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Phase One: Go

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Sammy sighed as he shut the car door, breathing in the thick fog of the early morning.

Let's set the scene: it was 6:37 AM, there wasn't a soul in sight, and a Sammy had a broken engine.

Well, hopefully not broken- hopefully repairable and under $200, he didn’t want to have to dip into his emergency funds. Unfortunately, Sammy thought, this is an emergency. Of sorts.

With exactly zero knowledge about cars, other than how to change a tire, Sammy shuffled over to the hood of the car. Waving the smoke away, he stuck his head in and looked for any obvious signs of trouble. Reaching for the engine(?), he pulled his hand back- just inches away, he could feel the heat, so that was a clear sign to not touch that. Engine probably overheated?

Or something else, anything else really. I don’t know jack shit about cars. Out of the blue, he hears sirens, far down the road, and quickly getting closer. Blue and red lights appear in the mist, and Sammy gets out of the road to let the car pass, he didn’t feel like getting run over today. Even though he felt like shit. But still. Gotta have some hope at least, right.

Tires screech and Sammy swears that he sees a string of smoke coming off the tires as the officer gets out of the car. Just how fast was this guy going? Is it illegal if the guy speeding is an offi-

“Hey there, got trouble with your car?” Sammy froze, not sure what to say exactly. Was he getting arrested or in trouble somehow? This guy was driving pretty fast and he had his sirens on, maybe Sammy had sped back when he was entering the town? Although that was hard to argue, as you'd have to have a death wish to be going any faster than 20 in a fog this thick. It was a blanket of grey-white that settled over the small town, giving it a proper ghost town effect this early in the morning. It was honestly kind of creepy, especially when it was so silent.

The officer ran his hand over the stubble on his chin, looking confused at the lack of response probably, and put his hand out to shake. Sammy gulped, so he wasn't in trouble? Or maybe the police force in this town was just too nice for its own good?

"Uh. Am I getting arrested? Or something?" Sammy choked out the words and put his hands o, not having spoken to a living person since he started this road trip. That had been, what? Three days ago, four? Sammy wasn't sure, but regardless, even he himself noticed how rough his voice sounded from unused.

The officer, Kreighauser, looked shocked -almost offended-, and put his hand away. He was apparently surprised that someone would expect him to be doing something that is literally part of his job description. "Lord no! I'm sorry, my sirens probably threw you off, and I'm sure my speedin' didn't help. I'm deputy Kreighauser, I saw you stopped down here on this backroad and wanted to see if you needed help, and I don't get to use my sirens that often unless I'm after one of the Williams boys." He ended his explanation with a sheepish smile, and Sammy was hit with a wave of charm. The awkward politeness paired with genuine kindness was, weirdly, kind of hot? Sammy was from the city, so manners and all that weren't too common, unfortunately

But it was nothing more than surface-level attraction, Sammy had his eyes set on one man and one man only, and it certainly wasn't deputy Kreighauser. He couldn't get distracted by politeness and manners, he had a plan to follow, his mind politely reminded him. Sammy nodded in response and looked at his poor, old car sadly.

The deputy got the idea and walked around to the other side of the hood, inspecting closely. Sammy internally sighed with relief, Good, maybe he can tell me what’s wrong with my car, and then I can get a move on, I’m already a few days behind.

“Yeah. Don’t know what happened.” Sammy looked down, a little ashamed that he, as a grown man and a car owner, didn’t even know how to take care of his car, but hey- he got caught up in... let's call it stuff. You can’t really take your car down to the mechanic when you’re dealing with stuff. You can’t really do anything but try desperately to survive while you’re dealing with stuff.

“Well, I don’t really know anything about cars. I’d say let’s call Ernie and get him down here, he’ll tow your truck and take it back to his shop. Hey, maybe he’ll throw in a discount if you bring him something from Rose’s diner. Ha, he likes just about anything from the menu, especially Rose herself. I’m waiting long for the day those two get together. How about I drive you to town? Ernie won’t be able to get down here until 10, seeing as he spends every morning at the diner, tryna order everything they have in the kitchen, seems like. What’s your name?” Bright and curious eyes looked at Sammy, waiting for a response. The puppy dog look in the deputy's eyes was bound to get him out of some trouble, he really did look so cute, even if he was way too energetic this early in the morning.

“Sam Stevens.” Sammy would have said more, lord knows he had about a million questions on the tip of his tongue, but his anxiety took the driver's wheel, and was now the captain of the ship. Good god, if I'm tired enough to mix up simple metaphors then I shouldn't even be driving, much less awake.

“Well Sammy, mind if I call you Sammy?” Sammy shook his head no, even though the way the deputy said his name sounded way too close to how someone else pronounces it. Too close, too familiar, I shoulda just said no, god I’m a dumbass.

“Ok, Sammy it is then. I’ll make the call to Ernie, and then I’ll drive you to your house. Put your stuff in my car and we’ll get going. You do live in town, right?” Deputy Kreighauser didn’t wait for an answer. He walked back over to his patrol car and made the call, talking while Sammy got his stuff out of his older-than-a-dinosaur Subaru, and into the trunk of the other car.

“Yeah,” finished putting his stuff in, he cleared his throat, and got into the passenger’s seat, buckling in, “yeah, um I'm moving into the lakehouse on 1340 Kingsy Dr.?” Looking over at the officer he blushed in embarrassment, deputy Kreighauser was still talking to Ernie, Sammy just hadn’t heard him. Where even is this place? It said a nice house next to the water, and even a dock he could go relax on just a two-minute walk away.

“Sorry about that, I’m back,” Troy hopped into the driver’s seat and started up the engine, “Ernie said he was just about 5 minutes away from this road anyway, so he’ll pop on down with his tow truck and take it back to his shop. I can’t think of why he would be down here this early, it’s full-on creepy out here this time of day, but hey, to each their own. You said you lived in town, right?”

Sammy had kind of mentioned that, except for the fact that he wasn't a local and was just today moving it, but hey; it was early, nobody is really awake at this time, “Yeah, 1340 Kingsy Dr.” Sammy desperately tried to roll up the window, it was way too cold this morning, he was almost shivering.

“Oh yeah, that window doesn’t work, sorry. But hey! You live down at the lake with Ron Begley! I didn’t know he had any roommates, must have just happened recently. He may seem like a bit of a grump, but he definitely warms up once you get to know him. Warms up even faster if you know stuff about fishing! Do you know anything about fishing, Sammy?” Well, now I know I have a roommate, wish they would have told me that online, but whatever, I’ll deal.

“No, not really. Uh I’m still pretty groggy, you mind if I sleep until we get there?” Sammy really wasn’t in a talking mood, and the bright energy radiating off this guy was almost too much. The deputy furrowed his brows for a second, but then a bright smile popped onto his face.

“Yeah that’s just fine, I get like that sometimes too, go ahead, we got about twenty minutes until we get there. Mind if I turn on the radio? I do hate it being this quiet early in the morning.” Sammy shrugged and tried to get comfortable, pulling up his hood.

As he fell asleep, he heard the radio, faintly.

“Good morning, I’m Ben Arnold and you’re listening to King Falls AM, that’s six-sixty on the radio dial…”