The hillside rose high above the village beneath it. The village itself was, of course, long deserted. I didn’t expect to find anything useful there and I wasn’t too disappointed when I left as empty-handed as when I arrived.
I hadn’t expected any people, these days no-one would be foolish enough to attempt to live anywhere so obvious. Well, if they did, they wouldn’t survive there for long.
For some reason, there was something, maybe a memory, which made me turn from the remnants of the road out of the deserted village. I looked up at the hillside rising from the village into the woods and then beyond. Staring at the bare sandstone, topped with low shrubs and grass reminded me of something.
I’d been here before, back when times were different. I recognised it from some childhood memory. That same memory insisted there was something up on that hillside.
When I got up there, I remembered the caves moments before I saw them emerge out of the trees. Caves carved centuries ago out of the sandstone and into homes for the people who’d lived here.
What I didn’t expect was the sign. A crude hand-lettered sign, burnt into the wood, the letters fading now.
I knew there would be no-one there, not now, not after that. These days, to survive you have to be invisible or keep on the move. That was why I was here and that was why whoever burnt those letters into that piece of wood would be no more.
I sighed and looked up at the caves, wondering if they would be safe for one night.
Then I saw a shadow move deep inside one and I knew it was time to leave before that shadow shifted again and a Slip Creature came through to tear my body from my soul.
So, I turned….
I never looked back.