“Hey lady, wake up! Hey Lady, how do I get out of here?”
The young man stood in his thick winter coat and 'waffle' stomping boots trying to rouse the old woman that sat in her rocking chair, in an old faded blue dress with a heavy dirty blue sweater, in front of her opened window, staring out into the street, almost in a catatonic state. She was seeing but not really in the present.
“Can you help me find a way out of here?” he asked again. Cory had just turned 18, finally his birthday had just passed so that now he could travel the world out on his own and discover what had been denied him all of his life. FREEDOM!
He had driven all day and most of the night. Late last night his cell phone had lost service, as he was hungry he pulled off the main highway to try to find something to eat and get some gas for his car and ended up pulling into this strange little town, where everyone seemed to be asleep. The old woman was the only human being he found with her eyes actually open and she looked like she was awake anyway. He just wanted to get some food and gas and get back on the road. He had slept poorly on an empty stomach in his car after pulling off the main highway and had not found anything open in the wee hours of the morning.
He was not even sure if he was in Oklahoma or Texas, but coming from Bell Buckle, Tennessee, the mileage was about right for Texas. The last sign he had seen was Optima, Oklahoma. “Can you help me find the highway again? Last road sign was ED 160 Rd, and I need U.S. Highway 64. Please mam, can you help me?”
Donna May shifted her gaze toward the young man. Her expression seemed to be in a permanent crease of frowning worry, her hair was shock white, and her eyes had lost their luster. “You can't leave here. This road leads to nowhere but right back here where you started from. You think you are driving away until you look back in your mirror and then forward again through your windshield and you are actually pulling up the same street again. I've been trying to get out of here for twenty-eight years now, young man and no one can leave.”
“Wha..what?” Cory stammered in disbelief. “What do you mean I can't leave? I've been waiting all my life to leave a stinking little town just like this one back in Tennessee. You're crazy!” he exclaimed. He got back into his car and gunned the motor to get traction and slowly made his way down the snowy road.
He drove for about an hour before he saw a small town in the distance up ahead of him. The closer he got, the more he realized it was the same town he had just left, and the same road. His stomach began to churn and his head to ache, as he squinted out the window looking for some kind of street sign that might identify where the heck he was at. “Ah, no way!” he said aloud to himself.
Donna May watched as the young man drove passed her house and down the street again, she chuckled to herself a little, remembering her own attempts to leave this place. The road led into a time warp or something; the cars that were parked on either side of the street had changed in style and manufacturer, where they came from no one knew. But the cars remained in place on the snowy lane and the street remained frozen in place. So did the snow. The trees still lay arched over the roadway like a canopy. Winter had not left this township for twenty-eight years.
It was not always this way. Donna May remembered this little town when the trees were all green and people were walking down the sidewalks and driving their cars in the spring, summer and fall. Something changed about twenty-eight years ago. The region had received heavy and record breaking snowstorms with the inches way above what was considered normal, and it was like time had moved on without this town and everyone in it. Most everyone else who had lived in the center of town had since died, but no one was ever able to leave.
This was the first time someone had come into the town in a very long time, actually not since the snowstorms that led to this paradox. So maybe the warp was fixing itself, but either way, the young man would not be able to leave. No matter how many times he drove around in circles or how fast or slow he drove it, he would never be leaving this smokey little town that time forgot.