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The Dead Town of Gibbon

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On the night of May seventh, 1926, a luminous green fireball hovered over the town of Gibbon, Kentucky. Over a course of seven to nine hours, it leisurely made its way down over the town from the east, bathing baffled onlookers in its strangely opalescent, warm aura. Written firsthand accounts remaining to this day suggest that those who stood in just the right position were able to hear a distant din of dying machinery — thought to originate from the fireball.

The following morning, there came a tremendous crash from the west of Gibbon, and then a subsequent burst of warm air which reeked uncomfortably of sulfur, and something else that was and still is un-nameable. Some of the bolder citizens went out to investigate with any weapon that they could find, having made a suspicious connection between the fireball and the crash. All twenty or so of them disappeared over the horizon before noon.

Not one of them returned.

Days later, in the midst of the frantic theorizing on the subject of the missing investigators, those who first saw the fireball began to display alarming symptoms, the likes of which had never been seen in the world (and in fact would not be seen globally until the months following August of 1945, after the first wartime dropping of the atomic bomb), let alone in Gibbon. Those original onlookers began to develop incurable burnlike rashes, throbbing pustules of abnormal size, location, and coloration, hair loss, severe skin damage, or any combination of the aforementioned symptoms, and many more. There were occasional reports of violent outbursts of madness during which the afflicted wanted nothing more than "to fly", gesturing toward the air above their head.

As days turned to weeks and weeks to months, the ones who first displayed symptoms began to die off. One after another, the malformed bodies of those curious onlookers were dragged into a single mass grave at the west side of town. The sight of them was ghastly, and many grieving family members could not bear to see their loved ones in such a state, and so left before services could be held.

Those who stayed, though, witnessed an unnerving happening close to the horizon. As the sun began to fall on the day of the burials, its reflective light happened to bounce off of a metallic heap far away, giving the undertakers a brief glimpse at the otherworldly mystery before them, which was, unbeknownst to them at the time, responsible for all that had been done to Gibbon. A new air of hotness, smelling of sulfur and the same indescribable odor, washed over them first, and then over the town, before a blinding green light devoured the sun's light and propeled itself into the sky before vanishing with only a deep hum.

The twenty who had gone missing were found by six searchers days after that, charred black, arranged in a circular formation on a barren patch of land around which the grass was black and brown. Their corpses were added to the mass grave as well — they were accompanied by the six searchers, who had rapidly began to show the same symptoms as those first onlookers as soon as they returned to Gibbon with the twenty bodies. Within hours, they were dead.

In less than a year, Gibbon had completely collapsed. After the final burst of hot air, the foul stench and the last flash of that greenness, townsfolk began to succumb to the unexplainable symptoms increasingly rapidly, until at last the final survivor, too, dropped dead in the street among the others. The only records remaining of Gibbon are those written by the moribund, the ones who knew that their time was coming soon for lack of a treatment.

To this day, the exact happenings of those few months remain unclear, and the accounts (although thoroughly consistent) are officially discounted by archivists tasked with restoring the history of the dead town of Gibbon. Also to this day, life has not yet crept back in to claim the ruins. Perhaps it is for good reason.

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