Lolly Meeker’s stride slowed as she made her way down the main street of Hogan’s Bay. In spite of the balmy evening and the bright festive atmosphere, she felt a cold tingle at the back of her neck. Every step she took, it felt as though glacial eyes were boring into her back, into the very inner depths of her soul.
Lolly jerked her head around causing her PawStar hat to come sailing off. Tucking Pocki, the fussy little pug under one arm, the girl bent down to pick it up, and stiffened when she first saw the gray riding boots standing nearby. Then the gray silken trousers, and then the long trailing end of a gray cloak. Warily, she looked up, but her eyes soon fell on empty air.
Shivering, Lolly stood up and clipped the bow back in place. It’s just your imagination playing tricks on you, she told herself firmly. That’s all. Nothing to worry about. You haven’t done anything wrong, have you? The fairies can’t hurt you if you’re carrying a Tolken.
Then a voice inside her head said, “It’s not your imagination, and it isn’t even your Tolken, you pocky-eating, art-thieving, soul-leaching weaboo!”
Her eyes scrunched shut as a barrage of images flashed through her mind--children shrieking and scrambling for dear life as she bounced high on large trampoline, a little red-haired girl looking at her accusingly while cradling a dead kitten, an angry store clerk riffling through her book pack and pockets for stolen Anime merchandise.
“Evening, Miss,” said a burring, rather pleasant voice.
Lolly jerked and blinked a few times, and then found herself looking up at a tall, imposing figure dressed in the high cut frock coat and stovepipe hat of a Nye constable.
“Everything all right?” he asked, eyeing her through his dark round spectacles.
Funny how the police around here seemed to dress like characters out a Steampunk fantasy novel.
“Huh? O-oh...Yeah,” Lolly stammered, feeling her cheeks flushed beneath her layers of heavy makeup.
The constable placed a reassuring gloved hand on Lolly’s shoulder. “Well, there’s a lot of spirits around tonight,” he said kindly. “But don’t worry, they won’t hurt you...unless your soul’s like dark, damp, vermin-infested basement, which hopefully for your sake, Miss, you don’t have .”
“Don’t worry,” Lolly assured him with a dimple smile. “My soul’s so shiny and bright that it attracts unicorns.”