No. 562

Even in its heyday, the village of Tesser had been little more than an intersection and a filling station. When the new highway was built, Tesser’s relevance to the outside world faded away completely. The locals, insular to begin with, did not mind, and carried on with their lives as before.

Nobody visited for a long, long time.

And nobody was aware of the plague that killed the last 52 residents of Tesser for many, many years.

 

“Hey, what did that sign say?” asked Marie Ward from the passenger seat.

“’Entering Tesser’,” replied her boyfriend, Brady Fisher.

Marie looked up from her map. “Tesser’s not on here. I think we’re going the wrong way.”

“It’s probably too small,” Brady assured her. “We’ll stop and ask the first person we see.”

They rounded a corner, and caught their first glimpse of the empty village.

“There’s a gas station,” said Brady. “I’ll pull in there.”

He did as he promised, and the car rolled to a stop in front of the antique pumps.

“Hang on,” he told Marie. “I need to pee, too.”

Moments later, he returned to the vehicle and got in. Marie could see the muscles in his neck quivering with nerves.

“What?” she asked apprehensively.

“Strangest thing,” he said before collapsing over the steering wheel.

Marie screamed.

She considered running into the station for help, but something told her that she needed to get away as soon as possible. She pulled Brady aside and slammed the car into drive.

 

She arrived at the hospital two hours later. The doctors and nurses rushed to save Brady.

They were too late. He died, but not before infecting Marie and the hospital staff.

 

Suddenly, for the first time in its history, Tesser was important.