The Red Gate - By Rosy

   The Gate To Heck is famous throughout Elvenstead and, while quite scary, is nonetheless considered a major tourist attraction. You haven't seen Elvenstead if you haven't seen the Lethe Fields, the Blue Mountain Unanimals, and the Gate To Heck. Located in scenic Crater, which is a steep sided crater with a lake and a ranch at the bottom, the Gate to Heck has been scaring elves, faeries and humans for millions of years. The ranch, Mayday Ranch, is run by Madelyn Mayday, and the lake, called Lake Crater, reportedly has no bottom. On the north face of the crater wall, in perpetual shade or dark, is the Gate to Heck, pulsing purplish-red inside and emitting dark thoughts. The deepest part of the lake laps at its base while Mayday Ranch sits across the lake, on the shallow side. The Gate To Heck is super scary and no one gets very close, rather enjoying the frightening view from across the lake in safety, one would hope, at the ranch. 

   Mayday Ranch's primary revenue comes from these terror seeking tourists, who come in groups usually, to gaze in horror, perhaps even hike around the lake and try to get closer, thrilled at being so near to danger. 

   This darn scary Gate to Heck is known throughout Elvenstead, but what most don't know is that there's another gate over on the sunny side of Crater. You just keep to the sunny side and you'll probably see it, if you look. It's called the Red Gate and it is believed by many, especially among the locals, and by pretty much all the Lennards, who lead the Lenfast believers everywhere, that the Red Gate leads to another dimension or a parallel universe, or, well, to somewhere else, whatever you want to call it. It is purported to transport anyone who has the courage and/or stupidity to go through it to somewhere else. Someplace we didn't know about. Still don't know about as no one's come back who's gone through it. Pretty sure. Or they just don't talk about it. Could be that. Anyway, it was time for a hero. Someone with the fortitude, strength, and tenacity to go through the Red Gate and return with a full report. That at least, was clear.  

   Brak and Jant Rivitir were a husband and wife team specializing in hero work that involved great daring do and they applied for the job. 

   “We'll be glad to go through that gate and attempt to return with a full report,” Brak bravely told Madelyn Mayday and her team of witches. 

   “We do expert hero work, Ma'am” Jant supplied. 

   “Well then, get to it,” Madelyn told them and they did. They got themselves supplied with a month or so of provisions, backpacks, tents, rifles and whatever else they could carry that they felt they might need. Then, with barely a backward glance they marched stoutly through the Red Gate. 

   For the first hundred meters or so they kept talking with Madelyn, who everyone calls Maddy, using radio phones, but when the expedition passed a certain point, all communications ended. Radio silence. All Maddy and the witches could do was wait. 

   Meanwhile Brak and Jant had entered an earthly paradise. A land that most would describe as heaven. Everything you always wanted and more. They were thrilled and enjoyed a fabulous few days before remembering their promise to return with a full report. But where was the Red Gate? 

   They spent a couple weeks looking everywhere for the Red Gate, fully intending to return and report. They earnestly gave it an honest, thorough search before finally succumbing to the luxurious life, finally deciding that the Red Gate was one-way after all and that really, even if they could, why would they want to return? They sure didn't want hordes of people to follow them and make a mess of the place, plus the money they would earn if they returned would nowhere near supply the life they had now, in this other place.   

   Back at Mayday Ranch life continued on, nothing changed except, due to the Rivitir's silence, the mysterious Red Gate is becoming as frightening as the Gate To Heck, much to Maddy's delight. Business is good. Though sometimes she wonders sadly, whatever became of Brak and Jant, those brave heroes?

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