Killeen, Texas, is a town split into two. The original, old part of the city that was once a cotton and railroad town, but abuts the military installation and sacrificed itself to serve it, sits next to the old strip where pawn shops and liquor stores line the highway into town. The new developments, near the mall, keep building for the new military families always arriving, while the old town dies and the forgotten growth of the past slowly decays. This piece is part of a narrative collection exploring the Killeen landscape.

Melanie Martinez is a BFA student at Texas State University in San Marcos but she lives in Austin, and grew up in the Army town of Killeen. Her early life led her through many worlds from journalism to horticulture, then music and historic preservation and now interior design and painting. Combined with an interest in society and American Studies leads her to examine the ways we live in the world today. Her style evokes the attractive illustrative-yet-disturbing style of Rene Magritte but the subject matter places her in the world of contemporary social realist painters. ​You can find her at

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