By Gordon Kuhn


Their once was a dismal town named Nevermore, although from the distance it was a lovely place to look at. The smell of evil that seeped from closed doors only arose upon close inspection. And, that put the person looking at the town in grave danger of meeting an undesirable fate of disappearance from family and friends with their bodies never being found.

But the town had its allure for many. It was a quaint village with European styled homes where mostly farm labor lived, and that would have been fine but, oddly, there were no farms. No farms at all. There was a doctor without patients, an accountant without clients, a shoemaker with no shoes to repair, and an undertaker that seemed to want for work, but not one living there was a baker or a tailor. And, no one there ever made cakes or cookies. Nevertheless, they did have a desire for sweet things that would arrive by car passing through and who spent the night in the local hotel where there was no guest book kept.

It was a lovely place to look at, from a distance, in a car passing by, but depressing when one got too close. Some who drove through without stopping commented that if they saw anyone at all that they hurriedly moved out of sight.

The whole of it was nestled in a bowl like quiet valley known as Once Before.

No one knew how the town or the valley got their names. There were no record of such events, and thee was no record of the births, deaths, or even marriages that was kept in the town hall. But they did have a clerk who sat alone at a desk surrounded by empty file cabinets that he tended to quite seriously spending his days opening and sliding out the drawers. Then he would carefully close them after inspecting the interiors and wiping down any smudges from his contact with the exteriors. There was to be no smudges, you see. None, it just wasn’t to be.

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