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Quiet Folk part 3

When the holidays had ended, and the out-of-towners had all gone back to their respective homes, it was back to business as usual. Shannon spent her days at the Library, where she was an assistant to the local Librarian, Mrs. Collins. On a Monday, as she was putting the returned books back up, she heard a low voice above and behind her.

"Ma'am?" the voice asked.

Shannon turned around, and looked up to see a young man standing behind her, no more than twenty-five. At first, she was startled, she had never seen him before, and in a town as small as hers, everyone had seen everyone else at least once, even the quiet ones.

"Yes sir, may I help you? Shannon responded.

"Please do. I am looking for a book on herbal medicine. Do you have any books like that here? I'm afraid I don't quite know my way around yet," he looked at his feet, almost apologizing for asking her assistance.

"Hmm," she thought a moment. "I believe there are a few of them," she beckoned him to follow her to another bookcase. "Ah, here they are. Right here, a whole row full, hope you find what you're looking for."

Before he could thank her, she turned around and went back to her work, she was too nervous around people to stay around them and be pleasant for long. Besides, she'd never seen him before, and that almost frightened her. She looked back toward the man looking through the books, meticulously. *He must be looking for something specific,* she thought. She watched him walk slowly from book to book, occasionally pausing to flip through one or another. Shannon turned back to her work before he could notice her watching him. *I wonder where he came from?* she thought. She picked up another armload of books, and put him out of her mind as she set about her work.

That evening, everyone sat at the supper table. Pappa at the head, Momma at the foot, Michael and Shawn sat on one side, Shannon and Thomas on the other. Shannon was the youngest, and although her brothers picked on her mercilessly, if ever she was in trouble they came to her aid quick as lightning. This night, the conversation centered around the appearance of a stranger in the village.

"A fellow came into the store today," Pappa began, "askin' if the town needed a doctor. I told him we relied on our herbs and priest for most things, and if it was really bad, we'd just go the next town over. He said his thank you's and walked out, after buyin' some chamomile. Strange fella, didn't really talk much."

"I think I saw the same fellow in the mayor's office," Michael added to the story, "he was asking where he could buy some land to build on, and if he could set up a doctor office. The mayor just told him that to buy land, he'd have to talk to the land holdin's office, and if he wanted to put in an office, that was his business."

"Speaking of the land office, I was talkin' to Pat, and he said some stranger had just come in earlier and bought the land to the old O'Connor place, you know, the one what burned out last year?" Thomas paused while everyone nodded thier affirmation. "Well, the O'Connor's had moved out, and the place's been empty for several years. I wonder if this's the same fella?"

"Probably," said Shawn. "Old man Thornton said the stranger asked him if the town's people would help the rebuilding if he had a barn raisin'. 'A barn raisin'!' he says, 'we haven't had one of them in years, wonder what put that in the boy's brain.' he says."

The family continued talking, and speculating well into the night. After supper, Shannon cleaned up the dishes, and as usual, retired to her room early.

"I've met the most interesting man today, Dinari," she said as the dog layed herself at the foot of Shannon's bed. Dinari just sighed and licked her outstretched hand. "Really, I have. He doesn't know me though. But he was so handsome! He had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen, and hair like mine, almost black, only HE didn't have any freckles," Shannon wrinkled her nose at the thought, and then continued telling her companion about the strange man in a half whisper. "He had strong shoulders, and he was so tall! If I didn't know better, I'd say he was almost a giant! He had a light Irish accent though, and that confuses me, since our people tend to be much smaller than he, although some consider me tall for Irish even if most in America are taller than I. He must have been over six four! Imagine that..."

Shannon's thoughts trailed off, and soon she fell to sleep.

(c) 1999 Shadoedancer Creations

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