Here, nestled in the Westmeiser Valley, sat the quaint little village of Dorchester, England. A shy and cozy little place with an average population. It was a fair day with a bright blue sky with scattered clouds. The sun took its place over the horizon. It was the beginning of a new dawn and a joyful start to their annual village fete. The village roared to life as the people hopped out of their beds to get the day under way. The Baker, as usual, stirring up the coals inside the brick stove to warm up the racks of freshly kneaded dough. The Florist trimmed a bouquet of assorted carnations, neatly placing them in the store front’s windowsill. A few other locals, with colorful banners and crest-embroidered flags in hand, came out to decorate the main street and the buildings that lined it, leading towards the fairgrounds in the center circle. 

One Dorchesterian, in particular, was a newcomer named Molly Stadford. She had relocated to England from the States on a student’s visa that was granted to her by Cambridge University. Today marked her fifth month of living in Dorchester, and she was quite proud of finally learning the distinctly different English dialect of the village. She had no friends, being the only one in her class that chose to travel to the UK. Molly was determined to break out of her culture-shocked comfort zone and meet some new people at the local fete. The land was in a frenzy; tamed animals and vender booths and covered the Westmeiser Valley. 

This was a huge affair, and Molly didn’t know how to handle it all. She stared at her reflection in the mirror of her small, two-bedroom apartment that was located on the east side of the village. Molly looked herself over and frowned. She rummaged her fingers through her curly red hair and shook out the tangles. She made her way towards the closet and grabbed a baby blue sundress and tan boots. She was almost out the door when her stomach began to twist in knots. Molly clenched the doorknob hard, shuttering at her nerves second-guessing themselves. She drew in several deep breaths. You can do this. You can do this. Molly reached out at the coat tree and donned a straw sunhat. A confident grin planted itself on Molly’s face. You need this! 


In the center circle was an average stretch of land that the people had called “The Fairgrounds” and used it for various events. A few of the booths were already set up, and Molly had decided to walk around and look at them. Oh, crap! Molly felt the heel of her boot sink down into a fresh patch of dung. She rolled her eyes. I want to go home now. Frustrated, but determined not to let some animal droppings ruin her day, Molly scraped off her boot on a nearby rock and kept on walking. She stopped in front of the first stall that was attended by a podgy middle-aged woman with long, stringy hair that was tied behind her with a dusty red piece of cloth. 

The woman greeted Molly and invited her to sample some of her goods. “Komm, komm, Miss! Sie mögen Pastetereien, ja?” she said with a heavy West Germanic accent. 

Molly stared at the woman for a while then down at her table that was filled with hot and gooey pastries of all different makes and sizes. She must be the Baker’s wife. Molly concluded before returning her gaze back onto her host. She furrowed her brow. Judging from her accent and the wide assortment of baked goods, Molly could tell that the woman had lived in this village for many generations. 

She shook her head and shrugged, hinting to the woman that she didn’t understand her language. Molly pulled out her cellphone and tried to translate, “Ich kann Sie nicht verstehen. Kennen Sie Englisch?” Molly could feel the embarrassment rising within her as she butchered through the whole translation. 

The woman wiped her flour-covered hands on her apron and then placed them on her hips. She cocked her head as if she were trying to decipher Molly’s broken language. “English, yes?” the woman asked. 

“Yeah,” exclaimed Molly, “I mean, yes.” She cleared her throat and smiled. Molly extended a nervous and shaky hand. “I’m Molly Stadford,” she introduced. 

The woman stared at Molly’s gesture which made her feel even more uncomfortable. Suddenly, the woman’s whole demeanor changed as she burst out in laughter and cheerfully grabbed Molly’s hand with both of hers. “Molly! Molly!” She shook Molly’s hand violently. “I am Georgia Nickols.” Georgia pointed to a stocky man that stood hunched over, prodding at a miniature stone pit. “This is husband, Kristof Nickols.” The smile on her face widened. “He is the Baker and his family has been providing for this village for many of generations.” 

Molly took her hand back and scrolled through her cellphone for the Notepad App. Georgia watched intently as Molly typed away at her keypad; the clicking of the keys blending into one harmonious staccato tune. Molly finished and returned it back to her pocket. She drew in a long breath, letting the tempting aroma of the sweet drift through her nostrils. There was another stench in the air, a faint foul-smelling odor, but Molly brushed it off as being surrounded by a slew of farming animals. 

“Would you like to—” Georgia’s voice trailed off, but Molly took the hint. 

“Thank you, Mrs. Nickols,” she said as she grabbed an overly sticky Danish and walked off towards the next stand, waving goodbye in the process. 

“Enjoy your stay in Dorchester, young tourist! Mind thy curiosity!” Georgia called out. 


“Mind thy curiosity …” Georgia’s ominous warning repeated itself in Molly’s mind. “Now, why would she go and say something like that?” She bit down into her glazed pastry. Up ahead was the local Parish booth; a Vicar standing in front passing out pamphlets. 

“Excuse me, Miss,” the Vicar flagged her down and handed her a pamphlet. “Have you made your daily confessional about where your soul would go in the afterlife?” 

Surprisingly, his English was a lot more tolerable than that of Georgia. Molly shook her head. “No,” she replied. 

Perking up as if he had just won the lottery for the next claimed soul, the Vicar proceeded to move back behind his booth and reached underneath for a small leather satchel. Skeptical as to what he was about to pull from the ramshackle bag, Molly cautiously watched his fingers fumbling around inside. The situation had become awkward, and Molly was ready to leave. 

She searched her brain for any and every excuse plausible that would get her out of this mess. “Um,” she nervously started, “I really should be going now. There’s a lot more than I need to see before the fair closes—” 

“Wait!” He cut her off, pulling out a small charm. “Here, take it.” He held it out in his palm. 

Molly stared at it, “what is it?” 

“A holy relic of Christ.” informed the Vicar. “Take it and let it protect your soul until you are ready to come to the Church.” 

Molly snatched up the trinket and hastily moved away from the table. 


This town is so weird, I never knew it had such strange characters living in it. Molly sighed and dangled the charm in front of her face. “First the creepy warning from Georgia and now this thing.” Molly slid it into her pocket and continued sightseeing the rest of the fete, slightly wishing now that she could fly back home. 

After sampling at a few more booths and petting some stray animals, Molly was ready to call it a night. The sun was beginning to set, causing a cool breeze to wash over the fairgrounds. Molly held onto her hat as a strong gust blew over her. “Oh, no!” The bronze keychain-of-a-holy-charm fell from her pocket and rolled across the dirt road. She watched at the wind whisked it away further. Something inside of her told her to let it go, but another force was compelling Molly to chase after it. “Come back here!” she muttered as she quickened her pace. 

The wind blew the weightless charm faster than Molly had anticipated. It crept to a stop, rolling inside the doorway of an abandoned shack that was a few feet from the fairground festivities. Molly hesitated as that same terrible smell from before, more pungent than ever, engulfed her. She covered her nose with the collar of her dress and inched her way towards the threshold. This must be where they pile all the poop at. She pinched her nose tighter the closer she got to the opening. I hope that it didn’t roll into anything. Molly crouched down and pushed the door open, revealing an unusual sight. 

Inside was a single vat filled with a bubbling liquid on top of a dwindling flame that sat in the middle of the empty room. Confused by what she was looking at, Molly grabbed the charm; but instead of turning around to run, she snuck inside, curious as to what was stewing in the large pot. The stench grew unbearable as Molly realized that it was coming from the steaming contents. She got as close as her nose would allow and peered over the edge. Her stomach began to turn in sickening knots. 

“Ew,” she gagged, “is that supposed to be the catch of the day?” She tried to force herself not to retch all over the place. 

“Tsk, tsk.” Molly heard a voice coming from behind her. “I had warned you foreigners to go meddling.” 

Molly flung herself around to see Georgia standing in the doorway. “Georgia,” she gagged, “what is this God-awful concoction?” 

A cynical chuckle echoed through the hollow shack as Georgia closed the door. Molly staggered backwards, tripping and falling into the scalding cauldron. She let out a bloodcurdling scream as she peeled her exposed skin off the scoot-covered pot. Molly cradled her arm, “Georgia,” she pleaded, “what’s going on?” 

A frown crept upon Georgia’s face. “I’m really sorry, my dear,” she said, “I really did like meeting you.” She took a step forward. 

“B—but, what?” Molly stammered, following every movement that Georgia made. 

A thin stream of tears rolled down Georgia’s cheek. “I warned you to watch yourself,” she explained again and wiped the drops from her face; its saltiness stinging her reddened eyes. “But don’t worry,” she stated which stirred a tinge of hope in Molly’s chest that maybe Georgia was having a change of heart. “I’ll make sure the Vicar takes care of your soul.”

February 06, 2020 01:00

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