Story16 Jan 2009 11:31 pm

“Of course dear sister, after your fit last time I decided to stock up on some peanut butter as well.” Rook tickled her sides forcing her to squirm like a fish out of water. Rowen swatted at his hands and glared as mean as she could through the unavoidable giggles.

She punched him in the chest, “If you don’t stop I’m gonna rip your heart out and eat that for supper, that sound fine by you?”

Her brother took the blow and stumbled back out of her doorway as if it had actually caused harm, gripping his chest and breathing raggedly, “Is that to be the way of it then? Cut down by my own sister in cold blood?” Unable to keep the amusement from his face, he turned around and sauntered down the hall, “Do be a dear and don’t take too long unpacking, I must finish my supper before it gets too much colder and I’d love some company.”

About fifteen minutes later they were seated around a long dining table that looked and felt like ages had washed over it, and that many more ages would come before it fell to the decay of time. The chairs though seemed a ragged assortment of chairs varying in comfort, design, and stability. The first one Charlie had tested almost caved in under his weight and he jumped up so quick he hit his knee into the underside of the table and stumbled backward a bit. Luckily his bowl of stew didn’t go flying off in some odd direction, though that would have only increased the feeling of schadenfreude Rowen had while watching him.

“Do take care not to hurt that pretty little tail else you might have to go to bed before story time.” She grinned openly at Charlie and offering the seat on the right side of her, “This one doesn’t seem near so rickety.” Charlie gave her a mock glare through a beet red face before picking up his bowl and settling down next to her. There was a small silence as each of them shoveled food into their mouths, the two siblings almost mirroring each other in the vigorous virtually non stop devouring of stew, and Charlie savoring each bite as Rook seemed to be a rather well versed cook.

Finally, deciding to get to know his roomie’s brother better Charlie broke the silence, which was more theoretical then literal as the rain and wind lashing against the house continued raging. “So what sort of thesis does a Quantum Physics slash Paranormal Studies major work on out here in the country?”

Rowan choked slightly on a spoonful of food, she had already tried to explain it to Charlie once and she highly doubted he’d get any more clear an answer as she could give. “Ah, you’ve upset my sister asking such a question. She might go choking to death now.” Rook smiled his crooked half-smile and put a spoonful of stew into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully for a moment.

“You know the previous owner of this house was a nice old lady, I met her just before her children sold me this place. She was a suffragette throughout the twentieth century, just like her mother before her. Moved out here to die she did, but in the end her kids would have none of letting her live her life laissez-faire. They came and brought her to live with them and take care of her, claimed she was getting senile and needed care.” He spooned another mouthful and continued eating, ending his sentence as if that was the end of the explanation.

Charlie was completely bewildered, definitely a strange man. Might as well get him to continue the story as there was obviously more. He noticed that Rowen’s eyes were sparkling with wonderment and anticipation. The girl was like a kid sometimes. Smiling and shaking his head he prompted Rook for more, “So the kids sold you there mom’s favorite property. She didn’t appreciate that much, did she?”

“On the contrary, the old bat was fine with selling the place so long as she got to speak to the new owner and give her blessing. Which in the end was more or less a request to keep her ghost tracking gear operating. There’s a room upstairs that was locked when I initially bought the place, apparently she had the key. Anyway, there’re charts and graphs filled with all sorts of data she’s gathered over the years, and notes on how she’s interpreted the tangents and osculations of said data. A few funky machines meant to pick up paranormal activity and such.” He smiled, “Do you believe in ghosts Charlie?”

“No, why would I?”

“No particular reason, I was just curious. I figure, anything is possible. So I’m here writing a thesis based on proving paranormal activity through quantum theory. Except by the time the alarm wakes me in the morning, I’m usually distracted by exploring the land about here.” Stifling a yawn he reached across the table to take his sister’s bowl, but she smacked his hand with her spoon causing him to withdraw with a yelp.

“I’ll be doing the dishes tonight, after all you made supper.” She smiled wearily at him, the stew was having its effect of filling the tummy and putting one to sleep. Though it was probably the trip out that really had exhausted her.

Rook grinned broadly at her, “Sure Rowen, if you can stand up on your own.”

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