The Death of a Small Town


Granny Atkins sat, hidden in the shadows, on the porch of the old house looking at what used to be a busy street in her hometown of Littleton, West Virginia. Drug addiction had killed this town. Littleton wasn’t even a town anymore. It was a death trap. Only a few people her age remained here. The rest had fled or died off. Her generation had worked on the gas wells, but they weren’t pumping much anymore. There was no work.

All that remained were a few families trying to raise some children. They didn’t have any money to move away. The teachers taught drug awareness classes in the only remaining school, but when the heroin came to town, it didn’t matter. The kids used it anyway. They got crazy, burned buildings, and overdosed.

Littleton was a ghost town now. Soon, she would be a ghost too.

Little Dude in Rehab



  1. This is a moving story, especially thinking of Granny hiding in the shadows in her own home. It’s hard not think that, for someone growing up in a town like the one you describe, misusing opiates seems like a rational choice. What do they have to lose?


      1. That’s my point. If someone wakes up each morning to a life that seems to offer nothing and no way out, the lure of a temporary escape through drugs might be irresistible. Advice about the risks goes in one ear and out the other. Unfortunately the temporary escape becomes more frequent/ habitual and only adds to the misery until, sometimes, the drugs bring it to a permanent end through death. I’m not condoning drug use, just trying to consider its appeal to someone who doesn’t lead the same life that I do.


  2. So tragic, and the larger tragedy is the truth to this story. West Virginia is one of the most beautiful places I know, but the poverty and addiction are heartbreaking. Thanks for writing this story.


  3. I read the history of the town, too, such a sad ending. Drove through there once. Eerie, spooky. Didn’t want to stay long. Great story.


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