I watch them from the broken window of a shack on a dark countryside road. They have been getting closer and closer for the last three nights. Tonight is when I lure them in.
The solid wooden door of the kitchen is the only entire, unbroken part of the shack. Hardly a shack. In my day, they were called 'rustic cabins'. In the 1820's, the place was still in good condition, but after 150 years of neglect, the walls are rotting away. It's wooden rafters are starting to cave in on the floor, but the structure is still strong.
I can't let them know I'm here. What if they don't come?
I watched the first three people pass through the gate, set up camp, and light a huge bonfire. I've seen all of this before. I might have even been there. It was 50 years ago. What year was it? The dates are all blurry after all these years.
But I know that this outpost has been abandoned for about 50 years. It all started when they locked up my father, Jeremiah, in that cage. It was supposed to be a special prison designed to hold monsters, but it wasn't. Not at all. I could feel the pain of all the monsters my father let out of the cage. I only made it out with my father by my side. It took us 30 years to get out of that place. They had us in that cage for 22 years. No, that wasn't exactly it. There was another building. We were only in the cage for 15 years. How I hate that building. I'd sometimes take my father's body and try to walk back to it, but I knew it was no use. But still...
It didn't take long after the first three people set up camp for the police to round them up. There were 12 unique names on the list. The police made the camp's leader give up the list.
The one thing I noticed about them was that each one of them had something unique. It didn't take long for the police to lead the group out of the forest, passing blank houses. I watched them walk down the road, carrying their belongings on their shoulders.
On the far side of the highway, there was a trail that had been carved into the forest. It had overgrown grass and shrubs that had grown into it. The trail was barely made out. It was only two feet wide. Over the years, the trail was mostly overgrown, but you could still see it. I wouldn't go down this trail. Not even for my father.
Then, the police started talking.
"The trail ends here."
"Was there a trail?"
"He made the trail!"
"We travel this trail. Not the enemy. Not the lion."
"I heard this is a path to the road."
"We must leave this place."
"We must leave now!"
The people started moving at a fast pace, and the police chased after them to try and slow them down. The police grabbed hold of Jeremiah's son and started shaking him.
"What is this path and where does it lead to?"
"I-I don't know about that."
"They don't stop!"
"What is this path?"
Then, Jeremiah's son punched the police officer and ran for the forest. I hit him with a tree branch that had been carved into a club. It was nearly time.
I walked out of the woods. The old metal name plate with the words "Lost Town" hanging around the entrance of the forest. At it's golden height, there were 422 golden plates. But we can't count them anymore. We don't even know how many there were. We can't let them prove we exist.
The metal plate was still there. It's brushed gold facing the forest. It's mass of swarming blackness. Which had not been touched for 50 years. The only movement was the arsonists campfire and the wind dinging it as it blew.
It started raining. The brush was shaking. The wind blew hard. Thunder roared. My father walked out of the forest. My father had not been seen in 50 years. But I haven't seen him in 50 years. And I haven't seen the world for 50 years either.
My father's arms were all bloody. His face was red. His hair was matted, his clothes were ragged, and his jacket was rundown. My father kicked through what was left of the police campfire.
I followed him into the forest. He seemed worried. There was a time when his face didn't. We walked out of the forest. Up the road. We walked up the road.
A car with a cop driving passed us. The dirt from the pit where it had been parked was still lingering. It was a black sedan. A spattered black paint with a blotch of dead white sliding out from a hole in the rear of it. Where the paint was white, there was a shadow of a symbol. A six pointed star.
As we walked by, a man stuck his head out of a window and looked at us. He looked at us for a very long time. I think he was thinking. I was thinking about how I let them out. I let them out thinking the same thoughts as the people who were standing outside the police car, "What is that?"
We kept walking. What is that? Where did that come from? It seems so familiar.