Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Incident at Shay Oaks by Sarah L. Colter


Incident at Shady Oaks

by Sarah Colter
18 pages / 7750 words
Available file types - html, lit, pdf, prc, epub, Sony-optimized pdf

Eve and Charley are just like any other couple: two people in love trying to get by. They don't make any secret of being together; they have a bigger secret to keep. Eve has precognitive visions and she's rarely wrong. When a stop at a dingy motel fills Eve's mind with terrible pictures, it's frightening enough. But when Eve and Charley find out that the welfare of a motley little band of society's outcasts may depend on Eve's ability to solve the mystery behind her visions, Eve's secret may be revealed.


We had been on the road all day, the last four hours in the pouring rain. Having had less than four hours sleep the previous night, I was near exhaustion, and Charley hadn’t blinked for miles. Her vacant stare concerned me. She was usually an animated driver -- chatty, idly commenting on the blunders of other drivers, not quietly staring straight ahead. Was she sleep-driving? It was nearly midnight, and we were somewhere in central Kentucky. I was desperate to find a place to sleep.

In an area that bore no other signs that offered services, I spotted a partially burned-out marquee that read ‘Welcome to the Shady Oaks Motel.’ Pointing anxiously, I read it aloud. I was relieved to see Charley show signs of awareness. The word ‘vacancy’ was not lit up, but we took a chance and pulled into the parking lot, anyway. Yawning, getting soaked to the skin as we dashed from the car to the building, we entered the lobby of the shabby little motel and found an old man at the front desk. He had been peacefully puffing on a cigarette as he watched the rain through the glass door, but his eyes lit up with friendliness as we crossed the threshold.

The clerk was old and looked frail. Tall, thin, partly bald, he seemed amicable enough. Although the temperature had been in the upper nineties that day, he was wearing a hooded jacket zipped up to his chin. A large tin can on the counter was overflowing with cigarette butts, some still smoldering. Needless to say, the room reeked.

I could’ve cheered when he told us there was a vacancy. I had mixed feelings because of the smell, but in my weary state, I decided I could live one night with Eau Du Ashtray if a bed was part of the deal.

The clerk introduced himself as Gus, and began taking down our information. He was a talkative, accommodating man with trembling, withered hands, but he eyed me with undisguised interest. Charley was openly amused, but I was discomfited by the old fart’s lusty leer. Patiently enduring his painfully slow movements, we waited for him to get us checked in. Our wet clothes dripped on the linoleum, leaving large puddles around our feet.

I mused on whether to mention it to Gus, or to let him come shuffling around the desk where he could possibly slip and splat out on the floor, maybe break a hip or something. Old folks have brittle bones and a fall could easily cause a serious injury. I sighed inwardly. Though he was obviously an indiscreet, bawdy peeper who couldn’t take his eyes off my tits, I couldn’t let him get hurt. I wasn’t that petty. I pointed out the puddles. How could I feel bad about contributing to the safety of a senior citizen?

Without missing a beat in his rambling dialogue, he ambled over to a row of shelves that contained linens, chose a torn bedspread, and arranged it on the floor at our feet. As I watched the material soak up the mess, an ominous shiver passed through me. I had a flicker of an image of blood, brutality, rage, sadness and pain. Emptiness. In the spot where we were standing, a violent act had either happened in the recent past, or it would happen in the near future. A full-body shudder rocked me out of the partial vision. I leaned against Charley for support. As always, her arm immediately closed around me. I was thankful for Charley.


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