Little Rockwell was once a lively little town in New Hampshire, located in the eastern part of the United States. It had flourished as a mining town, and the residents enjoyed the heaping rewards obtained from the land. However, the underground treasure depleted at an alarmingly fast rate, drying out the mines. Conservative townsfolk were left to inhabit the town as the adventurous continued their search for riches elsewhere. As time passed, Little Rockwell’s former glory was forgotten.
Today was another fine summer day. The smell of pastries and coffee wafted through the air, guided by a slight warm breeze. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Shops, old and new, were open and welcoming customers. Most of the buildings appeared worn down — some old signs were even on the verge of falling off. Housewives were gossiping in cafés, young children ran down the streets playing tag, and a couple of shopkeepers were enjoying a good smoke in the alleyway. All in all, it was a nice sleepy little town.
Over seven years had passed since the Blood Oath. Timothy Thompson, twenty-three years of age, limped down the street to work. Aged professional buildings surrounded him, while up ahead were the bakeries, cafés, and other shops. He was in a bit of a rush, but the throbbing pain in his right leg prevented him from moving much faster.
Tim probably looked quite peculiar with his unkempt low ponytail, chinstrap beard, and an old tan trench coat which covered his blue checkered shirt, jeans, and boots. Of course, his limp only made things worse. If people didn’t know any better, he would have looked awfully suspicious.
A few drops of sweat rolled down his face and were captured by his beard. Tim was quite grateful for the occasional shade provided by the trees lining the sidewalk. At last, Retro Records’ sharp lime-green colour was in sight. The retro music store sold hard to find records. As a bonus for customers, it also sold refreshments. The store stood two stories tall adjoined by the apricot orange Harmonious Instruments to the right and the light teal Fantasy Bookstore to the left.
Tim hobbled over to the single glass door and pushed it open, taking care not to slam it into the wall on his right. The doorbell tinkled, but the sound was somewhat muffled by the rock & roll music playing in the background. To his left, chattering could be heard from the customers enjoying their coffees at the window seat tables. As the bell tinkled, a few customers shot a quick glance at him before occupying themselves again. They were regulars, so Tim’s appearance shocked no one.
The store owner, Mr. Steven McCarthy, was casually inspecting his wares at the cash register in front of Tim. His lime-green t-shirt displayed the store’s logo: a black stylus atop a vinyl record with white letters spelling ‘Retro Records’.
He had aged handsomely. His thin lips formed a straight line above a slightly pointed chin and strong jawline. He had clear sky-blue eyes which sat below thick, relaxed brows. His short brunette hair had hints of grey threatening to take over.
“You’re late, son,” stated Mr. McCarthy in a husky voice. He hadn’t even bothered to look up.
“Sorry, sir,” Tim apologized, walking in with an uneven gait.
“You’re limping again,” noted Mr. McCarthy.
“You have good ears, sir.”
“I don’t need good ears to hear your uneven steps.”
“Good point there, sir!” said Tim, chuckling nervously.
Mr. McCarthy was a man who Tim truly admired. He was very serious but lacked a temper. He barely spoke but could command respect without so much as uttering a word. Quite possibly, it was due to the reverence he demonstrated to others.
The middle-aged man waved Tim off as he continued to check his wares. He had grown accustomed to his employee’s recent misfortune. Tim made his way to the break-room at the back of the store, grateful for his boss’ calm demeanor.