Caroline had lived in Sudbury for five years, and had been working in the library the past two. The pay wasn’t great, but somehow rent was cheaper in this part of the country.*

Sudbury was a strange place. Beautiful, but strange. The nearby forest was a constant looming presence in the distance, with strange noises that carried and echoed in the wind, and the locals had rituals they said kept the village safe from it.

Rituals like the Morris dancing.

Caroline had seen Morris dancing before, of course, but never as often as this; it seemed like every month or so dancers would appear with swords or sticks to celebrate a holiday or solstice, while musicians in waistcoats and masks would play. Caroline always thought there was something… odd about the musicians. How they seemed to communicate solely by looks, how their music lured you in.

On the Morris days, Caroline preferred to stay in the library while her colleagues went out to watch. While the library had its own oddities and superstitions, at least it was quiet.

*There were whispers about deals made with shadowy, otherworldly creatures from the forest, but Caroline was far too sensible to believe this.