Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Voice of "Reason"


I've just received another letter from the mayor of Pale Forest, Jack Huntley. Despite his probabl desire otherwise, I have decided to post it here again.


I'm disappointed to see you're keeping the blog up and running. I had hoped getting the trespassing charges against you dropped would have proven I'm on your side. It was a pretty huge favor, right? Oh well. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say.

I must INSIST at this point that you stop your wild accusations, though. Seriously, Jonas, are you really using your time to write about magic paths in the forest and imaginary people following you? Please understand this: NO ONE is out to get you. We're just tired of the constant, negative attention your blog is causing us and the town of Pale Forest.  We're a private group, you're right about that, but that doesn't make us bad.

I'm not one for making threats, Jonas, even though my office obviously gives me more than enough clout to stop all of this.  However, I still think you're capable of making the right decision and I'd like to see that happen without me stepping in.  Please don't disappoint me.

If, however, you stick with all this foolishness, please know that I won't be pulling you out of the fire any more.  Make wise decisions, Jonas.  I know you can.

Here's to what is hopefully our last discussion on this,

--Jack Huntley
I'm fairly certain this latest letter is in response to me accusing of him of being behind the tattooed man.  It's also interesting to note how his attitude has changed since his first letter.  Huntley is far less "fatherly" this time around, assuming a greater degree of authority instead.  It might just be talk, but I'm of the opinion he's simply beginning to show his true colors.  Regardless, he's probably going to be angry I posted this even though he should have expected me to do so.  I also think it's reasonable to assume he plans to be more active in trying to shut me down from now on.  I'm not sure how he intends to police the Internet, though.

I need to be more careful about my trips into town I guess.  Huntley will no doubt be looking for an excuse to cause me trouble.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

He's Back

Following the experience in the woods, my string of bad luck is apparently continuing.  The tattooed man is back.  Though I hadn’t encountered him in quite a while—a fact for which I was exceedingly grateful—he seems to once more have taken an interest in me.
He reappeared two days ago, as I was once more in the library reading about the history of the town.  I happened to look up from my research, and suddenly he was in front of me, some ten or so feet away.  You can probably imagine my reaction drew a few stares from the people around me.  They, however, seemed to be ignoring the newly arrived, inked specter.
His entrance pretty well shut down my investigation and I spent the next few minutes trying to simultaneously ignore and study him.  It was a fool’s errand.  I eventually gave up and simply left the library, scurrying to the car with my eyes transfixed on the library behind me.  Thankfully he never emerged to chase me as I imagined he might.
The next appearance came yesterday while I was conducting a short reconnaissance mission (I can’t say where I was as it’s somewhere I intend revisit very soon).  Again he managed to sneak up on me despite the difficulty of doing so.  The location, suffice it to say, was not a heavily frequented one and I should have been able to see anyone well before they were close.  The tattooed man, though, obviously isn’t your average person; he was virtually on top of me before I even noticed him.  Unlike the last time I encountered him out away from everyone, this time he didn’t disappear right after I’d seen him.  Instead, he did as he generally does and stood just out of reach without actually interacting with me in any fashion.  Since I wasn’t technically allowed at this location, I decided to leave in a pretty abrupt manner.
So there you have it; the spy is back.  I call him that because I’m growing more convinced with every occasion that he’s working for whoever is trying to shut me down completely (possibly Mayor Huntley).  This was my initial opinion and there’s been very little to change it since.  It’s virtually impossible, however, to get a clear feeling on what his intentions are.  He’s so damn stoic!  Though he’s clearly there to watch me, he never makes eye contact, speaks, or shows any type of emotion.  The frustration it causes is almost unbearable.  I also have more than a little trepidation over the whole ordeal, but my curiosity is beginning to outweigh my fear.  Eventually I’m going to summon up the courage to confront my tattooed shadow.   Today just isn’t likely to be the day.
Until next time…

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still Here


I don't think I've ever been more thankful to post.  Here in the light of day, I'm actually just glad to be doing anything at all.

Last night was the most terrifying few hours of my life, and I'm certain the number of gray hairs on my head has grown exponentially.  I will do my best to recount the events, but I admit my memory is a bit foggy.

Well after the sun had set, I made my way to the spot where I'd first encountered the hidden path some time ago.  This went as planned, though there was an instance in which a police car pulled out behind me and seemed to be running my plates.  With the mayor making it quite clear he's unhappy with me, this kind of thing represents a very real risk.  The squad-car eventually turned off onto another road, though, and I continued without incident.

The forest was as creepy as ever when I pulled up along the side of the road and exited my car.  Though I've had the distinct displeasure of being hemmed in by them many times, I'm still amazed at how fully removed from the rest of the world I feel when surrounded by those trees.  I proceeded to wander through them for a few minutes, a flashlight my only company, until, amazingly, there it was: the path!  I had a hard time containing my excitement even though there was no one around to share the moment.

I immediately set off along the path, determined to reach the end this time.  It wasn't long, however, until I discovered the way seemed different this time.  There were hills and bends I didn't recall and I came upon several forks (I must have chosen the correct ones every time, though, since they kept leading me further into the woods).  I guess there's a chance I entered the path at a different point, but that doesn't explain how everything seemed to have changed.  I wasn't about to turn back, though.

It was probably around midnight when the sounds started.  They were faint at first, but I still noticed them because the forest had been, as always, eerily quiet.  More than anything, it was the sound itself that bothered me.  I'm certain it was the same as the one I heard outside and inside of the mill, though less mechanical and a bit more like what I remember from my childhood!  It was all I could do to not turn and run back towards my car, but by then I was probably further from where I started than I was the bridge.  Or so I hoped.

The sound continued to grow so I kept moving to push it from my mind.  Eventually, though, it'd become too much to ignore; the sound was all around me, as if coming from everywhere.  It wasn't yet in my mind as it had always been as a child, but the threat didn't seem any less real and the tumult was growing painful.  Eventually I couldn't go on-- the bridge was still no where in sight and my head was pounding from the migraine the sound had caused.  I remember stopping in the path, kneeling with my hands over my ears, and then closing my eyes.

Then the noise stopped.  It didn't fade gradually as it had grown, but died like a plug had suddenly been pulled.  I slowly lowered my hands but hadn't yet opened my eyes when the newly found silence ended far too soon.

This is where my memory fails me.  There were words spoken, there in the woods, but I can't for the life of me recall what they were.  I only know there was a voice.  From the shadows of the forest, born of whatever noise had preceeded it, a single voice spoke to me.  And it was angry.

I discovered this morning that my shirt and pants had been torn to shreds from catching on branches as I blew through them.  And all the way back to my car, that voice shouted at me.  I never saw the person, but I swear I recognized the voice.  I can't put a face with it, but it was definitely familar.  Perhaps it was the "watcher" mentioned in the poem I found, though the prospect is rather fantastical.

When I got back here, my first acts were to bare the doors and then post the frantic message you've all probably seen by now.  I'm actually a little embarrassed by it, but at the time it was all I could manage.  By the way, "Steve" is the name of one of my few friends here in Pale Forest.  And no, it's not his real name.  I then waited the darkness out, afraid of "bumps in the night" and the proverbial "bogeyman" as if I were a child.

In retrospect, posting my plans here was probably my undoing again.  I desperately want to include everyone in this, but at times I guess I should keep certain things to myself until afterwards.  Hopefully I haven't blown this opportunity.  Either way, thankfully I'm still around to lament these kinds of mistakes.

Until next time...

(no title)

i can't write now.  my hands won't stop shaking. its all i can do to get this much up here. something happened in the woods and im watching the house.  ill update as soon as i can. 

if i don't post for a day, he must have come here and found me. get the information from the safe place i told you about, steve, to the authorities, but not anyone in pale forest.  someone we can trust.

theres a tapping on the window every so often and i think i hear something in the grass outside.  i hope im wrong.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Back to the Woods

Today’s news might be huge.  I’ve located a potentially important piece of information in a book I found in the library one town over.  It's part of a collection of local stories and bits about landmarks written by several authors, but one or two of the poems are about Pale Forest.  The book definitely wasn’t in our library, but that’s not too surprising; the people of Pale Forest really don’t like being written about.
Anyway, one of the poems is especially mysterious, and even mentions the Aerie!  It doesn’t write out directions or anything like that, but it does give some idea of its location.  The entire poem is strange, but here’s the portion I’m most interested in:
Within that wood so deathly white, the twisting path reveals,
The hidden way, by darkest night, the watcher often steals.
And, oh, to reach the rarest sight and cross the last expanse—
The Aerie waits, my friend; you’ll see!  Though few are giv'n the chance.
It’s strange-- no question about that-- and most would write the lines off as little more than meaningless, but with what I know, it could also be much more.  What if the “hidden way” is the path I found in the woods that night?  It was certainly dark, and the path does seem suspciously like the one in the poem.  I haven’t been able to find it again but that could be because I haven’t gone back at night.  That’s a strange explanation, of course, but I’m beginning to embrace the potentially supernatural aspects of all this.  The expanse could be the bridge, too, which would mean I was practically at the Aerie that night! 
It that's true, though, why couldn't I see it over the trees?  It's supposedly several stories tall.  I'm reluctant to attribute everything to "magic", though I've finding myself forced to do so with an increasing regularity.  And who's the watcher the poem mentions?  It can't be the tattooed man-- the book these lines came from was published in the 1950's!
I’m not going to lie; going back, with what happened last time, is not high on the list of things I want to do.  That’s even truer when going at night is concerned.  Still, if the path leads to the Aerie, then it’s worth facing my fears.  I’ll just need to make sure the batteries in my flashlight are up to the task.
Until next time…

Sunday, April 14, 2013

No News...


It's been a slow week for me and I apologize for not having anything new to share.  I'm still looking into the tower and it the possibility of it's real name, but unfortunately I've been unable to find anything worth mentioning.  While I am convinced the evidence is out there, it's taking a bit longer than I had hoped to locate it.

This is also the first week in some time in which Charlotte Hamm hasn't posted a story.  Perhaps this is a result of me not really piquing her interest.  I suppose if I don't give her anything to comment on, she has little incentive to do so.  I'd hoped, though, she'd have something to share regarding the tower.

I suppose I can't complain, really.  No one has threatened me this week, I haven't felt as though I'm being followed, and there's been no sight of the tattooed man.  Still, I can't help but feel the lack of opposition means I'm going in the wrong direction.

This will be a short update, as I'm off to do a little reconnaissance.  I can't say where just now, but hopefully it will lead to me having something more meaningful to share very soon.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Tower's True Name


I have a few things I need to share with you today.  Firstly, I’ve spent a great deal more time trying to locate William’s Tower.  As a reader pointed out on the Facebook page, I had completely misinterpreted the name of the structure, which may have slowed my progress.  I’d skimmed that section quickly in my excitement and assumed the tower was named for the guide who’d been lost, but I went back and looked at it more closely and reminded myself the mayor’s name was William.  His brother, the unfortunate Marcus, was not the namesake.  Blame it on writing without access to the source material and a feeble, stressed memory.  I suppose I could have looked back at the previous post and seen where I’d listed the brothers correctly, but it slipped my mind.

Apparently, the title “William’s Tower” came from the structure being commissioned by the elder Pettigrew as his last act before stepping down.  The name sort of stuck with the locals, but I don’t think it was the official title.  Think of it as more of a colloquial thing only the people of Pale Forest know.  And they don’t generally speak to outsiders very often.

If that’s the case, then anyone outside of Pale Forest who knew the tower existed would probably have called it by the actual name.  I’d not thought of this yet when I went down into a few nearby towns to seek help, but it makes sense.  In fact, I did find a few mentions of something called The Aerie at one point, but the information was extremely vague and I didn’t think much of it at the time.  It wasn’t really even described as a tower, but the name is promising.  Could that be the real name?  It’s entirely possible.  Now, of course, I have to start over, but at least I have a decent lead to use.

Also, I promised to give my opinion of the latest story from Charlotte Hamm.  It’s clearly a warning, in my mind, about Jack Huntley.  Interestingly enough, this is the third week in a row where I think she’s directly answering a question I posed here, which is encouraging.  What isn’t, however, is her bleak evaluation of my situation with the mayor of Pale Forest.  I suppose I’m the boy in the story who’s been warned to watch what I say, but I’m hoping Huntley won’t literally attempt to cut out my tongue at some point.  Of course, he might be able to do even worse.  Either way, I don’t intend to allow him to silence me.

I’m curious what the warning means, though.  Does Charlotte want me to stop?  The boy in the story does survive, so I’m thinking she’s just offering her opinion on Huntley, which I agree with.  He can’t be trusted, obviously.  Charlotte, on the other hand, I’m still trying to decide about.  What do you think, believers-- is Charlotte someone I can actually believe?

Until next time…

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Tongue Also Is a Fire, a World of Evil among the Parts of the Body


Another Friday means another short story.  I can't discuss it right now, as I'm checking on a lead I received regarding the location of William's Tower, but I'll be back to do so as soon as possible.
The Tongue Also Is a Fire, a World of Evil among the Parts of the Body
My earliest memories of are of staying with my “Meemaw” in her old, white house in the country.  It was quiet there—nothing else around for miles.  Meemaw liked it that way.
She was an extremely particular woman.
I was only six at the time, but already a headstrong young man.  As a result, Meemaw and I would go round and round, usually over silly things.  I remember, for example, playing in the front yard at dusk and being asked to come inside.  Meemaw’s requests always came across a bit too much like orders for my taste.  That night, I chose to ignore her and stay outside, though I did not voice my dissent.  A few minutes later, Meemaw came flying through the screen door, down the wooden steps, and out to me, wooden spoon in hand.  She gave me quite a lashing.
Another time, I’d been “asked” to finish my vegetables, but I didn’t see the need.  So, instead, I sat quite still, my jaw clinched and my hands gripping the sides of my chair.  Meemaw played it cool, but I could tell she was angry.  The punishment, however, was cruel and efficient; she served me the same meal every night from then on until I finally ate it.  I believe I had food poisoning for a few days afterwards.
But the worst row we ever had started because I refused control my tongue.
I’d been with my Meemaw for around two months over the summer (it’s hard for me to know exactly how long) when it happened.  She’d been down in the cellar, working on her hobby—which was pickling—when I thought it’d be a great idea to rifle through the refrigerator.  I’d barely gotten into the leftover pie when I heard the unmistakable sound of the basement door opening.  Caught with my hands covered in evidence, I quickly slammed the door to the refrigerator and high-tailed it up to my room.
Meemaw was right behind me.
Now cornered, I didn’t even try to explain as she lit into me.  Meemaw was really laying it on thick, too.  She was apparently very disappointed and not afraid to say so.  Eventually, through my sulking, I’d heard just about enough.  I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” she asked, her lecture still hanging in the air.
“Yes,” I replied, a wry smile on my face, “I wish… I wish you weren’t such a b****.”
The look on my Meemaw’s face was priceless; exactly as I had anticipated.  Don’t ask me how I knew that word at such an early age—I just did.  And now it was probably going to get me beaten.  But, to my surprise, she didn’t slap me.  Nor yell and pitch a fit.  No, she simply stood there, shocked, before turning around and exiting the room.  My victory rather hollow, I dared not move from my spot on the bed until morning.
The next day I crept tentatively down the stairs to breakfast.  To my relief, there was Meemaw, bustling about the kitchen.  Pancakes sat on the table.  I took a seat, confused but relieved; why had she made a special breakfast after what I’d said the night before?
She didn’t speak until after we’d finished.  “Son,” she began as soon as I’d taken my final bite, “last night, you said something pretty terrible to me.”
I nodded meekly.
“But I’m not mad anymore,” she reassured me.  “I just don’t want you to ever say anything like that again.”  She stood and began clearing the table.  “After all, what if those were the last words you ever spoke to me?”
Swallowing hard, I rose and left the room.  Meemaw was right; though I didn’t feel as if I really knew her all that well, she was old and the summer couldn’t last forever.  I shouldn’t talk like that.  Her guilt trip had at least momentarily worked.
That wasn’t really the end of the fight, though.  Soon my mouth would make things far worse.
By now it was late July and the days were scorchers.  My bedroom was especially unbearable, so I began spending more and more time downstairs where the air conditioning was the strongest.  This, apparently, made things difficult for Meemaw to watch her “stories” in the middle of the afternoon.  I remember her giving me the evil eye for the first few days, but eventually she came right out and told me to go back upstairs and be quiet.  This did not sit well with me, but I was trying my best (as much as a six year old can, anyway) to control my tongue.  I obeyed initially.
But children are impetuous and my Meemaw was incredibly stubborn.  Eventually, push came to shove, and I’d had enough of being banned from the first floor and said as much—though probably in very different words.  Meemaw, not at all pleased by my impertinence, began barking at me to get up and get out.  Naturally, I refused, making matters worse.  This continued for several minutes before, and I’m not sure exactly what precipitated it, I finally told her to go to hell.  Again, my mouth had gotten out of control.
This time, however, Meemaw did not react with quiet shock and indignation.  Her eyes flashed white rage and she leapt at me, her arms flailing.  I immediately began running for the stairs, and my Meemaw, having driven me from the room as she’d wanted all along, thankfully let me flee.
The next few days were very different.  I spent most of my time avoiding Meemaw while she returned the favor.  In fact, she was intentionally spending more time pickling than ever, in an apparent attempt to have as little to do with me as possible.  I didn’t care though; my childish mind had decided she’d been pretty unfair to me and I didn’t want anything to do with her.  It wasn’t until she stopped making meals and the leftovers in the fridge ran out that I even became concerned.
Had I really not seen her in more than two day?  She’d gone down into the basement to stuff fermented cucumbers into jars on Friday, but now it was Sunday night.  Uh oh. Several miserable ideas began to run through my head.  What if she’d simply left me to rot?  She was pretty mad, after all.  I couldn’t really imagine her doing that, though, so it seemed unlikely.  Maybe she’d been down there alone and gotten hurt… or worse?  Suddenly our last words had returned to haunt me, just as she’d promised they would.  But maybe there was still time, I reminded myself.  I would go down into the cellar and see if she needed help.
The door creaked as I rather timidly pushed it open.  I’d never liked the idea of this cellar, so dark without windows, and now my first trip down into it came under rather inauspicious circumstances.  Immediately the scent of spices and vinegar assaulted me senses, though I was relieved by the absence of the smell of death.
Descending further, the plank-like steps bending beneath me, it became harder for me to see.  The lights were turned off for some reason and a haze hung over the stiflingly hot room.  I eventually reached the bottom, feeling along with my feet as I desperately hunted for a light switch.  But there didn’t seem to be one nearby.  I shuffled out further, afraid of what I might run into or trip over, but resolved to be as brave as possible.  Every so often I’d bump what I supposed must be a jar, sending it rolling and tinkling off into the shadows.  This was the only noise to break the silence for several minutes; though I wanted to call out to my Meemaw, fear forbid me to do so. 
Finally, just when I thought the suffocating darkness would break me, I felt something graze my face.  Startled, I almost fell backwards before righting myself and recognizing what it must have been; a pull cord!  I quickly tugged at the thin string, bringing much welcomed light into the cellar.  Thanks to the many, reflective, glass jars stacked precariously around me, the one bulb was plenty to illuminate the entire area where I stood.  Amazed, I took the sight in; Meemaw had been very busy.  Columns of different colored pickles inside variously sized jars were everywhere, rising almost to the ceiling!  It was a miracle I hadn’t knocked any over.
But my Meemaw was nowhere to be seen.
Relieved, I set out to investigate the area.  The cellar was large and cluttered so I knew it’d take a few minutes to be certain she wasn’t hurt.  Everywhere I went, though, I found only pickles, bobbing disgustingly in their musty jars.  Finally, there was only the back corner left to search.
Picking carefully through the stacks of jars (some teetered as I passed), I eventually wove my way back to the solid, stone wall of the cellar.  Though my Meemaw was not there, something else did catch my eye.  Here, hidden away, was a shelf with several decorative jars upon it.  Each had a date written across the lid, some going back as far as a decade or more.  I picked one up to inspect it in the corner’s dim light.  These must have been my Meemaw’s prized bunch.  She’d mentioned them before, though I’d barely listened.  Now it seemed sad to be standing there, holding them without her.  I’d been so cruel, and now she was gone and I didn’t know where she was.  I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I sat the jar back on the shelf, disturbing the dark liquid within.  The object inside, visible now, did not look like a pickle.  But what was it?  I leaned in and squinted.  Was that… an ear?
I caught a faint whiff of something terrible right before I heard her voice.  “So, you’ve found them, eh?”  Meemaw’s words were devoid of any emotion as she moved slowly through the room.  She’d suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, and she reeked of death.  She stopped to smile when she was no more than a few feet away.  “Those… those are my special ones.  These others,” she said, motioning towards the hundreds of jars, “are just a hobby.  But that back there, that’s my calling.”
In my innocence, I wasn’t sure what to think.  She was safe, which made me happy, but there was something sinister in her voice, and then there was the matter of the ear in the jar.  I backed away as far as I could as she moved past me and towards the shelf.
“Children are just so naughty,” she hissed while returning the jar I’d removed to its rightful place.  “And I’ve been chosen to fix them.  It’s quite a burden, really, but I don’t mind.  These tokens of all the good I’ve done are reward enough.”  She took another jar down before tossing it me.  “Careful you don’t break it.”
I barely managed to catch the jar before it could crash into the ground.  Raising it towards me, I noticed it was empty.  The marking on the lid read 7/29/87.  Today’s date.
“I did warn you,” Meemaw began as she removed a pair of tongs from her pocket, “that those horrible things might be the last words you ever said to me.  But you didn’t care.  You children NEVER care!”
Suddenly she lunged for me, but I managed to move just beyond her grasp, knocking over several dozen jars in the process.  Her eyes were wild as she circled back around.
“The keepsake you found,” Meemaw said as she closed in, “belonged to a girl who wouldn’t listen.  Her ears didn’t do her much good, obviously.”  She darted forward but once more I was too quick.  “Another, which you may have seen, is the hand of a boy who took things.”
“Meemaw, no…” I pleaded.
“I have many such trophies,” she continued, ignoring my whimpering, “a nose, several eyes… even a toe or two.  But I admit; you’ll be a first!”  This time Meemaw practically leapt upon me, catching me by the collar of my shirt.  I could hear her cackle as she raised me from the ground before spinning me around to face her.  Though I was struggling, she was surprisingly strong as she forced the tongs into my mouth, pulling harshly at my tongue.  “You’ll thank me for this later,” she declared as she raised a pair of scissors to my eye level.
Realizing this was my last chance, desperation kicked in and I mustered all of my strength for one final attempt to escape.  Rearing back against the wall, I brought my legs up and caught Meemaw in the stomach, knocking her backwards and into several dozen jars.  My natural instincts were then to run, but I’d only reached the steps when I noticed she wasn’t following me.  In fact, she hadn’t yet moved from the spot where she’d landed.
Against my better judgment, I slowly walked over towards this beaten woman, to find her coughing but otherwise lying still.  Beneath her was a growing pool of blood from where she’d landed on several rather large shards of glass.  Her skin was already a ghostly white as she looked up at me with pity in her eyes.
“You poor little fool,” she scolded.  “I was the one chance you had at salvation and you spurned me.”  She paused as she choked.  “Those other children… they’re lucky to have met me.  I saved them from themselves!  But you… you’re beyond that now.  What a disappointment…”
Those were the last cruel things Meemaw ever said to me or anyone else.  I remember crying for a good hour before finally deciding to leave by the road that ran past the old, white house.  Thankfully, I was picked up by some very nice people and taken to the police department.  There, the couple who’d found me gave the authorities directions back to Meemaw’s house while I waited in a back room, scared and disconsolate.
It took the state almost a week to locate my parents.  They were overjoyed to see me, though I didn’t really remember them.  The woman who I’d known as Meemaw had apparently drugged me at the time of my kidnapping a few months prior, robbing me of many faces and memories.  Thankfully that was all she’d manage to steal.
The police spent several months clearing out and cataloguing everything in Meemaw’s house.  They found a secret door in the cellar that led to a sort of burial plot.  There was one empty, freshly dug hole, but in total, she’d taken nine children.  Several officers quit after the investigation.
To this day, I wonder what could cause someone to do something so terrible.  I have no answer, of course.  I’m pleased to say, however, that while my tongue has since gotten me into trouble more than once, I don’t believe it’s leading to any sort of damnation.  And I’m very glad it’s still attached.
I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to eat pickles, though.
Until next time...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jack Huntley


Today I was shocked to receive a letter from the mayor of Pale Forest, Jack Huntley.  What's more, it appears to be handwritten!  I've never so much as met the man in person, so direct correspondence was not something I expected.  In fact, I haven't even seen him around town since that day at the mill.

While I'm certain he'd frown upon me doing so, I've decided to transcribe it here for you all to read.
It's come to my attention that you're still going on about the town and how "weird" everything is here.  I've decided to write you and ask you to please stop.
Before you dismiss this letter, though, hear me out.  I know you've got readers and all on that blog of yours, but, honestly, you're not doing anyone any favors by spreading a bunch of silly rumors-- and that includes the more impressionable people who might actually be buying what you're selling!
As I'm sure you know, Pale Forest is a small town with folks who value their privacy.  This whole business of ghost stories and what not might be entertaining to children, but when you start including real people in them, maybe it's time to stop and think about who it is you're hurting.  You grew up here, Jonas, so you of all people should have respect for the fine people of this town and their wishes.  As mayor, I know I do.
But look, this letter isn't just to scold you or anything.  Hell, I've known your family for years now; your father was a great guy.  In fact, my real wish is for the Clark family name regain its place here in Pale Forest.  To help that happen, I've spoken to the fine people at the mill and you'll be happy to know we've cleared up that whole "trespassing" issue so you won't be prosecuted.  But don't thank me or anything; just think of it as an investment in what I think can still be a very bright future here.  Of course, even as mayor, I can't pull strings forever, so I hope you see this as the opportunity it really is.
The bottom line, Jonas, is Pale Forest is a great place to live and we're mighty proud of it.  I know it must have seemed cool to write those stories at the time, but hopefully by now you're realizing just how much you have to lose.
Let me know if I can help in any way,
--Jack Huntley

So, obviously, Huntley has taken notice of the blog.  I'd suspected as much several times, but now it's painfully clear he'd rather it not exist at all.  He's also not afraid to use some rather thinly veiled threats to get his point across, either.  Still, I can't say I'm not grateful he wiped the trespassing issue from the books.

Also, I'd like to point out that bit about my family is complete rubbish.  If, on the of chance, Huntley even knew my father, I'm quite certain he'd have treated him with the same disdain he shows all outsiders.  Of course, I'm immensely proud to say I wasn't born here, so I don't care if it causes Huntley to look down his nose at my family.

What do you think the letter means, believers?  Should I be worried?  Let me know.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Tower


Though I haven't gotten over to the library as often as I've wanted to, my hectic schedule's permitted me some investigation into the town's history.  On this latest trip, I read the tale of a strange building I've heard of but never actually seen.

It's called William's Tower, so named for the unfortunate guide, William Pettigrew, I mentioned a couple of posts ago.  It was supposed to be a way to both honor him and enable the town to spy storms from miles away without having to go too far up into the mountains.  Since the weather had been what claimed poor William, this seemed pretty fitting.

However, since the tower was deemed rather dangerous itself, and because the mayor at the time didn't want it "attracting" outsiders, it's location was kept a secret.  I'm not sure how you hide a several stories high, stone tower, but apparently they found a way because I've certainly never been out to it.

I do recall hearing it mentioned many times as a child, though it was generally discussed in a sort of hushed, reverent tone.  No one ever actually talked about having been there; they merely accepted its existence without questioning it any further.  Obviously keeping all of this secret is important to the people of Pale Forest, which, of course, only makes me more curious.

While I doubt anyone will help, I'm going to try and find out more about this tower and why it's location is still secret 160 years later.  Someone must know where it actually is, after all, since there was a picture in the town's book of history (which must have been taken well after its construction).

It looks quite plain to me.  Why all of the secrecy, then?  I must find out how to reach it, and if the photographer knew the way, then there must be others who do as well.  I'm going to find them and then William's Tower.

Hopefully this isn't another dead end.

Until next time...