Warnings: Spoilers for Seasons 1 & 2.
Summary: Every small town has stories. Some of them are true.
Dedication: To the incomparable lone_pyramid, Shane Vansen, who inspires and encourages my stories of Haven and allows me to be a part of hers. Thank you.
Every small town has stories. Big cities have stories too, but those stories are different, made of steel and asphalt and the distant wail of sirens. In a small town, the stories are made of homemade bread and favorite trees and the comfortable familiarity of a mug of hot cocoa marking winter's first snowfall. Haven's no different than countless other small towns; anecdotes passed down through the years, embellished by proud descendants from one generation to the next until nobody knows what parts of the truth have been transformed into a good yarn.
The two old men who once ran Haven's newspaper know all the best stories, as one might guess from their profession. Not just news stories printed for all the world to see, the truth hiding behind details of carefully selected facts, but stories of heroes and villains and untamed magic running wild. They're the Brothers Grimm of Haven, telling fairy tales while spending their retirement persuading errant fish to befriend colorful lures.
Children of all ages delight in their tales of love and loss, of heroes and villains and legends both old and new. The brothers are rarely alone on their weathered pier, taking bribes of barely sweetened lemonade in the summer, of hot tea in colder months. When the children's parents arrive to corral their offspring and listen to a story or two themselves, they bring offerings of fresh garden vegetables and newly-tied lures and spirits to ward off the cold of a winter night. Young and old, the best things these visitors bring are accounts of their own experiences, unvarnished adventures waiting to be nurtured.
When the wind is blustery and scatters a thousand colors of autumn leaves into the air, the brothers tell the tale of a kind woman who befriended the wind and the rain and the clouds in the sky. Some days they would do her bidding, and other days she would do theirs. One day her enemies whispered the word 'witch' for the first time in centuries and spirited her away to a lonely meadow so they could show her first hand the old ways of ridding the world of imagined evil. On that day the skies opened up and rain fell in shimmering blankets that doused the fire reaching for her feet. Her enemies, more dangerous in their fear, jeered that the woman's witchcraft would not save her. But the woman smiled knowingly, and told them that the rain was only cover for her husband to get into range.
The old newspapermen tell the story of an alien spacecraft, crashed just outside of town. It's still there, buried under hundreds of years of nature and time, waiting patiently for someone to find it and bring it to life. When the older kids, the ones desperate to prove that they're oh-so-clever, ask the storytellers why they don't go dig it up themselves, the older brother asks what kind of damn fool do they think he is, to go waking up a bunch of aliens.
When the younger children are listening, they tell the story of the old Police Chief, the father of the man that's Police Chief now. They tell of a time when all of Haven was threatened by giant cracks in the ground. The cracks got worse and worse until the Chief stood in front of the cracks, defying them. And as the cracks swallowed the Chief, he swallowed the cracks, until both the cracks and the Chief were no more. The old Chief died saving Haven from the cracks, and the saddest thing was that most people never even knew that he saved them. The children oooh and aaah respectfully, and the little girl with braids and a gap where her front teeth will grow shines with pride and asks for more stories about her grandpa.
On the hottest days of summer, when energetic boys disturb the fish by jumping off the pier into inviting coastal waters, the younger of the two brothers gets his revenge by telling about the family of merfolk that live just off the coat. These merfolk, he claims, swim close to Haven some days, and have been known to grab an unsuspecting swimmer by the ankle and drag them below the waves, recruiting them into their family. These recruits become mermen or mermaids themselves, and can never return to dry land again. Some of the boys laugh and yell and stay out of the water for at least ten minutes, but others think that living under the water when the heat of the summer is too much to bear sounds just about perfect.
When children have been sent to their beds, and only adults sit on the weatherworn pier, the old newspapermen tell of the lovers whose love slowly blossomed under the dark clouds of war shadowing Haven not long ago. And when everything looked black for the side that they championed, and the only solution was for the woman to surrender her very life so that no more would die, the woman and her lover placed rings on each other's hands and spoke the words that gave themselves to each other for the rest of their lives, even if those lives might only last until the next day. But there was magic, perhaps in the words, perhaps in the rings, or perhaps in the passion between those newly man and wife that night. That magic, whatever it was, allowed them not just to survive the day but to end the war, and they had so many more days and nights together than they ever dreamed.
The brothers sometimes tell about the time a Viking warrior lived in Haven. Once when he was foraging in the woods, he came across three young sisters that had been raised by wolves. He befriended the sisters and did everything in his power to make them safe and happy. After the most fearsome battles, the Viking would sometimes rest and heal in the sisters' lair, and they were able to care for him for a change. Once, while he lay badly wounded, his enemies used dark magic to track him to his hiding place, and set out to slay him. None of those that set out to slay the Viking were ever seen again, and the local wolves were unusually well fed that winter.
When the high school girls, all sighing over the first blush of romance, come to listen to their stories, they tell of the pirate princess who betrayed her prince, thinking she would help him become greater than he already was. The prince was a scoundrel, as princes go, but a good man as pirates go, and in those things there was a balance. But the princess could not see the value in the balance, and so she chose her allies poorly, and in trying to rescue her prince from those allies the princess paid the ultimate price for her betrayal. The girls protest that there have never been pirates in Haven, but the old newspapermen ask their audience how they think the one-eyed smuggler with the old boat in the harbor makes a living, and the tallest of the girls concedes that the man she calls uncle is more a pirate than anything else.
One time, a famous writer (the one that wrote that book about the dog) came to Haven and spent an entire day listening to the tales told by the two old men that used to write stories themselves. He left with notepads brimming with notes and ideas. After the writer was gone, the old newspapermen nodded at each other, satisfied that not a word of truth had escaped their lips that day.
On lazy summer evenings, they tell a story about a woman as old as Haven itself. She flitted through Haven's history, always the same age, helping those in need until one day she chose to trade her special immortality for a far more ordinary immortality, the kind where she and her true love had children that they raised together and loved beyond reason. Sometimes they tell that story when the Police Chief's pretty blonde wife is gathering her brood to bring them home, and she touches her one gray streak of hair, looks at her children and smiles.
Every small town has stories. The key to knowing which of Haven's stories to believe is simple. Just listen for the most amazing, unbelievable stories about the people of Haven. Those are the stories that are true.