This story is purely fictional. Any similarities to people (living or deceased), names, places, things, or events, is purely coincidental, and is not based on an actual occurrence. This applies to all chapters of this story.

Have you ever been to a small town? Each small town, while similar in the sense of population, due have their differences. Some can have farm life, while others can be quiet. The town of Geraldsberg was one that was quiet… but also very different. It had a strange phenomenon occurring within the borders of the town; a phenomenon so powerful, that everyone who would enter the town would be directly involved without even knowing it. An event that would occur every 31 days, without failure, yet no one knew of its occurrence. Even if an outsider were to enter into the town, and stayed overnight when that event would happen, they would join the cycle, never to leave it. Tristen and his parents were three that were about to join the cycle.

Tristen let out a sigh as his father continued to drive the car. His mother was reading in the front seat, while Tristen sat comfortably in the back, boredom taking over his mind.

Why didn't we just fly here? Tristen wondered to himself.

His father looked in the rear view mirror, at his son. Tristen's black hair was getting long again; his bangs were down to his eyebrows and it was starting to curl in the back. He wore a green hoodie to counter the cold winter season. He wore blue jeans and white shoes with a simple design. With both hands in his hoodie pockets, he continued to stare out the window, his brown eyes lazily wandering around the scenery. Despite it being very late in the evening, they were almost at their destination. His father frowned to himself; he was concerned about Tristen. Tristen was normally an easy going kid, with a happy personality. Ever since they left for Geraldsberg, Tristen had been quite negative. Their family had lived in the same town for many years; this was Tristen's first move. As such, his father could understand why Tristen was having such a negative reaction to the move, but that didn't remove the natural worry in his father's heart.

"Don't worry son," his father reassured him. "We've almost arrived, so you'll be able to get out."

Tristen perked up a bit to this news; he wasn't a big fan of car rides, though he loved the winter season. There was something magical about a landscape covered in snow that he particularly enjoyed.

"That's good. At least I'll be able to enjoy the rest of my break in the snow."

His father cleared his throat awkwardly, which Tristen found kind of strange. Tristen gave a sigh as he remembered.

That's right. It's a year round school. School starts January 1st.

"Hey dad, what's today's date?" Tristen asked.

"December 31st." he responded.

"Dang it! Just my luck." stated Tristen.

He couldn't believe it; school started tomorrow. After they had spent two weeks driving across the country, he would have to start school tomorrow, not even getting the chance to enjoy the weather. Oh well, it would give him the opportunity to meet people a lot quicker. Tristen could be a bit of a social butterfly; he didn't like to be a loner. The sooner he would make friends, the better. As Tristen continued to look out the car window, he noticed that the area around him was practically all woods… or at least, trees covered in snow. He couldn't see any cities nearby, and the town seemed rather small. Tristen's stomach turned over; he grew up in a large city, with a lot of people. There were always people going somewhere, doing something. Would he be able to adjust to this new environment?

Tristen's mother sat in the passengers seat, her book now down as she was texting a friend.

"It was a fun trip and all," stated his mother. "but we really should take a plane next time."

"Seconded!" pitched in Tristen.

His father scratched his balding head.

"We couldn't have taken an airplane." pointed out his father. "this city doesn't have an airport."

"No airport?" Tristen questioned. "Dad, are you sure your work isn't sending us into a deserted town where a monster will try to eat our faces?"

"I think you watch too many horror movies." his father said with a smile.

"Then why did they have you come out here?" asked Tristen.

His father turned his head back at Tristen, a look of confusion on his face.

"You mean you don't know… I forgot to tell you, didn't I?"

"Ding, ding! We have a winner." said Tristen, attempting to mimic a game show host.

"My company sent a man out here about six months ago. They wanted to get a store going in this town. We haven't heard back from him, so they want me to go find him, and see what's going on."

"Your job hasn't heard back from him? Yep, we're getting attacked by a face-eating monster tonight; no doubt about it." Tristen joked.

"Now sweetie, stop teasing your dad." his mother said. "He's been under a lot of stress recently; setting up a new location in an area like this isn't going to be so easy."

"Thanks for reminding me." his father said, the frown on his face display his sarcasm more than his words ever would.

"It'll be allright, honey." his wife responded. "You're such a smart man; hard working too. That's why they had you come out here. They knew you could be successful anywhere they sent you."

"Thanks." he softly expressed, a slight smile coming across his face.

Tristen change his attention from the window to the digital clock located at the front of the car. He sat up, a wide smile spreading across his face.

"Mom, Dad; it's 11:59. It's almost New Years!" the excitement noticeable in Tristen's voice.

His parents changed their attention to the clock right as it turned to 12:00. They expressed a few, quick "Happy New Year's" to each other, before going back to their positions from before.

"Got any New Year's resolutions yet?" his father asked him.

"Hmm… I think I'll have have to think about it for a bit." Tristen noted.

"Maybe you should think of something involving this new school." his mother suggested.

Tristen nodded, then turned his attention to the outdoors, once again.

Within the next few minutes, they had stopped in front of a small motel. They quickly unpacked their things and went through the front doors, eager to get some sleep. There was a young man at the front desk. He was a bit short, with curly, blonde hair. His expression clearly indicated his boredom. Without a slight bit of interest in his voice, he greeted. Tristen's father paid the fee, and they were given a key to their room. His father was then required to sign a document, and they then made their way to the room. In it was two mattresses; one queen sized, the other twin sized. Tristen didn't need to be told which be was his. Tristen quickly got in his bed, and sleep immediately overcame him.

January 1st, 7:00 A.M.

Almost as quickly as he had fallen asleep, he felt a hand nudge his arm. Tristen awoke, rubbing his eyes. His mother sat next to him.

"Hey, buddy!" she said in her usual happy voice. "It's time for school."

Tristen rubbed his eyes, letting out a sigh. Once he had gone into the bathroom, showered, and gotten ready for the day, he noticed that something was missing.

"Where's dad?" Tristen asked his mother.

"He going to city hall to try and find that worker that came here a while back. After that, he's going to another town nearby to pick up our stuff. We'll be able to start unloading into our house tonight."

"Wait… why didn't the movers drop off our stuff here instead of the next town over?" Tristen questioned.

"You father said that they said they 'couldn't find the town,' so they couldn't get it there." his mother responded.

"How far is the closest town from here?"

"Two or three hours, I think. Wherever that place was that we took a rest stop."

"Snap, it took us forever to get here after that stop." replied Tristen.

"Anyway, I'll take you to school; you're going to be late. Let's get going."

The two quickly grabbed their things, then went out the door. It was a new day, a new year, and a new town. Sure, a lot of change had happened in a short time, but Tristen was confident that he could handle it and make this year a great one. Maybe that would be his resolution… to have a fun, memorable year. With that in mind, Tristen got into the passenger seat, and they headed down the road, towards the school.

Decades Ago

"There's something really important I need to tell you…"

"Yes, honey. What is i-"

"..."

"Honey… what's wrong? You look so… so sad."

"I… I-I don't know how to say this, b-but-"

"Does this have to do with your appointment?"

"Yes. They told me that it's going to get worse. That… my days are numbered."

"..."

"What's the matter, hon?"

"I… it can't be true… there's no way this can be true. Are you completely certained about this? It's that bad?"

"That's what they said… they don't have a cure. They said that it will eventually lead to my death."

"No… they must of gotten mixed up, or lied, or something. There's no way this could happen."

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going for a walk… I need to soak all of this in; calm down a bit. I'm sorry, my mind is in shock; once I'm calmed down, we'll be able to talk this through. Can you wait for me?"

"Of course. I'll see you soon."

"Ok, thank you… I love you."

"I love you, too."