My name is Wade. I was born and raised in a small Texas town in the middle-of-nowhere called Sanderson — a tiny place in a dry, flat part of Texas with nothing for miles in every direction. Last I checked, Sanderson had a population of 861 people — mostly mill workers and ranchers. I always knew this town was weird and off-kilter, but I just figured it was…quaint. With a town this size, everybody knows everybody. You act polite, because if you started to hate someone, it affected the whole damn town. You looked out for one another…maybe a bit too close. And sometimes, you started to blur the line between neighbor and family.
Maybe it’s because of how close the whole town is that I became sort of the loner. Sure, I had Fred and Daryl through most of my life, but I never really got close to many people. My parents passed when I was 11. I was told it was a car wreck. I never started to doubt that story until a few days ago.
Fred and Daryl’s mama took it upon herself to raise me. Small town Texas folk are a little too open and invasive for my liking, especially the people of Sanderson. So looking from the outside in, I always noticed how odd the townsfolk really were. It started to become apparent when I was a teenager. I started to get a taste of the outside world through the internet and television (because God knows the Texas education system wasn’t cutting it). I started to realize how nothing in Sanderson operated the way it did out there.
See, I’ve never been out of Sanderson. Way things are looking, maybe I never will…but I digress. I was catching on to what Sanderson was — just couldn’t put my finger on it. The way folk talk to each other down here. They exchange the old pleasantries then just stare at each other. They lock eyes along with this vacant smile for a good five or 10 seconds before they go on sometimes. And there’s always mention of food. Meat, in particular. Red meat, white meat, fish. If it’s alive, the people of Sanderson are excited to kill and eat it. Now, plenty of Texas folk are on the larger size, but that doesn’t hold true for Sanderson. They grow ’em tall and lean here. Sanderson folk also don’t seem to break the mold much…or ever, really. People here do what they’re told like the thought to do something contrary never crossed their minds. The only library in Sanderson is the school’s, and most of those books are about Texas history and raising and butchering livestock. Like I said, weird…but still quaint. I never put too much thought into it until a couple of days ago, when shit started to hit the fan.