The Legend of Archibal: The Phantom

The Mayor was seated in an armchair. “This town has been built by superstition. Rumors have spread far and wide. This is home to the Black Forest. Since, I can remember, outsiders have ventured into that forest. People here know the probabilities. We don’t stand in the way of the outsiders. If they choose to not heed the warnings, how can I stop them from going up the mountain or the Black Forest?”

“I can’t believe what I am hearing!” the Magistrate was enraged. “You two sit back and let this happen.”

“We have gotten over a hundred outsiders coming through this town,” said the Chief. “This month alone. We are trying to keep up with many of them, plus the residents in this town. We protect the residents first. Outsiders last. These outsiders go into the mountain on their own risk.  We can’t stop them. We only do our best. I have asked for more–”

“We’ve been through this before, Chief,” said the Magistrate. “You have all the men you need. I will not authorize more constables for this town.”

“I have only twelve constables that patrol this town,” said the Chief. “We also protect the roads, merchants use. This town has grown larger. We get a constant flow of travelers and outsiders that tread through here. My men do the best–”

“I’ve heard enough. This Black Forest is nothing but poppycock. It’s just a myth to scare people. Surely, men of your character does not believe such lunacy. Its outrages, that’s what this is,” said the Magistrate at which the Mayor shot him a glare. “But now, there is a light in the mountain. Who fabricates all this rubbish? Maybe if you encouraged them to stop their story telling it wouldn’t spread like wild fire, causing such chaos. What kind of town are you running, Mayor? You let superstition run your town.”

“This is not drivel talk,” said the Mayor. “Many unexplained things have occurred here. To make such things trivial is blaspheme. How outsiders, choose to act toward the mountain and the Black Forest is not our authority. We can post as many signs to keep out, but they will continue to trespass.”

“Maybe that is what should be done!” said the Magistrate.

“Do you expect us to post signs around town to not enter the mountains?” the Chief wanted to be sure he heard right.

“Yes,” said the Magistrate. “Keep people out. Post all the signs that you need to! Anything, to stop this malarkey. Even around that Black Forest you call haunted. Post more constables in the outskirts of the town. Is that understood? I don’t want to be summoned here again. I want this matter solved!” With that said he gave one stern look at the Mayor and the Chief and left in a huff. The Mayor was quiet while the Chief calmly drank his brandy.

“Did he say to put up signs?” the Mayor finally said.

“That is exactly what he said,” said the unconcerned Chief as he inspected his glass. “That is exactly what we will do.”

The Mayor only shook his head displeasingly. Walter understood all too well that signs wouldn’t deter people from climbing the mountain. Walter sat down under the window. Alden did the same.

“Signs,” Alden was bewildered. “Some people don’t even know how to read and he wants to post signs.”

Walter could hear the Mayor and the Chief continue to converse, but he wasn’t interested in listening. He felt a few drops of rain. The Magistrate didn’t seem too concerned about the fabrications of the light. It would have been impossible for Walter to have believed it himself if he hadn’t seen it. He could still hear the low humming sound. A few more drops of rain fell.

“I think we better go,” said Walter. Alden agreed and they both crept out from behind the building into the street. They had only walked a few feet when the rain came pouring down. They both ran towards the inn as fast as they could.

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