• ERIC BUTLER

House of the Dark One: Donn, TX -1969 Part 7

The next installment in the tales of the Donn, TX Motel focuses on 4 travelers in the year 1969. Part 7 has our 4 travelers separated - the chase is one as the stakes are raised higher than ever. This is a mature series - you've been warned.



***

Sheriff Smite jumped when the phone rang on his desk. His Styrofoam cup tipped over, pouring coffee all over the day's paperwork. He grabbed the cup and swiped as much off the desk as he could before ruining everything. The damp papers landed in the trashcan to the side.


Thought maintenance wasn't supposed to install the new phones until next week. The shrill ring continued. Smite reached over just to stop the skull-piercing sound. He held the receiver to his ear. Pops and crackles came over the line before a whispered voice said the sheriff's name.


"Hello?" Smite responded. "Who is this?"


A steady hiss drowned out the answer. Smite pressed the receiver tighter against his ear as he plugged his other ear with his finger. Whispered voices fought to be heard over the hiss but no matter how hard he concentrated, Smite couldn't make out their words.


"Who the hell is this?" he said his voice rising with each word.


The whispers grew quiet. What is going on with this phone? He began to move the receiver away to inspect it when a sudden and intense howl sounded from the earpiece. His head ached from the sudden blast of noise so close to his ear.


"You will stay away," a voice spoke as the howl softened to static. "Or you will join your man in this year's harvest."


The phone went dead as a knock sounded on his door.


"What?" he barked out with a quiver in his voice.


The door swung open and Janice stepped in. He moved to hang up the receiver.


"Garr called in and requested your presence at the Donn Motel," she said pausing a moment to see if he had any orders before turning to leave. As she stepped out of the room, she glanced back, "What's with the phone? They aren't scheduled to be working until Tuesday."

Smite let the receiver fall to his desk...I was just getting used to Garr.


***


The patrol car came to a stop next to Frank's car. The doors still open. Garr slipped out and stood by the car for a long moment. Why isn't he letting us out? Jane hugged her sister, hoping to give her some reassurance.


"What is he doing?" Mary asked pressing her face against the window.


The officer stepped to the edge of the corn and cupped his hand around his mouth.


"Can you hear what he's saying?" Jane asked.


Mary shook her head, "But he's coming back."


Jane pulled her sister away from the door and held her tight. Garr moved to the door, pulled it open, and motioned for them to get out.


"Okay, ladies I need you to walk me through this?" he asked as he pointed to the abandoned car.


Jane loosed her grip, letting her sister go first before slipping out and putting herself between the officer and Mary. She guided her to the middle of the blacktop.


"Someone shot out the tires. The girls went down the road to look for the motel. I stayed with Frank. He was injured. We moved to follow once he woke up, but the crows..." Jane trailed off as a crow landed on the top of the squad car.


"Yeah, they're everywhere," Garr said with irritation. "Go on."


"We ran to the cornfield...there."


Garr turned to see where she pointed before walking back to the edge. He gazed into the rows. The women began to walk backward away from the cars, their eyes locked on the four crows watching them. One hopped to the edge of the roof and let out a cry. Garr spun around.


"Where did these all come from?" he asked as he stepped back towards the road.


A shadow appeared in the cornrows and flashed towards the officer, driving a pitchfork into his back and raising him in the air. Jane and Mary screamed as the scarecrow flung the bleeding man from the prongs to the ground. The crows sprang into the air and descended onto the body. Their angry cries drowning out his pleading screams for mercy.


Jane turned to run, her hand grabbing Mary's to pull her into motion. Laughter chased them as they rushed into the corn.


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