Nobody knows where they come from.
Some people say they travel from the other side of the hills, where the wealthiest estates of the county share the beautiful scenery of Aspen and the well-guarded privacy of big money, but they could drive from farther away.
They come with the first whispers of the fall when the days are still warm, and the light looks like golden honey pouring slowly in a jar of glass. When the nights grow cold, and the leaves flutter in the wind under the vault of the cerulean sky. When homes like mine and Eve’s smell like cinnamon and apple pies, and smoke drifts from the piles of leaves burning outside.
They drive through town like ghosts while we spend our evenings tucked under the blankets, sipping tea and eating cookies, spinning stories like this.
But some people swear they see them all year round. Mostly at night, and almost never during the day, and that’s why it’s so hard to believe.
As they sweep through town, the whispers become murmurs before they turn into gossip, the stories, old and new, resurfacing, revived, spurring restlessness amongst the youngsters and skepticism amongst the older.
Men brush the idea off, huffing and puffing and grumping, turning a deaf ear to the women’s ramblings.
People spot their cars or bikes, but not that many get the chance to see them. Certainly not us, who are barely out of high school.
Women are the ones who spread the rumors, but their stories should be taken with a grain of salt.
Regardless, the tales and mysteries abound.
Eve and I love the legend.
Unlike her, I’m not willing to admit.
Some say they head west–– right outside of town, where an old estate sprawls on a big piece of land, guarded by the majestic forest in the background.
That’s where the road comes to an end, and the Dark House rises on the shore of a large, shimmering lake, the mansion shrouded in a lot of mystery just like them.
Surrounded by old trees, alleys with wrought iron benches, flowering shrubs and a brick wall covered with wild roses, the property–– if we are to believe the story, belongs to them.
Footpaths crisscross the land, an old tale saying there’s an abandoned tunnel hidden in the thick woods stretching behind the house.
Other people have spotted them downtown at Red’s–– the building with charcoal gray walls, red painted stairs, and black tinted windows. The playground of the most powerful and wealthiest men in town, perhaps the county. The favorite place for wheeling and dealing and indulging in guilty pleasures away from their spouses’ eyes.
Throughout the years the space we grew up in has become a portal between old and new, truth and secret, pure and sin, stories like this making the town feel so alive.
“Wait for me,” Eve shouts as I dart away from her, the wind blowing in my hair, the sun kissing my cheeks.
“I’ll meet you down there,” I say, pointing at the bottom of the slope.