If Leslie Twilling returned to the town she was born in, she wouldn’t recognize it. Dark suits, military uniforms, and the miscellaneous gear of scientists and specialists fill the streets and homes. Military personnel run drills down main street, and a putrid yellow smoke billows from the old pharmacist building.
All of this could be ignored, though. With a pair of nostalgic rose colored glasses, you could ignore the new inhabitants, the vehicles, and the noise. You could still see the old buildings, homes, and even a playground tucked behind the school that no one has bother to tear down. It would almost be like going home, until the sun began to set, casting a shadow across Rosmire, drawing your eyes to the towering behemoth eclipsing the sun.
The obelisk is still there, if you look up high enough. Perched on top of the Catacombs, almost sixteen stories up, it still seems to soak in the sunlight like some kind of massive, stoney plant. No one has figured out how it continues to rise; maybe it is photosynthesis. It’s as good a theory as any.
When the agents finally dragged the truth out of Leslie, the investigation turned to the Obelisk, now known as Area A1000. When Fred Aster took the agents through his fields, yattering away about the years corn crops (I read the entire transcript. He didn’t seem to have much in his mind beyond growing things. I really hope he managed to find a new farm elsewhere), he didn’t expect anything other than the looming rock he’d been mowing around for years.
And the stone was still there, but it had risen almost four feet from what had been previously measured. At the base, dirt had begun to slide inward, revealing a hole in the base of the inky black stone that seemed to resist any light shone in it.
It hadn’t been there the day before, the farmer swore up and down. There’d been no hole or he’d have sent for Bobbie Lang to come check for groundhogs again. No way he’d have ignored a possible infestation.
The agents ignored him, assuming that the two missing kids had dug their way in, maybe hurting themselves in the process. Eva Brown, Federal Agent, License number EVBR19077, took off her jacket, tucked a flashlight beneath her arm and let her partner lower her down into the darkness.
She came out an hour later.
Or, well, some of her did.