Up On Gatelock Hill

Up On Gatelock Hill

Postby ohyoungmarriner » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:55 pm

Up on Gatelock Hill

Along a dusty dirt road on the Aquinaki reservation, nearby the old town of Whisper Hill there is a place locals seldom visit called Gatelock Hill. It just appeared on the maps where a small cluster of townhouses known only as "the Boonies" used to be. Those homes are long gone, buried now under the mound of dirt called Gatelock. There are stories, silly ghost stories of course, that folks from nearby towns off the rez will tell about the place. These kinds of stories tend to crop up in the rural townships of America, and Coos County is no different. Some of those tales speak of basalt monoliths dedicated to ancient gods built by famous rock stars, others to some mega-corp cover up, no one agrees which one, involving horrible genetic experiments. Other stories tell of a bunker filled with evidence of war crimes against the Quebecois sealed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. According to the county records down in Berlin, those buildings were just rickety old vacants left over from the Whisper Hill days, and the Tribal Council just had them torn down due to safety concerns, after which they oted to recreate the landscape that had been there before development. Regardless of which stories one chooses to believe, the place still sits along the road, indifferent to the paranoia which surrounds it. To get there, one simply takes the old road, until you find a little dirt parking lot, big enough to fit five cars squeezed, with a little winding path up the back of it. That path snakes lazily through the trees at a steady, mild incline. At the peak of Gatelock Hill stands an abnormally tall plum tree, the fruit of which grows dark and tastes bittersweet, and a waist-high cairn of gray stones, precariously balanced just so, yet never falling. Before the cairn lay six stone markers inset in the grassy soil, each bearing a name, but no birth or death dates. Mason Fell, Ondrei Vlk, Hougan Quay de Robespierre, Larissa Ingrid Mehitable Emerson, Hope Schwarzregen, Adam Morsi; these names belong to folk from far and wide, but there is no explanation of what brought them to rest way up in Coos County. Beside those graves stands a dark stone tablet engraved with the poetry of Percy Shelley's Ozymandias, and below that an unattributed quotation reading "Keep the Lights On." You can see down to Black Lake from up there, a beautiful vista to be certain, but still, few locals ever go. Once in awhile a lone traveller from some distant place will climb the little hillock, with flowers, or candles or electric lamps. They never stay long. Come November, a veritable crowd of out-of-towners will arrive just to crest Gatelock Hill. They cry, and laugh, and drink beers up there, the sounds of which echo across the landscape, and no one really knows why. The county sheriffs and tribal police leave them well enough alone though, on account of that they always clean up after themselves and don't make trouble. With each passing year that crowd grows smaller and smaller and smaller. Now, I’m not certain which story I believe, but I know it must be a hell of a thing for all them folks to show up year in, year out.
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