• ERIC BUTLER

House of the Dark One: Donn, TX -1969 Part 5

The next installment in the tales of the Donn, TX Motel focuses on 4 travelers in the year 1969. Part 5 has our 4 travelers separated - Mary is chasing after Cindy as the crows take her away. This is a mature series - you've been warned.



***


Cindy slammed into the hard ground knocking the breath from her lungs. Her shoulders ached from the gouges left by the crows' talons. Blood soaked into her shirt causing it to stick to her skin. She struggled to rise but something slammed into her back, driving her to the ground. One of the crow's eyes came into her peripheral vision. It studied her a moment before driving its beak into her shoulder.


Cindy cried out weakly before slumping into the dirt. Her body shook with silent sobs as she continued to fight for breath. The crow pulled back, its beak shiny with her blood. It released a cry and sprang into the sky. She rolled to her back, grateful for the shade that protected her from the setting sun.


The crow circled above, moving so lazily it seemed more a dream to Cindy. She followed its path until it flew out of her view. It issued another cry, pulling her attention behind her to the scarecrow suspended in the air on a thin platform. Its shiny black eyes seemed to be watching her lay on the ground.


Cindy struggled to her knees, her eyes locked on the stuffed man. The scarecrow wore all black with a tight burlap sack acting as its face. Someone had stitched a wide mouth in a crooked grin that gave those black eyes a sense of mischief that left Cindy unsettled.


The crow landed on the scarecrow's shoulder. It studied her a moment, before hopping closer to the head, smearing its beak against the stitched lips of the scarecrow. The stalks of corn began to sway as a strong wind blew through the cornfield. Cindy stared at the scarecrow, unable to break eye contact with the shiny black circles.


As the wind died down, Cindy realized she could hear laughter. It was soft, a weak raspy noise, but it was building in strength as it went on. She glanced around searching for the source. As the laughter grew louder, her eyes moved back to the scarecrow. That's not possible...is it? The laughter stopped abruptly leaving Cindy in absolute silence.


"Anything is possible with enough blood," the scarecrow said, its voice as dry as the earlier laughter.


Cindy began to scream as the scarecrow dropped from its perch.


***


Mary crept through the corn. There was laughter in the wind and it filled her with dread. She shuddered at the thought of blindly running into someone out there. Just find Cindy and make it back to the road.


She scanned the tops of the corn, looking for any movement. Her eyes fell upon the upper body of a scarecrow. A chill rushed through her, as she pulled up. It was looking directly at her. Don't be silly. But she was unable to pull her eyes away from the shiny black circles staring in her direction. The wind picked up, swaying the corn back and forth, while the laughter returned gaining in volume causing the hairs on Mary's neck to rise.


She glanced back, needing the confirmation no one was there. Releasing the breath she didn't realize she was holding, she returned her attention to the scarecrow. It was looking straight ahead, studying something on the ground.


A huge crow appeared from the corn, circling over the scarecrow before landing on its arm. Mary wondered if it might be one of the birds who took Cindy. Definitely big enough. She started moving forward, scanning the ground for any holes.


A scream pulled her attention from the ground in time to see the scarecrow disappear into the stalks. What's going on? As the laughter began again, she picked up her pace until another scream had her running. Her ankle buckled as her foot landed on a dirt clod forcing her to stumble forward into a clearing.


Mary regained her balance, skidding to a stop. A gasp slipped out as the scarecrow glanced back before returning its attention back to Cindy. She knelt before the being, her arms outstretched with tears streaming down her face. The scarecrow raised its arm high, a sickle clutched in its gloved hand.


"NO," Mary cried as the sickle slashed down catching Cindy on the side of her neck and slicing through with a spray of blood.


Cindy teetered a moment, her gaze shifting from the scarecrow to Mary before her head rolled from her shoulders to the dusty ground below as her body fell backward with a gush of blood. A wordless howl tore from Mary as she stepped toward her friend. The scarecrow bent over to grasp Cindy's head by her hair and turned to hold it up for Mary to see.


"Such a bountiful harvest," it said in a raspy voice as it lifted Cindy's head above its own letting her blood drip onto its burlap face.


Bile rose in Mary's throat before she spewed vomit on the ground. She gave one last look at her friend's body in the dirt before rushing back into the corn. She pushed herself harder as the dry raspy laughter followed her through the stalks.


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