Harroy City

by Mehran Mokhtarpour

Harrow City

Every place has its own story, what if one doesn't

Introduction

Life is crazy. Everybody makes wishes. Some of them get the exact opposite and some of them get exactly what they want. Others just get a shady and faded version of their desires and finally, the lucky few, get nothing. Because getting what you want isn't the way life is intended to deal its hand. You might ask why those who wish and get nothing are the lucky few, and you have all the right to do so, the answer is because if you get nothing you ask yourself why. And asking yourself why is the way life is intended to be all about.

An idea is a dangerous entity. Once you find one, it will always be with you, even after you have succeeded. You'd keep asking yourself whether or not it was possible to have grown it wider and better. An idea is a virus, is a cancerous cell, maybe even worse but nobody likes to realize it because everybody wants more. People want to be entertained, they want to be busy and by thinking and waiting for ideas to come, they'd go to sleep and start a new day.

You see, I didn't know any of these things until a few days ago. Even now I am not sure if I know' anything.

I once read somewhere that in a story or a book, you shouldn't look for reasons and you should ask why'. But what if some parts of life are just like stories. They say asking why is antithetical to the poetry of fear. But what if I want to be scared? Or what if I like to ask questions?

I should stop obsessing with conundrums of philosophy and end my report.

Funny, I should report about our journey but I don't like to.

I just know I have to lie. Life is really crazy.

Chapter One Romantic Getaway

Having never repaired his watch, Brian was late again. He had told us he'd meet us at the staging area but he was nearly an hour late. I knew I should have gone after him and brought him here myself so all of this would have been avoided. Sun was almost setting when he finally showed up. Time to get debriefed

We were sent here by Mindvision Discovery and Intelligence network. Since we were really good at what we did MDAI wanted us to do a special report about the recent reported unusual activities in a remote touristy place. The locals had been hearing some noises and sounds apparently at nights and we were sent to investigate and report.

The staging area was basically where the tourists would gather up and get sent in packs with a leader into the place. We were supposed to meet here. Our trio was well-known for being virtually fearless for jumping into abysses and things alike. Brian Watcher was our cameraman, I was the coordinator and Alexis Rain was our senior reporter. Even though she wasn't much older than us she was essentially in charge and well, she was our boss.

As Brian's ride turned in the road and the headlights showed she went in the middle of the dusty jungle road and waved her arms to point to our place.

A few minutes later, the three of us were ready and we went in the main gate. Some rather old guy came to us and started talking to Alexis. I used this time and asked Brian

-"Can't you ever be on time, once?"

-"This time it really wasn't my fault, I had set my watch to be here in time but I had set the time early and on the way to find a ride here, the damn batteries died"

-"Well we wouldn't have missed daylight if you were here on time."

I didn't like darkness. I wasn't afraid of it but sometimes when I found myself in dark areas and especially when those areas were new and unknown to me, a clich childhood phobia of a monster lurking in the shadows felt me up.

Around ten minutes later Alexis and the old guy's talks ended and she told us the plan.

-"We could spend the night here and we will get in the city tomorrow, early in the morning. Our contact there is a man named Henry Fidelis. He'll take us on a tour around the place. The officials have kept this place shut for a few days and that's our limit. They make money out of this place so they'd need us to be on the double."

-"Did you say city?" Brian asked while tinkering with his watch.

-"Yea, to locals, this place is not known as ruins'. They still believe of it as a crappy ancient city"

-"As long as they pay us, we listen to them, huh gang?" I felt good about sleeping and starting in daylight.

-"Totally, let me just call David, let him know we are here and I'll be up in the room too." Alexis left while taking her cellphone out of her pocket. It was me and Brian again.

-"So what should we do?" I knew what he meant by that.

-"Come on man, we can't be drunk on our first day of work."

-"A man can suggest! So I guess we ought to go up to our rooms and see what's what huh" By that he meant I should check different websites, pile up and memorize different things about this place while he gambled his money away on internet poker. It was not a fair.

A couple hours later, we were in our beds. Alexis was reading the place's brochure and Brian had his laptop on his stomach. I was staring at the ceiling. Alexis said

-"So get this, we should cover almost 3 acres of what used to be a hailing city. Why couldn't MDAI send us once to a beach?"

She had a point. During our two-year activity, we had been sent to some of the worst places on earth in order to cover some folklore story or report on some unusual activities and since there was never anything to report, we kept twisting the facts and realities in order to get good ratings. Showbiz was dirty, but we were good at keeping our hands clean.

Little by little Alexis and Brian went to sleep. I couldn't shut my eyes into a good night sleep. Something was bugging me. I kept rolling from side to side. I saw out the window. The moon was a clean cut crescent, almost like a fairytale.

Our journey had begun, just like Alice; we had to get deeper

Down the rabbit hole

-"Not exactly a romantic getaway, is it?" Brian said while leaning on the balcony looking at the ruins. I couldn't tell what he was staring at as I had lied on my bed still.

-"Well, we are here for a job. And I can't have you two moping around over every small inconvenience." Alexis replied.

-"What did I say?!"

-"You didn't yet, but it was a precaution! Now, let's get down for breakfast and dive into this place deep."

We headed downstairs and while eating, Alexis returned some emails and text messages, probably to David, MDAI's correspondent and her fiance.

-"So, what's the score, boss?" Brian asked while forcefully putting a piece of buttery bread in his mouth. He was really carefree; I wish I could be like him. But I always had something to do with something.

-"Simple, we get in, see what's up and get out. Nothing we can't handle I am sure. As the guy told me last night, in the ruins, by the entrance, this Henry Fidelis person is waiting on us."

-"And you wouldn't want to keep him waiting."

The voice came from behind us. It was the same old guy who Alexis spoke to last night. He must have snuck up on us because I didn't hear him coming at all and I was willing to bet neither had Alexis and Brian.

He was wearing a matching white suit and pants and walked with the help of a cane. He had also thick glasses on and had captain-like mustache. He looked quite the gentleman but something inside his voice made me uncomfortable. Alexis took charge.

-"We definitely wouldn't Mr. Nemean. Is there anything special you'd like to tell us last before heading out?"

-"No madam, you are professionals and I gracefully respect that. Just I feel compelled to tell you that Mr. Fidelis is a bit jumpy about unpunctual people."

-"Our plan is to meet him at 6:00am sharp and we have around a quarter to walk there. I assumed based on the brochure and my own map, we'll get there in a few minutes"

-"Then I wish you good luck Mrs. Rain."

-"Thanks sir."

And he left us. Alexis said.

-"I never told him I was engaged! Well, he must have seen my ring. Oh, before I forget, Brian, based on the weather analysis on the internet, it is going to be a showery day today. I suggest you wear your raincoats."

Upon hearing it, I felt like a good dawn joy of Brian metamorphosed into a faded fake smile.

Brian was a hydrophobic. It had something to do with his childhood; he once told me he saw his father drown in the ocean. Every time it rained or we had to cover some paths on a boat, Brian's hands trembled and he felt quite ill at ease. He'd take diazepam to control his camera. I never understood him and his phobia but he respected my weakness in darkness by always carrying around an extra flashlight and a bunch of fresh batteries, and I made sure he stayed dry as much as possible. I often held umbrella over his head in rainy days and when we travelled in boat, I kept talking to him about the things he liked the most so he'd feel better a bit about his situation. I knew the drill this time.

And at precisely 6:00am we were at the entrance, but there was no sign of anyone there. We kept walking closer until I saw the entrance sign over the city. But before I could notice it, I heard a moaning sound. It was an animal. Sounded like a dog, it was hurt.

We looked at each other and decided to trace the pain sound back to its source. We found it. It was a white wolf. It had its right leg in a bear trap. Somebody was hunting for bears here. I helped the wolf out. It was a female wolf. Her furs were snow white and I have to admit I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Blood stains were vividly visible on her hind. She looked at me and left. I guess it was her way of saying thanks. I wanted to wrap her wounds in bandages but she ran away fast.

Suddenly Alexis said,

-"Look, there is something near the bear trap"

Brian and I sat down to check it out. It was a watch. We cleared off its dusts. It was somewhat identical to Brian's watch. But the glass had been broken and the hands had stopped working on 6:10 on a twelfth of a month.

-"Today is fourteenth, right?" Brian asked while putting the watch in his front pocket.

-"Nope, fifteenth." Alexis replied.

-"Does it just feel weird to me or does it to you too, John?" He asked me.

-"It's probably nothing; some dude has lost his watch. I suggest we leave it here"

-"I don't know man, I'll give it to this guider person we are meeting."

-"Then let's head back fast." Alexis ordered us and we almost ran back.

We circled around and found Henry Fidelis soon. We were only a few minutes late and he was in a good mood. So we were good to go.

-"Hello and welcome my friends!" He sounded happy to see us. He looked quite charming. He was young.

-"Hi Mr. Fidelis. Thank you so much"

-"Ah, forget the official pleasantries, pleased to meet you miss. Call me Henry."

-"Ok Henry, my name is Alexis Rain, this is my cameraman Mr. Brian Watcher and this is my assistant Mr. John Bound. We are at your service."

-"Oh please. Follow me in, I'll make you a nice cup of coffee if you like and then we'll talk about the city."

We followed him and I glanced at the entrance sign before walking actually in. The sign looked very old. I wasn't sure if it was made for tourists or people actually had made it but it looked like the real thing.

Well, here went nothing

Sun was ready to come out. I felt morning chills I told myself

"Welcome to Harrow City"

Chapter Two Outlands

The first thing that really caught my eyes was the texture of the city. We were told to investigate on a touristy place called The Ruins of Harrow' but what I was looking at and passing by was anything but ruins. The bricks walls and stony passages were almost rustic. Harrow City was like an old village. The main street out and in the city, the one we were on, was empty. We walked in and a few steps in Henry started the tour. I couldn't notice but everything was gray there.

-"Harrow City! *he excused himself by doing a tour leading act* Harrow City, also known as the city of ten thousand stories this city is founded on the ruins of a much more ancient civilization. It is not clear to the people who were those who came before but they locally refer to these ancient ones as The Ancestors there is an old story told chest to chest that the last person who lived from The Ancestors wanted to become immortal. So he cursed himself and all the dead people in the graveyards, known as The Outlands, so that their spirits are trapped here forever. This is why people believe that their own spirits are mixed with the ones from before. It's an interesting theory isn't it?"

I was so lost in Henry's words that I had forgotten to tell Brian to film all this, luckily he was two steps ahead of me and had already started the shoot. Alexis started her job too and asked

-"We have many reports albeit non confirmed that people have been seeing shadows and hearing unusual sounds around this place, do you have any idea about this?"

-"Well, I don't know about anything unusual but there are only a few locals left who still live here, the rest have been either migrated or extinct!"

-"Can we meet these families?"

-"Of course you can, but, I could only lead you there"

-"What do you mean?"

-"The people who still live here are really zealous about their homeland. They believe it is sacred and no strange person should ever be let to set foot here, and since I am a simple tour leader, they consider mea traitor."

Alexis cut the shoot and we stopped by a big shack. It had a sign on it; the place was called The Silent Chambers'. Well, I wondered how much more silent can things get around here.

Henry led us in. It was like a very old bed and breakfast, kind of like a motel. It was not old, but it didn't have anything to do with being ruins'.

While pouring us coffees he continued his talks. I signaled Brian to film him.

-"If you want a great journey, there are four places you have to see. First, there is the old graveyard south of here, The Outlands, then head east of there to the old ceremonial auditorium known to locals as The Rising Grounds, after it you should continue onto the meadows, which here are called The Paradise Gardens, and finally in order to know a bit about the history of this place, I suggest you checking yourself into the Harrow Library in the middle of the town."

-"A graveyard, an auditorium, a garden and a librarysounds quite charming." I added.

-"Indeed it is Mr. Bound. And you could use this place as your safe haven. You could sleep here and there is a storage space in the attic with some food for those who wish to stay for more than a day here. I'll arrange it so more food is delivered for you in case it was necessary"

-"Where do you live here Henry?" asked Alexis.

-"I live in the library; I have set myself quite a place there. If you need anything that is where you could find me that is of course, if I wasn't on the tour with you lovely people"

-"Why don't you live in The Silent Chambers' yourself?" I asked

-"Since I am considered a heathen to this people, a library is the last place they would like to come in. It's like the devil's playgroundlike a house of cards."

Brian stopped shooting and sipped from his coffee. He then asked.

-"Don't you get lonely? I meanDo you have a family Henry?"

-"I didbut they don't live here anymore. They have left"

His tone conveyed deeply what he meant that.

-"Oh, I am so sorry for asking"

-"No it's quite alright. Both of them passed away in accidents I mean my wife and my daughter. Do you want to see a picture of them?"

He then showed us a very old picture. It didn't quite fit. The picture was at least fifty years old but Henry wasn't over forty, at least he didn't look like it.

-"Henry, this photo" Alexis wanted to say my thoughts loud while Henry answered

-"This is the only thing that is left. The flood took the rest and so I had to preserve it somehow. The picture isn't that old it's just the effects of nature on it"

-"Well, I hope they rest in peace, and really, sincerely thanks for the coffee. Shall we head to The Outlands?"

-"Most definitely. You go on out, I'll join you right away."

While we were going out, Brian whispered to me

-"Dude, call me crazy but I think there was an old grandpa clock on the photo behind his wife and daughter."

-"So?"

-"I think in the photo it was 6:10 too."

-"What is up with you and this whole time thing, not that you always late you know"

-"No I am serious; I believe some weird voodoo stuff is going on around here. First, they tell us we are going to some ruins, then we see it's a full blown old town. Then we find this identical watch to mine died on the same hour with the one on this unbelievingly nice gentleman."

-"So you are saying we are actually going to have something to report on for real?"

-"I am not saying anything, look forget it. I think I didn't sleep great last night, I might have turned crazy!"

-"You got it man, but I have to say, you gave me some chills too."

Then we started joking while Alexis came out too. She was looking at her cellphone.

-"Ah shoot! There is no reception here. Hey guys! What time is it?"

-"its a few minutes left to seven" Brian replied.

At the same time we looked at each other and realized that somehow his watch had started to work again. I checked with my watch, his was correct.

-"We'll discuss this later man, just give him the damn watch you found." I suggested at the same at as Henry came out.

-"Here Henry, we found this watch on the outskirts of town, next to a bear trap! Enjoy hunting much?"

-"Bear trap? Here?! I have never seen any bears around here. Are you sure it was a trap?"

-"Well if he isn't sure I am mostly certain that the white wolf trapped in it clearly remembers it!" I added.

-"White wolf!? Bear trap?! Which city are you talking about?! I have lived here for almost four decades and I have never seen any bears or wolves around here."

This was a great moment to film. So Brian started shooting and Alexis explained the situation. Upon getting the watch, Henry checked it and threw his shoulders up in the air. He had no idea what was going on. He got back in the shack to put in the lost and found box.

We were in the right place. We then headed for the Outlands.

Perhaps the dead had some explanations.

On our way to the Outlands, Alexis did a small Q&A with Henry about the history of the place, the recent one of course. Brian was filming all of them. I was walking a few steps ahead of them to scout what was around. The main road continued to the south; our first destination.

As much as I hated to agree with Brian's insane ideas, something about this place didn't quite fit. The road we were on was full of small rocks and sand. Henry had told us his family had died in a flood. There was no sea or a dam around us. Of course, the weather looked like it could rain but still; a flood would be a bit out of logic.

I was looking at my map when I realized something has stuck to my right shoe. I checked underneath it. There was a gum stuck to a coin. I separated them from my shoe and cleared the coin off. It was a new coin, for the same year. But the profile face on it had been scraped off. Looking at it made me feel cold for a moment

Since I was a kid, I loved scraping stuff. Whenever you found me, if I wasn't asleep or playing with a flashlight, I was scraping. Sometimes I carved my initials on tree trunks, sometimes I wrote numbers on different walls and places. Scraping was among my guilty pleasures.

I decided to keep this to myself and put the coin in my pocket. We reached where the road was divided into two.

-"Take the right road if you want to go to the library and the one we are already on heads right into the Outlands." Henry said with his charm.

-"So let's go then gang, huh" Alexis said and took the lead.

Brian went ahead with her. Henry stayed to walk the way with me.

-"So, Mr. Bound Tell me a bit about yourself."

-"Well, for starters, if we are not allowed to call you Mr. Fidelis, you should call me John."

-"Message received. Tell me John What's your favorite color?"

-"I guess I like blue."

-"I like blue too. But you know blue is somewhat of a bastard color. It could convey happiness, it could convey sadness."

-"Then I suppose it's the matter of perspective huh"

-"Exactly! Life is blue it all depends on how you wake up to start your day. You know, sometimes I wake up and decide to leave this city for good. Leave it and never look back."

-"Why don't you do this then?"

-"BecauseI am a collectorand a collector never leaves his collection unprotected."

-"Why don't you take your collection with you?"

-"Ah! But here is the trick. I can't take my collection off. It has to stay here to remainermcollectible." -"What do you collect?"

-"Stories, my friendI collect stories."

-"But your job is retelling the stories that have already happened to those who will probably forget half of them on their way out of here"

-"That is where you're wrong. I don't retell these storiessometimes, I feel like I am a writer. I live them."

-"This conversation is starting to make me feel confused" -"I understand. So why don't you tell me something about yourself. Tell me about your job" He had a nice smile but there was something hidden in it. It was as if he was here but his mind worked half for something else.

-"I am a coordinator. I help our team with the information they require."

-"And what kind of information does your team might need my friend?" He offered me a slice of his apple. It looked deliciously fresh so I took it.

-"Well, like in this case, the case of Harrow City, I help Alexis and Brian feel as at ease as possible. I also take notes of our progress for our reports and also, since I am the least on camera person, I scout ahead for things that might seem interesting"

-"Hmm. It doesn't look like a hard jobis it?"

-"Can I tell you a secret?"

-"Of course you can" He tapped my shoulder with his hand.

-"It is when the night falls. I don't like it when there is no light"

-"Darkness is the absence of light. I could teach you how to overcome this fear if you like"

-"It's not a fear. It's just the feeling of unease."

-"Well I know you are not admitting it. But I do. I have a fear too. I am too scared of looking at the mirror! Can you believe it!?"

-"Really!?"

-"Really! Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see strange things behind me. When I turn around, nothing is there. I even hear their voices too. I don't like looking at myself very much"

-"Well you don't look so bad man, you should try it sometimes"

-"I will if you promise to go for a walk tonight." He knew how to make it personal.

It gave me an overall goose bump just by hearing it. Lucky for me, we reached the Outlands a few seconds later so our talks got cut off. Brian started shooting while Alexis started to speak

-"Dear viewers we have arrived to the OutlandsHarrow City's only graveyard. It is reported that there are no birth or death dates on any of the tombstones. Let's see what Mr. Fidelis has to say regarding this."

-"The locals of the city believed that numbers are sent from the devil into tempting them for knowledge. They believed knowing something is a poison. That's why there are not many books left here too. Let's get in the Outlands"

And we walked in the front half broken gate. I was still wondering about this place. Ever since our return I didn't feel very nice. Something was upset in my stomach. A bad feeling covered my whole psyche.

The Outlands received their name because originally this part of town hadn't been connected to the city. As we were walking around and shooting while Alexis and Henry talked I saw a little girl sitting on the ground in front of a grave. I walked up to her. She didn't seem to notice me. So I spoke up

-"Hello there young lady"

-"She turned her head towards me. She had big brown eyes and her hair was almost in her face. She took my hand and pulled until I followed her. Her hand was ice cold but the weather looked quite warm not even breezy.

She took me behind a tree and I saw once again a white wolf stuck in a bear trap moaning.

This was not a coincidence. I was shocked. My muscles couldn't move. The begging sounds of the wolf brought me to the real world. It was not the same wolf. This was a male. I helped him out, he howled and left. Soon he disappeared in the woods and I came back to the Outlands. The little girl was gone. I noticed her flowers on the tomb. All the flowers were dead. They had been dead for quite a few weeks. I tried to hold them to make sure and as soon as I put a little pressure on it, the whole thing collapsed.

I called the team to the grave.

-"Henry, whose grave is thisthere is no name here." I asked.

-"How come you chose this one first John?" He replied. I didn't want to explain. I looked at Brian and lied

-"The dead flowers here caught my attention. It looked as if the dead person here hasn't been visited for a long time."

-"This grave has an interesting story. They say it belongs to a mother who watched her daughter being molested by her husband. Apparently the daughter falls in love with her own father and tempts her intowhat's the wordah! into incest.

So the mother, upon understanding this, drowns herself in the river behind the Rising Grounds. They find her body covered in orchids."

-"What happened to the father and daughter?"

-"Legends have it that nobody saw the father ever again and the daughter is stoned to death so that her soul never finds peace."

-"and what about these dead flowers?" Alexis asked.

-"I don't know, might be wind. You see, Paradise Gardens are windy meadows. There are lots of flowers there as well. The gardens are now barren but a few months ago, they were a place to feel perfectly divine"

We continued our tour. Alexis kept asking questions from Henry. Brian kept back to talk to me. He wasn't shooting.

-"What happened behind those trees?" He asked me.

-"How did you see that Brian!" My mouth kept being open.

-"My surname is Watcher man, I saw that!" He had a point.

-"Well, you are not going to believe it. I saw a little girl sitting near that unfortunate mother's grave and she took my hand and made me follow her behind the trees, there, I saw another wolf trapped, again stuck in a bear trap."

-"So I knew I heard a moaning sounddude, this place is creepy. Can't we abandon the investigation?"

-"You know Alexisthere is no way. But believe me Brian; I know what you are saying. And something tells me that we are not done here at all yet"

"Hey! Look at this grave The flowers are fresh here."

We sat near the grave and I tried to read the name or something on the engraving. Nothing was clear and face was scrapped off. The scraped off face was familiar. I remembered. I took the coin out of my pocket and compared it with the one on the gravestone.

-"Where did you find it?" Brian asked.

-"On our way hereit was stuck to a gum."

-"Look! It kind of looks like the same dude on the coin. But the coin is for our time"

It was remarkably scary. I left the coin on the grave and we joined Alexis and Henry fast.

The clouds were getting closer to each other. The grayness was augmented.

It was about to rain.

It couldn't be nice.

Chapter Three Rising Grounds

Next stop, the Rising Grounds. When asked, Henry explained the namesake

-"I already explained this to you that the people who lived here were quite zealous about their living and their dead. They believed of this place as a waiting room for some sort of utopia. Unless their souls are cleansed, they would not reach absolution and redemption Where we are standing is where normal people would sit and watch what they called The Harrowing Ceremony.'"

Then he asked us to get further down the stage. The Rising Grounds was basically an old looking auditorium set in a semicircular shape with the performers placed on the center below all the rows. As we were walking he continued to explain. I was walking behind the team

-"When a person died before burying them they'd put that person on the pedestal you can see down below and rip their chests open. In their zealous beliefs, it's said that they wanted the trapped soul inside the dead leave its host body and rise into becoming an angel. You only hear of these things in history pages but when you see a place like it you can't help but feel "

-"Frightened" Alexis completed his sentence.

-"I was going for amazed but sure, why not"

We walked near the pedestal. Alexis laid herself on the sacrificial bed and Brian watched her while she explained her feelings towards it. It was a showbiz moment.

It was nearly the middle of the day now and sun was partially concealed behind some scattered clouds. We sat down on the stage to prepare for lunch.

-"Dude, want me to sacrifice you to the gods?" Brian asked me. He was pretending to be in a good mood. I hoped it wouldn't rain.

-"No man, when I die, I am going straightly below."

-"I want to shoot a scene from above the stage. Would you come with me?"

-"You know I will, let's go."

A few minutes in, and we were on top of the stairs. Henry was preparing something for us to eat while Alexis was talking to him. I couldn't tell what they were speaking about. Even though she was a strong woman, sometimes she counted us to protect her, but Henry seemed quite alright. Still I was keeping one eye on him just in case.

-"I am thinking of going on a vacation." Brian said while checking the status on his camera.

-"Really? Where to?"

-"I haven't decided yet. I may even apply for a different job."

-"Are you out of your mind?"

-"This job, it's really cool and it pays well but it could get a bit boring"

-"You do realize that you're talking about one of the most adventurous jobs of the world right?"

-"Our definitions of world' are different. Yours, its adventure, mineit's full of stillness and dryness of course."

Then we heard a whistle coming from behind us. It was coming from a little hedge farm a few feet on the other side of the road. We looked to check. There was nobody there. We were both sure that we heard a whistle. A rather loud one as well but there was nobody there. The only weird thing on the ground was the bulk of dead flowers again, and these flowers looked exactly like the ones we found on that grave in Outlands. According to Henry, they must have been blown here from Paradise Gardens.

I thought when we get there, we'll have some answers.

But sometimes asking questions is unnecessary. Still we had to learn that.

We returned to see Alexis and Henry waiting for us to start the lunch. We heard some distant roars in the sky. It sounded like rain. I prayed that Alexis realizes the situation. Luckily, she did

-"Henry, How much of our tour is left?"

-"From here to Paradise Gardens it's a ten minute walk."

-"So I am assuming around an hour right?"

-"Of course. Then we can head to library and stay there for the night. Hopefully you will have what you want and then we'll head back right to where you started."

Brian smirked to me and mimicked him.

-"Right to where we started"

I didn't understand the reason for Brian's behavior; I supposed it was for the rainy weather signs.

We then packed to leave. Brian and I stayed to shoot some additional scenes while Alexis narrated. Henry slowly climbed the stairs up.

-"Brian, I know it is going to rain and if you like we will abandon today's plan right now and back to the Chambers."

-"No its okay, let's do this quick and be done with it. I am alright."

-"What about you John, is there anything on your mind?"

-"No, I am good too. I just have to say, this placeis dead."

-"I feel it too, plus Henry is creepy. He told us about the other families here. Everything around here is deserted. So where do they live?"

-"Maybe in Paradise Gardens or library. After all, you wouldn't find a library in the middle of a sand field. Usually, with libraries, there is town square or something, right?"

Then I noticed Alexis' coat. The coat itself was black but it seemed like something had been spilled on it. I asked her to turn around and I realized that her coat was wet.

We checked the bed where she had laid on, but it was full dry. I touched the liquid on her and smelt it.

The liquid was blood. It was fresh.

Somebody had died just here.

Or maybe there was angel already among us.

-"What the hell is the meaning of this?" Her eyes were open wide.

-"If nobody has said it now, I will, let's leave this place. This can't be ordinary."

-"No John, we are here for a job" Why was she our boss?

-"Listen to me both of you, we should get going and see our investigation to its end. We can't turn back now" Brian was out of his mind.

-"Of course we can, we will get back and say we didn't see anything unusual here-" my sentence was cut as Henry shouted from afar

-"It is going to rain soon, we should find a roof over our heads soon."

-"Should we tell him?" I asked.

-"No I can't see myself trusting him, something looks off about this guy"

-"Well he had been living with this isolation his whole lifehe is cuckoo."

-"Let's clear out of here, we will go to Paradise Gardens, take some shots, spend the night in the library and leave our buttocks off this placehuh gang?" Alexis had a point.

-"So we are not trusting Henry anymore?" Brian asked while looking at the sky.

-"I am starting to realize we never did" Alexis replied.

We then climbed up the stairs very fast and started following Henry. Slowly it began to rain. I couldn't help but notice Brian. He was very calm. Usually in rains like this, his hands would shake and he would speak in stutters. But he walked ahead of us with Henry. I started talking to Alexis.

-"Did David tell you anything about this insane hole of a place?"

-"A few hours ago I was sure this place was a bunch of old walls and ruins. I am sure others still think of it like this as well. I don't know if it's ethically correct for us to lie about this place being dead"

-"Ethics? You are talking about ethics? Our job is to true lies. There is nothing ethical in what we do"

-"I know, I meant me myself I think two years of being in cursed places and abnormal events are kind of enough" Alexis wanted to quit her job too.

-"Easy for you to sayyour husband-to-be owns a television network, so you are supported for your whole life"

-"Did I ever tell you why I becamethis?" I had never spoken with her this intimately.

-"No, tell me"

-"Ever since I was a little girl, I had these sudden nervous attacks before sleepingit was like mild epilepsy. When I grew up, the pain grew up with me and when I reached adulthood I understood that I am a severe claustrophobic"

-"You mean?" I was shocked. Her job demanded that she spends most of her professional times in dungeons and dark narrow corridors I didn't know that.

-"I started this job to get cured. They say the only way to overcome your fears is to face them. I have faced my fears enough. My neurons don't operate well most of the times. I've had enough"

And then I realized that everybody has something to cry about. Apparently life gives people weaknesses to help get over their problems, of their own and others. We were a perfect team because we were afraid. We completed each other out.

We spent the rest of the road in silence. The sun had come down and the early signs of moon were coming out. The downpour had become more severe and the full moon, albeit still a bit shy, was upon us. The skies were clear.

It was too good to be true. It suddenly came to me.

Last night, when we slept I clearly gazed upon the night sky and a clean cut crescent moon. The moon shouldn't have been full for at least a week. How was this possible?

I didn't want to add to any more confusion so I kept my mouth closed.

Before entering the Paradise Gardens I took a second to process all my thoughts.

Harrow citythe wolvesthe little girl and the dead flowers

We were getting to the bottom of this rabbit hole.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that the night ends without any more incidents.

My prayer would come true.

I wish I hadn't prayed like that though

Chapter Four Paradise Gardens

If it wasn't raining, I knew I'd be immediately in love with this place. All of us would have The Paradise Gardens was named accordingly; a beautiful meadow filled with different flowers, roses, tulips, chrysanthemums, and all the other kind I knew by name and I didn't. It was a wonderful place. Henry started the tour, Brian was shooting the scene

-"The Paradise Gardens, this is where immortality and infinite knowledge meet. The legend has it that some of the greatest creations in the history of literature and philosophy are a pale simulation of this place. As you can see in the close horizon there are two trees in the middle of the meadow. They say when people die here; the Rising Grounds sends them here to live on forever in peace. To the Ancestors, this place was a true utopia."

-"What do the trees bear there?"

-"One bears apples the other bears pomegranates."

-"Who takes cares of this place? Surely you aren't?"

-"Of course not, God does."

-"God?" I was shocked and had to intervene.

-"Indeed. I spend my vacant time in the library and the few people who live here can't possibly nurture this place. So it's up to God"

-"What makes this place, asides from its illusory beauty, special?" Alexis asked.

-"Its scent"

And he was right. At that moment I realized that if it wasn't for his remark I would have not noticed we are getting insanely wet. The scent was filled with illusions. I felt like if I lost my concentration I'd be trapped here forever Brian helped us out.

-"Alexis, I think I am running out of battery, let's get out and recharge. This rain could hurt"

We followed Henry out of the meadow and sometime later we were in the city center. There, I came to all my consciousness. Everything was gray again.

-"So this is where people live huh" Alexis gazed at different houses.

The texture was rustic again, maybe more ancient that rustic. This place had its own mark on the world; the mark must have been very gray.

-"Be careful around here, the natives are very delicate towards outsiders. They don't even like me. So let's just get in the library and rest. Nighttime is not that far from us.

I wish I could stay more in the city square and talk to people to see what's their viewpoint about this creepy place but I was a team player and the team had other plans.

One by one everyone got in the strangely fortified library. It seemed more like a shelter than anything else. I was the last one.

Before getting in I heard a sound. It came from behind a wall; the wall was close to a ruined shack. I went to see what the sound was. I turned around the wall and saw a rather disgusting scene.

There was a dead crow there. Its neck had been snapped. If Brian was here he'd make a snide comment. He hated birds. The dead crow wasn't a nice sign, so I rushed back in. Henry asked me to lock the door behind me. I realized that the locking' process isn't that simple. There were a few metal locks and a big lug was used to hold the door shut tight. This man was really not loved around here. I couldn't say I blamed the locals but still, wanting him dead sounded a bit extreme.

Henry was kind enough to let us go wherever we want in the library. The place was huge. Henry's room was near the main entrance, he had set up quite a house for himself back there. He had everything; foods to survive many days, different kinds of coffee and tea powders and bags, dried meat, biscuitseverything. But I kept asking myself why someone would actually choose to stay here with the modern world right in front of him.

Before going on a book hunt in the library I looked at him resting in his room and once again asked myself silently

What stories is he trying to collect?

-"Dude look at here! There are a thousand books here about this whole Ancestor' deal" Brian was excited to be indoors again even though his recent behavior was quite unnatural.

-"So I guess our report is complete" I blatantly looked at Alexis.

-"Yes it is. The moment we see the sun out, we are heading out of this place." She was standing by the only window that hadn't been barred shut. She was looking outside. She continued

-"I have to say againHarrow City is a dead land. I am not even eager to stay in for a few more days of local interviews. What's happened to me?"

-"It's not you Alexis. It's all of us. This place has its effects on us. I know how you feel." Brian tried to comfort her.

Through the past twenty four hours, Brian had changed drastically. He seemed less energetic as before.

-"How many days did we sleep?!" Alexis shouted out of the blue. She had noticed it too.

-"The moon? I am not shocked." Brian responded. I was shocked by his answer.

-"Call me crazy, but I believe all this, everything we are in. It's a madman's fantasy. Maybe we are all dreamingand the sad part is, I have pinched myself a million timesI still haven't woken up."

-"Come on Brianthis is crazy. I should go talk to Henry."

But before she turned away to get out of the study Henry walked in with three apples in his hands and answered her.

-"It's always full moon in Harrow City."

-"That is just flat out not correct"

-"I am sure you are more than eager to leave this place but believe me, I double dare you to stay and see this for yourself."

-"Henry. I've kept this enoughjust what the hell is wrong with this place man?" Brian put a book on the table and sat on a nearly chair, waiting for Henry's answer.

He walked forward and put the apples on a table and walked in the middle of the room, talking

-"In a horror story, the victim keeps asking "Why?" But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn't be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it's what we'll remember in the end

When you read a book, you live with the main characters, you smile at their little victories and you cry with their great failures. You breathe through the words of what a writer has had in his mind, but have you ever asked yourself what happens to the characters after your story ends what about the characters that still haven't died in the storyline?

A story is a creation. You are not allowed to ask questions for in a creation as for white there is black. They balance each other out. For every creation there is an abomination.

I would recommend you rest for the night. You can't leave this place until it's light out. Of course you can try"

Then he walked out. I couldn't feel my muscles. Henry Fidelis wasn't what I thought he could beappearances can be much deceiving. Alexis had been petrified too. Brian stood up and ran after him. He came back a few seconds later, I heard him shouting Henry's name.

-"He is not here anymore! He is vanished."

We walked out to see it for ourselves. We were trapped in that library with an invisible crazy person. The front door was barred from the other side now. I locked in from this die when I came in but now the room had changed. It was dark, rain was pouring from little pockets of holes on the ceiling and our rooms were incredibly small. This place had something for all of us.

-"I can't sleep here. I couldn't breathe when I tried" Alexis said.

-"I can't either, it's so wet there." Brian added

-"and it's dark." I concluded.

We then decided to get back in the study. When we came back our apples were gone and a book had been put on the table right in front of us. It seemed as if the room changes itself whenever we leave it. The book was called The Retention'.

Alexis opened it up and read the first page

Retention

To my dearest and only love,

Sybil

From

Henry'

-"This is to his wifeHenry was a writer?" Brian pulled his chair closer to Alexis and us. She was going through the pages and we were looking if she found anything interesting. She said

-"This Sybil womanit seems she had a rival in her love to Henry. He says here in this line, look, that the earthly laws bind me to love you from afar.' And Your birth giver is the tie that binds my true passion to you my love'"

-"Birth giver is a parent right?" Brian asked.

-"I guess so"

-"So Sybil's mother prevents Henry from loving her?"

-"This book is very old and it's hand written. It's like a very creepy diarylet me go on."

-"I'll go look at another book." I stood up to leave. I was looking for something to read when I heard Alexis choke on a little scream. She had found something

-"Listen here

'I was forced to marry someone I didn't quite love. But she gave birth to something beyond this wretched soil. She gave birth to an angel, to my little angel

Why wouldn't you understand my love?

Why are these words so heavy on my heart?'

I think this Sybil; she was Henry's daughter"

-"So you mean he fell in love with his own daughter?!" I was shocked.

-"Do you remember when we were in the Outlands he told us the story of a girl who tempts her father into making love to herI believe he was telling the truth but in the opposite world" Brian said. He was good with details.

-"But this can't make any sense This book is at least hundreds of years old. Henry is a bit older than us. He can't be living in two different time lines.!"

-"It's always full moon in Harrow City" Brian quoted Henry.

-"Even if he does live in two different timelines he can't-"

Then we heard a scream sound from outside. We couldn't leave the library so we tried to sneak a peek through the window. We saw the locals coming out of their homes with forks and torches in their hands. They were speaking in a language I couldn't quite understand. They walked up to the Paradise Gardens. I thought I recognized the little girl from Outlands in the crowd. But I wasn't sure.

The people left and disappeared in the horizon. They were going to do somethingmaybe a ritual. The scream was close to us and I couldn't quite make sense of what was going on

My head hurt.

I decided to sleep on a table in the studyI excused myself and laid on it.

Brian did the same too on a table next to me. Alexis pulled a table near us to feel safer and we all looked at the broken ceiling and talked. The rain had stopped. The moon wasn't clear in that view.

-"Sowe go to sleep and then what happens?" Alexis said.

-"We wake up and go home." Brian replied. He was very certain.

-"Homewe've been here less than a day and I already hate it." Alexis said.

-"I can't say I hate it, I just know I want to go home"

-"Me toogood night guys." And I closed my eyes.

The last thought that came to my head before sleeping was Henry's irrelevant lecture about this city.

What was his point?

Did he even have one?!

Chapter Four Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I had a dreamless sleep. All I remembered was shutting my eyes for a second and heard Brian's voice talking to Alexis the next moment.

-"Okay, I checked everywhere and I have good news We have enough food to survive some days in case we are trapped, but the front door is no longer barred; either Henry let us out or this library has a will of its own."

-"And is there a bad news?"

-"Well, I don't know if it qualifies as bad news butgo out and see for yourself."

I jumped off bed to follow Alexis. I nodded my head to Alexis as a good morning and said a little hey to Brian then rushed out to see what he was talking about.

The place was different. It was pale. It was paler than yesterday. Maybe even weeks or months paler all the houses were burned down or ruined. Walls were drifted apart and the ground seemed like ash. Something had happened to this place and a feeling told me it wasn't overnight. We must have slept a thousand years I looked at Alexis and said

-"What do you make of this?"

She had nothing to say. She turned inside. Maybe she wanted to be alone to cry or maybe she had a plan. Soon Brian joined me, pointed at a barred shut window left of us and said

-"Recognize this?"

-"What do you mean" It took me a while to understand what he meant.

Last night when Alexis was looking out the window, this very same window wasn't barred shut. I even looked out from it as well. Now with all these changes, all the windows were barred shut. We came back in.

Alexis was looking for something on the tables we had slept on. Brian asked

-"Lost something?"

-"Where is that book Retention'?"

-"It must be here on the tableah it's here, near the candlestick."

He went forward and put it on the table. Then we heard a shout. It came from upstairs. The shout didn't seem like someone is in pain. It was something that terrified us to the core.

We looked at each other. We then heard gigantic footsteps on the floor above us. We packed and ran out the front door in one minute. It was a reflective action beyond our own control, like when you are on the verge of getting hit by a car and jump off the road.

We decided to hide near a broken house in a safe spot to see if something comes out the door.

I turned my eyes the other way for a second when I saw myself that the open door we left through was now shut

The library had kicked us out. Nobody saw what happened. There was no way in or out of it on our accord.

It then started to rain immediately.

-"I hate rain!" Shouted Brian.

As we were about to leave I heard someone coming. I still don't know if it was fear or adrenaline-rush that we decided to change our hiding spot to behind a terribly burned down shack. We were going into hiding that Alexis pointed at a crow above us flapping its wings. If the crow cawed, we'd be in trouble. Brian who was angry at the weather and all that had happened to him held the crow and looked in its eyes and said

-"I hate youall of you"

He then snapped its neck. I heard footsteps so we ran as hard as we could. We ran back on the main road that was supposed to lead us to Paradise Gardens.

When we sat down near a hedge something weird came to my head

It seemed like what happened with the bird and the library had happened to me beforeonly a bit differently. It was as if I was watching them happen again, but this time watching more closely or from another angle.

-"Dude sorry I lost my control back therethe rain and the crow really messed me upsorry if I scared you Alexis"

-"No it's ok who were those people anyway?"

-"I don't know I didn't look at themWhat about you John?"

-"Guys, I have to tell you something. Last night before I came in and locked the door I heard that bird's pain sounds and saw it diewith its neck snapped."

-"The same bird died again today?" Brian asked.

-"Maybe not againbutit was in the same place and the book, remember when we left to look for Henry and came back to find that book?"

-"What is your point?" Alexis said. I felt like I had the answer but I couldn't properly find the words. I was counting on Brian to reaching a conclusionit took him a while after some moments he quoted Henry again.

-"It's always full moon in Harrow City"

-"What are you trying to say? You boys are scaring me."

-"Maybe we are on the same journeyonly backwards" I said.

-"I think we are no longer in Harrow CityI think we are now in the Ruins of Harrowjust look around youeverything is in ruins. Call me crazy but I think yesterday we were in this same placebut like it was its past. Now we are in its present."

Alexis was looking at us as if we were crazy. She didn't know about my second wolf encounter. I told her about that. She was still wordless.

We had to run. If our idea was going to be right, Harrow City will keep telling its story and we would better keep acting out our roles.

Brian was right. We were in some madman's fantasy.

-"So, where to, now guys?" Alexis had given up control to us.

-"I don't want any side of Henry finding us, let's take a detour"

-"So where are we going?" I asked.

-"Over the hedge"

-"Even if what you two are saying is true, I still don't think there is any danger threatening us. There is no need to sneak on the side of road like common thieves. You think these ruins and ripped apart structures are going to jump to scare us?"

She was right but still, my mind kept swinging to Henry's crazy lecture. He talked to us about a horror story as if this whole life to him was a set of carefully chosen words and phrases into a perfect narration of an ordinary or extra ordinary event. Maybe staying here too much had had its effect on his mind but what about ours? It seemed we visited the same places in two completely apart timelines and eras. I remembered the road we took from the entrance to Silent ChambersOutlands, Rising Grounds and Paradise Gardens. It was a dirty muddy road but now we were walking near asphalt. The kind that had been frequently walked on and shined on by direct sunlight

-"So we walk back and leave, end of the story?" Brian said. He was looking for something in his camera pack.

-"I hope it is as simple as that." Alexis was calmer now.

We couldn't see anything on the road for miles. There were vast empty spaces with sudden trees and smell of wet asphalt. The rain wasn't very heavy.

Before an hour we reached what was left of Paradise Gardens. It was now a complete wasteland, and in the close horizon there was only one tree left. The other one had been manually cut down by some sort of axe because its body was still sitting on the ground.

-"Hey man, want a gum stick?" Brian pulled out a gum pack from his camera bag. I was hungry and since we had ran out of the library with rush none of us had eaten anything for hours. A gum could've helped. Alexis didn't take one.

-"I know I have said it once and I will say it againthis place is dead." Brian pointed at the tree.

-"Let's film it while I talk about what happened to us briefly"

-"Are you sure it is a good idea?" I asked Alexis.

-"Nobut let's try."

And they started filming.

-"Hello again, this is Alexis Rain. What you can see now in front of me is the same Paradise Gardens we showed you in our yesterday session. Perhaps you're thinking what has happened to the t-" and her words got interrupted by a heavy blowing sound. The trees and dead flowers' leftovers were being blown to us by a heavy wind and in that speed; the rain had made a lethal combination. We couldn't see perfectly in the direction we were shooting, we tried looking the other side but the wind was too strong.

We had to leave. That place had spoken to us. We were not welcome there.

A few minutes there after trying to get the dust and dirt out of our eyes and from our clothes, Alexis said

-"Lesson learned. We are not reporting anything."

We were covered in dead flowers petals, mud and tree parts. If anyone looked at us it was just like we had returned from some kind of Indiana Jones reality show.

We tried looking for the two-way that could have helped us back on the main road but we didn't find it so we had to take the tour back exactly from the way we came.

While walking on the main road we kept thinking about our crazy journey here.

-"David told me this job was a cakewalk." Alexis was angry at his boss and fiance.

-"I don't like that dude, but still he didn't what was going onnobody does. Except for us"Brian said, I added.

-"and Henry."

-"What are we supposed to report on?" Alexis was worried at the same time.

-"I am not sure if we are allowed to tell the truth. This place is all I want to forgetthis place and everything and everyone in it."

-"So we should make up something." Brian concluded.

I wondered where Henry was, better to ask when. He had talked to me and had given me a slice of his apple. He seemed really friendly. Even when he was basically convicting us to stay here, the only thing that scared me was his words not his face or manner or anything like it. There was something in him that reminded me of someone I could trust. Perhaps I had seen him before or seen somebody that was like him.

Sometime later we were near the Rising Grounds. A curiosity invited us to descend unto the stage. This place had been touched by the passing of time too. It was already old but now it was basically like something which could have broken off with a rather strong wind.

We stood on the very same stage we were on not more than twenty four hours ago. Yesterday it felt quite glorious and now it was terrifying.

I suddenly realized that someone was in the crowds on the upper floors near the entrance. I pointed at whatever it was and shouted Wait!' but before I could get on the first step the mysterious shadow had faded. We ran after it when we reached up we noticed a trail of dead roses on the main road going behind the nearby hedge and saw a group of crows. They were all dead. It seemed like they had been fallen off the sky where they flew. Upon looking at this my stomach hurt but Brian whistled out loud as if he was excited.

-"Dude" Just after whistling a same sudden attack of realization came to both our heads. We had been there before

Alexis was still shocked. Brian explained what had happened when were here the first time. We had always been there, twice, together and we didn't know it

We fast paced out that place before feeling any stranger. Alexis was still mute and she was basically just following us.

-"Okay John I think we are trapped here"

-"Trapped?!"

-"What if this whole thing is a loop and when we get outside we have to do it again?"

-"Are you out of your mind?"

-"Yesterday we started at the Chambers and ended it in the library. Today we started at the library and will probably end this at the ChambersWhat is going to happen tomorrow?"

-"I don't want to think about thatAll I know is that I want to go home and this doesn't feel like home to me."

We were hungry, dirty and we had sailed on a journey without a destination.

And it seemed like a tomorrow' wasn't a concept we were permitted to think of

Some concepts are overrated.

Nothing stays the same

Harrow CityHenry told us it's also known as the city of thousand stories.

A thousand stories that change every day.

It pissed me off.

Chapter Five Inside A Nightmare

Suddenly I felt like something had gotten in my nose. Maybe it was a bit of dust or something like it. I wasn't very allergic but I kept sneezing for four or five times and the last one was so strong that my gum fell out of my mouth.

I had found this gum attached to a scraped off coin. There was no coin there.

As I decided to leave I realized I still had to sneeze. The attacks were so deep that my nose started bleeding. I didn't have any pills to take care of it so kneeled down on the ground and tried to sneeze off all the blood gathered up in my nose. I had no idea what to do

Suddenly it came to me.

I brought a coin out of my pocket and scraped it off with another coin. Then I stuck it on the coin in the ground. I felt that the sneeze attacks were stopped.

The show had to go on. It had to go on exactly as the events were ordered.

It felt like what happens inside a nightmare of a madman.

Brian understood my feeling and said

-"So, what happened before you finding the gum?"

-"I guess we were filming in the Outlands and I saw that little girl"

It was when I saw and rescued the second wolf. We went there. I noticed the grave writing.

-Here lies the faithful but betrayed wifeErika Fidelis'

There was no surprise there; maybe that little girl that I saw was Sybil. Erika and Henry's daughter

The other written things on the grave had been touched by time. We wanted to leave when Alexis suddenly screamed.

We turned to her to see there is an angry wolf preparing to attack her. We ran to her rescue. The wolf noticed usI wasn't sure but I kind of felt it was looking at me.

It ran to jump at me and I involuntarily dodged the attack and started running. I ran to the woods behind the Outlands at full speed. In a few seconds I heard a metal clasp sound tightening. I looked behind myself and realized that without even knowing I had tricked the wolf in that unfortunate bear trap.

I ran back and found Brian comforting Alexis. In secret I knew that Brian didn't like to be ordered around by a woman but this whole crazy adventure had brought us really close as a team.

-"Now that the wolf is trapped, can we rest a bit here?" Alexis was scared out of her breath.

-"Are you sure you want to rest in a graveyard?"

-"Well I tried resting in a library and that really suckedso I am taking my chances"

We sat down on what appeared to be an old bench looking at the graves. All of them were old and rusted. This place had been long forgotten. Brian stood up, went and sat near a grave and I think he was saying prayers. I couldn't read the name of the person died there, neither could Alexis. Then he went and did the same on a different grave. He continued this a few more times and came back.

-"I never took you for a religious type?" Alexis said.

-"I am not, but I felt if I died here, at least somebody would wish me peaceit's kind of an overlooking on the future, you know in case I didn't make it out alive."

-"Way to make me more scared. Okay let's leave this place guys" Alexis stood up and went out the main entrance."

Brian was never a skeptic person but in Harrow City, everything was different.

On our way back to the Silent Chambers we didn't encounter anything special. The road was gray and dead. The smell of wet asphalt burned through our noses.

It was nearly noon when we got to the Chambers. We walked in and momentarily we felt like we had travelled to the future. All the accommodations there were for a modern worldthe world we had left behind. There was nobody there, only a sign that read

-Dear Visitors,

Due to a recent outburst of discontent from the locals and neighbors, this tourist site is closed for investigation until further notice,

We are sorry for any inconvenience."

-"We are really back to our time right?" Brian said while tampering with a radio. The batteries were dead.

We sat near the very same table that Henry had made us coffee.

-"So we made it huh" Alexis seemed excited.

-"Henry said we can leave this place when its light outI think we will lose daylight if we don't leave in around an hour." -I said.

-"I am famished. I want to eat somethingthen we'll leave." Brian said and started looking in different drawers for food when he suddenly stopped in amusement.

-"What is it?" Alexis said.

-"It's a bear trap. You know what this means?"

-"that we should trap a wolf nearby before leaving?" I asked.

-"You get me Johnyou get me."

-"Then our plan is clear, we should eat something, leave, trap that bear and get back to our real lives"

And that was exactly what we did. Brian found some tomatoes and eggs. We made a small omelet and prepared to leave.

Around a half hour later we were near the entrance.

Before getting out I turned back and gazed upon the long road we had taken to get heretwice.

Once again I remembered what Henry had told us in the library. This place wasn't a real city perhaps. It was the graveyard of what happened in it. Maybe if we stayed more we'd learned all of its secrets and stories. In all his madness, maybe Henry had a right to behave like that.

We walked out the main entrance and went around the gate to where we remembered first seeing the wolf. Brian opened the bear trap and laid it on the floor. A wolf is bound to pass by.

We were about to get back to the staging area when Brian suddenly said

-"Ah man, I forgot I should put my watch next to the trapset it to 6.10 and leave it there"

-"Nice thinking, we would have been buried here if it wasn't for you!" I knew a joke wasn't going to cut it at that moment.

He rolled up his left sleeve to untie his watch when he froze.

-"What is it?" Alexis asked.

Then he showed us

His watch was working.

It's always full moon in Harrow City

The End.

June, 19th, 2012 - 0117

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