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ghost town
Version 2
ghost town

tallman wrote the following on Sep 8, 1999 17:19 :

The man stepped forward, leaving his horse behind. She spooked easily in new towns. His spurs clicked ominously as he moved purposefully towards the main avenue of the small town. An irregular, grinding metal sound could be heard in the distance. The sky had grown a deep purple; the sort of expanse lovers met under. In any other place, the sunset would have looked beautiful to the man, but here it only added to the surreal irregularity of the dead town. He had reached the main street now and saw the stagnant remains of a once prospering frontier town. His eyes immediately focused on the rising hills at the edge of town, where a mortuary towered over the community like a malevolent god. Even from here he could see that all the graves had been dug up and left empty. He then shifted his attention to the well down the street. Water. He had not had a drip in nearly two days. His whole body was dehydrated, leaving his skin dry and crackling. His mouth was as dry as the collection of bones he saw under the gallows. Strange that the Riders did not take that one. Usually no one was spared. He began to move towards the water, but almost immediately he spun around, pistols drawn, to face…

Widgett wrote the following on Sep 8, 1999 17:44 :

...a small man in a dark robe, face hidden in shadows except for the yellow teeth of his disturbing grin. "Hail to you, friend," the little man said, addressing him formally. With that toothy smile, he seemed to mock the words as he spoke them. "I call ye friend because I am not watering this road with my blood." The man lowered his pistols a bit, surprised at himself for being surprised so. He was tired, and the thoughts of water had clouded his mind. "Hail, stranger," he replied. "This is your town, I would assume?" The grin did not falter in the least. "Oh ye may assume, but ye would be wrong. It's their town now." The man raised an eyebrow. He remembered a time when answers to questions actually were answers and not thinly veiled riddles. "And who might they be, stranger?" "The water," the small man nodded to the well, changing the subject with ease. "A trap, left there by the Riders." The man nodded. "A trap. And you are not a trap as well?" The small man laughed, a sound that would have made the birds take flight from the tops of the buildings, had there been any birds. "This one? Oh no, what a small trap I would be. I am...

ladyramoth (Lynda) wrote the following on Sep 11, 1999 19:35 :

merely the messenger; a greeting sent by..." his voice trailed off. The fighter, who had been staring and taking in every detail of the vast, deserted town, looked up at the little man when the voice was cut short. His purple, crumpled robe lay on the ground, but the little man was nowhere in sight. A heavy, oppressive silence coated the air of the lifeless town. Perturbed by this strange turn of events, the fighter, feeling oddly vulnerable, began to back slowly out of the ghost town. As he moved, a sound like thunder vibrated the air, and where the robe lay, a crack appeared in the earth. Filled with terror, he turned tail and ran for all he was worth. After about five minutes, he ventured a glimpse over his shoulder. No sign remained of the town save a little purple speck on the ground, far off in the distance. Panting and exhausted, his throat beginning to burn with thirst, he sat down and placed his sweaty face on his palms. Just then, he was startled by a voice that seemed to come from all around him...

miKe wrote the following on Sep 17, 1999 00:11 :

a voice that seemed to invade him, outside and in. The words were a blur, much like his vision, the dehydration was starting to take its toll on his tired body. The words hung inside him, and although not quite sure what they were, somehow he knew. He gathered himself as best he could, got up, and started venturing towards the town. Nearing the town, he could see his horse faithfully awaiting his return, idly swatting flies from its hide with its beautiful white tail. He loved that horse, he had won it in a particularly tense game of poker back in The Days, he liked to call them. Nowadays, that horse was the only reminder of those times, most of his other memories had faded into nothing. A beautiful horse it was, though. Her bright shiny coat reflected the sunshine well, making her almost angelic. Her white ears turned forward, alert, making sure this guy approaching her was her owner. If anyone ever laid a hand on that horse he would..... He stopped. The grinding metal sound grew louder, all around him, it was almost a screeching sound now, as it eased closer and closer. Out in the distance he could see some faint shapes amid a cloud of brownish dust rising up from the hot desert. What he saw he could not believe. Five horsemen drew near, riding their steeds strong towards him. But something wasn't right, it seemed as if they weren't riding, but.....

Samæl wrote the following on Oct 4, 1999 16:40 :

.... but were crashing *through* the soft brown sand, like the fins of a sandshark. He rubbed his eyes, and checked again. The riders were an amazing, if not horrifying sight. Each was shrouded in thick red robes, like the blood of a thousand men. Each carried over his shoulder a blade, and beside him, a pistol. Even through the haze of dust, he recognized those guns, with the black grips, and red holsters. It was their steeds, however, that shook him the most. It was from them that the terrible shrieking originated. No ordinary horses were these. They traveled faster than any horse could, even through the sand. Their eyes burned with an evil light, and the foam that fell from their mouths was green. No, these weren't ordinary horses, these were....

tallman wrote the following on Oct 5, 1999 23:04 :

… abominations the likes of which few in the history of man had ever glimpsed. Certainly not the same breed that constituted his own trusty steed, these were more maniacal. The man began to gather his confidence to compose himself for the confrontation that lay ahead. He had never been this close to a Rider without vehement preparation and reflection. At this moment, he was severely dehydrated and lacking in many capacities, but he somehow pulled himself together. Up ahead, one of the Riders had broken away from the group and was nearing, while the others continued on as if the man did not constitute a significant occurrence. Indeed, the man in his current state did not pose a serious threat, but by the time the Rider had come within a reasonable distance, the man's self-induced earnest demeanor lent to the appearance of a grave danger. The Rider's frightful steed charged towards the man, who solemnly and confidently stood his ground, then stopped as the Rider dismounted in a impressive but pragmatic fashion. The man didn't even flinch (perhaps out of inner strength; perhaps out of outer weakness). The Rider was cloaked in thick red robes and his head shrouded in a hood, but the man nonetheless caught a glimpse of the Rider's face. In a striking contrast to the steed which the Rider rode, his face carried with it no suggestion of death or decay but rather a surprising charisma and vitality that shook the man to his foundations. This was unsettling to say the least, but the man showed no outward signs of surprise. The Rider silently strode forward and produced an envelope, sealed with an ornate crest, which he readily handed to the man. The Rider then proceeded to quickly and skillfully mount his beast and charge off to rejoin his mates, leaving the man confused and staring at the gilded envelope he held in his hand…

Samæl wrote the following on Nov 23, 1999 16:37 :

He stared silently at the envelope. What could it be? His examination of the seal yielded no clues as the origins of such a cryptic envelope, nor as to why the riders would possess it. He watched the falling dust left in their wake with interest. Could it be from their master? No one had seen or heard of Marduk, except through his Riders for well over a decade, since the Great Uprising. He shuddered at the thoughts of that horrible day. It had been then that he had lost... no. Best to not think of it. He suddenly became increasingly aware of his parched throat, and realized he needed to find water. Soon. He mounted his steed and headed north. If nothing else, it would be cooler in the north, and the mountains usually held a few small streams. As he rode he his mind continued to think back to the Uprisings. Could this letter have anything to do with those fateful days? He shook his head. The idea was rediculous. That was 13 years ago. Still.... his mind wouldn't let the idea go. He pulled out the letter again, and examined it anew. The envelope was thick, and made of a coarse red paper. The seal, in gold wax, was a complicated patern of flowing lines. At first glance he had missed the real center of the patern. He realized with some interest that the seal was that of a strange octopus, or squid. Yes! That was it, a squid! He tucked the envelope away, first water. He was becoming agitated. Why should he become so excited about the idea of a squid? He hadn't even ever seen a real squid before. Something was gnawing at the edge of his world. Something from his past, or from a dream long since gone. If he could just get a grasp on it, he was sure that he'd understand more about himself, about the Riders, about the letter. Suddenly, he began to laugh. It was all so funny. All he had to do was open the damned envelope, and most of his questions would probibly be answered.

Tallarico wrote the following on Dec 14, 1999 22:23 :

The man had come to a decision. A decision that would lead him into yet another long journey. He would open the envelope and find out why he was born into this terrible world. A quick tear of the envelope and... bam, the man was knocked off his feet. When the smoke cleared, he found himself lying flat on his back with a small piece of paper lying on top of his chest. Without getting up the man pulled the paper in front of his own face to read about his life mission. The paper only had a small list of names in the shape of a pyramid. These must be the people he has to find for his journey. He read the list aloud for his own sanity's sake "DyRE????Spencer?????Grenville?????" And with the utterance of the last name on the list, the man heard an old man's voice call out. In fact, the old man was right in front of him shouting at the top of his lungs "Boyyyyyyy!"

tallman wrote the following on Dec 29, 1999 01:23 :

The man crawled backwards in suprise as the Tall Man in front of him screamed and then simply looked around, also suprised. They both looked at each other with perplexed faces. "Where am I?" The Tall Man said in a substantially less scary voice. He really was quite tall, dressed in a plain black suit with a white shirt, and he had medium length grey hair. When he first appeared he had an extremely horrendous expression on his face, one eye crooked up and his mouth a contorted frown. The man took a moment to compose himself, then he said "You are in the town of Morningside." Still confused, the Tall Man looked up at the mortuary on the hill and said, "Morningside? But thats not suposed to be real. That was just from the movie..." Both men were still flummoxed. The Tall Man shifted his gaze back to the stranger in front of him, "Who are you?" The man grabbed his note and stood up. It had been so long since he had heard anyone use his name that he had almost forgotten. He held out his hand and said, "My name is Gregor." The Tall Man, who seemed to be taking all of this quite well, reached out and shook Gregor's hand and said, "I am Angus. I'm sorry if I startled you just now. I'm an actor, and I was just rehearsing a scene and - BAM - a bunch of smoke and then I was here. Its all quite suspicious, really. Am I to take it that you know what is going on?" Gregor sighed and that seemed to be answer enough for Angus. "Well, what do we do?" Angus asked.

Samæl wrote the following on Jan 11, 2000 15:45 :

Gregor thought for a moment. What should they do now? Pursue the names on the list? How? He had never heard of any of them, and it was only through some strange magic that Angus had been brought to him. And then there was the thing with the squid. He turned to Angus and handed him the envelope, "Have you, by chance, ever seen that symbol before?" Angus examined the seal briefly before shrugging his shoulders. "It looks like a squid, but I haven't ever seen it before, why?" Gregor tucked the envelope away, "We had better move on, night will be falling soon." Angus stood, puzzled by his guides behavior, then followed him. A little while later, under a rocky overhang, they made a small fire, and ate. Gregor still didn't trust this stranger, but he would have to sleep sometime. He gave the stranger the first watch, and turned in for the night. The dreams came quickly, as they often did. Dreams of blood, and fire. Always before they had been the same. A town, burning to the ground. The Riders, whipping past, screaming like the hounds of hell. Himself, trapped under a timber, watching the shadows on the wall. A woman, a woman he knew he loved once, but now, didn't even recall a name, slain by a man in black. Something tugged at his mind. Even in dreams, his perceptions were acute. Everything moved slowly, and he watched yet again as the man in black raised his arm to finish the woman. Suddenly Gregor sat upright, the dreamspell shattered. "Angus! I saw the squid! The man in black! He wears the squid on his arm!" He looked around, puzzled. Where was Angus?

tallman wrote the following on Mar 7, 2000 17:31 :

"Gregor! Over Here!" called Angus' voice. Gregor wiped the last bit of sleepy sediment off of his eyes and looked up to see Angus towering over a young man with long, dark hair. Gregor got up and moved over to where the young man lay, carefully taking in the scene. "I was just walking the perimiter, like you taught me, when I heard a loud thump, as of something falling, and a muffled whimper. Thats when I found this poor fellow," Angus said, pointing to the young man on the ground. The young man was sprawled about the ground, his legs splayed in an unnatural position, and there was a small wound on his his head with dry, caked blood in his hair. "What do you remember about your... transition... to this world, Angus?" Gregor posed thoughtfully. "Not much, a bright light, a sensation of falling through a dense fog, and then I was here." Angus answered. "He must have made the same transition, except he arrived on unsteady ground. In his disoriented state, he must have slipped from... up there," Gregor pointed to the rocky overhang. On the ground, the boy stirred. Gregor and Angus both helped the injured stranger to get in a more comfortable position. The stranger seemed to become aware of his surroundings and he blurted out, "Uh, where am I? Who the hell are you people?" Angus spoke in soothing tones, "I am Angus and this is Gregor, you needn't fear us, we're here to help you." After a resting moment, the stranger said "Well, thanks I guess. I'm DyRE." Angus and Gregor shuddered as they recognized the name. Gregor asked, "Do you remember how you got here?" "Vaguely," the stranger replied, "I was sitting at my computer typing and I was very happy because it was my birthday and something special was supposed to happen because all the billboards and skywriting said so and, and, then my keyboard started acting all funny. Certain keys wouldn't work and then it started yelling at me! 'Booga', it would say, 'Booga'. Then I was falling and I don't remember much after that..." A little later, a confused Angus and Gregor helped DyRE to his feet and it appeared, despite his unatural positioning on the ground, that he had no broken bones. And it was good that DyRE could walk on his own, for Gregor could hear something in the distance, something moving... moving in unspeakable ways, as if tunneling through the earth... "We have to go... NOW!"

Samæl wrote the following on Mar 22, 2000 17:01 :

The sound, coming from the east, was approaching quickly. Gregor and his new companions began to run west, searching for someplace to hide, as it was obvious they wouldn't outrun whatever was approaching. As they ran, Gregor could feel the ground shaking, ever more violently as the sound approached. Soon Gregor could barely hear his own thoughts over the terrible crunching, rumbling sound. Suddenly Angus veered to his left, and dissappeared. Gregor grabbed DyRE's arm and pointed. Gregor hadn't noticed the small door, hiden as it was behind the brush. He and DyRE went inside, ducking their heads to avoid the low ceiling. The room they entered was dimly lit and filled with strange, dusty machines. Angus was excitedly examining one of the larger apparatuses, brushing the dust off of the strange glass screens, flipping switches, and pressing buttons. Suddenly, just when Gregor thought his ears couldn't take it anymore, the noise stopped. "What happened?" DyRE's voice was shaky. "I'm not sure." Gregor had a hunch that whatever had made the noise was not far away. "In fact," he thought to himself, "I'd be willing to bet it's right outside that door. But what is it waiting for?" Suddenly, an angry red light flashed on above his head, while, almost simultaniously Angus let out a pained yelp. The large machine groaned to life, and the three men watched in quiet surprise as the far wall lowered, uncovering something Gregor thought existed only in legends.

Samæl wrote the following on Mar 28, 2000 13:01 :

As Gregor stared at the small box he recognized as a "television" the unkempt men who had jumped to his feet a moment before shouted something through the mist. A moment later, the muffled voice reached them... "What in the name of Cthulhu have you done to my house?!" It was at precisely that moment that the door they had entered through came crashing into the room, amid a cloud of dust, and a deafening crash. Gregor glanced over his shoulder long enough to see two sets of large, glowing yellow eyes peering through the dust and debris before pushing his two companions and himself through the mist. An instant later, they were stumbling into the room, and staring into the perplexed face of the unkempt man. "OSCAR, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THERE?!" a distinctly female, distinctly angry voice came calling from above them. The man looked nervously at the wall that had mysteriously reappeared following the arival of Gregor, DyRE, and Angus. "Spence, honey, I think you should come down here, we have, uh... company."

knockoutoption wrote the following on Apr 5, 2000 04:05 :

Spence was upstairs, re-arranging Oscar's library of Douglas Adams and HP Lovecraft books. It was a chore which she took very seriously, and had, in the past, been a source of friction between the two of them. Now, ignoring the commotion downstairs for just a second, her pale fingers flicked lint from the spine of a 1939 hardback edition of 'At the Mountains of Madness', and she cast her mind back for a moment. She remembered all too vividly Oscar's wearying insistence that the books be allowed to occupy pride of place in the lounge. How she had come to regret her lack of defiance. She had yielded. Oscar's books were piled in the lounge, and grew, and continued to grow, throughout the first years of their marriage. And then came the accident. One day, while he was balanced on top of the step-ladder, adding a Japanese edition of 'So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish' to the top of the second Adams stack, Oscar sneezed, and disturbed the equilibrium of the entire collection. Spence, who was seated in the remaining corner of the room, had no time even to scream. As the shadow fell across her, she raised her hands to ward it off, but to no avail. She was freed a couple of hours later, but would never be able to walk again. From that day on, she had insisted that the books be separated into various silos around the house, and that she should be given sole charge of them. She had also nurtured a secret hope that, one day, Oscar would suffer as she had suffered. She heard her husband calling again, and wheeled herself to the lift . . .

editor wrote the following on May 18, 2000 10:29 :

There are two versions of this story, both starting with the same post, diverging in totally different directions and later converging into a separate story. This is the second version of the story. You can read the first version of the story or you can read the converged story.

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