A warm day
Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Adventure, crime, or just ...slightly odd occurrences were drawn to him like a magnet. Even when nothing out of the ordinary was going on. Like on a Sunday, in the park.
The weather was warm and humid, the birds were sitting on the rooftops without any movement, slowly melting away, the crops had given up, the cows were lifeless and even the children of the village were too tired to yell or run around. Most of the town folk had gathered together in the saloon, drinking beer, hoping it would cool them off. All it did was make it more unbearable.
There were cowboys in there, drunken and loud, the heat making them short-tempered and easily angered. Every now and then, fights would break out, and Zane could hear the women shrieking. He had decided to avoid the place and go to the park instead. There would be shadow there.
What was called 'the park' by the people who lived there, was more like a gathering of a few trees and some plants, the type that can go by without much water. There was a bench there, a little bit of water, just enough to make it feel like a true 'spot of nature'. It was Zane's favourite spot. It was usually quiet and peaceful, mostly empty, the perfect spot to sit and watch and ponder.
That was exactly what he was doing right now. Reminiscing about his past adventures, thinking about all the things life would still have in store for him. Maybe he should settle down. Open a store. Or even better, maybe a restaurant, or a bakery, or get an ice cream van with all the flowers of the...
He looked up, waking up from his own little dream world. A nobleman was standing in front of him,; a 'gentleman' in every meaning of the word, too. Despite the heat, he was dressed in full attire, buttonhole filled, top hat, a little walking cane made of the best wood, topped with a golden ornament. He had a voluptuous moustache that stretched almost over the entirety of his cheeks, covering his lips and trembling slightly as he spoke. Zane looked at him, full of intrigue.
“Excuse me, I am looking for the town hall. Could you point me the way?”
The town hall? Zane knew where it was, but perhaps 'where it used to be' was a better expression.
Nobody had set foot in that place for decades. This town used to have a mayor, or so the legends told, but one day, the mayor disappeared into thin air, along with all his employees, leaving the townsfolk in utter confusion and letting the criminals run wild. They had never been quite the same after that.
And yet, here was a noble man, asking for town hall. A noble man that reminded him of the paintings he had once seen, paintings that depicted events that happened a long, long time ago.
Confused, but curious, Zane led the way. The streets were empty. People were hiding in the shadows of their houses, glaring at the suspicious stranger he was tagging along. Birds stopped chirping. There was a weird atmosphere that even the heat could not fully explain.
Once they had reached their destination, the noble man took out a key. He walked up and opened the huge, old wooden doors with a natural ease, as if he had set foot in this place only yesterday.
Zane had expected the place to be dusty, full of cobwebs, bats, perhaps, with worn out furniture. This was a place of mystery, a building filled with history – surely, it would have something to show for it? Some sort of mark of the years gone by?
But alas – the floor was made of freshly polished wood, , the shelves without a speck of dust. When they walked in, the rug was comfortably giving way to their feet and the lights were bright, the windows devoid of all dirt. Who had been in here? Was this town house perhaps not as deserted as everybody had always thought?
There was a portrait on the wall next to him. The man in the picture looked just like the nobleman, but younger, his moustache made of a warm brown colour instead of grey, his skin smooth and silky. The man looked handsome, full of authority. You can trust me, the picture seemed to say, I will lead you into greater things.
While Zane was admiring his strange new surroundings, the noble man had taken note of the hall in one quick glance, and moved on to another area. The door fell shut behind him as he walked into a large, impressive looking room that said 'Mayors Office' . Zane rushed to follow, when another person appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. He was dressed in a simple suit, tie and all, looking official but not quite as regal as the other.
“Has Mayor Winchell gone into his office to prepare the speech?”
Zane simply stared blankly at the new official that had appeared, trying to make sense of the situation. The other started to scribble down a few words.
“We'll have to get started soon. If you're not here on town business, I will have to ask you to leave, sir. Please.”
Zane took a few steps back, nodding a bit.
“Of course, of course.”
A part of him really didn't want to leave before he had found out who these people were, or how they arrived in his town. Did they have any authority? Should he perhaps take action? Call the police? Another part of him didn't want anything more than to just leave, go back to the part, finish this day as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
In the end, he shrugged and nodded, lingered, then turned around. Shut the door behind him. It fell into the lock instantly. He stared at the door for a long time before taking a few steps back. Went back to the high street, where miss Peterson was lounging in the shadow of her porch on a comfy chair. She called out to him.
“Zane, my dear boy, who was that strange looking fella you were walking with just now?”
He walked over to her with a little smile.
“I believe it's the new mayor, ma'am.”
She nodded slowly, looking satisfied.
“Ah. Good, very good. We could use one of those around here.
Say, it's rather hot today, would you like some of my home made lemonade?”
He sat down in one of her chairs.
“Yes, I'd love some.”
Together they drank their drinks, taking in the heat. The lemonade was nice and chilling.
A soft, but distinctive screeching came from the town hall while mrs Peterson got up to get some muffins. Zane wasn't worried. Her muffins were always excellent.