Flash Fiction: No Soul

No soul noted the rider who passed under Westerland’s towngate at dawn.  The watchman did not rise from his post to mark his ledger, the crows did not take flight as hooves rang beneath the dark iron of the gate.  Even the shepherds, with their vantage from the bordering hills, did not pause their vigil over the flocks to watch the rider enter their town.

His arrival would remain unnoticed for a time. The unnamed stranger with his walking cane bothered no one, and emerged from his rooms at the inn only to walk the streets in evening contemplation. He was wealthy, with a thick coat perfectly suited to the region’s fickle weather, but of quiet demeanor, which the locals appreciated and returned.

Fate required two events coinciding to bring the strange gentlemen to the notice of Westerland. The first was the transformation of the townhome on the corner of Adelaide Road. A month after the stranger started his evening rounds, all manner of workmen began entering and exiting the house, bringing with them the paints, woods, and textiles of their trades. This alone would not have been noteworthy, London’s season was soon to end and its participants often sought out the peace of a country abode.

The second event, was the season’s conclusion itself. With the influx of ladies, young men, and the various rich into the affluent yet hidden gem that was Westerland county, the town lost its talent for discretion. With the gossips in the dress shops and the young cads on street corners, it wasn’t long at all before the name Issac Harlow was on everyone’s tongue.

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