The Town That Disappeared
Felding. The biggest trade town of the Midwest because of the Florencia River that runs right along the edge of the town and down through the rest of the continent. In the 1950's, Felding was a booming city of maximum wealth. Houses were sprouting all down the coastline and new attractions were being installed; a shopping mall, a drive-in theatre, and even a small waterpark. The town was doing great. It wasn't until the Flood of 1966 that the town's only problem became evident.
Felding itself never flooded. The rain flowed right into the storm drains on the street edges and there was no problem with how the water was divided and dispersed. The reason the town never flooded was because Felding was built on high ground that was completely surrounded by low ground. So, in turn, the Flood of '66 was devastating enough to isolate the town. And, by isolate, I mean the entire town was no longer just a town sitting in low plains on the edge of the Florencia. The town now sat on an eight by eight mile stretch of land and was completely surrounded by water that was more than one hundred feet deep
Not even a day after the flood entrapped the town, a hiker saw that the town was now just an island and rushed to call her town's City Hall. The surrounding districts raised enough money for the first month's supplies and would collect money from the people of Felding for the rest of the year or until they could solve the problem.
Eddie Phelps has owned his own ferry business for forty-six years. When the mayor of his town asked who would like to contribute, Eddie, by pure generosity, offered to ferry the supplies to Felding. His ferry was transported down the Florencia and he delivered the first months supplies. When he arrived in Felding, he came within inches of his life.
His ferry had pulled up to the boat docks and the people of Felding rushed toward the ferry, wanting to be taken off the island. Eddie was trampled and almost thrown into the water before five gunshots rang out and the crowd scattered. It was Felding's chief of police, Howard Peppers.
"I'm sorry for this whole mess," Howard said.
"Don't mention it," Eddie replied, "Just make sure your people don't kill me on the next delivery."
"Awh, they're just scared. Next delivery?"
"Ayuh," Eddie said, "I'm supposed to collect one hundred thousand dollars to keep you guys going until the other towns figure how to get you all off of this island."
"We don't have that much money on hand, sir."
"Well, give me what you do have and I'll talk to the other districts."
Howard gave Eddie twenty-five thousand dollars of the town's money and when Eddie brought it back to the mayor of his town, Mayor Hade said, "you better find a way to get more from 'em."
Felding's banks had been able to give out the rest of the money because they didn't see how corporate would be able to come get it if they needed to. So the town of Felding was on track to be supported for a year or maybe a year and a half.
Eddie had been doing his routes to Felding for five months, and on the sixth month, he knew something was wrong. It was the air. The air had no vibrancy or excitement that he could usually feel when approaching Felding.
The closer he got, the more it seemed that he was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. There was no one on the docks. Chief Peppers always stood on the dock to help him tie off and carry the produce, batteries, and water onto a forklift. Today, not a single soul was waiting for him.
As Eddie stepped from his ferry to the dock, a thought flew through his head. There one second, gone the next. So quickly that the thought had no time to blossom and become a full theory.
A few months before this particular trip, Eddie was sitting at home flipping through the channels. He stumbled on a documentary of a man named Louis Le Prince. He was an inventor. A very gifted French inventor that was so far ahead of his time in the 19th century that he actually created the first moving picture. The reason no one has heard of him before is the fact that Le Prince disappeared from a train bound for Paris. He was on his way to American for patents and to boast his new inventions and no one had ever heard from him again.
When the train stopped, the passengers noticed he wasn't in his cabin and, when they searched for him, there was no sign of Le Prince or his luggage and no theories as to where he went.
And fortunately, for Thomas Edison, Le Prince was never able to showcase his new moving picture and Mr. Edison could move in for the glory.
This thought passed through Eddie in a matter of milliseconds and he forgot about it a second later.
To Eddie, it appeared that everyone in the town decided that they were tired of being marooned and made a large raft and floated away. That was, in fact, the only logical explanation. There was only one hole in his theory. It looked as if everyone had disappeared seconds before he arrived.
There were children's bikes on the sidewalks, front doors for shops were wide open, and, in one particular scenario, there was a feast set out on a family's kitchen table.
Eddie had edged around the corner of some random house (that actually belonged to Mr. and Mrs. McMillan). He peered into their open kitchen window (which Ruby McMillan had opened without a second thought due to how muggy the inside of the house was) and he spied the family's dinner that had gone uneaten. A very large meatloaf sat in the center of the table on a large dish and on its flank was a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes accompanied by a gravy boat and on the near side of the loaf was rather bleak looking bowl of green beans.
Eddie, who had no idea that his life would be in danger in a few seconds, felt very nostalgic and homesick.
Eddie came to a conclusion.
He would just leave the town's supplies and the people that aren't there could have it if they wanted, he would get on his ferry and go home, and he would not make this trip again. He did not want to get mixed up in a potentially dangerous situation such as this: a town that just felt wrong and was missing all of its residents.
Eddie turned away from the McMillan house and was starting across the lawn as he saw it.
Eddie's first thought was Oh my god this cannot be real. This has to be some prank. But Eddie knew it wasn't a prank. This is what took the people of Felding.
The thing in question was indescribable. It stood at least fifteen foot tall, that much Eddie was sure of, but its appearance never stopped changing. At one moment, it was the grim reaper. Then, the next moment, it was Eddie's father.
Eddie was terrified. He knew that if he didn't get moving soon, he was not going to be eating a meatloaf dinner tonight. Right before he bolted, he witnessed the thing turning into a bug-human hybrid creature with willowy pinchers coming out of its mouth and hands. The thing was coming towards him.
Eddie ran. He felt the impending death surrounding him and he was running on feet that he couldn't feel. He knew that once he rounded the corner out of this particular neighborhood, he would be about forty yards from the dock and his ferry. For Eddie (who was running the fastest he had in fifty years or more), he knew he could make this distance in about a minute and a half. As Eddie made these calculations, he was passing the third to last house on the road and he thought he was going to make it. Suddenly, he felt glorious pain in his right leg and saw blood fly in front of his face. He looked down, still running, and saw the deepest cut he had ever received. The pain was brilliant and he felt the world slipping away from him but he kept running. He turned his head to look and saw something terrifying. The thing was about five yards behind him and the pinchers had dislocated from its hands and were wavering through the air on yellow, snakelike tentacles protruding from its wrists. It had slung that tentacle through the air and the pincher is what gashed his leg. The worst thing was that the creature had stopped but the tentacles kept on getting longer and followed Eddie.
At this point, he was about twenty yards from the dock and the running pain was splitting through his side. He kicked it into high gear and sprinted to the ferry. He made the little leap to the edge of the ferry and landed on his knees. His right leg gave a shout of pain but he ignored it. He turned around and untied the rope holding him to the dock. He stood up and flicked the switch to start the propeller. Once he was moving, he took off his belt and used it as a tourniquet on his throbbing leg. When that was done, he breathed a sigh of relief and closed his eyes.
When he opened them, he was alone in the water with Felding in the distance and he knew he was going to be okay.
No one ever heard from Eddie Phelps again and the residents of Felding had to find a new ferryman to deliver their food and water.