“Thanks Dad but I’m a little too old for gorging myself on confectionary,” he answered with his attention noticeably elsewhere so Jackson followed his son’s gaze to the girl across the street.
“Oh right maybe you are too old after all,” he took one step towards Wayne so his mouth was inches from his ear.
“Well what are you waiting for?” he whispered as they both smiled and clasped each other on the shoulder with a certain amount of respect.
“Who said I’m waiting?” he replied while he took one step towards the girl across the road. Jackson watched with pride as his son talked effortlessly with the girl who responded in kind.
“They grow up so quickly, don’t they?” a familiar voice said behind him as the girl took his son’s outstretched arm and they walked away enjoying each other’s company. Jackson turned to face the origin of the familiar voice which belonged to an old friend, one that went back many years to his pre school days and one of the main people responsible for making Jackson’s early life so happy. His name was Jonathan Pitts. A portly man with a bowler hat he almost always wore and ginger sideburns complete with constant red cheeks and a catching continuous smile. He was the essence of joviality and a true character since he was always trying and succeeding in making every acquaintance laugh. But what made him one of the pillars of the community was not just his comical demeanor. It was also his faith and determination in the town he loved so very much. A love that was equally reciprocated since he has been voted in as mayor of the town.
“Hello my old friend,” Jackson said through a wide smile and embraced him like a brother, “how are you?” he asked.
“I’m great Jackson truly, every day now that you’ve returned is a brighter day.”
“Thank you so very much but to be honest the day may be bright buts it’s you who keeps it that way,” Pitts considered that for a moment.
“May be so,” he said, “but the way I’m going before long I’ll be big enough to blot out the sun,” he grabbed his rotund belly and chuckled with Jackson. At that moment a tall ginger haired man came to Pitt’s side, Jackson surmised that he was around his own son’s age and that he was also Pitt’s son, Thomas, given that not only he had the same hair but the same rosy red cheeks his father had but unlike his father he had a very concerned look on his face, a concern mixed with a sadness in his eyes.
Jackson followed the lad’s gaze to his own son and the girl he was courting which made him finally understand that the young man must have feelings for the woman. He immediately felt guilt and pity for the poor man but then he had an idea, a brazen long shot but if it worked out would definitely make up for the heartbreak he had just suffered. As if on cue Jackson’s eldest daughter Jessica was coming back from the bakers so putting his plan into action he interrupted Thomas’ gaze and introduced them to each other.
Jessica was at first caught off guard and Thomas started to nervously stammer and blush at the beautiful girl in front of him. One nod from Jackson however told Jessica that this increasingly anxious man was in some need of good distracting company so recovering from her apprehension she took his arm and made him e****t him through town at which point Thomas also recovered and the next thing Jackson heard from her was a loud laugh. He turned back to his close friend, winked and said, “Like father Like son”
As the Glass’ and Pitt’s where getting reacquainted and enjoying each other’s company they did not know they where being watched. A tall figure in a large dark Garrick cloak and a Lawman hat lurked in the shadows behind the butchers just meters behind the Glass family. When the Glass’ decided to move along down the street he leapt into action and sprinted to the next building and the next always keeping one eye on the Glass’ and one eye toward the next object for cover. His movements where so swift and silent no one noticed him which worked for him since if anyone did spot him he would most likely be detained or at the worst hanged. That amount of danger could not deter him from his objective though he had to follow the family, which now where all grouped together as one unit thankfully making his goal simpler.
Clark Stewart, Francine Glass’ father, had hold of the family dog, leash while the two young twins gorged themselves on the sweets they acquired greedily at the confectioners. Jackson and Francine was still talking to Jonathan Pitts but now his wife joined them and the two couples engaged in a competition of telling the most hilarious stories from the past, a competition that Mr. Pitts easily won outright but Jonathan didn’t care as he was too busy roaring with laughter. Jessica was sat at a nearby bench with Thomas and obviously having a great time at which point the dark figure’s face creased with jealousy but luckily with some effort he restrained himself and before long the two families said their good byes and parted ways. The Glass’ proceeding out of town and back up to Kraken Manor.
“It’s always great to see Jonathan,” Jackson said to Francine as they crossed the bridge over the Rose river towards their home.
“Yes,” his wife agreed, “he is always a delight when do you think we can see them again? Would be nice to have a meal out in town sometime,” his wife obviously hinted.
“Funny you should mention it,” he smiled, “he’s invited us out to the Red Lion this Friday, we are to be his guests of honour.”
“Really?” she asked excitedly at the prospect of hearing more funny old stories about her husband, he nodded.
“Oh that’s wondrous I cannot wait!” showing genuine giddiness she held her husband tight and gave him an emphatic kiss, a kiss that in her father Clarks opinion lingered slightly too long, he cleared his throat.
“Ah-hem I believe we are far enough from the butchers to let young Harvey here off his leash, what do you think Jackson?” he said bending down to face the border collie.
“Sure Clark we’re almost there anyhow,” Jackson replied so Clark slid the harness off. The dog barked one word of thanks and bounded into the woods not giving a care in the world about the commanding shouts from his masters. “I guess I was wrong Jackson apologies,” the white bearded Clark sighed, “Don’t worry I’ll get him, meet you back at the house soon.”
“Sure Clark you’ll have some fresh orange juice waiting for you,” Jackson said as the old man began to climb into the woods after the misbehaving mutt.
“Daddy can I look for him too?” a small innocent voice that could only be his youngest son Harry asked since his partner in crime and sister was asleep in his mother’s arms and he was bored immensely. Jackson took a few seconds to think about it and Clark halted his walk.
“OK, Henry you can go but be careful and try not to get too muddy,” he patted his son on the head giving his permission at which point the boy leapt after his granddad, “Clark I know I don’t have to say this but…”
“Don’t worry Jackson I’ll keep him safe from the monsters,” he promised with a sly wink to his young companion who responded with a slight giggle.
When the family finally got back to Kraken Manor they where all clearly tired so they informed the staff that all of them would like to retire for the rest of the day. Jackson started some laborious work in his study that he has been holding back on for far too long. His mind got so enraptured by the work that by the time he was able to peel his mind away and look up from his desk it was going dark but then he soon realized that there was still no sign of Clark or his son. He roused everyone in the Manor including the staff and proceeded to ask them one by one if they have seen the two missing members but no one had. Realizing that they must still be out in the forest somewhere he quickly got a search party together and immediately went seeking. The search took all night and with each passing hour the family and the staff became more and more worried about the old man and the young boy but there was still no sign and not even of Harvey the dog. News trickled into the town and soon everyone was combing the forest from every thorn bush to the very tops of the trees and thanks to some dedicated towns folk there finally came a result. The body of Clark Stewart was found in a bloody crumpled heap at the base of a cliff face overlooking the River Rose however the young boy was still nowhere to be found.