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Falling Sky Brewing Tap Takeover at Bailey's The Upper Lip

Falling Sky Brewing Tap Takeover at Bailey's The Upper Lip


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April 28, 2014

By

The New School Beer


One of Oregon's finest brewpubs, Eugene, Oregon's Falling Sky Brewing will be in Portland this Saturday May 3rd for a rare chance to try many of their beers outside of the taproom and meet-the-brewers who made them.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of this post!


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


If You Hear a Waterfall in the Woods - Leave. (Part 8)

Hey folks, my apologies for being late on this update. It's been challenging finding the time to write all of this out for you guys!

If you're just coming across this series, you'll want to check out the first seven parts:

Elias was waiting at our car, “Le…Let’s go for a ride.”

“Uh, okay? Where are we going?” I didn’t like the idea of being in a car with him, but hell, what did we have to lose?

“My… workshop,” He grunted, slowly crawling into the backseat of the car, “Le..Let me see the letter that Ger gave you.”

Chris handed him the cryptic piece of paper and watched as Elias studied it intently. A smile on his face gradually arose, and began to grow larger the longer he read it. He muttered words in some other language under his breath, in the same way that he did the other day. Great, now he’s casting curses.

He let out a coarse laugh, “It’s…a cookbook, of sorts. Ge…Ger and his people, they know stuff that we d…don’t. ‘Specially stuff about medicine.”

“So, what are the recipes for?”

“There are th…three. One is for me, ano…another is to help you, and the last is to help Ge…Ger.”

What have we gotten ourselves into? Brewing potions like we’re witches? Chris and I should have just left when we had the chance before getting dragged into all this whimsical nonsense.

Chris sighed to himself as he put the keys into the ignition and started the car, “Huh. So, where’s this workshop?”

He grinned, “You bo…boys ever been inside a mountain?”

Chris took his hands off the wheel and turned around to Elias, “What, you mean like in a cave? Isn’t that kind of obvious? You know, us running into the Ladies and all?”

“No, not a…a cave. You saw a door there… yes?”

We both nodded, now understanding what he meant, and that we had definitely not been inside a mountain before. Chris turned back around, put the car in drive and began following Elias’ directions toward this “secret headquarters” of his. This is getting to be some shit straight out of a bad sci-fi movie

The drive was only an hour or two but it felt like half of a day I was far beyond exhausted at this point, purely functioning off adrenaline and curiosity. I was terrified, yes, but I was also now intrigued. I felt as if Chris and I are a part of something much bigger than we could comprehend, and I wanted to know why.

I’m thankful that Chris drove to the workshop, because it gave me a moment of time to relax and organize my thoughts, something I had been unable to do for quite some time now. In my contemplation, I couldn’t but stare out the window and appreciate the scenery as we scaled the mountainside.

The base of the mountain was covered in greenery, with trees so massive that they practically blocked out the sun. The road was illuminated by pillars of light that jetted down from the gaps between the canopies it was truly breathtaking. Before long, we exited the dense forest onto a narrow gravel road. On our left was a steep, declining sea of withering bushes and small, naked trees – a humbling reminder of our disheartening situation. The mountainside to our right, however, was entirely laced with obsidian rocks, shimmering in the sunlight so brightly that it hurt to stare at it. I’d never seen anything like it – a mountain made of black glass.

“Alright, stop here.” Elias seemed nervous. The road seemingly led in toward the mountain because there was no longer a decline to the left of us, but rather another forest, albeit, less spectacular as the one before.

“This is it? I don’t see an entrance anywhere?”

Elias shook his head and coughed a couple times, “No, I n…need to get something first. From an old f…friend.”

“You sure he’s a friend?” I questioned.

“Erm, yes. She. Like I s…said – an old friend.”

I had almost forgotten that Elias was probably once a relatively normal person - after being around so much weird, I guess I’m starting to assume the worst of people. Apparently he was normal enough to get laid, right?

Chris chuckled and patted Elias on the back, “My man! So, what are we getting from her?”

“A cr…crystal, similar to yours.”

How did he know about our crystal?

“Let’s go.” He coughed and pointed to a small path that was hardly visible.

As we hiked that trail in silence, I couldn’t escape the feeling of being watched. Eventually, my paranoia grew and I started to begin hearing things around us – twigs breaking and leaves crunching. Just some animals, right?

That was my belief, until we decided to take a break so Elias could catch his breath (I’m honestly still surprised he made it that long without one). I surveyed the woods around us as we rested, searching for a source to the sounds I had been hearing earlier.

This time I heard exactly where the noise came from I looked at Chris and Elias and use my hands to signal that there was something over there – like I was a Navy Seal or something. Elias responded by pointing at the trail, shaking his head. We cautiously put on our backpacks, readied our weapons and turned back toward the trail.

Not any more than thirty seconds later, I could hear the sound of rope quickly tightening before being swept up from under my feet. In a flailing panic I found myself hanging upside down on some sort of Indiana Jones type trap. This was it! I’m about to be eaten by cannibals or some shit!

Elias fell to his knees in a fit of laughter, struggling to catch his breath between the coughs and chortles. “Oh Abyris! You…you old witch, where are ya!?” He could still hardly hold his composure.

“What the fuck!? Let me down! Chris – my hunting knife, in my backpack!” I began yelling, not knowing what else to do. The blood was starting to rush into my head.

A soft woman’s voice spoke but even after rotating myself on the rope, I could not see her, “Elias, my dear! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

“H…Hey Aby. Got a minute?” Elias went out of my vision as Chris came over to cut me down.

“Sure, sweetie.” Her tone lowered a few octaves, “Why did you bring these with you?” I could only assume she was referring to us.

Once I was back on the ground, I realized why I hadn’t seen the woman when she spoke earlier – she couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 feet tall. Her eyes were elongated, and seemed to have a backlight illuminating her jade irises. Her practically-white hair grew down to her shoulders and seemed to float in the currents of the wind. The most noticeable feature of Abyris was her pointed ears that protruded from her hair.

Yeah…I was looking at an elf.

“They’re fri. friends of Ger’s. He found… a way to help me. I ne…need to borrow your key. I lost mine.”

The elven lady pondered to herself for a moment before letting out a quick sigh and disappearing into thin air. I had to rub my eyes and look over at Chris to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this (or rather, not seeing it).

Elias stood there tapping his feet impatiently. After a moment or two passed, he yelled, “Aby, pl…please! We must get going!”

“Oh shush, you’re lucky I’m even talking to you still, El.” I turned toward the direction of her voice to see nothing, only to turn back around to her handing Elias a small crystal. It was much smaller than mine, about the size and shape of a lighter, and had a blue tint.

“Th…Thank you Aby. I’ll make it up t…to you, I promise.” He coughed before hugging her goodbye. She gave Chris and I one last stare-down and poofed away.

I walked over to Elias, “So, you gonna explain what the fuck just happened? Was that an elf? Did you have sex with an elf!?”

I felt an invisible hand slap my face, “Little person! I still haven’t left yet, dick!”

“Er, sorry.” I rubbed my face as we began the walk back to our car.

“So how much further?” Chris asked Elias once we got back to where we parked.

“It’s close. Aby, sh…she was my neighbor.”

We drove around the blackened glass mountain for about half of a mile before Elias told us to stop once again.

We walked another half of a mile up a path that ultimately led into a small cavern. Aside from the 3-foot cylindrical altar positioned in the middle of the cave, nothing seemed too out-of-the-ordinary. There wasn’t any cryptic graffiti or waterfall noises or creepy old ladies – it wasn’t even that big. The altar in the middle was made of the same obsidian that lined the mountain, with one lighter-sized indentation directly in the middle of it.

Elias retrieved his crystal from his bag, looked back toward us to give a little smirk, and placed it on the altar.

The ground shook beneath me, almost knocking me to my feet small bits of rubble falling on my head as I struggled to keep my balance. A stream of light emanated from the crystal and flowed toward the rear of the cave, into what I now realized was a grown-over door – a microscopic version of the one we saw with Kyle and Ryan.

Elias smiled at us and began walking towards the back of the cave. Blindly, we followed, with no idea what was about to be on the other side of that door.

Now I understand what he meant by Ger’s people knowing things that we don’t. That workshop was filled with secrets that I was unbelievably eager to discover. The “workshop” was actually a series of 5 rooms, all connected to one main hall that was a yard or two wide. The walls that lined the rooms were still of the same minerals that were in the cave, but were chiseled and refined so well, you could see your reflection in them. The doors in the hall were made of diamonds they sent the light from our flashlights scattering in all directions, illuminating the rooms inside. We made it to the third doorway when Elias motioned for us to go inside.

“What is this place?” Both Chris and I couldn’t keep our jaws closed, awe-struck at all of the gadgets and gizmos that lined the room.

“It used… to be a small trading outpost. When… they formed the Council, Ger’s pe… people eventually forgot about it, so n…now he lets me use it.” His cough seemed to be worsening as the day went on.

“So, what do we need for these recipes?”

“I… Should have everything here, except… for your crystal. Th… that’s the catalyst.”

“How do you know about our crystal?” I asserted, internally reminding myself of my Gollum-like relationship with the rock.

“It was… in the note, don’t worry… I’ll let you handle it. Just give… me some time to prepare. Please… Make yourselves at home.”

I shrugged at Chris as we both began inspecting the room. Several things stood out to me – amongst the gadgets that littered the tables and benches in the room, there were blueprints that weren’t for buildings, but for things. Not as terrifying as the beast from the lake, but still bizarre nonetheless.

“Hey, what are these blueprints?” I shouted over to Elias, who was hunched over, intently grinding something up with a mortar and pestle.

In an annoyed tone he replied, “I was… just studying them. Please… Let me work. I’ll be done… soon. Then we… must all rest.”

Well, guess I wasn’t getting any answers out of him yet. I allowed him to finish whatever it was that he was doing in peace as I continued looking around the room.

I had to grab Chris and show him to be sure it wasn’t some science beaker or something.

“Elias, sorry to interrupt again… Is this what I think it is?”

He chuckled, “Ha, yes, check the… cabinet to your left.”

Inside the cabinet was some of the finest marijuana I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I live in California. Ger’s people really did know shit that we didn’t. You have no idea how badly I needed a smoke break at this point. I needed a reality break.

And man, that was some good shit.

The rest of the night was spent exploring the workshop and relaxing, preparing for whatever the day ahead of us had in store. Chris and I were both sleeping in the second room, while Elias slept in the fourth. The fifth door was locked, and was of a different mineral than the others – more opaque, unable to be seen through. After a while, Elias knocked on our door.

“It’s time, bring the… crystal.”

We followed him into the room, in which now hosted a few new gadgets. Elias sat down on a chair and began preparing what looked like an IV.

He reached his hand holding a needle out to Chris, “You… ever put in an IV?”

Chris hadn’t, so Elias walked him through it and surprisingly it didn’t result in blood squirting everywhere. Elias looked over at me and then pointed to the machine beside him, “Place the… crystal in there.”

I gently placed it in the machine and closed the latch, immediately upon doing so it began vibrate and clunk as it did…whatever it was that it was doing. I watched as a black liquid poured through a tube into the chamber that held my crystal – the thought of my precious rock being covered in that goo overwhelmed me with regret, but what was done was done. Eventually, the fluid came out of the other side, now a lighter color, and flowed directly into the IV attached to Elias’ arm. He cringed in pain as the viscous goop entered his bloodstream his eyes began to bulge and I became genuinely fearful that he was either going to die or turn into a zombie.

It only lasted a minute or so, however, and he soon regained his composure, “I think… I think it worked.”

“What did it do? What was wrong with you?” I still had no idea why we were helping this guy. For all we know he could kill us the moment he’s “cured” and take the crystal.

“I was once like you… Unaffected by the Ladies. But something happened… and I began to lose sense of… who I am. Who I… was.” He paused to cough and catch his breath, “If this works… I should be able to ex… explain more tomorrow.”

In possible denial, Chris and I packed another bowl of Elias’ super-weed and allowed ourselves to pass out. It was the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.


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