“Tell us a story, tell us a story,” the crowd demanded. The pirate sat at the piano on the improvised stage and played softly while telling the story of Jan Endsleigh.
“Once upon a time, in a village by the sea, there was a man called Jan. He didn't listen to anyone. He wanted to have his way all the time. Nothing or anyone would come between him and his plans. One day, he disappeared from his village. Everyone wondered what had happened to him. They searched for days. Some even said it had been a spell of some sort as they saw a greenish fog drifting away from the main street into the forest. But life continued, quietly and contented, Endsleigh forgotten and green fog gone. Many years later, a man walked through the main street and stopped in front of Jan Endsleigh’s house. He waved through the window, while a group of children chuckled. The house was empty, and the man was mad, they thought. The man continued walking up the street and stopped in front of the church. Then he turned around. He stood at the top of the street for a long time, so long that a small crowd had gathered. The priest walked outside his church and realized that this was a great opportunity to preach some senses into his absent flock but just as he was about to start, the man took a step forward, raised his hand and greenish fog came out of his palm. The crowd scattered in all directions, screaming. When the square was empty except for the man and the priest, Jan Endsleigh materialized in front of them.
“Where have you been,” asked the priest incredulous.
“I came back.”
“And this time, I’ll stay.”
“Good. I need you to drag people back into Sunday service, Jan.”
“To come back, I had to pay a price.”
The priest looked around for a quick exit just in case.
“Oh, really? What price?”
The priest tried to run away but the stranger grabbed him by the collar and threw greenish fog down his throat. The priest wiggled briefly and vanished.
“How long?” asked Jan.
“A few years.”
“Who will he choose?”
The stranger shook his head and walked down the street while the whole town hid behind closed doors.
Jan shrugged. Next time it wouldn’t be this easy. People would know. He walked inside the church and closed the door behind him. He didn’t think there would be any service on Sunday. He shrugged again. Oh well, he had convinced the scythe man to let him come back. He didn’t really like dragging people to Sunday services. And besides, giving up his stubbornness wasn’t that much of a price to pay now was it?”
The pirate stopped playing, smiled devilishly and looked at the crowd. There was a priest in the front row at the beginning of the story, he had noticed; not anymore.