
“I can tell you about Forgotten Hollow.”
Kathryn looked up and noticed the woman on the couch was the one who had spoken to her. “Really?”
The woman nodded. “Come sit next to me.”
Abandoning her table, Kathryn sat next to her and held out her hand. “I’m Kathryn McGuire.”
The woman shook her hand. “Nancy Landgraab. I apologize for interrupting your breakfast, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Eliza Pancakes. What a ridiculous name,” she scoffed, shaking her head. “Could you explain your interest in Forgotten Hollow? I know what you told her, but tell me the truth.”
Kathryn hesitated for a moment, then told Nancy about the Forgotten Hollow website. “It was a bit shocking, but at the same time, I really want to know more. My mother says I’m a bit too curious for my own good, and that it’s going to get me trouble one day.”
“She might be right,” Nancy replied. She looked up something on her tablet and showed it to Kathryn. “This is Vladislaus Straud. He is the oldest inhabitant of Forgotten Hollow.”
Kathryn took a look at the photo. “Rather morose looking man.”
“He’s not as old as he looks in the photo,” Nancy explained. “He’s actually only in his mid-40s, but he makes himself appear older. Prefers his own company to that of anyone else. He has a pipe organ that he plays quite often during the day, when he isn’t sleeping in his coffin.”
Kathryn looked at her in surprise. “I’m sorry, did you say ‘coffin’?”
“Well, yes, my dear. Vladislaus Straud is a vampire.”