1

You arrived after a day of rain. That wouldn’t mean a thing anywhere else, but considering we are talking about a town in the middle of the desert… It meant a lot. A lot more than you could probably understand, but all of the cells in our bodies knew that something was going on. Well, of course, not that one. No, that one didn’t either. That lazy one on Rita Saez’s shoulder sort of had an idea, but I wouldn’t say it actually “knew” what was going on. Yeah, no, definitely that one did not, either.

Of course, citizens of Fiery Creek tend to be quite wary of tourists at first. Why, you ask? It’s the desert, I guess? You could say that we have trust issues, which we probably do. You could say that it is because we hide secrets, and nobody in this town would dare to claim that accusation is false. In fact, too many secrets for anyone, even the folks of this town, to fully understand.

But the fact is that, when you arrived, after a day of heavy rain which had left the streets muddy, the town went silent. It took us a while to appreciate the richness of the silence around us – we had grown accustomed to the noise -; it took quite a long time for some people to realize (Yes, you know I’m talking about you, Dave and Tina. You are a couple of slow mother*******).

So, of course, there was, in a sense, grounds to be wary, which was the reason why you didn’t see anyone until you got almost to the very centre of the town and found me carelessly trying to clean the walkway to my home.

“Hello!” you greeted.

“Hello” I answered, quite surprised.

“I just arrived in town. Is this Fiery Creek? There were no signs or indications in the map” you asked.

“Yes, it is, it is” I felt urged to answer. I introduced myself, and then… For some reason I felt the urge to ask you. “What brought you here?”

And now that you know a little more about city regulations, you know that it is against the law to inquire or ask any outsider about their intentions for visiting the town. This made my question, and the conversation that ensued, completely illegal, and the neighbourhood watch (composed uniquely by Doris Waters, a lovely 72 year-old hag who is always peeking at her neighbours lives because she has nothing else to do – Damn it, Doris! Find yourself a hobby!) did not take long to call the police.

“I’m Anne Black. I came to this town… looking for answers, I guess”.

“So you’re not here for any paranormal stuff? 90% of the tourists that come here come looking for paranormal phenomena to study, and the other 10% only get here by accident”.

“No, no, I’m not looking for any of that… I just… I’m looking for someone”.

I was going to recommend visiting the Registry of Lost and Found, if you were looking for anyone, when the Police arrived, sirens on, in several vans. They were all dressed in black, wearing their assault equipment with them, and soon had my house surrounded. You were confused, and put your arms in the air, but the police were there to get me.

The assault team approached slowly. I knew what was going on – in Fiery Creek, it is only normal to be in that kind of situation for everyone at least once a year – and I did not feel like going back to the Gulag where they kept law offenders for a week. So I tried to run for it, of course. I had prepared several escape routes for the time when this happened, and I always had a hand grenade on me, just in case.

I threw the grenade against one of the Police vans, which exploded in a large fireball. To be fair, this had not been a very good escape plan to begin with. Every single citizen of Fiery Creek needs to stare at any fire for a good 10 seconds before they can actually do anything. No, no, this is not part of town regulations. This is a biological thing, apparently a sector of our brain paralyzes the body for ten seconds at the sight of fire. It’s highly impractical, if you ask me, but you get used to it.

When we could all finally react – you were screaming in terror, which is quite normal for someone from the outside world -, I tried to run to a hole that I had dug in my backyard, from which emerged several tunnels in one of the most complicated networks that has ever been built. I’m very proud of that. Look, let me show you a map. Yes, well, that house sank and got destroyed because I dug the tunnel right below it. Hey, it’s not my fault that your house had a shitty foundation, Larry.

I never got there, though. The police had snipers in the area, and I got shot before I could even turn around. That was not fun. Getting shot in the right lung and the left knee: 1 star out of five. Would not recommend. That had been new for me, quite a surprise, because I didn’t know that the town police had trained snipers (maybe that explained why their budget had increased so much in the last year).

Long story short, the police took me to the hospital, where I got some treatment for my wounds, and then to the Gulag, where I had to undergo re-education for about a week. I did manage to escape, but I’m not telling anyone the route (I may need to use it in future occasions).

But this is not a story about me. This is a story about you, Anne Black. This is a story about your search for the truth.

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