O Little Town



Scene Title O Little Town
Synopsis On Christmas Eve, Kara Prince leaves the Safe Zone.
Date December 24, 2019

New Jersey

A dated map of the United States is splayed open on the passenger seat of the car, a new red line drawn West along I-70 contrary to the green line that had outlined her previous path taking I-80. The sun's going down, glaring off of the snow while Kara drives. She'll miss it as soon as it's gone and she has to take the roads much more slowly to mind for ice and road damage. It'll take this agonizingly long drive and lengthen it even more. To distract herself from that, she flicks on the radio. Not unlike normal, there's nothing but static at first, and the scanner has to search through a range of frequencies before it finds something.

She winces when the Subaru poorly navigates a pothole in the whole three seconds she looks down. A hand comes to pat the console. "Sorry, girl."

—ebates last week have produced presumed front-runners for their respective parties. Louise Noble emerged well ahead of her Republican opponents in post-debate polling. Her promise to amend the Chesterfield Act to implement mandatory Registration has been met with widespread support from Republican voters.

Kara’s nose twists at hearing that, her grip tightening and loosing on the wheel as she listens to the soundbyte from the debates she’d not even known were happening.

”I want to make it clear— this is a measure for everyone’s safety. Early detection of an SLC-E ability can lead to the appropriate education and preparation for eventual manifestation, and prevent horrible tragedies like the one that took place in the New York Safe Zone this August. A young man will forever be burdened with the guilt that his manifestation caused the death of his father— a tragedy that should have and could have been easily prevented by being aware, and prepared.”

The sound of the vehicle’s turn signal unfortunately doesn’t drown out the calm, firmly held beliefs of the presidential candidate. “Sure,” Kara supposes out loud to the radio, a habit she needs to fall out of. “So offer support. Free testing. Mandatory registration, though?” she scoffs. She feels like her point makes itself, practically.

Everybody’s their own king at armchair debates though.

Montana Senator Cedric Hesser emerged as a powerful voice at the Libertarian debate, wedging the newfound party’s place in the presidential race. His staunch argument that ‘firearms liberties’ are a continued requirement to guard against potential future government overreach resonates particularly strongly with Independent voters, whose support incumbent President Praeger is reliant on for re-election.

During Thursday’s Democratic debates, frontrunner Frederick Medina revealed more details about his proposed universal healthcare plan, citing a need for an immediate solution. In response to a question regarding his stance on the current state of the Chesterfield Act, he reiterated his stance published in an earlier New York Post editorial last year and clarified: “In addition to compulsory registration, we must ensure accountability by installing strong legal penalties for falsifying registration or lying about your ability. Such an infraction would be included as a strike on a ‘three strike’ policy for SLC-E-related crim—”

The vehicle suddenly pitches, rear-wheel force and a lack of front-wheel traction making the wheel almost useless. Kara spins it anyway, attempting to reclaim control while letting off the gas entirely. The speedometer is still high, though, her attention having slipped while listening to the broadcast. “Fuck—”

Wheels slide heavy over ice that glints in the setting sun, the vehicle twisting. The car’s going to come back under her control, she knows this, but the trees on either side of the road are so fucking close, and—

The car skids into a sliding halt almost sideways, in the wrong lane, its back end well off the bern. Kara doesn’t release her white-knuckled grip on the wheel, eyes closing. She leans forward and rests her forehead down against the horn without pressure.

—iversity of stances represented in these debates was acknowledged by the White House Friday during a press conference. White House Press Secretary Lisa Gilbrand commented

Kara slams her hand against the radio, fingers fumbling to jam the necessary button to scan for another channel. She lifts her head up with a sigh, twisting the volume down and looking up to the road and the tracks she left in the ice and snow while the radio crawls through frequencies automatically.

Not unexpectedly, when another stable broadcast is located, it’s Christmas music that filters up through the radio speakers.

—ttle town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by

Resting her hands back in a proper position on the wheel, Kara begins to let off of the brake. “Come on,” she tells the car, her expression even as she looks out over the winter wonderland she’s angled precisely the wrong way for. Her foot hovers over the gas. “How about a Christmas miracle?”

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Wheels turn. The vehicle revs when some, but not all, catch traction. “Come on.

—While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love

Come on!

The faithful vehicle lurches forward after a second rock and crawls its way back onto the road messily, turning wide but ultimately righting its way back out onto the old road. Kara closes her eyes long and exhales out forcefully, patting the wheel as the supply-packed car carries her forward.

That’s more like it.

And praises sing to God the King

And Peace to men on earth

When she comes up on the next intersection miles down the road, she obeys the stop sign early, gaze fixed on faded green traffic sign stationed before it. Kara looks at the familiar cities listed out, along with their distance in mileage, but her attention is only for the handwritten line painted on the bottom, no number by its side.


One hand lifts from the wheel to put the vehicle in park, and she grabs the ice scraper tossed on the passenger floorboards before opening the door. Her feet crunch loud in the snow, the sound of nothing else around as she approaches the sign, flipping the stick in her hand so the scraper side is positioned out. The sign is thankfully not too much taller than she is, and since it’s the entry on the bottom, it’s that much easier for her to chip away at.

Her eyes narrow at the offending paint, working at first to scrape away the letters before she changes course and instead employs aggressive elbow grease against the arrow.

l o ic : ce

Kara steps away from the sign with a sense of satisfaction in the dim light of sundown, a cloud of breath hovering in the air before her as she arches her head back. She slides another step back on the desperately noisy snow, chin finally tucking forward in a self-assured nod. When she makes it back to the car, she throws the scraper back where it was before with little care for it, roughly sitting down. She regards the sign from the distance again in silence.

They got enough uninvited visitors in Providence as it was. They didn’t need a f— a sign pointing the way.

She puts the car back into drive and rolls forward to the silent intersection.

There’s no one else around to care, but she flicks on the indicator for a left turn anyway.

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