March 25, 2016

Missing Rachel - Entry IV: Moonless Night
Missing Rachel
Entry IV: Moonless Night
Location: The Wood
Date: Friday, June 19th, 2015

I inhaled deeply, the fresh air washing away the foul stench of the sewers. I had finally made it outside. The sun had already set and a few stars began to twinkle in the night sky. It was surprisingly dark as I saw that no moon shone overhead, luckily my flashlight still had power to illuminate my way. My journey from the house down into the tunnels, and finally through the sewer facility had taken me far from town. I could see an ancient water tower in the distance and knew that I was on the far side of the wood. If I wanted to make it home, I would have to travel through this area. I took a couple more deep breathes and then began to walk towards the water tower. I thought that I might be able to get a good view of the area and get my bearings. The wood was extensive and I didn’t want to get myself lost. Once I reached the water tower, I extended the ladder by popping the latch and began to climb.

The view from the tower was stunning and I couldn’t help but take a few moments to enjoy the sights but soon the thought of Rachel and home crossed my mind. I moved to stand closer to the railing to get a better view when my boot hit a patch of smeared dirt and grass. There was a beat-up old wallet in the dirt. It looked like mine; I picked it up and examined it. The wallet didn’t contain any cards or ID of any kind. I wondered where my credit card and driver’s license went. From the railing, I could see the town in the distance and knew which direction I should head. From the opposite railing, I could see down to the entrance to the sewers. Had I come through here before? If I did, someone definitely could have seen me from here.

With my destination firmly in mind, I climbed down the ladder and headed towards town. I wasn’t far from home now and hoped to find Rachel soon. Maybe this was all some sort of sick joke being played on me and she would laugh at how easily panicked I had become. Then I became aware of the weight in my pocket and the thin metal pressed against my ankle. That video, was that fake too? But then the bodies, they surely were real. I closed my eyes and rubbed them with my dirty hands. I needed to stop thinking and just get home. I came across a fenced in area with a locked metal door and decided to try the odd little key I had fished out of the murky water back in the sewers. It fit perfectly and I heaved open the rusty door.

Location: The Train Station
Date: June 19th, 2015

It took me a moment to realize where I was, the old train station. The wind was picking up a bit and the night air had become strangely chilly. The old station was quiet as a tomb except for the increasing sound of the wind howling through the empty building. I entered the structure hoping to find a working telephone but instead was greeted to the sight of an old map encased in glass that was hung on the wall. It was a map of the train routes connecting to the station, as I looked at it, something seemed familiar… of course! The map I found in the tunnels had similar locations marked, and the notes I found had mentioned the water tower and even this train station. What was he doing here?

I walked out of the train station and onto the platform. I could see an old train that was on its side and ripped open. I gingerly hopped off of the platform, being careful not to land on my bad leg, and moved closer to inspect the train. I could see something hanging from a shred of metal on the train as well as on the broken fence. They were dark-stained patches of cloth, some kind of synthetic like the kind used for outerwear. Inside the train’s shell, I could see a few faint impacts, like wounds. Could they have been bullet marks? Was somebody shot here? The ground was well-worn and I couldn’t make out any kind of tracks or other clues as to what happened here. Then I realized that I had been touching the gun in my pocket as I examined the train. I shakily pulled my hand out of my pocket and headed back inside the train station.

I checked the old map again and noticed that there was an entrance to the wood on the other side of the train station. I headed in that direction and came across the old ticket booth. It appeared to be fairly ruined and I was able to easily bust the rusted lock. Inside, there were sheets of paper strewn about and… wait, what were these? I shuffled through the dusty papers and grabbed what looked like train receipts. I thought the receipt I had picked up in the sewers might match these, but of course not, this station had been closed for years. The ticket must have been for the newer station that opened up on the other side of town. However, I did find a series of fresher-looking papers, covered in tiny notes and diagrams. I couldn’t make any sense of it so I left the papers and exited the train station.

When I reached the cold fresh air once again I couldn’t help but reflect on everything that had happened to me so far. I must have looked like death itself, my head had stopped bleeding by my hair was matted with dried blood and there was a red streak down my shirt. My leg was more numb now than anything but if I put too much weight on it, a sharp pain would shoot through my muscles. My boots were filthy, covered in everything from dirt and mud, and whatever I had walked through in the sewers. I still had the photo I had taken of the couple from the house in my front pocket. I don’t know why I carried it but it felt like some kind of proof of what I had found in that house. How would I explain what I saw to Rachel? Would she even understand? Then there was the reassuring weight of the gun in my side pocket and the knife tucked into my boot. They made me feel safe, not only as a way of protecting myself from whatever monster was out there but it also comforted me to know that they weren’t in someone else’s hands. Now I had the daunting task of navigating through the wood in the dark and finding my way home. Home… the word floated around in my head like some utopia, almost too good to be true that I feared it didn’t exist at all.