His home town, Gas City, had been so named for its once plentiful reserves of natural gas. When that dried up, it was just another small town calling itself a city and on the way to ruin. When Sutr hit, it became a ghost town.
“Ghost town” was figurative, of course. Chris believed in math, not spirits. However, alone in his bed late at night, without lights or the comfort of other people, the floors creaked. The sounds that had terrified him as a little boy scared him anew.
“Water in the pipes,” his mother had told him of the far away hammering. “Just the house settling,” she said of the sound of footsteps on old floorboards at midnight. “Raccoons in the attic,” she said of the sounds of thick, scurrying feet.
Without lights, all the little boy fears returned to the man. Unseen, nocturnal animals trekked through Gas City. When Chris gazed out his windows at night, searching, shadows danced along the edges of his perception. Were those movements tricks of the eye? A cast of moon shadows? Something alive and hungry with a mouthful of jagged teeth?
Dead neighbors’ chimes trembled and sang disjointed songs of abandonment into a careless wind. In what his long-dead mother called “the witching hours”, it was easier to believe a little less in math. Alone at night in a dead town, ghosts were easier to believe in.
After a week of insomnia giving way to a couple of hours of restless sleep, Chris abandoned his house. He filled a backpack with a few necessities and moved into the Marion County Hospital. “No use wasting time and gas on the commute,” he told Deputy Hawkins. But it was the loneliness, the unidentified sounds and the ghost parade that chased him from the little house in Gas City. Working with the Deputy gave him food, water, purpose and people to talk to who weren’t blue and gray and dead.
- Daily Prompt: A Little Sneaky…In A Ghost Town. (thegravelghost.com)
- Looking Down on California’s Best Ghost Town (noncoe.com)
- “Chilling In A Ghost Town” (followlarryhaney.wordpress.com)
- Take a Spooky Drone Tour of a Decaying Ghost Town (gizmodo.co.uk)
- A ghost town – Kolding, Denmark (travelpod.com)
- “Ghost Town In The Mohave Dessert” (followlarryhaney.wordpress.com)
- Ghost towns of Kola peninsula (alexana13.wordpress.com)
- Goussainville ghost town (simonsylvester.wordpress.com)
- Video: Inside a Chinese, Parisian Ghost Town (archdaily.com)