BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
The mysterious stagecoach traveler is a frail woman dressed in black wrapped in a black shawl. Her hair is parted in the center and pulled into a small bun on her neck fastened by a horn comb.
She greets her fellow passengers politely. A day traveler, she seems weary. She carries a black satchel over one arm, from which she extracts small ivory shuttlecocks for making hair lace. She guides hair through loops to make the knots/gaps and displays a family journal of beribboned hair wreaths, braids, and chains as fine as spider webs.
The stagecoach drivers swear she doesn’t board the stagecoach at any previous stop but is aboard every coach stopping at Compass Inn. She chats with other travelers of the Old State Road’s rough terrain and recommends Compass Inn as a good place to have supper and a good night’s sleep
She asks other passengers if she may snip a lock of hair with a small scissors or sometimes does so secretly. Upon arrival she enters the ladies parlor where no one is aware of her presence.
Guests who allowed the lady to cut their hair and then spend a night at the inn have strange dreams and feel they are being watched in their beds.
Footsteps go by the door. Tapping on the walls. Personal items disappear to reappear later. A female voice calls out, “Where am I? Am I dreaming?
Am I living or dead?
Those passengers tend to avoid Compass Inn on future journeys.
Young children talk to a pretty lady invisible to adults.
“The lady asked about my new puppies!
The lady knows where I live! The lady touched my hair.”
A faceless doll leaves its tea party to be found in the child’s bed in an upstairs room. A framed cross-stitch sampler falls from its place on the wall of the ladies bedroom.
She moves about from room to room or stands motionless with glowing eyes, pale skin. Her lips move and she laughs aloud as if mocking the watcher.
The stairway creaks as an unseen spirit climbs to the second floor. A figure passes through the upstairs hall late at night carrying a flickering candle. The smell of tallow overcomes the senses.
Although the lady no longer acquires hair samples from her family she still collects from guests.
She’s still here!
SNIP! SNIP! SNIP
THE READER STANDS AND WALKS BEHIND THE GROUP AND PRETENDS TO SNIP HAIR OF ONE OF THE GUESTS