The Haunted Town

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#7 - Past Incidents

Simone avoided everyone at the school the next day.
Trust no one. No one. Just before bed last night, she had stumbled upon her own recording in her phone. She had recorded about her meeting with a guy named Matthew Brown. The guy from the woods. He had told her to be beware. Her missing memories, shadows and her meeting with Matthew made sense but her mind refused to believe any of it.

At school, Simone noticed that Brianna was absent and so were her friends. Where could they be? She wondered as she went from one class to another for the lectures. Nathan had tried to talk to her a couple of times but she had avoided him. She felt bad for treating her only friend that way but the warning made it harder for her to trust him.

When it was off time, she headed straight for the town’s library. The building was huge and old. Taking a deep breath, she threw open the door and went inside. There was no one there. Just a couple on the second floor on the table just by the railing. They were laughing over something they were reading from a book. The ground floor, it was quiet. Librarian was busy reading some kind of a magazine.

“Hey...” Simone cleared her throat. Librarian was a middle aged woman with half moon spectacles on her thin nose. She twisted her thin lips, painted red, at Simone as if she was annoyed her presence there. Her bright blue eyes narrowed as she studied Simone.
“Oh, you are the new girl.” The woman set the magazine aside and clapped excitedly. Simone raised her eyebrow at her dubiously.
“Ah..yes. I am.”
“How can I help you darling?” The librarian chirped. Simone looked at the tag pinned on the woman’s breast pocket. Samantha Markson.
“Umm I was wondering if there’d be anything about Elmdale in the library.”
“Oh sweetheart, there isn’t much.” She said with a wink as she start pressing keys of the computer keyboard.
“Why? Isn’t this town old?”
“It is but not many people stay here. The oldest in Elmdale is a woman aged fifty four atm. Rest just leave. Without a word. I think its the custom here or something.” She said with a laugh.
“What....?” Simone whispered. What did she mean by people just leaving?
“Surprising, I know. I don’t know who started the trend but almost everyone leaves a written letter behind for their loved ones before moving out suddenly.” Ms. Markson went on, not looking at the Simone’s pale face. Did she even realize what she was saying? Why would ‘everyone’ leave the town like that?

“Ah, found it. Just a few newspaper clippings from the previous few years, nothing new. You might find something interesting since I haven’t checked that folder since forever. Elmdale is a small town and hardly anyone knows about it. Except for the people who really know how to look.” Ms. Markson laughed, making a face at no one in particular. Simone barely listened to her for her mind was still thinking about the new piece of information she had now.
“Here.” Ms. Markson scribbled something on a post it note and handed it over to Simone. “To be honest, I’m surprised that you want to know about this town. No one, in my career of eight years here, has asked for the stuff on Elmdale.”
“Guess there is always a first time for everything.” Simone said, looking at the note. Ms. Markson had mentioned the floor, rack and row of the place holding the old newspapers. Mumbling a thanks, she headed upstairs. Sunlight streamed through the old windows of the buildings and illuminated the top floor. Hesitating, Simone looked around for the shadows. She had yet to see them during the day but with the recent turn of events, she had to keep an eye out. She headed for the further corner, away from the couple on the floor. As she went, she kept looking at the shelves and the rare collection of thousands of books. For a small town, Elmdale surely had its collection of books.

At the furthest corner, where the sunlight shone brightest, was a stand with a huge folder on top of it. It was coated with dust. Quietly and smoothly, Simone dusted it off and opened it. She exhaled a bit louder than necessary and tried to calm herself. Her heart was beating furiously in anticipation and fear. The first newspaper clipping was dated back a century. When the town came into be. 1908! It showed a couple of pictures faded with time with description of the town. It was small one. The next few clippings told her about the events, celebrations and few people making it big from Elmdale in politics and sports. Nothing worth important here, Simone thought as she skimmed through the pages. At almost the end she came across a piece of information that caught her eye.
A couple mysteriously disappeared from Elmdale. A small town north of Newland.
Below the heading, the reporter had mentioned other people that had been missing since the town came into in 1908. There were total of eighteen people missing by the end of 1936.
The disappearance of the inhabitants of Elmdale’s continues even after decades. They disappear without a trace. The police and the mayor, Mr. Jason Breckon are concerned regarding this sensitive matter.

There was nothing after that. Confused, Simone went through all the pages again but there was nothing. At the very end, a newspaper from a decade ago stated that almost sixty people had gone missing in Elmdale but the administration was awfully quiet about it.
I’d like to believe that the people just leave. Move away from the town, leaving their loved ones behind.′ The mayor had said in an interview. ′The police and the administration has been working on the cases of missing people for a century but have found no trace. The only explanation that makes sense and we have decided on before closing the case is, people move on. Elmdale is not a big town like all those towns and cities out there in the world so I don’t think many people mind leaving.′
He had refused to acknowledge the further arguments raised by the people in the years that followed. There was nothing after that. Nothing at all. But the people were still going missing.

Simone was so engrossed at the new information that she entirely missed the darkness spreading through the library. When she felt cold, she jerked up her head to look around her. Shadows. The were crawling through the books and on the walls. She gasped when she felt something cold and slithery on her hand. Shadows were crawling out of the folder she had been reading. What the hell was this? It was her first time seeing them during the day. She took staggering steps back, her scream stuck into her throat. A whimper escaped her lips when she collided with a book rack, sending a couple of books toppling down from the top shelf. The sound of the books landing on the cold hard floor of the library made the shadows stop for a moment. They looked solid. Now that Simone could see them more clearly, she realized that they appeared to be in different shades of black. Some were huge and some were small. Some were disfigured and some looked perfect. They seemed real. They seemed to be breathing. In a way. They oozed eeriness, something that made Simone’s heart make desperate spasms. She closed her eyes when they all drew near. Blocking the view behind them to her horror. Solid. Is this the end? She thought as cold crept up her body and she felt the whisper of the shadows’ touch.

༼•̫͡•༽ 。・:*:・゚༼•̫͡•༽,。・:*:・゚༼•̫͡•༽

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