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Cheery Town, USA

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It was about a year ago now that my family and I took a vacation up north to the Catskill Mountains. At least, that’s where we were headed. We packed up the old station wagon and left our home in Philadelphia. My dad had planned the trip because he wanted us to get away from the city and experience nature.

It wasn’t a pleasant ride, and being cooped up in the back seat with my brother made it even worse. We found an amazing amount of subjects about which to argue in the few hours we had been on the road. Dad threatened to pull the car over or turn around and drive home several times.

I didn’t care because I didn’t want to go on that stupid trip anyway. Unfortunately, his threats were nullified when the old heap broke down a few miles outside of Scranton.

We were off the main highway, in a wireless signal dead zone, and we were unable to flag down any passing motorists for assistance. Eventually, we decided to head for a town about half a mile up the road. My brother and I protested having to walk, but quickly agreed after considering that the alternative was just staying in the car while our parents went.

It was a small town, full of two-story houses with white picket fences. I remember seeing a lot of vintage cars in the driveways as we walked. A man waved at us as he walked past and said “Howdy, strangers” in a vaguely southern accent. Looking back, everyone in that town had a bit of a southern draw despite it being located in northern Pennsylvania. Eventually, we came across a diner near a gas station. The sun was setting, so we decided to stop to eat before asking for help with the car.

The restaurant was cool in a retro sort of way. The waitresses wore paper hats and poodle skirts that looked like they came straight out of the 1950’s. They also had a jukebox playing old music. I remember hearing the songs “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes and “All I Have to Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers. Even the menu consisted of food that would have been popular around that time period. The whole experience felt like time travelling in a sci-fi movie.

After dinner, we went to the gas station to ask about getting the car towed. They said the truck was out on another job, but would be back by morning. In the meantime, we had to find a place to spend the night.

Thankfully, there was a bed and breakfast in town which seemed rather cheery. Like the restaurant, it also seemed to be straight out of the 1950’s. It was run by a married couple that appeared to be constantly smiling. The husband wore a bowtie and sweater vest, while the wife wore a dress and spent nearly the entire time in the kitchen. There was even a baked cherry pie sitting in the window.

When my dad was getting us checked in for the night, I overheard him talking with the guy about what happened to our car. He responded with strange phrases like “Golly, that’s a pickle!” and “Gee whiz! I wish I could help ya, mister.” Something about him just seemed off, and the same went for everyone in the town. They all just seemed too… nice, I guess. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being nice, but it just didn’t come off as genuine.

In the middle of the night, my brother and I awoke to the sound of rustling in the trees. We were both pretty light sleepers, but the strange nature of the town made us even more on edge. To investigate, we peered out the window and saw tall, slender figures moving through the trees about a block away. We thought it was just our imagination running wild, but then they came closer and we could see their eyes glowing red in the dim moonlight, their wolf-like snouts dripping wet, and their mouths full of long sharp fangs.

There were about five of them that we could see. We wanted to wake up our parents and run for our lives, but we knew they wouldn’t even believe us enough to look. We had to do something, though because as we looked at the beasts, we could tell that they saw us. We ran out of the bed and breakfast and as fast as we could away from the monsters.

We ran into the sheriff who exclaimed “Goodness me, kids! You gave me a fright! What are you doing out here so darn late?” The truth wasn’t the most plausible explanation, but it was all we could think of in our terror. He said “Now, now don’t you go spinnin’ yarns on me. Let’s get you back to your folks.” He walked us back into town but before I knew it, my brother had disappeared.

I started freaking out, but the sheriff kept insisting that he would be fine and that he probably just wandered off. This did nothing to dissuade my fear. He told me to wait at the bed and breakfast while he went to look for him. I only pretended to comply until he was out of sight. I ran right back to where we first ran into the sheriff.

Wandering around, I called out his name but there was no response. After several minutes, I turned around to go back and the sheriff was standing there with an angry look on his face. I began to back away and he said “I told you to stay put. You should have listened.”

His head began tilting left and right, his neck making a terrible cracking sound each time. He reached into his mouth with both hands and began tearing the flesh from his skull. I was frozen in fear just long enough to see his skin fall to the ground like a rubber suit. Underneath, he was one of the creatures.

I honestly don’t know what happened after that. The next thing I remember, it was morning and my parents had learned of my brother’s disappearance.

They started a search party lead by the sheriff, and I knew they wouldn’t find anything. We went back home after a while and I made the mistake of telling my parents what really happened. That is why I am currently living in a Philadelphia state mental health facility.

My parents visit from time to time, usually telling me how they haven’t found my brother but how they’ll never stop looking. But yesterday my mom let something slip that I found very interesting. Apparently, that cheery little town that brought our family so much grief isn’t even there anymore.

She showed me a newspaper clipping about people having mysteriously disappeared in that area, causing it to become a local urban legend. If the rumors are to be believed, it’s a ghost town that hasn’t existed since the 50’s. Even stranger, there are people who claim to have lived there as children. But there are different accounts regarding what state the town is a part of. On top of that, no one can remember the town’s name or its exact location.

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