The Chair - Part 2

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AJ looked past him, towards the collection of abandoned buildings. Even from this distance, he thought he could make out a red chair sitting on the rise behind several of the buildings.

"It's real?" AJ asked.

"I told you!" Damien continued, "I told you it was real."

They both yelled and hugged each other. They started down the rise and towards the buildings, moving faster than they had in weeks.

Their joy, quickly turned to confusion when they reached their destination. It was an old ghost town. It seemed like a prop from an old western movie. Most importantly there were no people.

"What..." AJ asked, "What is this?"

"I don't know," Damien said, "I don't understand."

They walked further down the main street. They checked into some windows. It all seemed abandoned.

There were fields along the exterior of the town on one side of the town. They were growing and had obviously been tended to very recently. Through the buildings on the other side, they saw the chair sitting on a rise.

"Where is everyone?" Damien asked.

AJ didn't know how to respond. His heart was sinking.

He and Damien slumped on the front steps of a building. They just stared forward and sat in silence.

AJ put his head in his hands while Damien shook his canteen and started checking his pack for food.

"It'll be dark soon," Damien said, "let's find a place to bed down and we'll figure out the rest in the morning."

AJ looked up and down the street, "Do you think they could track us here? We're kinda in the open."

"Yea," Damien said, "its a chance."

He pulled out some sage and a lighter. He lit the former with the latter and handed it to AJ.
"Go do a lap while I figure out which building will work out best," Damien order.

AJ went to the edge of the main street, the way they had come in and did a small circle around the end of the street. The sage was another thing they had picked up along the way. The people who told the stories said that They didn't like the smell and it masked the smell of people. Who knew if it worked, but it made them feel safer and it gave AJ something to do.

He walked the exterior of the town, getting a closer look at the chair. He stopped there to stare at it. Thousands of miles and months of his life looking for this. Now, he was a few feet away and it was... a chair. Just a chair. Out of place for sure, but nothing special.

AJ continued his tour around the town doing another few circles around the other end of the main street before heading around the outside of the other buildings. Midway through, he thought he saw something moving in the field. He kept the section of corn in the corner of his eye as he moved, but didn't see it move again. He chalked it up to light play in the setting sun and continued finishing his lap.

When he got back to where he began, he snuffed out the sage and walked back towards the middle of town. Damien was gone; as were the footprints they had laid down earlier. Damien was good at what he did.

AJ looked around but couldn't spot any sign of where Damien had gone. He started sweating and his heart was pounding. Horror overtook him. He was worried that Damien had left him behind.

He knew he was only along to get Damien into Shangri-La. Now that it seemed to be lost, maybe Damien didn't need him anymore.

His mind was overtaken by thoughts. Where would he go? What would he do? How would he survive?

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