I spent the rest of the day on the road, hoping to find someone willing to give me a lift. It was now dusk yet I couldn't find any form of shelter. As trekking at night is dangerous, I decided to set up camp near the road. I packed several cans of meat and vegetables for the trip in case of emergencies so I wasn't worried about food.I gathered enough firewood to last the night and made a campfire to keep warm and cook my dinner. I was not worried about attracting wildlife as this area only had the occasional wolf encounter and I had experience dealing with them.
After I had my dinner, I changed my clothes and sat near the campfire scrolling through the pictures I took today. Throughout the trip, I had taken several pictures of the wilderness when I got the chance. Several of them could sell for a decent sum of money.
Eventually, I scrolled to the picture of the sign and a familiar uneasiness came over me. I sat staring at the sign or rather at the symbol on it. The said symbol unnerved me the most as if it meant something bad and the answer was at the back of my mind. I unconsciously took my knife and carved the symbol on the ground several times. It was as if I was in a trance. I carved the symbol several times until suddenly I heard someone call me.
I looked towards the road to find 2 middle aged men waving at me from a pickup truck. I stood up before walking over to them. "You lost boy?" One of the men who was wearing a mechanic's jumpsuit asked. "My car broke down. I was trying to reach the nearest town." I shrugged as I explained my circumstances. "So it was your car? I almost started thinking it belonged to another poacher." The man chuckled before continuing. " Well kid, we happen to be heading there ourselves. If you want we could give you a ride. I can also ask one of my boys to tow your car once we get there." See Earl's the town mechanic. No one better than him around Tophet." The other man who was at the wheel talked added. I pondered whether or not to take their offer before nodding my head. "Excellent. Lets load your gear and get back on the road. Oh where are my manners. I'm Earl Simmons and this is my friend Roger Jones." Earl and Roger got out of the car before extending their hands. I shook their hands before replying "Nice to meet you. My name is Edge Clancy" The two men were bewildered due to my unique name before I shrugged and lead them to my camp. The two men helped me dismantle my camp before loading them onto the truck. As I was picking up my bag, I noticed the both of them staring at the carvings I made on the ground. They were whispering something but I paid them no mind. I assumed they were trying to guess what symbol it was.
After everything was loaded I climbed on to the back seat of the truck while the Roger took the wheel and we drove off. "So kid, what brings you here?" Earl turned around and asked. " I'm a photographer. I got a request to take pictures of Tophet." I told a half-truth as I gazed out the window. Earl chuckled as he said "Well met. Make sure to give us a copy. But still, what were you thinking hiking around here alone. You know there are wolves around these parts right?" Earl got a little serious.
"No worries. I have experience dealing with them."
"I see. You know how to hunt?"
"Yeah. I used to go on hunting trips with my grandfather."
"You ever caught anything?"
"Yep. 7 rabbits 3 deers and a bobcat. Just last year, I caught a 55 pound northern pike while fishing."
"Good lad. You and Roger will get along perfect. You know he once killed 2 black with a knife."
"That cannot be true."
"I swear it is. Roger back me up." Roger simply shrugged before focusing on the road.
"Not much of a talker is he?"
"No he is not"
We spent an hour making small talk until we started talking about Tophet's urban legend. According to Earl, a demon called Inferus is said to roam around the path I arrived. Adding fact that you cannot receive a signal at that area, there were many who believed that this was true. Over the years many investigators came hoping to find Inferus. Most were unsuccessful while others simply disappeared in to the wilderness. As such the urban legend continues to this day.
Eventually I started feeling drowsy so I excused myself and tried to get some rest. I slumped onto the seat while staring out the window only to find a silhouette of a man pass by. I shot up and looked behind hoping to confirm what I saw. When I didn't see him, I asked Earl and Roger whether they saw someone. They glanced at one another before saying no and said that it might be because I was too tired. Although unnerved, I laid down. and tried to sleep.