I AM LOST. MY HOME IS A SMALL TOWN WITH
a funny name—New Bern. Our mayor can trace our history
all the way back to Berne, Swtizerland. Our sister city, you
know. Proudly, we’ll tell you that we used to be the capital
of North Carolina, many moons ago. To New Bernians, the
past is everything.
The future won’t stop haunting me. New car, new
school, new friends. I liked my old ones.
I am lost. My home is an old rusting Mustang, with
memories and victories sewn into the stitching of the leather
The future won’t stop haunting me. Where I’ve been is
no longer who I am. I don’t know what to do about this.
I am lost. I no longer know where my home is.
They say there exists another fearsome little community
in eastern North Carolina that is in love with its history. It is
a place lost in time, where modern technology gives way to
the glory of the past.
The government knows about it, though you may not.
They say cell phone reception is nonexistent, and
people drive Oldsmobiles and station wagons with cherry
wood paneling on the side. They say technology of all kinds
dies a dramatic death when it breathes Lizard Lick air.
Perfectly well-ordered GPSes fall to pieces. Cell phones read
No Signal. Clocks run backwards. They say that time itself
is reversed when you cross the border.
They say that if you get lost anywhere in the continental
U.S.—Frankfort, Carson City, Springfield, Charleston, anywhere
in either of the Dakotas—you just might find yourself
in Lizard Lick, North Carolina.
I am lost. It’s almost nine p.m., and Natasha’s GPS is
all-out malfunctioning, leaving her sputtering and gasping
and recalculating like mad. She’s killing herself trying to
help me, but it is not enough; something is terribly wrong.
Maybe the satellites are down, maybe the magnetic poles
have suddenly switched, or maybe I’ve stumbled into the
world’s shallowest sinkhole, and am now heading straight for
the center of the earth.
Even when going upwards of 50 miles per hour on
some unknown road, Natasha is unnervingly quiet beneath
me. The whole universe is quiet. In the twin blue beams of
the headlights, I can make out the planks of an old-fashioned
wooden fence running alongside the street. In a flash,
I think I see something gleam on the fence, a silvery ripple
of movement. My heartbeat climbs until it overpowers the
blare of the radio. If a world exists beyond the fence, I can’t
A ridiculous thought spins in my mind: If I still had my
Mustang, this wouldn’t be happening.
Yes, Lizard Lick is famous for its lizards.
They say that the lizards are invincible, but I think even
non-Lizard Lick lizards are in some ways unconquerable.
After all, they can lose huge parts of themselves and still be
able to regrow, stronger and better than before. They say
you can cut off a lizard’s entire tail and it will not bat an eye.
Lizards are special, you see. They have the ability to regenerate
their tails, no matter how many times life—predators,
humans, change—cuts them off.
They say that lizards drop their tails intentionally sometimes,
to distract the predator and lure them away from the
Lizards know when it’s time for change……
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