The mayor looked out over Douglas Bridge at noon. He did not see the workers who labored to fix the main road. He thoughts were not occupied with his speech for the Summer Fete later that week. He did not even notice the incessant yapping in the background, evidence that his wife had bought yet another terrier. His thoughts were miles away and centered on a most unrealistic thing for a mayor. Nathaniel Seeford’s thoughts were centered on a curse.
Douglas Bridge looked like an ordinary, respectable, well-kept town. Nobody would dream that a curse was in any way connected with it. Nathaniel was very proud of this. The roofs had recently been replaced; the road was under construction; Half-Penny Gate was mostly out of site behind that clump of trees beyond the town; relations with Maydown were excellent, and as for Portaferry…well, Nathaniel was going to do something about Portaferry.
South of the forest, a flash sparkled next to the old mill. Nathaniel knew it was time. With a few words to his administrator, the mayor slipped out the back door of his office, out of the town, and towards the faltering spot of light. The old mill was said to be abandoned, but he had plans to purchase it back, so even if he were caught there no one would question his motives. Just as he like it. In the space of an hour and a half, Nathaniel reached the building and stepped through the creaking door. The figure of a man stood dimly outlined in the dusty air.
“Ah. Nathaniel.” The man stepped forward. Nathaniel, for all his confidence and determination, needed every bit of it not to step back a pace as the figure drew near. The man had severe features on a long face; a face not easily amused. “You have come.”
“I always keep my word,” said the mayor with a flashing smile. “You of all people know that. Now, good Cyprian, I want my mill.”
Cyprian returned the smile as one acknowledging a child’s footmarks upon the floor. “Oh no, my dear Nathaniel. It does not work that way.” He walked around the mayor, whose face was frozen in the smile. “You see, after you had pushed all your allies away, you thought you made a deal with me. But I am not your ally. I am your better.”
“It was an agreement,” said Nathaniel smoothly. “One that you yourself are bound to.”
“It is an agreement that I cannot break,” agreed the tall man. “But you have already broken it. You think I do not know, but that was very foolish. Very foolish indeed. And now, as you have broken it, so it shall break you.”
“You are ridiculous!” scoffed Nathaniel. “I have made Douglas Bridge great. If I pushed my allies away, as you claim, it was because they were the fools. I am owed your part of our agreement!”
“Then I do hope your little town survives well without you,” said Cyprian. “I do not think they will take orders from a goat.”
Nathaniel lost his self-control. Laughing maniacally, he lunged at Cyprian, who disappeared in a flash. The mayor lost his footing and landed on all fours. His laugher turned to bleating, and he butted at the door with his horns.
Cyprian was right-no one would even notice a goat.
Tales of Enndover 4