Behind me, death and destruction raced to catch up with my old pickup truck, as the world puked up its innards in the form of multiple volcano eruptions that were forming all over the globe.
Ahead of me, a sign, a half a mile from the edge of an old western movie set like town read, Welcome To Helltown Arizona, Population One More, Now That Your Here, and in smaller letters below those, it read, Motorized Vehicles Forbidden. Please Park At The Edge Of Town, And Don't Forget To Bring Your Keys With You.
I whipped my nineteen eighty eight red chevy truck into a super market sized parking lot, packed full of older model automobiles dating back into the early nineteen hundreds.
This town wasn't on my map, and being a native from one of the Indian tribes in Arizona, I should know. It had to be a movie set town, or so I was thinking at the time, as I entered onto the set to face a dark complected man who was dressed for the part.
Behind me, a bright flash of light just about blinded the actor as he held his arms up to block the blinding light that flashed like a camera bulb.
I turned around, after the light disappeared, and I saw nothing but an old dirt trail, stretching for as far as the eye could see. No road, no parking lots, no cars or trucks, and no end of the world in two thousand and thirteen. Nothing but an old dirt trail, led out of a town that shouldn't have existed, and now, it stretched out for miles before me.
"Howdy pardner." said the man who stood behind me, as I turned back around to notice a tin star pinned to his vest.
"Yep, I'm speakin' to you Injun." he said, as he walked up to me and stuck out his right hand to shake my left hand in a firm grip.
"Just who are you, and where am I?" I asked, as he let go of my hand.
"Name's not important, as I'll be leaving, now that my replacement has arrived." he said as he gazed down the old dusty trail behind me.
"What do you mean, replacement?" I asked, as I gazed down the busy town street to see horses hitched to posts and to wagons from a totally different era, traversing up and down the main street, as men, women, and children, moved about the town, as if all of this were real.
"You're my replacement. The new sheriff, here in Helltown, cause you're here now, to relieve me of my duties. Hand over your keys, so I can open the portal, to leave this God forsaken place in time." he told me as he held out his right hand.
"You must be kidding me bud, because I was just passing through to get away from the---
"I wish that it could have been that easy, and that it would have worked out that way son, but it dosen't, never did, dosen't now, and never will. I was just passing through myself, back in thirty four. I had to wait one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine years in this here town for you to show up---
"What if I turn around and start heading back through this time portal, to leave myself?" I asked, not contemplating a thing that he had told me at the time.
"Like I said sonny, I tried it a many a time myself. It just leads you out into the other little desert towns spread out for endless miles. You'll have to wait, like I did, for the next poor fool that turns down that wrong fork in the road and winds up here, to replace you, with his or her's set of keys to the past. Now, they'll be my set of keys to your time." he explained, as he answered my question.
"So, you're telling me that I can't return to my time without the next person's set of keys, and that it would only return me to their time, in the future?" I asked, as I turned back once more, to look down the dirt road that led out of town.
"Now you're a learnin' the rules of this here town, son." he replied.
"Just where in, or how in, the devil did this town pop up, out of nowhere, and all of the sudden?" I asked, now facing him again.
"I asked myself all these questions years ago, and now I'm aiming to find out, just as soon as I leave here. So, hand me your keys, or else---
"Or else what?" I asked, as I stood there, now facing a six shooter that he had pulled, as quick as lightening, on me.
"Or else you die, and get a one way trip to boot hill, over there, Injun. Now, give me those damned keys, so I can get the hell out of hell!" he bellowed, as he cocked back the hammer on his gun.
"Alright, here, take them, but I don't think that you're going to like leaving this hell as much as I like having found a little piece of heaven, on Earth right now." I said, as I gave him what he had asked for.
"You think that this is heaven, on Earth do you, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." he replied, as he pocketed my keys while still laughing.
"Before you leave, could you enlighten me as to what year this is, in Helltown?" I asked, as he unpinned the tin star and placed it into my right hand.
"Always two hundred years before the time that you left, but leaving here can take forever, and I've had to wait for what seemed like forever for you to show up and replace me, as the new sheriff here.
"So this is eighteen thirteen?" I asked, as I put the star in my left shirt pocket.
"Again sonny, another one of the rules of this here hell hole, in the ripped fabric of time. So, you tell me, what can I expect, on the other side of the portal?" he asked, as he passed me his gun belt with the six shooter, now snug in its holster.
"Expect it to be your last day on Earth, pardner!" I thundered.
"Well, your going to wish that it was your last day on Earth, here in Helltown too, when the mayor, Lucifer Eveningstar, finds that he has a new sheriff to toy around with!" he thundered back at me.
"Oh yeah, by the way, what's your name, just in case I should meet a family member of yours, on the other side, that may wonder what happened to you?" he asked, as he stood there before the opening portal through time.
"Throneshaker, Stormbird Throneshaker." I answered.
"You're the one that's come to arrest him, and it's not a pleasure to meet you, if you know what I mean." he replied, as I stood there, now momentarily dumbstruck.
"And ah, what about your name, just in case I should meet a family member of yours, on this side, that may wonder what happened to you as well?" I asked.
"Iscariot, Judas Iscariot." he answered, before exiting into what I knew, was going to be his hell, on Earth.