Once again the creeping horror was upon the town. None felt safe to go about alone. Those that did sometimes returned from their innocent errand changed. There was no rhyme or reason. No method to the madness. Just, poof, changed.
Each did all in their power to resist.
The Mayor told stories of his youth when something similar had happened. The stories didn’t help because even though he was one of the victims and lived to tell the tale, he didn’t actually know how he had changed or why it was terrifying.
The Blacksmith was busily turning out fresh lucky horseshoes for everyone in town. This was the only concrete suggestion that seemed to have a chance of helping. He knew in his heart that it was hopeless, for he had encountered the change on his way to the well, but he had made a promise and intended to carry it through. Oddly enough, the shoes were unusually lucky, and in all other respects the town was to see a great year to come.
The Baker was up to her elbows in flour and rolls. The was how she spent most mornings, actually, and has no other role in the story.
And yet, people went out and came back changed. People stayed in and came out changed. Change was upon everything, and everyone was afraid.
The wisest man in town was the master and owner of the Inn. He saw the changes, but was unconcerned. He knew that his beer was the best for miles, and that people were happy to pay him to brew it both before and after. In his way, he was immune. He sought a way to gift his immunity to others. But the terror was strong. Strong as his beer.
The one thing he found that broke through was to bomb his beer with a shot glass filled to the brim with spirits.
A spirit bomb of sorts.
One that raised people’s spirits.
And distracted them from the terror for a time.