The PCs have been traveling for a long time down the same stretch or round with no sign of anything suspicious. As they cross over to the next hill they see a gigantic splater of blood with a bleached dragons scull in the center of it. It the dragon skull's mouth is a tattered backpack with something wiggling inside of it.
A secret MLM (pyramid) company that offers eternal life, but in fact it transfers the life forces of its members to those position "above". If you get high enough, (meaning you get enough new members) you start to enjoy the benefits. Maybe a willing sacrifice is much more effective for the transfer. But no one says, that a suddenly unwilling member, threatening to tell the authorities, may not loose it involuntarily... thus start people to vanish, and aged corpses are deposited somewhere safe.