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Queen's Bay

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It is said, a long time ago, when Queen's Bay was just a small fishing village, the mayor's young wife Maura was killed by "The Queen."

I'm not one to say whether this is true, but I do know that certain nights are colder than others.

You see, you’re too young to remember, but your mother used to run the inn where the Lady Maura used to live. And there were times, young man, when you woke up screaming, because "the scary woman was staring at you."

Laugh if you will, but your mother was never too sure about this. Until that night when you didn't wake up.

She had put you down for the night and returned to the common room, to have a glass of wine and tally the evening’s profits. About an hour later there was a crash from your room upstairs. Thinking you were waking up from another one of your nightmares, she hesitated to run upstairs, waiting for you to cry for her before coming to the rescue. Strange thing is, young man, you never started screaming.

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She eventually closed everything up and, thinking you had gone back to sleep, doused the lantern and went to her room.

The next morning came and you were late for breakfast. After calling for you several times, she went up to your room. I can tell you, she intended to skin you raw—your mother with a common room full of customers and a dish boy who was too lazy to get out of bed.

She gasped as she entered your room to find it empty. The window was open, and the toy horse you kept by the windowsill lay shattered on the floor. Your sheets were strewn across the room, and you were nowhere to be found—the only evidence being the merest trace of a lady’s boot prints, and a few drops of blood.

The whole town was up in arms looking for you that morning. For days, we searched high and low to no avail. Devastated, we returned home to wait for the news.

It wasn’t until about a week later when your mother, still inconsolable, heard another crash in your room, late in the evening. Hoping you had somehow returned, she rushed up the steps only to find your door open and a young woman—beautiful they say—placing you on your bed. Your mother screamed and the woman looked at her. I can hear your mother now, just as she told me the first time: “Her hair was blonde, her eyes blue as cornflowers. She had such a sad smile, and a thin line of red that ran across her neck.” As your mother approached, the woman faded as if she had merely been smoke in the shape of a person, now blown by the wind into nothingness.

The town cleric told us that it was a changeling or some other evil spirit that had gotten you—one of the servants of The Queen's court. But that night your mother cradled you close, screaming. It was all we could do to pull your lifeless, cold body from her arms.

Oh, my boy. Your poor mother, right before she took her own life, made me swear to visit your sweet grave once a year and tell you this story. She wanted you never to forget the woman-shaped thing that took you from us, and how she will see you soon.

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