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The Fallen Chronicles: Episode 5

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005[Mysteriousheartland.com] “This can’t be the road,” Greg yelled from the front passenger seat of the Fallen’s ancient Toyota Corolla as gravel cracked beneath its wheels. “It’s a glorified driveway!” The picturesque scenery of Southern Illinois rolled past the window.

“Look at the sign,” Mike replied, pointing. He turned the hard, plastic steering wheel and the car passed under the modest green road sign that proclaimed ‘Dug Hill Lane.’ “This must be where people have sighted the boger.”

Laughter erupted from the backseat, where Emmet sat beside Aurelia,  carefully avoiding any physical contact. “I can’t wait to see this thing,” he said with a smile.

“We must have made a mistake somewhere,” Greg insisted.

“Do you see any other Dug Hill Road around here?” Mike asked. “Look at the damn map.” He tossed a folded sheet of paper at Greg, who halfheartedly tried to catch it.

Greg immediately threw the map on the floor, like it was diseased. “What do you want me to do with that?” he asked without expecting a response. “Why don’t you buy a GPS?”

“Hey, there’s an old barn,” Aurelia announced. “Is that part of the story?”

“No,” Mike shot back. His knuckles turned white as Greg and Emmet continued to laugh. Suddenly, he jerked the car over to the side of the one-lane, gravel drive within sight of a wooded hill and abruptly depressed the breaks. “We’re getting out,” he announced.

“But what if that booger―or whatever―attacks us?” Greg snorted. “I’m glad I brought my cane.”

“In a minute, I’m going to give you something to worry about,” Mike grumbled under his breath as he threw open the door and slammed it shut.

“What is this creature supposed to be anyway?” Emmet asked. He stumbled down the grassy incline on the right side of the car, but quickly regained his footing. “Is it like Bigfoot?”

“No,” Mike replied. “It was an unnaturally tall man wearing normal clothes. It could have been an arch-fay. John Michael Greer says in his book Monsters that they sometimes live in hills like this.”

“Yeah, or it could have been just some guy who was hitchhiking,” Emmet interrupted. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t these sightings occur in the 1800s? That was over a century ago. Do you think this thing is still alive?”

Dug Hill Road in Southern Illinois. Photo by the author.

Dug Hill Road in Southern Illinois. Photo by the author.

“There are also ghosts along the road.”

“Well, where are they?” Greg asked impatiently. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “Here ghosty-ghosty-ghosty!”

Aurelia gave him a sharp kick in the shins with her black, platform boots. Greg shoved her and they briefly scuffled before Aurelia tossed his cane into the nearby field and he ran to retrieve it. Greg loved his cane, which he bought in New Orleans several years ago. He believed it possessed powers of attraction, but it seldom seemed to work.

“Maybe it would help if we visited these places at night,” Emmet suggested as he removed his baseball cap and smoothed his dirty blonde hair. “Or, maybe we would see these ghosts if we smoked some weed.”

“No,” Mike spat. He removed his 35mm camera from his pocket and began taking pictures of the area.

“Relax, man,” Emmet said. “I was just kidding.”

“Here’s an idea,” Aurelia interrupted. “Let’s go into the woods. Didn’t a newspaper article say something about the woods?”

“I don’t remember,” Mike replied. “But that’s not a bad idea. Greg, do you have the video camera?”

“Yeah, I got it right here.” Greg, still out of breath from the fight, raised the camcorder in his right hand.

The quartet trudged into the sparse woods, but the thrill of discovery lagged far behind. After about five minutes, Mike, Greg, Aurelia, and Emmet stumbled onto a pile of empty beer cans and an old, moldy sleeping bag.

“Ew,” said Aurelia.

“I don’t see any ghosts here, Mike,” Greg said as he zoomed the camera in on the sleeping bag. “Except maybe the ghost of virginity.”

“I can’t believe we drove all this way to see this,” Emmet laughed.

Mike frowned. “Damn it,” he cursed. He hunched his shoulders and walked toward the car.

“Stop!” Greg yelled. “We must have made a mistake somewhere. Maybe we misread the directions.”

Mike halted just inside the forest perimeter. “No,” he responded. “No. This is the only road called Dug Hill anywhere around here.”

“But the book says Dug Hill Road was a shortcut to the Mississippi River,” Greg explained. “That means it had to run east-west. This road goes north-south. Maybe the old Dug Hill Road was a part of the highway. It could be this lane is connected to Dug Hill, but not the road mentioned in the stories.”

“Why didn’t the book just say that? Why do these books have to be so damn vague all the time?

“Maybe we should just wait until the ghosts show up,” Emmet interjected with a grin. “Then we’ll know if we’re in the right place or not.” His attention was only partially focused on the conversation. He tried to lift the discarded sleeping bag with a branch, but the branch, which was rotten, broke.

“I guess the lesson is to make a plan before you visit someplace like this, especially if it’s the setting for a hundred-year-old legend,” Greg said. “We wasted a lot of time today chasing our own tails because you refused to admit you didn’t know where the hell this place was. Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

“You’re right,” Mike grudgingly admitted. “I guess I could have done a bit more research before driving all the way out here.”

Greg paused. “Man, if this was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, some creature would jump out of nowhere right about now,” he said. “No one can have a conversation on that show without something crazy happening.”

“Well this is real life,” Mike replied bitterly.

[New episode every Friday…]

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. This page is copyright Mysteriousheartland.com, 2016. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work.

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