LET ME START OUR JOURNEY together with a brief introduction. My name is Mimi Rawlins. I was born and raised in Foster Flat, a small southern town nestled in the North Carolina mountains. For being such a small, normally quiet town, it has a surprising number of fantastic occurrences that I’ve had the privilege to witness in one form or another. In fact, I credit these bizarre occurrences with leading me to my career as a newspaper reporter for the rag, The Global Inquiry. Of course, you may doubt their validity. You’ll need to decide for yourself as to the truthfulness you’ll find in each fable. My role is simply to report upon them as they happened, or as they were reported to me by the honest, upstanding citizens of Foster Flat, many of whom have been my friends for most of my life.
There’s not much information to be found in the state record books about the origins of Foster Flat, but my research did uncover the following:
The village of Foster Flat received its charter from the North Carolina General Assembly as the township of Foster Flat on January 7, 1847, listing as its founder one Phineas F. Flat. Foster Flat’s original charter was fixed by the same Phineas F. Flat, who assigned the first five commissioners as the governing body of the town. The five commissioners took the oath of office and appointed a magistrate and a town constable under the direct supervision of...you guessed it...Phineas Flat. The constable also served as the city tax collector, city treasurer and the overseer of the city streets.
Talking to some of the families that date back to the founding of Foster Flat revealed that the founder’s background and upbringing also influenced his eventual founding of Foster Flat. He was the child of a magician and the magician’s assistant. His mom was the magician and his father her assistant. Just one of many unexpected twists that made up Phineas’s life. Phineas grew up on the show circuit traveling from town to town in a gaudily painted wagon acquired from a troop of gypsies. It’s rumored that Phineas’s mother was of gypsy descent and passed the urge to travel on to her son.
Thus Phineas had traveled thousands of miles over the first thirty years of his adult life, not to mention the many miles traveled with his parents as their stage hand starting at the age of ten. During these decades of travel, Phineas accumulated a wide assortment of weird and wonderful artifacts. Rumor had it that the common denominator of his collection was that they all held some seed of magic of one kind or another — some of dark magic, others of white and a few of the blackest of black magic. The story goes that it’s this rare collection housed in the subbasement of Phineas’s home that gives Foster Flat its unique magnetism for the strange and quirky.
But, of course, that is all silly conjecture built on the shaky foundation that one believes in magic. And most Foster Flat residents know that it’s absurd...well, except for that time when...and thus the fantastical fables of Foster Flat were born.
Whatever happened to Phineas F. Flat? No one knows for sure, though there are those who claim he was preserved by a local taxidermist after this death and can now be found in the sub-basement standing guard over his treasure. Others say that’s not true at all...that he was in fact still alive when the taxidermist got to him. But I digress.
What is known is that Phineas Flat made sure to take care of his treasured artifacts as well as his family. He drew up an intricate plan for determining who would be the mayor of Foster Flat. Unlike most incorporated towns, Foster Flat was founded as a private piece of property owned exclusively by the Flat family. The majority of the property has been deeded over to various other founding families, although the Flat family maintains 100% ownership of Phineas’s home that sits in the center of the town on the highest point. Known by many as the Tower House because of its unique pinnacle shaped tower that is the highest point on the map for miles around, the home has been passed down through the generations from one family member to another. It is unquestionably the most unique, different, eye-catching and weird structure within five hundred or more miles.
Let’s now meet the citizens of Foster Flat. They are good people by and large — average Joes and Janes going about the job of living their lives — working, shopping, eating, making love, playing, attending church. On the surface, all is calm, all is quiet...normal. On the surface. But every now and then, something happens - a ripple in the fabric of reality. The magic acts out, or overflows, or escapes its confinement, and the citizens are affected. Sometimes they initiate the ripple, sometimes they are the victims of it — sometimes both.
Each of the fantastic fables included within chronicles these ripples. In the process of reading each story, you, the reader, will get to know the citizens of this fair town a little better. You will notice that the citizenry falls into three groups. First we have the “born and raised” founders who view it as their sacred duty to protect the special nature of their fair mountain burg. Then there are the implants who have moved to Foster Flat from elsewhere, and even though they may have lived there most of their lives, they are still viewed as the new neighbors by the founding faction. They too often have their own secrets to protect. And last of all we have the visitors, those just passing through. Most of the residents, be it founders or implants, feel it’s their job to make sure the visitors do not stay, especially if they become too nosy. But you, my friend, have a special invitation to visit this fair town through the pages that follow.
Roving Reporter for The Global Inquiry
Born and raised in Foster Flat, North Carolina
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