Heaven and Earth session 1

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Heaven and Earth Session One: Friday, July 2nd, 1999 (2:30 PM - 7:00 PM)

It's the holidays, the last holiday of the Millennium, and heading off the highway through North Central Kansas towards the town of Potter's Lake is an unlikely collection of people. A large sleeper rig drives up front, followed by a cheep sedan. Behind this is a custom-built people carrier in front of a coach. A lone car brings up the rear as they progress forever closer to the signposted 'Gas and Gospel'. The trees of a dense forest are all about them and there is little light in this otherwise very tranquil afternoon…

Suddenly, three dear rush into the road and a pile-up ensues. The driver of the lead car manages to serve around the obstacle, but the following driver is not so lucky. She drives headlong into a tree. She proceeds to exit the car and shout towards someone out in the woods, someone moving away from them, someone dressed in rags and carrying a staff.

The driver of the rig, a tall, muscular black man, goes on to the 'Gas and Gospel' to get help where he witnesses a man in a panama hat trying (and eventually failing) to buy a statue standing behind a curious wall made of glass bottles. He calls the police (who don't particularly seem interested in the incident, but say they are coming anyway) and enlist the help of the resident Reverend Geebee. They head back out to scene of the crash where the driver of the last car, a man in his mid to late thirties is helping the woman who crashed into the tree. The custom-built car appears to be driven by a man in a wheelchair with a definite chip on his shoulder, who is helped by a kind gentleman from the coach. The five meet up, assess the damage and head back out to the 'Gas and Gospel'.

Here, they are met by the less than enthralling law enforcement in the guise of Sheriff Daryl Bowman and his Deputy, Quinn Harker. The less than enthusiastic Sheriff lets his Deputy do all the work in collecting statements, which would have only been a handful of people if the young lady from the crash didn't come forward and explain she thought she saw a man on fire, crying, just after the crash, the description of which reminds Harker of a student he has seen frequent the local grocery store late at night… Meanwhile, the man in the wheelchair is busily typing up everything he observes on a state-of-the-art laptop attached to his chair.

Meanwhile, the kind stranger from the coach talks with the Reverend about the strange statues he has outside the gas station and the dolls he offers the travelers. 'There are dark places on this Earth,' he tells them, 'and this is one of the darkest there is.' Taking the warnings of the Reverend about the mysterious incidents that have been reported in the woods (sand dunes appearing, moving cabins, civil war graveyards, a strange man in the woods, all of which appear and disappear at random) with a pinch of salt, he rejoins the rest of the group, who then decide to talk with the Reverend after they notice the similarity between the doll he carries and himself. The Reverend warns of various places in the town with 'reputations' - the grocery store where 'no-one should walk down the aisles alone'; the hotel in town with a dark history; the boarding house run by a woman with another 'reputation', etc. They decide to take his advice and stay at the local motel.

Here, with evening approaching, they are met by Simon Baker, the motel owner, eating pizza and watching a baseball game as he distractedly gives them their room keys (the well built black man - Room 1; the man in his mid to late forties - Room 2; the young lady - Room 3; the man in the wheelchair - Room 4; and the kind gentleman from the coach, quite possibly a hiker - Room6).

On the way to their rooms, they are greeted by another guest (the only other guest from what they can tell), Lydia Price, an artist currently working on an oil painting of the motel against the backdrop of the woods. She has some trouble helping the wheelchair bound man into his room, but not as much as he would have had by himself. 'I just can't get on with these door handles' she says…

Shortly after leaving their belongings in the motel, they decide as a group, with Lydia in tow, to go to the local bar and grille (Deke's Bar and Grille). Here, they find the place to be rather stuffy and ask to be shown to a 'no smoking' area. As they pass down the long mirror backed bar towards a large memorial to those children who have died in the town's lake over the years (including Deke's son) the quiet man from the last car overhears a woman in a postal uniform talking to a man who is evidently in the Air Force sat together at the bar. The woman is concerned that 'Peter' has stood her up, just like he did a month ago, just after he broke up with 'Mary' and that she has no idea where he is. The equally concerned officer says that 'he must be out there somewhere, we have to find him…'

Being shown to their table, the well built black man immediately spots the largest steak on the menu - 'the ol' 86er', an 86oz steak that, if eaten by one person in one sitting, allows the whole table to eat for free. The steak arrives along with an announcement that this brave soul is willing to tackle the so far unbeaten challenge. A flash goes off in the background where a particularly 'nerdish' man stands, taking photos in an evidently journalistic fashion as the man takes the first bite of his contest against the meal…