As instructed you mustered amongst the centuries old headstones of Mountain View Cemetery and waited for the Red Coat, the ghost solder, Black Eyed John, to meet you. Trotting from the ether on his spectral steed, he paused briefly to ‘inspect’ his troops and, declaring you fit for battle, lead you south, then east toward the shore of Quabbin reservoir.
Within site of the man made lake, John turned north again to lead you up the icy length of Egypt Brook, where you splashed in the shallow water and slipped over the frozen rocks until your guide stopped a dozen yards short of where the stream split in a Y. “There” he said, looking to the bank ahead of you, and drew his sword. “Chaaarrrge!” John spurred the flanks of his mount and galloped over the rocks and up the snowy slope, heedless of the slick ascent or the ‘soldiers’ he left behind him. Dutifully you plunged after him and ascended the rise where you felt yourself cross the threshold between here and there. On the far side there was no John in his tarnished red coat, no snow or ice, no babbling stream; only a beaten path snaking ahead of you below naked oak branches and between green pine bows swaddled in mist.
You are standing there now. You are standing in the Wood of Empty Houses.