Kacey & Parker’s story contains sexual content, violence, coarse language, it is rated R and intended for readers 18 years + only.
Exploring Verborgen (Part – 3)
I didn’t expect everyone to go their own ways. The town was large with forty buildings. I wasn’t sure but some of the features looked more modern than they should be. Then again, I might be wrong. I rubbed my arms as a strange feeling crept across my body. I know it’s called a ghost town because no living human soul resides here, but it felt wrong beyond being uninhabited. Not haunted, just wrong. Then suddenly I was overcome with desire to touch and explore everything. As if, the town called to me. It was how I felt when I read the name on the website and the description of the town. I knew in an instant I had to take the leap despite the dangers.
“Um Roger?” I looked at the closest building as we approached. It looked as if it were a store of some sort.
“This town looks like any town, but didn’t they pop up from purpose or need. Like along a railway, river or roadway?”
“Yes, that is part of the mystery. One theory is there was a road through here and it was destroyed completely and cut the town from the world. Another is that the far east of the valley wasn’t always closed off and it opened to the ocean a mile away on the other side. We have yet to explore the other side of the ridge by foot. The shoreline is dangerously rocky and has ragged cliffs. It may be that some event caused what was there to collapse into the ocean.”
I touched the worn stones of the building. I smiled. The details were exquisite in the woodwork trim, banisters and steps. As if someone wanted this building to be a piece of art. Would they have time back then?
“You see it don’t you?” Kacey asked from behind me as he ran his hand over the door frame.
The was door long gone and plants crept through the opening into the structure. I don’t know if it’s more about seeing something as sensing it.
“Kacey I don’t know a lot about architecture, is some of this out of date? By that I mean too modern?”
“It is. Which is the problem. There are some very small details that date post 1900.”
I peeked my head in before stepping through to enter the large space and Kacey followed me in. “What would account for that?”
“That’s what some the researchers are here to find out.” Kacey said as Roger and the married couple came in.
Roger was talking to the couple in a lesson style, “…there is evidence that the town was much larger and spanned across the northern flats. There is confirmation of a fire perhaps from lightning strike well over a hundred years ago.”
“Amazing,” Jan said and took pictures. “It’s like whomever built this town wanted it to be as a stunning town of progress.”
I agreed. In the few buildings, I’ve seen it looked like a showcase. I expected most of the buildings to be similar and log cabin-ish. I didn’t expect this. Then again a lot of buildings and houses in and near my city have buildings that date back to the 1800’s and some far earlier. They look modern and not at all like log cabins.
“I think since I’ve seen really old buildings my entire life I forget that they’re as old as they are.” I said as I looked up the wood stairs covered in debris.
“A common phenomenon,” Roger said and patted my shoulder, as he likes to do.
Roger explained the style of this building and that no personal belongings were found here beyond furniture. As if the people left but left most of their belongings behind. The archaeologist speculated that whatever happened forced them out on foot or by horse, Given the steep slopes of the ridge that surrounded the area it would be difficult to carry large items or use a cart of any kind. We moved through six other buildings of various styles and it was creepy and fascinating to know that people once lived and thrived here. I could almost imagine them walking about.
We stopped for lunch together and ate fire-cooked sausages, vegitables and perfectly simmered apple cider. Gabby and Babs were quiet and itching to get back to exploring the woods east of the town. I thought it was odd that they didn’t care about the town.
I wanted to look around by myself for a while and went toward the end of the main road toward where the crops were grown. Vast fields of grasses and flowers. Large purposefully planted beech and oak trees lined the area. Near the town center and off to the houses on an eastern branching road, grew Walnut and Shagbark hickory trees. Kacey told me earlier that they likely grew these trees as a source of nut oil and protein to store for winter months.
I wandered over to a cluster of the large nut trees and touched a large oak that seemed ancient. I smiled as a breeze rustled the deeply lobed leaves. This was a lounging tree. It was a tree to lay beneath with a lover and kiss or talk or to climb and play in. I took a few pictures. I wasn’t going photo crazy, I wanted to enjoy being here and living it not worrying about capturing everything and looking at a screen or through the lens the entire time.
After watching squirrels chatter about in the trees and a couple of ground hogs scurry across a field, I wandered back toward the town to see Kacey watch me approach. Kacey made me nervous, I couldn’t tell if he was interested or just watching out for me since I was the only one here with zero outdoors experience. I have no idea what to do with half the stuff in my pack despite reading all the booklets. It didn’t matter his reason either way I liked that he cared in some way.
“Do you see that dip in the valley wall?” Kacey pointed to what I thought was a mountain in the distance. It sort of looked like one, but apparently it’s not, it’s the rim of the bowl we’re in.
I looked. There was as slight dip to it. “Is it a valley if it’s more like a bowl?”
“Good question. It’s not a natural valley or even a valley at all. Roger and the geologists say it’s a crater.”
“So why call it a valley?”
“That’s what the founders called it and there needs to be more tests to confirm it one hundred percent. That’s why there are geologists here.”
“We’re near the ocean right?”
“Yes, on the eastern side over the ridge less than half mile east the landscape gets more interesting and impassable.”
“How?” I asked just hoping to keep his company for a while.
Kacey had a deep voice with melodic undertones. He was a good speaker and frankly, I was crushing on him. Not that he’d be interested in me when he could have Gabby or Bab’s who were abnormally perfect by today’s standards.
He picked up a stick and smoothed out some dirt. He drew an oblong circle. “This is the crater. Usually they are embedded in the earth and sometimes have a lip to the edge.”
I nodded, I understood this.
“But the eastern side slopes down beyond, like someone scooped out the dirt from the crater edge all they way to the ocean where it suddenly drops off into cliffs and rocky shore.”
“So the bowl is partly on the edge? Huh.”
“There needs to be a lot more research and with this area being so isolated it’s not going fast.”
I had to ask, “How do you know so much about this place?”
“I have access to the research being gathered.” Kacey ran his foot over the dirt. “It’s all theory for now so if you could keep this to yourself I’d appreciate it.”
We walked slowly toward the buildings and I walked to look behind them. We found evidence of gardens. The herbs and various plants had grown wild. Kacey, who was alarmingly like Roger with his knowledge of… everything, showed me the plants and told me what they were. Rhubarb, carrots, celery, berry bushes, grapes, and many others. They didn’t look anything like what I expected to see so I took his word for it and memorized them as I love to do.
We both reached for the wild garlic and our hands touched. I nearly laughed at the cliché moment until our eyes met. Damn his were dark like caves with secrets, so unlike my own. I looked away shyly before I made a fool of myself. Sure I’ve nearly killed myself on this trip to impress him, not that I could, but I tried. I have no skill sets to contribute to any of this, but I was trying not to seem too out-of-place and I was learning as fast as I could.
“There you are.” Roger called out, we both looked his way and I put my hands in my pockets.
Was it my imagination or did Kacey look annoyed with Roger’s interruption?
To be continued…
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