A Town Called Barger


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” This place really is a ghost town”  Hadley said to Odelia

They were standing next to Odelia’s car on that hot dusty August afternoon  in a town that used to be called Barger.

Odelia was holding a water bottle full of warm water but she drank it anyway because it was wet and her mouth was full of grit. ” Yeah, well it’s dead alright. Dead and as dry as an old bone. ”

Hadley  shook his head when Odelia offered him a drink from the bottle that was now full of floating bits of whatever had made it’s way into Odeia’s mouth when the air conditioner in the car decided to stop working and she rolled the windows down for some moving air. ” Really Odelia?”

” Your loss.”She put the cap back on the bottle and tossed it back into her car.

” Barger is a funny name for a ghost town. I wonder when it, you know, keeled over as it were.”

” Don’t know, don’t care. Let’s just take a quick look around and get back on the road. It’s not getting any cooler out  in case you haven’t noticed.

As Hadley  had pointed out, this was a ghost town and she had a hard time imagining any part of it- even the light brown grasses and weeds had ever been alive.

” What do you think this place was like, when it was alive.” he asked her- but his voice had an edge to it and that edge put Odelia’s back up.

” Have a hard time picturing it, don’t you?” he asked.

” Well yeah, I mean look at it. It’s like it never took a breath.”

Hadley  stopped and faced Odelia . ” You must be one Soulless creature to not be able to picture something ever having been alive. You have no imagination,do you? That’s a sure sign of having something wrong with you. Not being able to comprehend anything outside of your own head is not a sign of well adjusted human being.”

In one quick step Odelia was almost nose to nose with Hadley . ” I got plenty of imagination. How do you think we got here?”

They both looked around themselves and then they looked down at the smooth slightly raised mound of earth below their feet.

” It’s a puzzle to me Odelia , how I got here.”Hadley  said looking down into her face, his eyeglasses sat sideways on his nose, they were a little dusty now.

Odelia smoothed away a  little patch of dirt with her foot and something  white and slightly  pitted appeared under her toe. ” It’s a puzzle to me too.”  She moved more of the grit away and an empty eye socket housed in a broken cheek bone of a dirt encrusted skull stared up at her through a cracked  eyeglass lens.

The warm air slithered around them and then Odelia  heard a little sound- plink.

That was it.


Hadley  was looking at her. One of his eyes watered a little behind it’s now cracked eyeglass lens.

Then the ghost town shimmered in the heat and it blew away on a blast of warm air.

Odelia and  Hadley  and her car were now on an  road  littered  with  gray and soot covered rocks  and above them was a fiery red sky and ahead of them was a blood red horizon. ” I don’t know why you’re here  Hadley. But I know why I am. I guess I should be going now.”

Hadley Barger  nodded and  Odelia started to walk to the driver’s side of the car and she stopped. ” I guess you want to see where I’ll end up.”

” I know Odelia. And I think you knew where you would end up that night you put your gun to my head and pulled the trigger.”

Odelia looked up into a sky full of falling stars and she said to Hadley as he faded away with the last of the sunlight  ” I think I knew it  too Hadley. ”



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