Sasha looks at the rot permeating through every board of the barn and compares it to the rot seeping into her soul. Soul rot. The worst type of rot to have. She wants to share her rot with the world. She imagines eating it for breakfast. A new cereal all the kids will love. Soul Rot! Tastes great dry or with curdled milk! She shivers as something moves through her.
Yoyo rummages through old piles of garbage like a raccoon. Newspapers over a century old convince her time has blown a fuse and shifted without her consent. Then she considers that it’s, perhaps, just a relic from the past. A normal find walking into an old building. Not a sign of time shifting one way or another. But inside she decides to imagine she’s in an alternate timeline. One where her children don’t exist. This brings her joy. Yoyo keeps it to herself. Her own private treasure.
Sasha: This place looks like it’s about ready to fall apart any second.
Yoyo: You worry too much. Like way too much. Old architecture like this was built to last centuries just like us.
Sasha: Just hurry up and grab the dynamite. I’m getting freaked out. I don’t know why I agree to these things.
Yoyo: Because you secretly enjoy it.
Sasha: Because you’ll annoy me to death if I don’t.
Yoyo: It’s what you get for being a people pleaser.
Sasha: Taken advantage of? Appreciate it.
Yoyo: Oh you’ll know when I’ve taken advantage of you.
Sasha: Don’t want to know what that’s supposed to mean.
Yoyo: I’ll wear you down eventually.
Sasha: So cryptic. Where’s the dynamite?
Yoyo: There is none. Some kids probably raided the place.
Sasha bumps into an empty bean can dangling from the ceiling by a thread. The sudden motion startles a spider, dressed in a fine evening gown, sending it shuffling back up the thread to the rafters. Sasha averts her gaze to avoid peaking up its dress.
Yoyo: Why are you blushing?
Sasha wonders if she’s always been into spiders. What else doesn’t she know about herself? Is it possible to go a lifetime and never learn all there is to know about oneself? She thinks these thoughts, looks around and gives herself a pat on the back.
Sasha: I found this thing. I presume it’s a phone.
Yoyo: Well presume away.
Sasha puts her mouth up to the tin can. Her lips hoping for the touch of an arachnid.
Sasha: Hello? Anyone home?
The voice from the other end echoes in an androgynous high-pitched tone throughout the rotting barn.
Voice: Did you bring my rainbows?
Yoyo: Whoa! It answers.
Voice: I’ve been waiting decades, your time, for these rainbows.
Sasha: Sorry. We didn’t bring any rainbows.
Yoyo: Yeah our pockets were full.
Voice: I’ll never be beautiful. A town without rainbows is sadder than exploding miners. It’s no wonder no one lives here anymore.
Sasha: You’re…this town? Golden The Beautiful?
Golden The Beautiful: Only forever.
Yoyo: What happened to all the dynamite?
Golden The Beautiful: Oh the dynamite. That’s a funny story. It requires some background.
Yoyo: We’re kinda in a hurry so…
Golden The Beautiful: Yeah. Yeah. I’ll make it quick. You know I haven’t talked to anyone in a long time. My mom always said I talked too much. But people liked when I talked. Why wouldn’t they? My words were gold. And people dug them.
Yoyo: And the dynamite?
Golden The Beautiful: Shhh. It’s okay. I used to be so thin, but I got addicted to people. And mother noticed. Whaaaaat? A mother noticing when her child packs on a few pounds and teasing them about it? “More people again? This late at night?” she would say. Well no wonder I started taking in any humans I could. Enjoy ‘em and get rid of ‘em quick before mother found out. Turns out that takes a toll on your confidence as a young town trying to find your way. Eventually my words weren’t so golden anymore. But I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I? Let me back up and tell you about the time the first mosquito landed in this town. It had just downpoured…
Several REM cycles later Sasha and Yoyo awake to the only part of the story pertaining to their endeavor as Golden The Beautiful informs them their dynamite left the ghost town hours earlier on a steam locomotive.
Yoyo: Great! Let’s go find that train.
Sasha: But I kind of like it here.
Sasha squints up at the rafters maybe hoping to catch a glimpse of a certain eight-legged cutie spinning a web in a dusty, damp corner.
Golden The Beautiful: Yay! She likes it here.
Yoyo: She says that about all the towns.
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