Chapter 1: Old Town New Rules

The light pitter patter of the rain tumbled down the brick roof of the Sheffield bookstore known as Sheffield Read and Watch. The dark clouds surrounding the tops of the shops within the small town, the drops of the rain rolling down the gutters into the drainage systems. Time seemed to pass by slow, ticking filling the main room that resided in the middle of the small bookstore. The diverse varieties of books littered the shelves, anything from science fiction to mystery to fiction. Anything under the sun had been set on the shelves from the variety of books along with genre of movies.

A raven-haired woman with bright blue eyes like the sea was seated at the chair in front of the computer. Her name…Lynn Carmichael. She wore a teal Sheffield Tech sweatshirt, dark blue skinny jeans, and bright white Converse shoes. Her fingers tapped gently on the wooden desk that was off tempo from the tickling clock. It seemed like an ordinary day…nothing much happening in this small town bookshop and movie place. No one wanted to get out of the house in the rain to snuggle up to a good book or cuddle to watch a movie or two. Lynn would’ve loved to sit down in one of the bean bag lounge chairs inside of the store, but the workers weren’t allowed to do that when they were working. Although…her boss had gone home for the day and there weren’t any cameras inside of the bookstore, besides, no one would have dared to steal from Mister Mickerson.

Mister Mickerson was an old war veteran who was understanding once you got to know him, but he had a no tolerance policy for shoplifting and he had an intuition on everyone who have and has ever walked into his precious Sheffield Read and Watch. He had owned it since the beginning. After the war, he had this dream to own his own bookshop which now had the expansion of movies as well. The shop had helped him cope with his PTSD. He once was quite the looker in his younger years with his bright red hair and displayed a slew of freckles right on his cheekbones. Now, he still had the freckles though his hair had turned a nice mix of gray with white wrapped around the sides of his head. He was a very rule oriented man. Everything had to be to the book or done in his way, nothing wavering with him and he loved to get straight answers from people. Once one got passed the whole old war vet in the old guy, he was easy to get along with. Hence why he only seemed to have a few employees under his wing. He had a small trust window and if you betrayed his trust, that was it. No second chances. He loved to wear white button up shirts with his gray tuxedo jacket paired up with his brown loafers and tan pants.

Lynn straightened herself up in her chair and stretched her arms straight into the air, moving her neck from side to side to release a few cracks that crackled before her body gave up leaning back in the chair she was sitting in. It wasn’t long after her little stretching break that the little bell hanging from the door frame had chimed noting that someone had come into the store. “Welcome to Sheffield Read and Watch, anything I can help you find today?” The raven-haired woman had spoken up as she straightened herself up for the guest that had come in. This guest had blond hair and brown eyes. He had his hair parted off to the right side and it swooped to the left. He wore a pair of blue jeans with a deep ocean blue long-sleeved shirt designed with a Sheffield Technical College ‘STC’ logo on the chest.

“Hey Lynn, it’s Richard.” He spoke up as he had walked further into the shoppe. He made his way over to the counter and leaned against it. His eyes darted around and studied his surroundings before they had landed back on his best friend since forever. “How’s the shift so far?” He asked, raising an eyebrow slightly. “Rachel and Leo have been trying to call. But you haven’t answered so they sent me here.”

“Sorry, you know how strict Mister Mickerson is and his rules about phones on the job. Even though he isn’t here, he’s still uptight.” Lynn answered, her head tipping in his direction to look up at him. “So what’s up with Rach and Leo?” Her fingers picked up a pen and twirled it around her fingers as she had stood up to lean against the other side of the checkout desk.

Richard noted how she had played with the pen like she almost always had. Usually she’d do it when she was thinking or contemplating something. Ever since he taught her how, she’d be obsessed with the fiddling activity. “You remember that Thomas Wilker kid we grew up with? He was in our circle for a while and then he split for whatever reason. Turns out he went missing and no one had heard anything. The police think he’s just on a bender or something. A rebellious stage, that is their running theory. I think we should get together after you’re done with work and meet up with Rach and Leo and try to figure out what happened because the police aren’t treating it seriously.”

Lynn furrowed her brow as she had heard what he had to say. She remembered the boy and she nodded her head a little. “Yeah, I remember him. It may not be a bad idea to go and look for him. I’ve got a few places in mind to check for him. I’m off in three hours and that’s when the next person comes in. I’ll see if I can get my break to call Leo and Rachel back. Why don’t we all meet at our usual rendezvous spot, the fountain in town square.” She said as her eyes had narrowed on the pen she had been fiddling with. Her mind was already racing on spots for where to find the male from their childhood.

Richard nodded his head in acknowledgment, turning his body around to face hers. He knew that Lynn would be determined to find Thomas Wilker. He knew that the rest of the circle of friends between the two of them were going to follow without question.

It was just how it was. Lynn was the leader. Richard was the second-in-command. Leo and Rachel were the followers. It was all a matter of confidence for the imaginary chain of command in the circle. Lynn had always been the confident strategist while Richard was the logical one. Leo was the fearless one while Rachel was the technical brains of the operation, a tech genius.

“It sounds like a plan. I’ll let you finish off your shift and I’ll be there when everyone gets together. See you Lynn.” He waved shortly as he turned to leave the shop. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and he walked out. As he walked onto the sidewalk, his shoulder bumped into another. “Oh, I’m sorry.” He apologized and resumed on his way.

Lynn sighed heavily and sat back down on a chair, a concerned look resting on her face. After a few moments, she was lost in her thoughts and she didn’t hear the bell chime for the door, both for Richard leaving and for the new customers coming in.

These new guests wore leather jackets with a large patch on their sleeves that resembled a snake eating itself at the tail. On the back of the jackets had the name ‘Sheffield Snakes’. The largest built one in the group had come up to the counter and put a hand into his pocket, leaning on the other. “Hello hot stuff. Lynda, right? Mind giving us the cash in the register.”

The other members had taken out their weapons of choice, switch blades whilst the leader of the group had pulled out his gun to point it at the raven haired girl.

Lynn had been brought abruptly pulled from her thoughts and her stomach immediately sunk, her skin became pale. Her eyes widened slightly as she saw the gang who had been lurking in the underbelly of the old town. Mister Mickerson had been around most of the time to scare the band of misfit boys. But now that he wasn’t there and it seemed like they had learned the old man’s schedule, they had struck when he wasn’t around.

“We’ll give you a chance to do as we say and if you don’t give us the cash you’ll end up in a very bad place.” The leader commanded, his tone cold and cynical. His eyes just as icy and his gun pointed right at her chest.

Lynn tried her best to stay calm as the others had come closer with their knives. When she didn’t respond quick enough there was a gunshot that had echoed throughout the small old book/movie shoppe.

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