It was a warm July morning, and the people of Smokes Valley went about their business. The children laughed gaily as they scampered off to school. The women went to the market with baskets tucked under their arm. And as per usual, Mr. Donald was watering his flowers.
There wasn’t much to admire in this little village. It seemed to be made of love and the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. It was the perfect place to stay in if you wanted to live a simple and fulfilling life.
The only thing which seemed out of place was the fence of barbed wire all around the village.
It was by chance that Mr. Green stumbled upon this place. Or so he thought. You see, he was on a nature hike and went off-trail in pursuit of a rare butterfly. He never did find the beautiful slippery creature, rather he found himself on one side of a barbed-wire fence. He climbed a tree, admittedly after many failed attempts, and to his surprise saw that a little village lay ahead.
He had no idea how far he had come in the pursuit of the butterfly, so he decided to approach the village and get one of the village-folk to help him. It was difficult to get past the fence, but being a thin reedy man, he managed.
After walking for a short while, he saw a sign which read “Smokes Valley”.
It was Mr. Donald who first noticed him, wandering into the village. He dropped his watering can in a frenzy and approached the confused looking gentleman.
“Oh! What have you done? How did you get in here?” he positively screamed in Mr.Green’s face.
Mr. Green found it rather odd, being approached like this. But he maintained a calm composure and replied. “Good sir, I was on a nature hike and foolishly went off-trail in the pursuit of a rare butterfly. I don’t know how far I have come and would appreciate some help.”
“Oh, you poor, innocent man! People don’t stumble across this place on accident. This means that once again the earth is hungry.”
Now Mr. Green was more confused than ever. This perplexed him more than the time his wife attempted to explain a romance novel to him.
“Sir, whatever do you mean? Pray, talk some sense!” he replied, rather frantically.
“Oh, you’ll see. You’ll see.”
And he did see. After wandering about for a few minutes, fruitlessly trying to gather information, he looked up at the sky and saw it fill up with clouds darker than night.
He, and all others, stood there staring at the sky, as it became darker by the second. It became so dark, Mr. Green could not see his own hand.
Silence reigned for a few seconds when suddenly a blood-curling scream was heard.
The clouds cleared as fast as they had appeared. And to his horror, Mr. Green saw a big gaping hole in the center of the village.
Nobody moved for several minutes until suddenly, as if by magic, the hole disappeared and the earth became flat again. The people seemed to come out of a reverie and acted as though nothing had happened.
Mr. Green approached the only person who had been kind enough to speak a few words to him. The old man was once again watering his flowers. He looked up as Mr. Green approached him. Unprompted he said, “I came here like you a couple of months ago. What you just saw, “ he gestured at the sky, “happens every time someone new appears But the people never remember it. They never remember the ones who are taken.”
Mr. Green looked around. The children laughed gaily as they scampered off to school. The women went to the market with baskets tucked under their arm. And Mr. Donald was watering his flowers.
It was a warm July morning, and the people of Smokes Valley went about their business. Unaware.