Spinner´s End, Cokeworth, Northern England.
Severus put down the book and puffed heavily. It was the sixth time the bloody doorbell had rung.
Probably the teenage delinquents who were in the inconvenient habit of roaming Spinner´s End on occasion. During the past few years, they had been coming over to that abandoned part of town whenever they felt bored or were being chased by the police. As a matter of fact, with the street´s alarming state of decay, most of its houses deserted, it was rather surprising that the juvenile gangster-hopefuls didn´t come around to "visit" more often.
Spinner´s End was after all a perfect hiding place...Nobody better than Severus knew that...
But the fact was that Spinner´s End was ruined to such a degree that not even those little punks took a more than passing interest in it. Sometimes they entered an abandoned house to smoke, played some loud music (that is, if that godawful cacophony could be called "music" at all), or just wandered around cursing, fighting and generally raising hell, before getting bored and moving on to more interesting acts of vandalism.
After Severus had moved back, the little dunderheads had decided to stick around for longer, thrilled to have a potential new victim to play with. But a couple of simple charms managed to convince the youngsters that Spinner´s End was haunted, much to Severus´ amusement...Soon they had disappeared...And yet, after months of complete peace, there they were at it again.
They would learn their lesson this time....
He yanked the door open, his other hand reaching for the magically locked wooden cabinet where he kept his wand, but instead of a rowdy bunch of brats, all Severus saw was a woman standing at his door.
"Good afternoon..." she let out in a husky voice, a courteous smile on her lips.
"Good afternoon" he answered grudgingly "And before you waste your breath: whatever it is you´re advertising, I´m not interested."
With a flick of his wrist the door moved. But her hand stopped it before it could slam in her face. Taken aback, Severus opened the door again. Her gall had managed to catch his interest. He inspected the woman before him from head to toe, his eyes both focused and disdainful.
Certainly a muggle... about 30-years old, quite tall, probably around 5'8 or 5'9 (she had heeled boots on, though, so he could be wrong), with a sturdy yet willowy build. Her dark brown hair was held back in a tight ponytail that showed off a rather particular face: strong eyebrows, alert golden brown eyes, a Greek nose and a somewhat wide mouth. Her olive complexion showed rosy undertones in the chilly Autumn wind. She wore a brick red blouse, brown scarf and brown skirt, with a beige overcoat that, although elegant, looked a bit too light for the temperature outside. She was good-looking, Severus conceded...But that only made her presence at his doorstep all the more odd... Good-looking, well-dressed people were not an usual occurrence at Spinner´s End...
"I´m sorry to bother you... My name is Evelyn, Evelyn Black." She stretched out her hand, but Severus merely looked at her, motionless and uninterested. She cracked a very uneasy smile. It was obvious she was forcing herself to be polite in spite of his bluntness. Only now Severus noticed his visitor had a slight accent...he couldn´t quite pinpoint where from...Irish, maybe? Definitely not Scottish...Well, it didn´t matter.
"Uh...-she continued-I just moved here and..."
"You just...moved" Severus raised an eyebrow "Here?"
"Well, yes. Just this morning..."
"Why would you do that?" Why would anybody do that?, he thought to himself, but said nothing.
"It´s a long story, actually...."
"It was a rhetorical question..." Severus interrupted her, using a purposely condescending tone, a wry smile dancing on his thin lips. She was visibly annoyed now. Good. Only a matter of moments before she decided to leave him alone.
"Actually...I don´t plan on wasting too much of your time, let alone annoying you with unwelcome stories" She answered in a mellow tone filled with subtle contempt.
Severus rolled his eyes. He had obviously underestimated her.
"I´m just looking for someone..." She took out an old and rugged little notebook from her purse "Eileen Prince. Does she live here?"
Severus blinked and just stared at her for a long moment, completely disarmed.
"Snape..." He let out quietly
"I beg your pardon?"
"Eileen Snape...Prince was her maiden name..."
"Oh, so she does live here."
"I see..." Evelyn shifted on her feet "She moved then..."
"She´s dead.... Has been for twenty years actually."
Evelyn bit her lower lip, obviously embarrassed
"I´m sorry to hear that...In that case, I guess I should get going then..."
"Wait a minute, Miss...I´sorry, you said your name was..?"
"Black. Evelyn Black." As she relaxed and her accent came through more clearly... Irish...she was definitely Irish, Severus thought to himself "Mr... Snape, I assume?"
"Severus Snape..." He opened the door all the way and cocked his head back gesturing for her to come in.