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Long Beach, WA

Sighing away the memory of the day he’d started down this path, some ten years ago and more, he couldn’t help but grumble as he approached the place that he’d been wanting to stay away from as much as possible in the past few years. For so long this place had been a large part of his home, a sanctuary to come to when he’d needed to reflect and to get his head straight. The boardwalk that ran a good quarter mile parallel to the Pacific just a few hundred yards off was several years younger than he was, having been constructed in the 1980’s, but there were still those that had believed it was easily decades older than it really was.

The spot underneath it however had been around for much longer, though humans couldn’t see it. They could feel it if they chanced upon the lone gate that existed among the dune grass, an unseen hillock of sand that had long ago been choked off by weeds and other growth that was merely camouflage for the passage he now sought. As he approached the site however, using the black asphalt trail that had been laid down many years prior and ran alongside and under the boardwalk at one point, he couldn’t help but feel an unnatural tingle down his spine. He knew what it was at this point, and it didn’t herald the arrival of the woman he’d just spoken to. It was the feel of eldritch power that had existed since long before humans had come to these lands.

It was older than the Native American tribes that had once called this place home even, a passage that, like many similar to it, had existed since this world had been created. And right now it was his closest way to reach his first destination.

“Thought you were told to stay away,” a rough, grating voice said as he approached the underside of the boardwalk. In fair weather there was nothing too ominous about this place, as it was just a natural underpass that existed because of the manner in which the boardwalk had been crafted. But in poor weather it became quite intimidating, almost as if the darkness that lingered here picked up on the negative emotions of those that didn’t care for the turn in the weather.

“Has that ever stopped me from doing anything?”

The voice merely grunted, “You seeking passage then?”

“I’m afraid so,” he replied, reaching into his pocket for something that would be required.

“You know the price then. Ante up.”

The speaker didn’t come out where he could be seen, but it was more than evident that he was near as the shadows began to deepen slightly. Pulling out a large silver coin that had been given to him by his most recent visitor he tossed it forward, watching as the shadows seemed to capture the gleaming offering before pulling it in.

“The payment’s fair, as always. Move it or lose it.”

Closing his eyes he shook his head as he moved forward. He always hated this part.

(to be continued)

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