Reynoldstown was a fine place. In many ways, it was what people would think of as some old English town: one main road ran through, people hung out at the bar and saw each other at the general store, farmers would come in from around to sell wares on the weekends. The one school had little supplies, but good teachers. Only the church was higher than three stories—alright, you get the picture by now.

As people began to get up and get dressed, either to leave toward the city for work, bring a kid to school, or sit on a stoop with coffee, they noticed a sign had been placed in the middle of Main Street. It said “<–Good Bad–>” and pointed to the two sides of the town. People asked where it came from, but no one had any answer. Even when people had left the bar that night, it hadn’t been there. Surely it was just someone playing a kind of joke on the area. So, they cautiously laughed it off. A couple of men tried to move it, with the Sheriff’s permission. However, they found that it couldn’t be moved. Attempts to dig it up failed, as it seemed to be burrowed deep into the ground. After a while, they decided to keep it up, with a bit of a snicker. “It’ll make all of the out of towners think, won’t it?” People speculated.

The rot was slow. Initially, people living on the side marked “good,” would simply give a little satisfied smirk when they saw the sign. They moved a little quicker, a slight spring in their step. People living on the side marked “bad” would grimace and slouch. They began referring to it almost immediately as “that stupid sign.” “Nothing wrong with this side,” they’d say to each other. Those living on the “good” side would remark how silly and irreverent it was. “Isn’t that just a nice little bit of fun?” They’d ask each other.

One night, also while everyone was asleep, someone painted over the word “bad” on the sign with green paint. In the morning, everyone laughed that it was clearly someone from the “bad” side. “See? That’s probably how they got labelled that way in the first place,” the “good” people would say to themselves. Those on the “bad” side grew annoyed. “We don’t know who did it, it could have been anyone.” “Oh, but not us, we’re the good side, obviously,” the “good” side replied with a laugh. It was still just a nice bit of fun. Who couldn’t take a joke?

The next day, someone painted over the sign again, this time covering the “good” with red paint. An outcry grew from the “good” side. “Who did this?! This is unacceptable, this is vandalism.” Blame was placed on the “bad” side. “What do we care?” They asked. “Our side was already covered up.” “Yes, but you were jealous that we were the good side!” “Jealous? We thought it was a joke?” “And you’re the ones who can’t take a joke.”

A crowd gathered on the “good” side. The intention was to paint the whole area of the “bad” side the same green that covered the “bad” part of the sign. Hearing of the plan, folks on the “bad” side gathered up their own store of red paint. “See? See? They have red paint,” the “good” side claimed. But by then, it was too late. Members from each side had crossed Main Street and begun to set up near buildings and begin to paint. When members of the opposite side saw this on their own side, they tackled the intruders, beat them, shouted at them, tried to drive them back. Violence began as little air bubbles. It began to reach toward the surface and soon was all out boiling. Members of each side thrashed each other on Main Street, covering each other with their paints.

When one of those “out of towners” finally did arrive back, they found the whole area desolate. Bodies were all through the street, all covered in greens and reds. It was impossible to speculate what would have led to such a skirmish. Any survivors had fled the town. The out of towners worked their way carefully through the wreckage toward a heap of paint and people near a strange object in the middle of the street. It was covered fully in red and green paint, often mixing into a dull brown.