"The Lost Colonie" was a story printed in the second issue of The Twilight Zone comic published by Gold Key.
A surprise underground nearly drowned telephone maintenance man Charley Paine. A narrow escape led him to safety, but this new refuge had its own dangers.
Cast of characters
- bar patrons (8)
- prison guards (2)
- sewer workers (2)
"Charley Paine, telephone company troubleshooter, is trapped by a flash flood while checking cables beneath the streets of downtown New York. There is only one way out for him now--through the Twilight Zone."
Story summaryTelephone maintenance man Charley Paine had been conducting routine repairs underneath the streets of New York City when he heard a loud rush of water approaching. He ran through the sewer line, attempting to outrun the approaching wave but he had no hopes of keeping ahead of the raging water. Suddenly, he spotted a door in the wall of the tunnel and lept inside. As he regained his breath and counted his blessings, he realized he had a new problem: how could he get out of this new room?
The room opened into a larger system of tunnels. Charley had never been in this area before and where the tunnels led remained a mystery. With no alternative, he began to navigate through the tunnels. After walking for some time, he admitted to himself that he was lost. Then, he heard a noise which sounded like a group of voices singing! Though confused about the source, the lost man decided to head in its direction.
The sounds were coming from behind a tunnel that had been collapsed. With some work, Charley managed to dislodge the rubble and make an opening big enough for him to crawl through. He could not believe what he saw on the other side. It was a village! He was initially relieved to be back in civilization, but then he began to notice some peculiar characteristics about this new town. The smell of gas was in the air and could be traced to old-fashioned gas lights. There were also wooden carts complete with wooden wheels parked along the cobblestone streets. It certainly seemed unlike 20th century New York City! He thought it strange, but he had been walking for quite a while. Maybe he was no longer in New York City, he speculated.Charley decided he would ask for directions at the local tavern, but was stunned when he entered the doorway. Everyone inside was dressed in 17th century era fashions! The bar patrons stared just as strangely at him. He stuttered out his request for directions back into the city. The men became hostile, accusing him of being an English spy! Charley adamantly denied being a spy, swearing that he was just a worker for the telephone company! The explanation did not dissuade the men and they ushered Charley Paine off to see the governor.
In front of the governor, Charley related the events that had led him to the town. He said that he meant the people no harm and only requested their help in returning him to his home. The governor then shared that their underground town had been built to hide the townspeople from Peter Stuyvesant, the Tyrant of Nieuw Amsterdam. Aware of the history of his city, Charley assured the governor the people had no reason to be concerned, that Peter Stuyvesant had been dead for three centuries! The governor became agitated and disputed the repairman's claim. He said that Stuyvesant had been alive but two years prior, in 1660, when his people hid themselves below the ground! More confused than ever, Charley was led off to the jail until it could be decided how he should be dealt with.The suspected spy remained in his jail cell for hours, stripped of his tool belt and taunted by the guards with threats of being burned at the stake. Charley screamed, "You can't do this! This is 1962 not 1662! You're all crazy!" He felt something in his back pocket. It was his flashlight! The guards had overlooked taking it from him. With this discovery, Charley began to hatch an escape plan.
When the guard brought the prisoner his meal, Charley jumped out at him, shining his flashlight directly in his eyes. The guard's eyes, weakened from years spent underground, are blinded and he stumbled backward. Charley then swung the butt of the flashlight and struck the guard in his head, rendering him unconscious. He then used his bootlaces to tie up the knocked out man and made his way outside.
As he crept along the walls, carefully making his way around the vacant streets, he heard the town guard give a call of "All's well!" and started back the other direction when he was spotted! He quickly flashed his light at the patrolmen, which blinded them, but not before one got a shot off to alert the others.Soon, Charley Paine found himself in a race for his life. He was well ahead of his pursuers when he tripped on the cobblestone roadway and his flashlight rolled away. With no other choice, Charley turned and began to fight with the two patrolmen closest to him and subdued them. With what little time he had before others reached his location, he dove for a hole in the town wall. He was halfway through when the mob caught up with him, pulling him back toward them by his legs. Charley began screaming for help, in the hopes that someone might hear. Fortunately for him, someone did! Two other workers in the subway found him wedged in the hole in the tunnel wall. They had been looking for the missing utility worker after they found a piece of torn cloth stuck on the door he entered to avoid the flood. With some effort, the two workers pulled the distressed man through to their side and safety, though short a boot—apparently pulled off by the mob.
Charley, now safely back in the world he knew, collapsed in exhaustion. His rescuers let him rest and went to look for the missing boot. One of them smelled the odor of gas as he neared the hole, just as Charley had experienced. Unlike Charley, however, when the men peered through the gap, it was not a town full of angry people that they found, but a pile of centuries-old bones! There, at the center of the heap of long-decayed corpses, rested a skeleton with a firm grip on Charley's missing boot. The shocked men were sure this is what had disturbed Charley so much—he had stumbled upon a forgotten graveyard as he searched for an exit. When he finally found one, he had climbed through the narrow opening and wedged his boot securely into the dirt at the skeleton's hand.
"Is the explanation really that simple? Or did Charley Paine upset a delicate balance of life that existed for 300 years in the Twilight Zone?"
Response and analysis
Notes and annotations
- Kolonie is the Dutch spelling of the English word colony, from which the use of colonie in the story title probably was derived. 
- Colonie is the name of both a town and a village within that town in the state of New York, USA, a suburb of Albany. The name is derived from the Dutch Colonye or "Colonie," derived from the Colonie of Rensselaerswyck.
- Nieuw Amsterdam is the Dutch name for New Amsterdam, the 17th century Dutch settlement that would later come to be New York City.
- Peter (or Pieter, or Petrus) Stuyvesant (c. 1612–1672) served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland (New York) from 1647 until it was ceded to the English in 1664. He came into a number of disputes with other leaders, both in the colonies and back in the Netherlands. One case was in 1648 when he came into conflict with Brant Aertzsz van Slechtenhorst, the commissary of the patroonship Rensselaerwijck over which of the men had claim to power over Rensselaerwijck. Another conflict, occurring closer to the time of the story (1660-1662) was over the issue of religious freedom. In 1657, Stuyvesant ordered the public torture of an influential Quaker preacher, Robert Hodgson, and passed an ordinance to punish anyone found harboring Quakers. Stuyvesant also refused the right of Jews from Northern Brazil to settle permanently in New Amsterdam. These actions led to protests and demands for greater religious freedom.
- Originally published in color
- Printed on newsprint, 9 pages
- Cover story for The Twilight Zone (Gold Key) 02
- Reprinted in The Twilight Zone (Gold Key) 28 and Mystery Comics Digest 12
Errors and goofs
- Numerous lamps can be seen in the story and the comments about the gas smell seem to imply that the street lamps are gas lights. Although gas had already been used to light lanterns inside of houses for many decades, according to both AllExperts and Wikipedia, the first street lamp illuminated with gas in public took place in Pall Mall, London on January 28, 1807. This is over 140 years later than the 17th century setting for the story.
- One possible error is that, although the town lay deep underground, the passage of day and night seem to be observed, yet no clouds or stars are visible so the possibility of lighting in a large luminous cavern may be an explanation.
Notes and references
- ↑ Google. Google Language Tools.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Colonie (town), New York." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, July 22, 2009. Retrieved: July 23, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Peter Stuyvesant." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, July 15, 2009. Retrieved: July 23, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Gas lighting." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, July 23, 2009. Retrieved: July 23, 2009.
- ↑ Gad lighting." AllExperts.com. Retrieved: July 23, 2009.
- Bob Klein and Mike Tiefenbacher. "The Twilight Zone no 2 (1962 series)." Grand Comics Database. Retrieved: June 23, 2009.