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Stopping to catch my breath, I caught sight of my scout silently slipping into the woods. His presence however brief had been comforting and I found myself wishing he would have accompanied me to the door. Never have I felt so vulnerable. The sun had set and the pall of a moonless night would soon swallow me into that impenetrable darkness.  "Run!" the voice in my head shouted and without thinking I rushed into the thick ground fog that veiled the landscape, further hindering a quick end to the day's expedition. You can not imagine my horror when every other step I took cost me a leg or foot as I sank into soft ,spongy ground. When I was not struggling to free myself from the mire I was stumbling over unseen rocks and boulders! My muscles aching, my lungs heaving for every breath I had at last nearly reached the footpath that led to my door when the earth give way beneath me. I felt something crushing under my weight and in a panic, arms outstretched, wildly groping in all directions for anything on solid ground, my hands brushed against a large rock. Grabbing it, I pulled with all my strength and was at last able to free myself but my fingers had detected what felt like etching or carving across the face of my stony savior. A few steps more and I could have put an end to my ordeal but instead I struck a match to investigate. It was a soft stone, well worn by the elements but on closer inspection, a marker. The letters were mostly indecipherable but what I did make out was a name and a date; Nathaniel, 1865 and in the last flicker of that small flame I saw that my feet had broken through the wooden casket of a shallow grave! The old hag had been telling the truth at least about the cemetery! My mind was racing. Could there also be truth in that danger awaited me in that house she called the sleepers?" Who or what were these "sleepers" if not ghosts? Light headed, in a daze, I walked slowly toward the door. Bathed in a cold sweat, I stood on the threshold watching my hand reaching slowly for the knob. Her warning was echoing in my mind. Leave, she had shouted, LEAVE!  I drew back my hand, and like a frightened rabbit made a run for the car. It was then, dear Evan I heard your voice, that no nonsense tone you take with me when you are upset. You are a writer, York! Mysterious deaths, unexplained madness, how can you even consider leaving?! Horror is your genre! I knew you would expect me to stay. I knew the reward of such experiences for a writer would far outweigh the risk of some unknown threat. Well rest easy my friend. Take comfort in that no harm has come to me as yet and I am hard at work. I have begun questioning the good citizens of Ashton and found to my astonishment the old woman's tale was indeed based on factual events.
 

 

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