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What Happens in Woodville

A narrow dirt path wound endlessly around the towering trees of the forest Wood, named after the founder of Woodville, Dr. Eliza Wood. A man stood at the edge of the small town, fighting like a dog on his hind legs to stay on his tip-toes. Then, failing to maintain the balance of his stance, he did what no one in Woodville had ever done before. He crossed the line.
Around the town was a literal line, marked by stones. The stones were clumps of metal created with a man-made element, Protieum, that protected the people of Woodville from the dangers of the outside world. As history goes, more than three hundred years ago, when the Earth was a chaotic mess, a dangerous gas was designed as an act of biological warfare; however, the weapon malfunctioned. Since they could not stop it, the weapon nearly wiped out all living things on Earth. Miraculously, Dr. Eliza Wood, and a team of the finest scientific minds of her century, created a small area that could be protected from danger. That’s how Woodville was created, and ever since the Wood family has run the town. Unfairly at times, but no one ever questioned their right. Unfortunately, Dr. Wood and her associates were not able to bring much with them, so Woodville had a bit of a tough time starting up. The people learned to eat only organic food that they grew themselves and, with the little amount of scientific equipment that was salvaged by the team, everyone in Woodville followed the path they knew best, science. It was a town full of geniuses, but each with his or her own specialty. As tough as life was at first, it became easier with each generation. Yet as life became easier, the new generation had more time for other things, like curiosity and disobedience. There was only so much to be discovered in their small, isolated village; the outside world, however, was a complete mystery.

The clumsy man at the edge of town was Elijah Down, the town’s highest ranking geologist, although only sixteen. Unfortunately, there was not much for a fourth generation geologist to do in Woodville. Just about every geological discovery that could be made from within the town’s borders had already been made, proved inaccurate, and rediscovered. This gave Elijah plenty of time to wander around the town border looking as far as he could for anything new, anything that had not been discovered yet. Not long after these walks began, Elijah began to develop a following; other young scientists were tired of being confined where they could not explore or discover. He had received plenty of warnings from the Council, made up of the head scientists from each department, that his wanderings were dangerous, and set a bad example for others in the town. He did not acknowledge the warnings. In fact, Elijah’s curiosity was only fueled by Mayor Wood’s adamant disapproval of his actions. One simply cannot suppress the curiosity of a natural born scientist. So he continued his walks, and those who were not avidly inspired by his rebellion thought him foolish or mad.

Elijah had fallen forward across the boundary and landed on all fours in the thick, warm mud of springtime. Immediately, though no one had been outside to see the accident, a siren went off, bathing the town in ominous red light. The families of the town raced outside and made a neat line against the border of the stones. What an odd sight to see all of his neighbors in their pajamas, Elijah thought, especially the respectable Council. Elijah slowly scanned the eyes of each person in the crowd. He remembered his father once telling him that eyes were the windows to a person’s soul, yet right then, he saw something that spoke louder than anything he saw in anyone’s eyes, a quirky grin on the face of a child half hidden in the bushes.
The child was a girl, about four or five, with dark brown hair cut jagged and short. Her eyes, disturbing to most, were different colors. One eye was dark, almost black, and the other was a piercing, crystal blue. The girl held Elijah’s gaze. Elijah thought it odd that he did not recognize the girl. Woodville, after all, was not a large town. Then, as soon as he had pondered the question, a quiet, whispered thought tickled the back of his mind. “I was an accident, an unintelligent Wood. They had to hide me away so my family would not face the embarrassment of my stupidity.” Elijah jerked his head searching around for someone whispering in his ear. Then his eyes returned to the little girl. She nodded slightly. “Yes. I can read your thoughts Elijah. I am not stupid as they think”. Elijah’s eyes narrowed in a silent question. She laughed in his mind, what an disorienting sound. “Dear Elijah. There are things even the most brilliant of scientists cannot explain. Even I cannot explain. I understand you are afraid Elijah. But I have a solution for you.” Elijah’s eyes widened greatly, his mind begged for her to tell him. “Elijah, I can help you. But you must do something that may seem odd. Do not be afraid. Take the rock beside you and press it into your chest” Elijah chuckled, then realized she was serious. “You won’t feel any pain just place it here,” she pointed, “and press”. Elijah writhed on the ground as tears of anguish streamed down his face, until nothing was left of Elijah but a small, insignificant corpse that lay curled into a ball, paused half-way in a cry of pain.
The next morning the citizens of Woodville awoke to a most unpleasant surprise. Their chief geologist was found bloodied and petrified just barely outside the town line, and no one knew what had happened. An emergency meeting of the Council was called to discuss the mysterious death of Elijah. The mayor of Woodville, Dr. Phish Wood stood. “People of Woodville. It is with deepest regret that I must inform you that we have lost our top Geologist, Elijah Down. As to the nature of his death, you all know the story of why Woodville was founded.” They all nodded and murmured agreement. “Woodville was founded to protect us from the effects of a bio-weapon that attacked victim’s mind and caused them to see unimaginable visions that forced them to kill themselves. That is how Elijah died.” The town members went silent. “If ever we needed a reminder of how lucky we are to have Woodville, the tragedy has served as one. Elijah’s body will remain where it is as a warning to anyone who has thoughts about trying to go into the outside.” The people, with broken spirits, downcast eyes, and crushed curiosity walked away.
Once everyone had left, Dr. Wood walked to the back of the room opened a small camouflaged hatch and descended slowly into the darkness. He lit a small candle and in the minute glow he saw her. A little girl, about four or five, with dark brown hair cut jagged and short stood motionless. Her eyes, disturbing to most, were different colors. One eye was dark, almost black, and the other was a piercing, crystal blue. He walked over to her and removed the tiny machine hidden right behind her ear. It was a thought transmitter, a banned technology that can create false visions at the whim of the holder of the device. “Curiosity killed the cat,” she said. “Now no one will get curious and try to leave Woodville”. She grinned a quirky grin. The Wood family had avoided a possible catastrophe. Who knows what people might do if they knew the world outside Woodville was as safe as the town itself. The Woods knew, and they intended to keep their little lie a secret. After all, who wants to be the mayor of an empty town?



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