a strange history of Rainbow Beach
There’s hand painted tin sign hanging behind the Soda Fountain at Nixie’s in Rainbow Beach.
! Drink Nixie’s Root Beer !
“soothing to the nerves, vitalizing to the blood, and refreshing to the brain”
and in fine print under that:
Nixie’s….Everything you need for Health’s Sake
That’s where people from The Bow went when something ailed them…and somethings never change.
Not matter how somethings may appear.
The night Alona Darelyn walked into Rainbow Beach she headed straight for Nixie’s.
She didn’t slow down to look at the house she grew up in, she didn’t wonder where everyone was.
Instead she walked down the middle of the street she had roller skated down as a child, she crossed over another street she rode her bike on as a teenager and right there in front of Nixie’s where she got her first traffic ticket she put her bags down on the faded blue bus stop bench and she told herself she was home.
And that it was time to go into Nixie’s to find a cure for what ailed her.
Nixie’s was empty of course- the soda fountain was gone, the cases that once held the penny candies was gone, the lighting fixtures where gone- everything was gone.
Nixie’s had been stripped to the bone.
But that didn’t really matter because the thing that made Nixie’s the place to go to find a cure for what ailed you was always there- if you knew where to look.
And of course Alona did.
It was down on the floor, just in front of the place where the Soda Fountain once stood, a dusty circle of tiles colored blue and green and red.
Alona looked down and tried to scoot the mess off the tiles with her foot and when that didn’t work she sighed.
She went to the back of the store, where Miss Nixie, whose father was the town’s pharmacist back in the late 30’s and early 1940’s used to make and tonics and medicines.
When Alona walked by the radio on Mr Nixie’s desk it clicked on and buried in the static was a song about what a little Moonlight could do. Alona put her finger to her lips and said, ” shhh ” and the radio clicked off.
And then she started to open doors.
She opened one door which turned out to be a closet that held four white coats hanging from wooden hangers and the second opened up into a little washroom .
Alona found a bucket under the sink and then she turned on the faucets and grimaced as the bucket started to fill with thick rusty water. When the smell from what was coming from the tap hit her nose and started to make her eyes water she turned her head and looked out the door back into Mr Nixie’s workroom
Through the door on those very shelves is where Miss Nixie was supposed to have collected the powders and liquids that she mixed into the Soda Water behind the fountain.
That was the soda water she spent all day Friday and into Friday evening mixing into the drinks of everyone who stopped by before and after the movies and she used it to mix into even more drinks for everyone who was either on their way to or coming home from the Friday Dance at the Palace By The Sea Dance Hall on the Pier.
By midnight, over 200 people were dead and Miss Nixie was nowhere to be found.
But what Miss Nixie started that night in her Soda Fountain didn’t stop with the deaths that night- for some reason people took it into their heads to try to finish off the people who drank from the fountain and didn’t die.
For instance- people like Alona’s Grandparents.
Though right now that was water under the bridge as far as Alona was concerned and with that she turned the bucket upside down and the water hit the floor.
Only it didn’t pool or spread the way it should have.
Instead it ran around the tiles and then then it was gone.
” More. ” something whispered from under Alona’s feet.
Alona kneeled down and smoothed the still dusty floor with her hands. ” No.”
” Give you anything….”
Alona kneeled and brought her face to the floor and her lips touched the mold and rot and she said, ” You’re going to anyway Miss Nixie.”
Alona looked up and in a dark corner was a spinner rack with rusted claws that held a neat row of postcards.
They weren’t dusty and moldy like everything else in Nixie’s.
They were brand new.
Each was a light green card with simple block letters that read:
Admit One For Free
The Newest Addition To
The Clawson Museum of Anatomy
For One Thin Dime Extra
our amazing collection of
Curiosities and Monstrosities
collected from far and wide.
One Night Only
Alona took the card back to the tiles she let it drop to the floor.
” You didn’t.”
The dust rolled away from the tiles at Alona’s feet and the rough outline of a woman’s face was looking up at her.
” I did. “
” I’m going to find Kanden, Miss Nixie…”
” I don’t doubt that Alona Darelyn.” Miss Nixie chuckled
” And then I’m coming back here.”
” Of course you are.” Miss Nixie’s laugh bounced off the walls and shook the floor.
” And of course you know that when I do the moon will be full…and by morning, Miss Nixie, I will be too.”
The dust and mold reached up from the floor towards Alona’s throat and then it fell back down again and covered the tiles on the floor.
” It’s a date then.” Alona said.
Alona reached down and picked the card up from the floor and then she folded it and put it in her back pocket.
When she left Nixie’s Fountain the radio in the backroom switched back on and the Spinner rack in the dark corner turned slowly for a few minutes.
And then it stopped.