Reads: 87  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

horror/psychological thriller about a motel in small town new england and the secrets both the place and people in it keep.

Submitted: July 21, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 21, 2018





“I’m a dead man, you’re lookin’ at a corpse” Ray walsh says as he stumbles into the sheriff’s office out of another cold,gray and drizzly night in Keyport Maine. Town sheriff Jack Brady ushers Ray into his office and hands him a steaming styrofoam cup of coffee. ‘Settle down son. I’ll be right with ya’’. Says Brady as he walks out to take a phone call. Ray sips from the steaming cup of crappy coffee and helps himself to a smoke from the open pack of Marlboro on the desk. Hands shaking he tries to compose himself while speaking out loud. “Christ’s sake get it together Ray, get your shit together!’ just then, sheriff Brady reenters sarcastically asking…”Pardon me son am I interrupting? Is this a private conversation”? Brady removes his black cowboy hat and mirrored sunglasses as he sits at his desk across from Ray. “Now slow down and try to explain what’s got you all worked up”.

Ray takes a long drag from his cigarette. Through a cloud of smoke he begins… “ I don’t know what it is but it’s after me and it’s getting closer. I can’t explain it but I know it. I can feel it”. Sheriff Brady shakes his head while bending to open his bottom desk drawer. He retrieves a bottle of whiskey and two glasses. “I got a feelin’ it’s gonna be a long night” he says as he pours sliding one glass in front of Ray. “go ahead kid, tell me a ghost story”.


One Year Ago


Ray Wash stands outside his family home on a tree lined Brooklyn street for the last time. His blue eyes are watery and his scruffy stubble does little to mask the pain in his weathered and world weary face. Having lost his mother to cancer and not being particularly close with his brother or sister Ray decided to cash everything in and make a fresh start. He slams the trunk of his beat up old Chevy Impala and gets behind the wheel to visit his oldest and closest friend Danny Cassidy in the small town of Keyport Maine. Who knows maybe he’ll like it enough to stay? Anyway, it’s always good to see old friends Ray thinks to himself half smirking as he cranks the radio and sees his block and his neighborhood get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror until it evaporates and disappears completely.


While enjoying the peaceful, scenic drive Ray pulls into a rest stop for gas and coffee. After lighting a smoke and stretching his legs Ray decides to call Danny just to check in. “Danny Boy”! Ray yells excitedly into the phone. Danny responds, “hey brother, where are ya”? “I’m about two hours out kid. Can’t wait to see you”! “ Me too man, get your ass movin’ I got a case of beer and a bottle of Jame-O waiting for ya”. Danny says in return. They hang up and Ray gets back on the road. A short time later pulling into Keyport Ray notices a small diner, a grocery store and a bar called the Rusty Anchor which literally has an old rusty anchor sitting in front of it. Ray laughs and says out loud, “Small town U.S.A.” Pulling up to the dock Ray sees Danny standing in front of an old lobster boat waving his arms in the air. Ray parks and gets out of the car and the two old friends hug and slap each other on the back. “God damn, good to see ya Danny Boy lookin’ good”! “You too buddy”. Danny says. The two stroll down the dock. Danny stops points at his boat and beaming with pride, turns to Ray and says… “Meet the Barbara Ann.” Ray stares at the name boldly and proudly painted on the side of the old fishing vessel. He takes a deep breath with his eyes fixed on the bright blue letters. “HOLY SHIT Dan”! Really”? Danny smiling warmly, ‘HELL YEAH, I named her after your mom. Why not, both tough old girls”. Ray obviously overcome by emotion softly says “that’s beautiful Dan, I don’t know what else to say”. Then shut the fuck up and let’s grab a drink at The Anchor. C’mon, you’re gonna love it and I know the bartender. She’s pretty cute”!


The Rusty Anchor is a locals joint decorated with faded pictures of old fishermen and even older boats along with lobster traps and fishing nets. The guys grab stools at the corner of the bar Ray calls to the bartender who’s back is to him “ Hey, two beers and two whiskeys for me and my friend.” Bartender Maggie is a petite brunette with a foul mouth and a quick fuse who can hold her own with the boys. She also happens to be Danny’s girlfriend. Without even turning around she replies, “you can just get the FUCK OUTTA MY BAR RAY WALSH!” While breaking out in laughter Maggie hops over the bar and hugs Ray. Ray jokingly comments “You better watch that mouth Maggie Dillon”. Maggie rolling her eyes says “grab a table boys, I’ll get those drinks.”

The three sit sipping drinks and catching up. Maggy calls over to a young girl clearing tables, “Kate, cover me I’m takin’ a break.” Maggie turns to Ray and continues “so Ray what’s the plan?” Ray answers,”my plan is to not have a plan. I’m gonna stick around for a while. I have enough cash to last me until I figure something out.”  “Glad to hear it, we’re happy to have you .” Maggie says she then calls for another round. Katie, the cute blonde waitress in her mid twenties brings over the drinks. Danny introduces her. “Ray this is Katie. Katie Ray here is my best friend from back in Brooklyn.” “ She’s also my little sister, so it’s hands off! Got it Ray?” “Yes Miss Maggie.” Ray replies. Danny says to Ray “ me and you can stay on the boat tonight and hang out. I”ll fix you up with a place to stay in the morning.” “sounds good.” Maggie interrupts” You two get outta here now. I gotta get back to work and don’t get in any trouble!” Danny and Ray both shrug and nod as they start to walk out.


While walking towards the boat Ray asks, “ what’s with Katie?” “No Ray!” Is Danny’s response. “Ok Dan don’t get your balls twisted. I just asked a question.” Ray answers back. The guys spend the rest of the night drinking, smoking and reliving the good old days being kids back in Brooklyn. Somewhere in the haze of smoke and booze a plan for the future starts to take shape.


Ray rises to his feet, “why not? Why not me? I have the money, why not own something? Why not stay here and make a go of it? I could be my own boss and make a decent living.” Danny interjects,..” Just not a bar Ray that’s a bad idea.” Ray snaps back, “ No Asshole, how bout that old motel I saw as I pulled into the dock?” Danny sceptical but says,”That place was run by the same family for thirty years. It closed in ‘05. The old man who ran it with his wife killed himself after she died.  They had a daughter in college. She wanted no part of it so she gave it to the town council. They’ll probably let it go for cheap but you know nothin’ about runnin’ a motel. Ray answers “ Details Danny Boy. Can’t let details get in the way.” I have cash, I’ll hire people to fix the place up and run it. It would be good if this town had a place for people to stay. What do you say?”ok I’m in. It’s nuts but I’m in. We’ll go to the town council on Monday and see what they say.”





Monday morning Danny and Ray head to the town meeting hall to see the town council. Ray is clean shaven and wearing a dress shirt and pants that Maggie ironed for him. Danny is just there to make an introduction and vouch for Ray as a stand up guy. The three members of the council sit at a table. Bill Fisk is a portly balding man in his mid fifties.  He’s also the town’s only lawyer and real estate agent. John Wyman is the town doctor. Nobody is sure how old Doc Wyman is but he’s been the doctor to the old and young of Keyport forever, The last member of the council is Janet Chambers. There has been a member of her family on the council since it began. The Chambers family goes back three generations in town and has always owned the Keyport Market. Janet will routinely extend people credit and has been know to tear up some bills at the end of the month.


Mister Fisk starts the proceedings by saying, “This is largely just a formality Mr. Walsh. We understand you have the finances in place and you are willing to hire local people for the renovations and repairs needed to get the motel up and running.” Ray replies “ yes sir. I also wanna hire local people to work there full time and I’d like to make Keyport my home.” Fisk says “What’s good for Keyport is good for us, show of hands. Do we allow Mr. Walsh to buy the motel and assist him in getting it going?” all hands are raised. Ray Says “thank you.” Fisk responds we can go over there tomorrow and then discuss the finer details and a fair price. Since I am both a lawyer and realtor I’ll take you over there myself and we’ll get this thing going. How’s that?” Ray responds, “sounds good, thank you.” Ray and Danny shake hands with the council members and walk outside.


Ray puts his arm around Danny and says”well that was pretty damn easy.” Danny laughs and says, “ Don’t get all crazy brother. Settle down and wait til they hit you with the price tag.” Ray lights a cigarette and tells his old friend as he exhales a cloud of smoke, “No worries Danny Boy, between the sale of the house my 401 and my bank accounts I got a little over three hundred sixty grand in my pocket! Ha, need a loan brother?” “No thanks pal. I’m all set. What’s going on with Eddie and Carol?” Danny asks. Ray replies, “My big brother and little sister are ok,  I guess. We never were that close. We split the cash up from the house and that was that. They were both always too busy with their suburban lives to make time for Mom or me so I did the best I could and it was never good enough. They both always had a better way or a better idea. They threw money at Mom’s problems to make themselves feel better and now that she’s gone and the house is sold we have no more connection. I’m thirsty Danny Boy. Let’s go see Maggie and get a drink.” Great idea Brother!” Danny answers and the two head to The Anchor.


The Anchor is always full on a late afternoon during the week. As soon as the fishing boats dock for the day the guys come in to swap stories and blow off some steam. Danny tells Ray, “ it’s about time I introduced you around now that you’re about to become a local and all, c’mon.” Ray follows Danny across the room where a thin hispanic man with long stringy hair and a bandanna around his head is playing darts. “Hey Rico” Danny says, “ This is my buddy Ray from Brooklyn. He’s gonna buy the motel and get it open again.” Rico gives Ray a firm handshake and says, “ Hey man any friend of Danny’s should probably buy me a beer!” Rico starts laughing while Ray says “Nice to meet ya.” He puts his hand up to get Katie’s attention to order drinks. Danny continues… “Rico here is my deck hand on the boat and the Best mechanic around He takes care of Barbara Ann and keeps her fishin’ for us..”  “that’s great!” Ray responds as Katie comes back with three beers and three shots of whiskey. Always a flirt she puts her arm around Ray gives him a kiss on the cheek and says, “good to see you again handsome. Hope you’re plannin’ on bein’ a regular.’ Ray smiles and says, “ I just might do that.” Danny pulls Ray away to introduce him to a couple sitting at a table in the corner. As they walk up Danny says “Excuse me, Jimmy and Ann” The couple turn. “Hey, Dan.” I Just wanted you two to meet my friend Ray. He’s buying the Motel. “Well then,” says Jimmy Tyler with his hand out for Ray to shake. “We should talk. Ann and I own the B&B ranch house just outside town and I have a contracting company. I’ll get you a good crew and a fair price when you’re ready.” “ That would be a great help thanks.” Ray says in return. Danny excuses himself to see Maggie at the bar And Ray stays to talk in greater detail with the Tyler’s.


Bright and early Tuesday morning Ray meets Mr. Fisk at the motel to do a walk through and finalize the deal. Fisk is in a conservative gray suit standing outside the motel office with a tall, bald black man in coveralls and work gloves. “Good morning Ray.” Fisk says with a smile “This is Vincent Bishop. He’s the caretaker/handyman who kept this place presentable for us until you came along.” The two men shake hands and start going over the property. Bishop is an imposing but soft spoken man who has lived and worked on the property since it closed in ‘05. He explains the basics as all three walk and look around. “Got twenty double rooms all with microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker and a table and chairs also cable t.v.” he continues, “That’s the office and that small building next to it is the owner’s cabin. It’s not much but it’s nice enough. I live in the very last room on the end and I’d like to stay on if that’s ok?” “Of course, please do.” Ray replies. After some negotiation and haggling the deal is made and renovations start. Ray is hoping to have the New and Improved Keyport Motor inn up and running very quickly.


Opening Day


Four months later it’s time for the Grand opening. Ray is standing in the motel lobby ready for the first day. He has a solid team of hard workers who are looking forward to success. Katie Dillon runs the front desk and manages the website putting her degree to good use instead of waiting tables. Rico’s wife Anna and her sister Louisa are the housekeepers and Vincent happily continues as caretaker and handyman. Ray addresses the staff. “ Thank you all for being here and helping us get to this point. I want us all to be one big happy successful family. Let’s all smile and make some money. Anybody needs help just let me know. Ray takes a minute to talk to Katie “ Hey kid are we ready?” Katie replies with a sarcastic salute. “ Yes Boss!”  “ Don’t be a smart ass. I really appreciate you stepping up and taking this job. Especially the computer, on line stuff. It means a lot” Ray gives Katie a hug and she replies, “Thanks for letting me stay in one of the rooms, it beats crashing on Maggie and Dann’s couch.” “You got it. Now let’s get to work.”


A few guests trickle in that first day. Mostly truckers and fishermen.  Nearly the whole town stopped by in the first week or so to check the place out and wish Ray and his crew luck. Things are a little slow that first month but Ray is enjoying greeting guests and being a hands on owner. The staff are all getting along and seem happy, Ray has them as well as Danny and Maggie over to his cabin for drinks or to play cards about once a week. On one of these occasions Ray and Danny stand in front of the cabin smoking cigars and Danny asks, “ so are you breakin’ even yet?” Ray Laughs…”Opening a motel in New England in October Mighta’ been a dumbass move but I like it and business is slow but steady. I’m payin’ bills and making payroll, no complaints Brother.” Danny responds, “Same with the boat, just keep her goin’. We’re lucky though, I’m glad you’re here.” The two old friends talk late into the night.


Roadside motels in small towns can be a funny thing. They tend to cater to transient types and can be seedy or even a little dangerous. So far The Keyport Motor Inn has been lucky a little more than a month open and it’s fishermen, families and “just passin’ through types.” Pete Buckman is one of those types. The last in a long line of traveling salesmen. a short, stocky gray haired man in a cheap suit that looks like he slept in it. He approaches the front desk and announces…”Buckman, checking in.” Katie greets the new guest and with a few taps on the keyboard she hand him a key card. “Room 111 Mr. Buckman. If you need anything just dial one on your phone and you’ll get the desk.” “Thanks dear.” Buckman says as he turns to find his room.


Room 111


Ray enters the motel office to relieve Katie and man the desk for the night. “Get outta here whenever you’re ready Katie.” Ray says. Katie informs him of the arrival of a new guest in 111 then says, “Thanks Ray, have a good night.” “see ya in the morning .” Ray replies. Ray settles in behind the desk reading the sports section. The phone rings, Ray picks up, “Front desk.”  the voice on the other end says, “This is Buckman in 111. What happened to the girl?” “She’s off for the night. Can I help you?” Ray answers. Buckman asks, “Room service and a couple of drinks?” Ray tells him “You can order from the diner across the road and the mini mart in the gas station sells beer and chips. The diner delivers.” Buckman says, “Thanks pal and hangs up the phone.”


Pete Buckman orders a cheeseburger with fries from the diner and picks up a six pack and a pack of cigarettes from the mini mart. Once back in his room he takes off his suit and sits on the edge of the bed flipping channels on tv and waiting for his food. He calls the front desk. Ray answers, “Front desk.” Buckman asks, “Yeah, any adult programing on the tv here?” Ray answers, “Yeah chanel 500 thru 505. Billed separately to any major card when you check out.” Buckman says”Thanks again.” and hangs up. After getting his burger and having two beers Buckman stumbles upon “Prison Bitches 3.” and lays on the bed in his boxers to enjoy some fine adult entertainment. Just then he hears something, almost in a low whisper.


“Hey you!” A Raspy, Bassy voice says. Pete Buckman nervously scans the small single room, quite certain he’s all alone. He hears it again, “Yeah you, Buckman. I remember you.” While fumbling to light a cigarette Buckman asks, “Who me? Who’s there?” Getting louder the voice responds, “Buffalo two months ago, sound familiar?” Buckman gets up to leave and the voice now angrily booms ‘You choked that girl at a convention there in a room just like this one!” Buckman huddles in the corner now paralyzed by fear. He is stuttering and mumbling but can’t seem to form any words. “Shut up!” The voice commands. “Your poor wife sits home agonizing because she couldn’t  give you children and you’re out on the road paying girls so you can choke them? You make me sick, you little freak!” Buckman finally gets out his words through anguished tears, “It went too far! I didn’t mean it!” The voice seemingly softer responds, “Ok then, in that case just say you’re sorry, say your prayers and go to sleep.” Buckman asks, “Really that’s it?” He then starts praying out loud for forgiveness. The voice breaks into deafening laughter and commands Buckman to get up.


The voice calmly states, “Now let’s you and I play a game and see how far we can go.” Again unable to speak Buckman simply nods his head in agreement. “Just do exactly what I say Pete and this will all be over and you’ll be free.” The voice instructs Buckman to strip naked and run a bath. He complies though moving slowly as if trying to buy some time. “Now get in that tub and wash yourself you filthy little man.” the voice orders. Buckman scrubs his skin red and nearly raw while crying and blubbering out every prayer he can think of. “That’s enough! Dry off and go get your belt.” The ever more sinister sounding voice declares. Buckman gets the belt from his pants which are rolled up in a ball on the floor. “Good boy.” says the voice. “Now since you like to choke young women and listen to them gasp for air march into that bathroom toss the belt over the shower curtain rod and choke yourself.” Buckman defiantly refuses. “No Way!” He yells with authority. The voice responds, “I’ll tell you when to stop and then you’ll be free and I’ll leave you alone.


Slowly and as if not under his own power Pete Buckman does as he’s been directed tightening the belt little by little around his neck while standing naked in the half filled tub. The voice instructs, “That’s right Pete. A little more almost there. Buckman’s coloring is changing and the blood vessels in his eyes are popping and hemorrhaging as he gasps. A few more seconds Mr. Buckman.” The voice quietly taunts. “Just sit down and I’ll release you. You’re free!” A small gentle splash into the tub and a few involuntary twitches and that’s the end of Pete Buckman. By his own hand, He’s free. As promised.


The next morning all is quiet as Ray stands in front of the office smoking and sipping a cup of coffee. Katie arrives at 7:30 AM to relieve him at the desk. Katie greets Ray with a cheery “Good morning sunshine how’s it going?” Ray answers, “Hey, everything's good. The guy in 111 has to check out at eleven. He has some charges for porn and maybe some phone calls. Make sure you run his card. Other than that all is quiet. I gotta get some sleep.” “Ok, thanks Ray. Sleep well, see you later. Katie says. Ray replies call me or Vince if you need anything.” Ray refills his coffee from the pot in the lobby before heading off to his cabin. Katie waves goodbye and says, “You got it Ray.”


Katie goes about this clear, crisp Friday morning checking guests in and out while texting back and forth with Maggie she happens to glance at the clock and sees that it’s 11:18 and Mr. Buckman is late for checkout. She calls room 111 and the phone rings endlessly. Katie then walks outside and sees Anna, one of the house keepers and also Rico’s wife pushing her cart of cleaning supplies toward the office. Katie meets Anna half way and asks, “Have you cleaned 111 yet?” Anna answers “no, there’s no answer and the Do Not Disturb sign is on the door.” Katie decides to call Ray instead of having a possible confrontation with a guest. Katie quickly returns to the desk and calls Ray’s cabin, no answer. Same result with his cell phone and the walkie talkie that they use for quick communication around the property. Katie then rings Vince’s room hoping the handyman is around. Vincent Bishop answers, “Yeah?” Katie explains, “Vince, the guest in 111 won’t answer the door or the phone and he’s late checking out,” Vince replies, “Did you call Ray?” Yeah He’s not answering.” Katie says. “Ok Katie grab the spare key card and meet me at 111.” Vince hangs up, puts on his boots and a sweatshirt and goes to meet Katie.


As Ray is walking from his cabin to the office to get a coffee refill he sees Katie and Vince outside of room 111. “Hey what’s going’ on Ray asks?” Vince seeming annoyed responds, “Pain in the ass guest is holed up in there and won’t answer the phone or the door.” Katie nods in agreement. Ray Knocks and says, “Mr. Buckman it’s way passed check out, time to go.” Ray waits a few seconds then takes the key card from Katie. He opens the door and hold his arm out to keep Katie back.The room is both messy and empty. Bishop pops his head into the bathroom and waves Ray over saying, “Check this out boss.” Ray looks over vince’s shoulder and sees Buckman’s body sitting in the tub his eyes follow the belt around Buckman’s neck up and over the shower curtain rod. Ray calls out, to Katie “Don’t come in here Kate. Go outside and call the sheriff.” A second late Katie has already seen the lifeless body and is slowly backing out of the room with her hand over her mouth.Vince is already on the phone with DR, Wyman, “Yeah Doc, The Keyport Motor Inn...and bring the wagon.” Ray and Vince both stand outside. Ray instructs Katie, “Go back to the desk and keep it together. We wanna deal with this quick and quiet.” Katie, shaking her head says, “Ok Ray.” “I’ll let you go home when the Doc and the cops are done here.” Ray tells her.




Nothing to see here


Within minutes a police motorcycle pulls up to the motel parking lot. Officer Alex Cruz parks the bike removes his helmet and gloves and walks toward the office. Cruz is a tall good looking latino in his mid 20’s. He’s proud to be one of only three cops in Keyport as any one can tell by how sharp and crisp his gray uniform is. Steps from the office Cruz is cut off in mid stride by Ray. “Officer, thanks for coming so fast. We got a guest who killed himself.” Cruz Shakes Ray’s hand and says, “Show me where, the Sheriff and the Doc are right behind me.” Ray escorts officer Cruz to room 111. Cruz being both polite and professional tells Ray, “I’m sealing off the room until Sheriff Brady and Doctor Wyman Get here. You can go about your business sir, we’ll find you if we need you.” Ray says”Thank you and walks back to the office. Sheriff Brady pulls up in an old army surplus jeep with Officer Tommy Dalton right behind him in a black and white police cruiser followed by Doc Wyman in a mid 70’s model hearse. All three gather in the parking lot for a moment.


Sheriff Brady directs officer Dalton, “Cruz has the room covered. Me and the Doc are gonna check that out. You go to the office and get a list of employees and any information on the stiff.” “The what?” Doc Wyman asks. “Sorry Doc I mean the body.” Brady and Wyman walk to the room where Cruz is standing guard. Cruz greets them, “Sheriff, Doctor nobody in or out since I got here. The owner and the handyman found him. They’re up in the office waiting for you.” Doc Wyman looks in the bathroom and quickly shares his expert medical opinion. “Yep it’s a dead guy. Suicide by hanging pack ‘em up and move ‘em out.” Sheriff Brady says, “Good enough for me.” They all head to the office to find Officer Dalton taking notes and gathering information from the staff. Dalton is an eager and well meaning young cop tall blonde and blue eyed but not the brightest of bulbs. He tries harder than he needs to given that Sheriff Brady is his uncle. Doc Wyman announces to all in the room, “Suicide plain and simple, case closed.” The Sheriff adds, “We have all the information we need. We’ll remove the body and be out of your way. Ray says, “Thank you.” After the body is taken away and the room is cleaned Ray tells the motel staff to take the day off. He spends the rest of the day either behind the desk or pacing and chain smoking in front of the office.


Later that evening Danny and Maggie show up mostly to check on katie but also to see Ray. Danny enters the office with a bottle in hand. “C’mon, quittin’ time.” He says. Ray looks up and replies, “Good idea, let’s get outta here. Where’s Maggie?” He asks. “She went to get Katie she wants to take her back to our place so she’s not here alone.” Danny responds. Ray says”I get it. Let’s go over to the cabin they can meet us there and we can all hang together. Ray shuts the neon sign, turns off the lights and locks up for the night. The four of them sit drinking, smoking and talking Katie explains, “I’m better now. It was a shock but I think i’m ok.’ She sips a beer as Maggie begins in  her motherly tone, “You’ll just come stay with us, that’s it. Who the hell lives in a motel room any way?” Ray and Danny both start laughing and Maggie promptly shoots them a look that screams shut up. Katie Responds, “I will not sis! I stayed with you long enough and how is a tiny crappy ass apartment above a bar any better than here any way?” “She makes a good point Maggs.” Danny interjects at the risk of being beaten within an inch of his life later on behind closed doors. Maggie shrugs and sighs, “Whatever.” Katie just rolls her eyes as Ray takes a sip of whiskey and a drag of his cigarette. He then chimes in as if playing the peacemaker, “ Ok kids I’ll settle this. I’ll take the couch, Katie you bunk up in the loft. Nobody’s alone, everybody’s happy case closed.” “My Ass!” says Maggie, she then gets up and storms out. Danny quickly follows telling Ray and Katie, “Ganight, talk to ya tomorrow.”


Ray and katie stay up for a while Katie grabs Ray by the hand and says, “Thanks for letting me stay here.” “No Problem, anytime.” Ray responds. He goes to the dresser behind the couch and gets a pair of boxers and one of many Rolling Stones T-shirts for Katie to sleep in. “Cool T-shirt, thanks.” Katie says she then changes right in front of him saying, “No reason to be shy.” Katie climbs the ladder into the loft where there is just a bed and small table and calls to Ray, “ come on up.” Ray laughs and says “Ok.” Months of flirting and talking have brought two lonely, vulnerable people together. They kiss and roll around and both enjoy a long overdue and much needed release. The next day it’s back to business but neither of them feels shame or the need to hide anything. Over the next few weeks things get back to normal and the unfortunate incident in room 111 is all but forgotten about. Ray and Katie spend more and more time together, Maggie even grows to accept them as a couple. Katie is practically living in the cabin with Ray and the motel is doing a steady business.


Room 108


Ray mans the desk at a little after eleven PM on a quiet Sunday night. Not much to do except watch the rain come down and listen to the wind whip through the trees. A dark chevy Blazer with a camper top pulls into the parking lot. A man in a green military style coat and a red ball cap gets out of the truck and hurries to the office to get out of the rain. He greets Ray and asks, “Any rooms available?” Ray answers, “Eighty five a night, cash or card with a valid ID.” The man hands Ray a Visa card and his ID and says, “It may be a few nights, I’m not sure yet.” Ray replies, “ ok I’ll just leave the card open and you let me know. Room 108 out the door to your right. Have a good night.” The man says, “ Thanks you too.” Then heads for his room.


Jesse Randall is a fisherman from Florida looking for seasonal work. He left his wife and toddler son behind so he could more freely go where the work was. Once settled in he calls his wife Kelly just to check in and see how things are at home. This is his nightly ritual since taking to the road. Jesse then turns on the TV and is hoping for a good night sleep. He rarely sleeps well if at all while away from home. He is often plagued by bad dreams of something terrible happening to his family or something causing him to slip up and lose the five months of hard fought sobriety he has under his belt.


After a restless night of on and off sleep thinking he was hearing voices Jesse throws on some fresh clothes and walks over to the office where he finds Ray and Katie talking and about to change over. Ray is off to sleep and Katie is ready to take over for the day. Jesse says, “ Excuse me good morning. Where can I find some coffee?” Katie smiles and responds, “There’s always a fresh pot going in here. Help yourself.” “Thanks.” Jesse says, “And I’ll be staying a few more nights if that’s ok?” “Sure.” Ray responds, “Katie can take care of you.” Ray walks out and Katie handles extending the room. Jesse chats with Katie and explains that he’s looking for work on a boat. Ever helpful Katie tells him, “There are always help wanted flyers on the board outside town hall and you can ask around in The Rusty Anchor. It’s the only bar in town. Lots of fishermen and locals hang out there.” Jesse says, “thank you” and walks out with his coffee. “Good luck.” Katie replies.


Jesse drives into town and checks out the help wanted flyers not seeing anything that suits him he decides to go boat to boat along the dock and ask for work face to face. This seems like a safer bet for the newly sober fisherman than going into a bar. After a few hours and several rejections he happens upon The Barbara Ann where Rico and Danny are docking and cleaning up to get ready for the next morning. Jesse approaches and asks Rico, “ Is the captain aboard?” Without actually answering Rico calls out “ Hey Danny, company.” Danny exits the wheel house and asks, “ Help ya?” Jesse introduces himself and says, “ I’m looking for work, maybe a couple weeks?” Danny responds, “ We’re a two man operation. Any experience?” Jesse responds trying to sell himself, “ Tuna and marlin charters out of Florida the last few years. I’m a hard worker and I’ll do anything.” Danny takes a second, “Maybe” He says with a long pause. “ If ya can cut bait and haul traps then we can work somethin’ out day to day. Be here at seven tomorrow morning. I’ll give you a shot.” With a firm hand shake Jesse says, “thanks this means so much.” He walks back to his truck smiling and relieved. Jesse immediately goes back to his room and calls his wife to share the good news. He then walks across to the diner and gets a steak sandwich to go. Back in the room Jesse tries to unwind and rest up before his first day. His mind is racing as usual when he swears he hears someone.


“Congrats Buddy!” A strange voice says. Jesse looks around but ignores the voice chalking it up to being both exhausted and excited. Moments later the voice returns. ‘ Hey pal, you should be celebrating. How bout throwing back a few cold ones? I bet that sounds good.” Jesse responds finally, “I gotta be cracking up.” The voice sounding warm and friendly says, “ Come on Jesse, lighten up. You deserve it. No one here knows you besides it’s been a while. I’m sure you can control it. Growing angry and confused Jesse yells out “ Shut up!” The voice replies, “ Just one drink.” “No!” shouts Jesse. He then turns the TV up in an attempt to drown out the voice. Getting louder and more aggressive the voice asks “Who’s gonna know? What are you some kind of pussy?”  “Leave me alone.” Jesse pleads. The voice responds, “ ok, calm down go across the road and grab a six pack and I’ll leave you alone.” Jesse is sweating and his head is spinning. He blurts out, “Just one then I’m going to bed.” warm and friendly again the voice responds, “ of course one drink and I’m gone. One drink and you’re free. I Promise.”


Jesse puts on his coat and crosses the road he grabs a six pack of Miller and a bag of chips. His face is glazed over he sees the clerk talking but he can’t hear any sound as if on autopilot Jesse returns to the room and cracks open a beer for the first time in five months. He keeps repeating out loud “ Just one, just one.” Twenty minutes later Jesse is half done with his third beer when the voice returns. “Feel better?” Jesse answers, “ I Fucked up! It’s Never just one Fuck You! Leave me alone. As Jesse finishes off that beer and opens the next one the voice simply asks, “ But you feel better right? Drink up you’re free now just like I Said.” an hour later after beer number six Jesse lays down. A little bit later as he tries to sleep and fights the urge for more drinks the voice comes back. “There’s a liquor store five minutes away. Open til midnight.” Jesse is about to snap. “ Leave me the Fuck alone! he screams. The voice replies, “I’m just trying to help Jesse and you are alone. All alone.” after another torturous hour Jesse gives in to the pull of his addiction. “The Hell with it he says as he gets dressed and grabs the keys to his truck. Almost out of body, on autopilot again Jesse drives to the store and buys two bottles of vodka a pack of gum and a bag of beef jerky. Jesse sits in his truck crying thinking about his family and feeling like a failure. He opens one of the bottles right there in the truck and chokes down several big chugs. He starts back to the motel and in minutes skids into a spin on the rain slick road. Smashing through a guardrail the Chevy Blazer ends up on it’s side in a ditch. Trapped inside the twisted truck is Jesse Randall Jesse Randall. He is all alone. He is dead and he is free as promised.


Accidents Happen


The next morning is the same old. No one gives a second thought to the guest in 108 as he is staying for a few days. Katie goes about her day. Aboard The Barbara Ann, Rico is running out of patience.” Danny it’s your call but the new guy is almost twenty minutes late, Fuck him.” Danny stands reserved in his thermal shirt and vest. “I’ll call the motel. Five more minutes and we cast off.” Danny calls  Jesse Randall’s cell.. Again no answer. He calls the motel and gets Katie on the line, Danny explains that he expected Jesse Randall a half hour ago. Katie says, “ Let me check.” She puts Danny on hold and rings room 108. No answer, Katie starts to have a bad feeling when guests don’t answer the phone or the door ever since the unfortunate incident in room 111. She gets back on the line with Danny, “ Sorry Dan, no answer.” That’s ok” Danny replies as they hang up Danny instructs Rico to shove off and everyone begins their day.


Back at the motel Katie still has a bad feeling and she recruits Louisa from housekeeping to enter room 108 and investigate. As Louisa giggles and quips, “Charlie’s Angels Ha!” They enter the room and to the surprise and relief of the two women nothing seems out of place. Katie returns to the desk and Louisa continues her rounds.


Officer Cruz patrols the main road in and out of Keyport until he discovers a busted guard rail and an overturned vehicle in the drainage ditch below. Cruz dismounts his bike and sees a male subject in the driver’s seat along with both an open and a closed bottle of vodka. Being that no signs of life are apparent, Cruz calls into dispatch…” Medical needed at mile marker 212!.... And send the Sheriff, Bad car wreck. “Sit tight Cruz, the Doc and the Sheriff are en route responds Becky Brady the secretary and dispatcher at the Sheriff’s office, also the Sheriff’s wife. In minutes Sheriff Brady pulls up in his jeep After a quick run down from Cruz the Sheriff removes his sunglasses and cowboy hat and slides into the ditch for a closer look. After surveying the damage the Sheriff declares, “ this dumb son of a bitch coulda killed somebody!” At the same time Doc Wyman calls out..” Wrap this poor selfish bastard up and Let’s call it a day. Cause of death, obviously being an asshole, accidents happen. That’s lunch. The Doc never minces words and always calls it like it is.


In a matter of hours the whole town including Ray and Katie hear of the drunk driving accident that claimed the young life of Jesse Randall. Though all are glad no one else was a victim, Ray feels obligated to go pay his respects and offer any help he can. On the ride into town Katie keeps telling Ray that it’s not his fault and nothing could be done for this poor stranger. Ray knows this but can’t help feeling like it’s all just his run of bad luck rubbing off on other people… “Just bad luck I guess.” Ray says, not really talking to katie but more or less trying to work things out in his own head while steering the old Impala. “ Just a suicide and a drunk driver, but why here? Why Me?” Katie doesn’t respond. The two get out of the car and walk hand in hand into Doc Wyman’s office.


The Doc and Sheriff Brady are just finishing paperwork and getting the body prepared to be shipped to Florida. Brady addresses Ray and Katie “ What’re you two doing here? Can we help you?” Ray answers, “ I felt bad about Mr. randall. Can I do anything to help?” Doc Wyman offers a response, “i’ll give you contact info for his wife. Maybe write her a check?” “Good… Brady interrupts Ray, “You can’t feel bad man. He could have killed an innocent kid, one of our own.” “ I know” Ray says as he squeezes Katie’s hand. They both say “Thanks” as they turn and walk out. Ray stops and leans up against the car staring off as he lights a smoke. He asks Katie, “ gimme a sec?” She says “sure.” and gets in the car. The drive back to the motel is silent as are things in general for the next few days. Katie keeps things going even as Ray seems to grow distant and detach a little more each day. Ray has been drinking more heavily and just laying around the cabin. Katie decides to give him space “I’m staying in my old Room until you can get your shit together. Barely listening and in no mood or condition to fight Ray simply replies, “ Ok, sorry, thanks.” Katie leaves and goes to her old room at the motel.


The Next Day


Ray is up early, neatly dressed and clean shaven. He’s already gotten flowers and some fancy mocha frappa something coffee for Katie. She sees him walking up to the office and knows she can’t stay mad. Ray bursts in saying, “ Hey, good lookin’ it’s date night!” Katie laughs and replies, “ you’re crazy if you think I’m going out with you.” C’mon, I’m sorry. Besides, Vince will cover the desk tonight and I’m cooking dinner.”  Katie relents… “I gotta see this to believe it. Ok I’m in.” Ray only knows how to make two things, chilli and cheese burgers. So, chilli cheese burgers it is. While Ray makes a mess of the kitchen preparing this romantic dinner for two he gets a call from Danny. “Ray, where ya’ been? That’s a shame, that Randall guy huh?” “Yeah.” Ray says in return. “He was gonna work for you that morning right?” “Yeah.” Danny replies. Let’s get together soon ok?  Maggie is worried. Her and Katie been talkin’ bout the place bein’ cursed..” Ray laughs it off, “Ok Danny Boy see ya soon. Gotta go.” Ray hangs up and surveys the damage done to the cabin while cooking and talking at the same time and decides “hey, at least I didn’t burn the place down.


Katie shows up in work clothes, impressed that food is cooked and the cabin is neat and clean. She takes a minute to change into jeans and a tee shirt then her and Ray dine on chilli cheese burgers and cheap beer. The couple laughs and chats and Ray comments that it’s good to take time off and step back. Katie sees this as a rare opening to express her concerns, “Ray, I’m scared. Too much weird shit going on. What if something happens to one of us or people we care about?” Ray responds gently and carefully, “Stop it car accidents and suicides happen every day. It’s sad but it has nothing to do with us. Those people had problems that just overtook them. That’s all that happened.” Katie continues, “Sometimes I just get a bad feeling or a strange vibe and then something bad happens. Like I knew something was wrong with both of those guests. I don’t know. I can’t help it.” Ray stands up walks over to Katie and pulls her up from her chair. “Listen, I been hearin’ voices.” Really?” katie asks. “Yeah.” Replies ray, “And the one I just heard said I should take you to bed or else I’ll die! Hahaha!” Katie slaps Ray playfully. “Not funny Asshole!” They both laugh as they climb up into the loft for the night.




In the morning Ray and Katie walk to the motel together. Ray thanks Vince for covering. “No problem Boss.” Vince answers. “There’s a guest in 115 says she’s a writer. She wants to talk to you.” Vince hands Ray a card. (Julia Burke , Twisted traveller Magazine) “Great, thanks again Vince.” Vice Bishop just wave as he heads off for some shut eye. Ray turns to Katie, “ If this women comes looking for me call me. Might be good publicity.”  Katie Replies, “Ok.” Ray then says, “ I gotta run some errands. See ya later.” “You got it.” Katie replies.


A few hours go by and the writer from 115 stops in the office. “Hi, I’m Julia Burke in room 115 is Ray Walsh here?” She asks. Katie replies, “Hey, I’m Katie. Ray is running errands in town. I can ring your room when he gets back.” “Thanks” responds Julia, “I Write for a travel magazine and it would be great to talk to him about reopening this old place.” Julia walks out and Katie gets on the phone with Ray interrupting his liquid lunch with Danny. “You get your ass back here and talk to this writer lady before she leaves and does a story about another place.” click she hangs up before he can say a word. Ray takes a final sip of his beer and leaves Danny with the check. “I’ll get the next one Dan!” He calls out as he heads for the door. “Yeah right.” danny says as he orders another beer and pays the bill.


Back at the motel Katie calls room 115 to inform Julia that Ray is in the office if she would like to meet him. Julia replies “Thank you, I’ll be right there.” less than five minutes later Ray Walsh and Julia Burke are shaking hands and getting acquainted. Julia explains “Mr. Walsh, my magazine features places with great history or interesting stories attached to them. I’d like to do a piece on the motel’s history along with you and the town itself.” Ray responds, “It’s Ray miss Burke and I’d be happy to talk to you. I just don’t want some urban legend freakshow crap being made up.” Ok Ray, and my friends call me Jules.” She responds. “Let’s sit and talk and if you don’t like what I have to say then no harm done.” Julia says in return. Ray says, “good enough, lunch tomorrow?” “Deal.” says Jules.” As she walks out to the parking lot and gets in her car. “Nice girl.” Ray comments out loud. Katie rolls her eyes and sighs.


That night Ray mans the desk as always and talks and texts with Katie as always. A young couple parks a motorcycle and walks into the office. Ray is automatically mistrustful of them but the young man produces I.D. and a credit card so Ray checks Nick DeMarco and his companion into room 118. Who am I to judge Ray thinks. All is quiet as the night wheres on. Ray reads the paper and sips crappy motel coffee passing the time Curious about how his lunch date, interview with one miss Jules Burke will go. Meanwhile in room 118 Nick and his girl Sonia indulge in some extra happy fun time. (crystal Meth, Oxy and Smack) mixed with copious amounts of booze of course. Sonia is a petite redhead and part time hooker While Nick is a half ass wiseguy, half ass biker, He likes to look and play the part but mostly he’s in it for the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.


Nick and Sonia engage in a drug fueled sex romp to the familiar beat of a 90’s soundtrack while Ray and Katie exchange shifts at the desk as usual. Ray goes back to the cabin to prepare for lunch with Julia Burke. On the way out Katie says, “Go get em’ tiger!” Giving Ray a playful. Flirty pat on the ass. Ray turns and winks as he walks out. After a shower and shave Ray puts on his best black tee shirt and heads to The Rusty Anchor for lunch with Julia Burke.

Back in 118 Nick and Sonia are running low on drugs and cash. They’re also on each others last nerve.Nick leaves the room to have a smoke and also check for open cars in the parking lot to scavenge for change and or property he can turn for a quick buck. Tweaked out on a four day bender, Sonia hears a voice, “He’s holding out on you.” Sonia answers “Not Nick, no way!” The voice responds, “He thinks you’re stupid. He calls you a slut, a Bitch and a whore!” Sonia responds “He loves me.” The soft gentle voice asks, “Does he? He left you and took all the drugs with him! Look around… He’s gone and so is all that precious. Sweet candy.”  Sonia buys in completely. “ That Mother Fucker! Son of a Bitch!!!!!” From the parking lot Nick comes running as he hears his girl screaming, At the same time the voice commands Sonia to arm herself, the nearest weapon being a letter opener, she stands behind the door with the voice seemingly cheering her on “That’s right, almost… Stab that Scumbag and you’ll be free!” The promise Sonia has waited for all her life. Nick bursts through the door. The one redeeming moment of his pathetic life. Saving his lady love. Sonia catches him off guard, thrusting the sword shaped metallic object into his throat and then his torso. All the while screaming…”I’m Free!” Over and over.


A football field away, grounds keeper Vincent Bishop hears the mortal cries and runs upon the scene of Sonia cradling Nick and ranting about being afraid and being raped. Vince, always a gentle giant wraps Sonia in a blanket and calls the Sheriff’s station.


Officer Dalton shows up and the two men gently place Sonia in the back of the police cruiser as they almost savor the fact that the scumbag biker is bleeding out on the horrific carpet pattern of room 118


At the Anchor


Ray and Julia  share food and many adult libations as Jules explains, “The family who ran this place for decades has an interesting history” She pulls a file folder from her bag and explains, “German Immigrants… history of suicide and mental illness.” ray quips back, “Irish immigrants, alcoholism and sarcasm, so what?” Jules continues that “Small towns keep secrets well.” Ray is about to give a snappy retort when his cell phone rings. He excuses himself and Katie informs him of yet another unfortunate incident at the motel punctuating this by saying, “get your ass to the Sheriff’s office right now!” Ray goes back to Jules and tells her, “Pick this up soon. I gotta go.” with that Ray races off to the Sheriff’s office


Not again


All agree that another unfortunate incident is cause for concern.


Brady announces that, “This one crosses the line, now we got a murder! What am I supposed to do?” Doc Wyman says in return, “Attempted murder and possible attempted rape. What am I supposed to do… Doctor the evidence?” Ray stands silent, his intellect says he has nothing to do with this. His bad luck and guilty conscience tell a very different story. Once again Ray says, “ Anything I Can do , just ask.” As he leaves he calls Danny and asks if he and Maggie would meet him and Katie on the boat later that night. Danny answers with a resounding, “Hell Yeah Brother!” and that’s that.


I’m a Believer


Later that night on the boat the two couples reflect on the events of the last few months… Tensions run high and tempers flare. Katie expresses, “ I’ve always had a bad feeling about  that place and those poor people but nobody listened to me.” Maggie responds, “Oh honey, we know. We’re”... Katie cuts Maggie off screaming… “Nobody ever listens! I hear voices or a voice telling me what’s going to happen to theses people and I can’t help them. I can’t do a Damn thing for them.” Maggie asks “What voice, what do you mean?” Ray sitting in a corner with a bottle of Jameson and a beer exclaims, just leave it the Fuck Alone!” Danny walks up to Ray and says, “Christ’s sake Ray, outside Now!” Ray walks out to the deck with Danny and breaks down “I’m crackin’ up Danny Boy. I’m hearin’ voices and I’m afraid. For the first time in my life I’m afraid.” Danny asks, “What Ray, what is it?” Ray answers “Just take Katie away. Promise me brother take her with you and Maggie. I don’t want her hurt. I Love her man. Take her with you tonight, please.” Ok,ok you got it.” Danny replies. “It’s me, It’s me they’re after you gotta stay away from me!” with that Ray throws the bottle into the calm sea and explains how he has heard a menacing voice since the suicide but ignored it and kept his mouth shut, “Shaving, it tells me to drag the razor across my throat. It tells me it’s playing with the guests just to Fuck with me and that I should kill Katie. Please help me!” Danny grabs and hugs Ray saying, “I swear, I promise we’ll take Katie tonight and we’ll help you figure this out. Minutes later Katie walks up the dock with Maggie to stay in their tiny apartment above The Rusty Anchor while danny stands with Ray…”It’s ok brother, get some rest there are no ghosts and if you need help I’ll help you.” Ray answers “Thanks Danny I Know. I Love you.” Ray gets in his car and drives back to the cabin flashing back the whole time to being visited by the voice.


Back at the cabin Ray stands before the bathroom mirror drunkenly mumbling to himself when the voice engages him.” Now now Ray, you can’t be mad at me. I told you I just wanted to play with them and I was honest. I said I would set them free and I did.” Ray feels rage coursing through him as he replies, “Leave me alone. I have nothing to do with those accidents. What do you want from me?” “Accidents?” The voice asks. Those people all had problems. I just gave them permission to do what they really wanted and then I set them free, that’s the truth.” Ray pacing the room says ‘ You’re a liar! You say you set them free? You killed them and what the Fuck does all that have to do with me?” “Kill them?” The voice answers with growing contempt, “I helped them! I gave them a little nudge in the right direction, the courage to see that the world would be better off without them. That their very existence and every breath they draw caused more pain and suffering for those they claim to love.” Ray collapses into a rocking chair and pours some Jameson as he asks “And me, what about me? How do I Tie into all this?” The voice sighs as  if exhausted by all the questions.


“You, I wish I could set you free. All that pain, anger and pride. Everyone you love leaves you. Everything you touch falls apart but it’s never your fault. Poor Ray creates wreckage and chaos everywhere he goes but it’s always an accident. Right?” “Fuck You”  Ray responds in anger leaning forward in the rocking chair. ‘It’s not my fault, this is Not My Fault!” The voice responds calmly and kindly, “Easy Son. I love you. You’re the perfect storm, without you there would be no me. You’re my foil, my window to this world. I need you. We’re a team.” Ray is weakened and confused he inquires of the voice, “What do you need me for?” “Simple.” says the voice. That anger, that rage makes me grow stronger. I feed on it. Just like I feed on guilt and addiction, I feed on anger and pride.” Ray asks, “If I kill myself? If I die will you set me free too? Will you leave me alone?” The voice answers with a laugh… “HaHaHa, you really don’t get it? You are alone Ray. all alone. I’m in your head. You can’t get rid of me. You can’t kill me! Ray runs out and gets in his car. He drives through the gray rainy night to the Sheriff’s office and we’re right back where we started…




Ray tells the Sheriff his “Ghost Story” and Brady instructs him to get Danny and meet him along with Cruz and Dalton on the beach behind the motel. Sheriff Brady says, “Gotta burn this bitch to the ground! We’ll bring all the gasoline we can find and you bring the marshmallows.” Ray disagrees with the plan and tries to buy some time, “Sheriff gimme 24 hours to figure this out there are guests in the motel. I need time to clear the rooms. If we’re gonna do this let’s do it right so nobody gets hurt.” Sheriff Brady replies, “Ok we’ll do it your way. After all it’s your ass if something goes wrong.”


Ray calls Danny and tells him, “Get the girls and Rico on the boat tomorrow night and take them out to open water.” Danny asks, “Why, what’s goin’ on?” “Just do it Dan, trust me ok?” Ray demands. ‘Ok, ok.” Danny replies Now Ray just needs to find Julia Burke to see if this plan will even work. Who knows he thinks to himself, might fuck things up even worse. Ray eventually finds Julia in the diner across from the motel sipping coffee and working on her laptop. He calmly and quietly slides into the booth across from her and immediately starts almost mid sentence… “Gotta burn it down, how bout that? Will that end this fucking thing once and for all Jules?” She continues typing and doesn’t even look up. “I don’t know Ray. If it’s something supernatural fire may drive it away. On the other hand if it’s just a series of unfortunate circumstances that happened to converge and play out here then you just burned down your business.”Ray just puts his head in his hands and says, “Ok finish telling me about the family. Maybe there’s something there to tell me what to do or maybe I’m just crazy and I finally cracked the fuck up.” Jules picks up right where she left off.


The Krieg’s


“The Krieg’s were a hard working, well respected couple who ran the motel for 30 plus years. They were very quiet and rarely spent any time in town except to get supplies. They’re daughter was homeschooled and also helped with cleaning rooms and doing laundry. The family was close knit and happy and proud of the level of comfort and service they provided to guests. Mother Krieg fell ill in the early 2000’s, cancerous tumors overtook her vital organs. Pappa krieg was inconsolable and incapable of raising a 13 year old so  he sent her to go to school and stay with relatives in Chicago. Within about 2 years a lonely and broken hearted pappa Paul Krieg walked the beach behind the motel, wound up on the dock by the fishermen’s shacks, pulled out a revolver stuck it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He went out with a bang and a splash” “ Holy shit!” Ray interjected, “That’s a hell of a story. What about the kid?” Jules replies, “She never came back or tried to contact anyone here. Never made a claim for money or property… Nothing.” Ray asks” So she just disappeared?” “Look Ray,” Jules says in a sharp tone…”I’ve been working this for years and after going to some expensive Fancy Ass high school in a Windy City suburb little Paulina Krieg Vanished! She would be 30ish now but if she is out there living a life it’s as somebody else, Paulina Krieg no longer exists.”

Ray lets all this sink in and then says “Good for her, a town fucked up as this and a family fucked up as that. Maybe she had the right idea? Maybe the poor kid did the right thing.” He pauses and looks up, “Shit, I’m not even sure I Know what the right thing is any more.” Jules trying to offer consolation says, “ You’re a good man Ray. You already know what to do.” Ray responds with a nervous fake laugh, “oh yeah and what would that be Jules?” “Why, go get your little friends and you boys go play of course.” With that she takes Ray’s hand and places a matchbook in his palm. Walking towards the door she says, “You boys play nice and be careful!”

Ray looks down at the matchbook it says Keyport Motor Inn on it. He sits in the booth for a minute flipping his old silver Zippo lighter open and shut staring into the flame. As he gets up and walks out he calls Danny and instructs him to get the boys together on the boat. “ Don’t ask questions Dan, just get Rico and Vince and meet me on the boat in an hour. We gotta come up with a plan. Without waiting for a response Ray hangs up and drives toward the pier.


A Very Bad Plan


Ray walks onto the Barbara Ann to find Danny, Rico and Vince sitting around a table Drinking and laughing. “What’s up fellas, what’s all this?” Ray asks. Danny replies, “It’s a going away party.” Vince chimes in “ Have a drink Boss it’s the end of the world as we know it.” Danny and Rico both sing “and I feel fine!” Ray is confused as if he stepped into the middle of a conversation and has no point of reference to jump in. “What the fuck is with you guys?” Ray asks. Danny speaks up, “Ok boys enough Bullshit! Go ahead brother, What’s this plan a yours?” Ray starts to explain… “It’s not so much a plan as it’s just what needs to be done.” Vince announces, “I’m in, whatever you need Boss!” ray answers, “It’s as simple as gasoline and matches guys. That’s all I can think to do, torch it.” Danny adds, “simple plan, Done.” Rico physically starts to back away while making the sign of the cross, “Oh No, No Way, Not me!” He declares. “I’m a Catholic, I don’t fuck with evil.” Vince begins to taunt Rico…”Booo, the Devil gonna getcha and steal your soul?” Rico responds in a raised angered voice, “Evil takes many forms and there are many Devils best not to mock or anger them.” Vince still being the agitator says in return, “Blah, blah, Bullshit!” Ray interjects, “Alright enough, I respect your beliefs Rico but that’s the plan and we need your help will you at least take the girls and anyone else who wants to go out on open water tomorrow night so that they’re safe?” “Of course Rico answers. My Anna and Katie and Maggie as well. They will all be safe on open water and I’ll protect them.”Ray and Danny stand on the deck together. Danny clears his throat and says, “This is  a bad plan Ray> A Very Bad, Very Fucked up plan.” Ray responds, “Yes it is. Yes it is brother but, It’s all we got.”


Flash Point


The next day Ray and Katie go about the business of clearing the motel of guests while trying to behave like it’s just another day. While going room to room making excuses, offering rebates and gift cards to get people out Katie has concerns… “So, we leave get on the boat and then what?” Ray lights a cigarette and says, “ Don’t have that part figured out yet. Who knows? Don’t really care right now.” “Well then.” Katie replies, “Why not just stay here?” “Why go?... Ray interrupts “ It’s just not a good idea. When this is done we gotta go!” “But why?” katie asks “We just do and that’s it !” Ray insists as Katie walks off toward the office without another word.

Meanwhile on the pier…


Maggie is helping Danny load supplies onto the boat she’s marking a clipboard in pencil. “We have enough food, water and necessities for 8 people for 5 days. “That’s more than enough, we should be good.” Danny declares as he take inventory of other essentials, “ 6 cases of beer, 4 cartons of smokes and 3 bottles of Jame-o. Tup, all set.” Maggie rolls her eyes and simply states… “You Asshole this “ain't a Booze Cruise!” Danny responds, “ Yeah but that don’t mean it can’t be fun. Can’t hurt to be prepared.” My Hero, such a boy scout.” Maggie replies sarcastically.


At the Sheriff’s office…


Sheriff Brady, along with Dalton and Cruz are loading their vehicles with gas cans and flare guns and all other assorted manner of flammable materials. Brady explains, “So, tonight after the sun goes down we go over to the motel and help Walsh and Cassidy burn it down. We’ll use the flare guns to ignite each room from outside shooting through open windows so we can keep a safe distance.” Dalton speaks up, “Sheriff do you really think the place is cursed?” Brady lowers his sunglasses and rubbing the back of his neck answers, “Cursed, haunted, evil whatever. I just know it’s a place where bad things have always happened and keep happening. This town and everyone in it will be safer and better off when it’s gone. So let’s end it.” Cruz and Dalton Nod in agreement. Cruz says, “Amen Boss!” and the men continue preparations.


It had been decided that all who wanted to be involved in the destruction of the motel should assemble at  the Barbara Ann and anyone who wanted to or would feel safer were welcome to board the boat with Rico and watch the blaze from open water. A caravan of vehicles lead by Sheriff Brady’s jeep and all carrying flammable and explosive cargo arrives on the dock. The sheriff exits his jeep and stands in front of the boat waving one arm in the air to get the small crowd’s attention. He starts to give the rundown…


“Ok, here it is,  Whatever has taken over that motel is going straight back to hell. The idea is to open all the doors and windows to the rooms, does everything with gas and light it up. Then we let it burn! Burn for days, we just keep feedin’ it til there ‘ain't nothin’ left but a pile of ash.” Ray raises his hand, Brady points and nods permission for him to speak. “ I just wanna say thanks for all your help and for standing by me. It means a lot that all of you came out tonight to do this. Now… Let the MotherFucker Burn!!”

Danny stands among the cars counting gas cans 18 in total along with a bundle of road flares 4 flare guns and 6 sticks of actual TNT. Danny addresses the crowd “Rico will be taking my boat out in about 20 minutes anybody who wants to get a safe distance should get on board  with him now. Everyone else ready to leave in 5. The sheriff has the lead then the deputies follow them in a line to the motel. Christ sake go slow and be careful we don’t need anyone accidently blowing herself up.”


Rico’s wife Anna gets on the boat and after much argument and a quick embrace so does Maggie along with housekeeper Louisa. Vince and Katie are back at the hotel double checking that all rooms are empty and opening every door and window  While walking the grounds Vince’s phone rings, he sees that it’s Ray calling and answers, “Hey Boss… Yeah ok, I doubt it but I’ll try. Ok Boss I’ll see what I can do. Ray was asking him to try and get Katie away from the motel if not on the boat then at least down to the dock. That would be far enough away for her to be safe. Vince tries to be casual in his approach to try to get Katie out of there. As they complete another loop of the grounds Vince says, “Ok I think we’re all set here That was Ray on the phone they’re on the way then we can get this party started. Hey Katie why don’t you take a ride with me down to the pier? Maybe we can get you on the boat? Let’s get you outta here til this is over.” Katie blows up and flies into a fury, “No Fuckin’ Way! Hell no!! Is that what Ray wanted? Is that what he told you? O try and get me outta here? Not happening Vince, Absolutely not! I’m stayin’ and that’s that. If Ray doesn’t like it too bad and Fuck Him!” Vince simply says, “Ok, ok breathe and cool your jets. He just cares about you, we all do but can’t make you go if ya don’t wanna so just forget it.” “Already did.” Katie replies as she slaps Vince on the back. the two walk together toward the office when the notice a car idling in the parking lot. Katie recognizes it as Julia Burke’s and walks over to see why she is there. Katie grunts and mumbles something to Vince while waving him off. As Katie gets closer Jules shuts the engine, gets out and leans on the hood. “Ready for the fireworks?” She asks with a smirk.


Ash to Ash


The two women have a short conversation wherein Jules explains that she has no interest in Ray. “All I want is the story. People eat this crap up. True or not people love to be scared and if I can get a book or maybe even a movie out of it so what?” Katie replies, “I’ll tell you what, when that motel burns and you leave with your book deal this town will still be here. People will be without jobs and ways to make ends meet but whatever, who cares? might as well turn the whole place into a theme park or a strip mall. Fuck that! Fuck it All!” Jules knows this exchange has run its course. In parting she declares, “I’m getting a coffee from the gas station and then I’m gonna sit in my car and watch the show. You can join me if you want?” Katie says “Nah.” and walks back to the office. As Jules starts across to the gas station she shouts over her shoulder, “I’ll save ya a seat if ya change your mind. She then says through her teeth, “Friggin’ Bitch.”


Within the next hour/hour and a half a number of townspeople have gathered including the Mayor, the members of the town council and the Tyler’s the oldest and richest family in Keyport. A few local kids in a pickup are tailgating and selling cans of Miller for 3 bucks a piece. The sheriff huddles up with Ray, the Mayor and Doc Wyman before delegating responsibilities and taking to his bullhorn to inform the masses (all 30 some odd of them) how this is going to go. “We’re looking for a slow, controlled burn. Only those of you who signed up with us as volunteers will be permitted beyond the established perimeter The rest of you please stay well behind the barricades and keep your distance with alcohol and cigarettes.” Dalton and Cruz start with the fishing shacks on the beach behind the motel as they are flimsy wooden structures they go up easily with the hiss of an open propane tank and the pop of a flare.  All the rooms follow. One by one they ignite and into the night amber flame follows amber flame.


Danny sits with Ray and Katie, he realises as he looks around that it has taken on the feeling of an old school Brooklyn block party. Music blasting and drinks flowing. They actually all let go and have fun for a few minutes. Katie has a flash just half a second of that bad feeling thing that she gets from time to time. She looks at Ray and screams, “The cabin!” In the time it takes for Ray to turn and finish saying , “What the Fuck?” Katie is well down the path to the cabin with a gas can in one hand and a bundle of dynamite in the other. Ray starts after her but, is intercepted by Jules. “I got it Ray, let me go.” Ray relents and Jules takes off after Katie. Katie calmly walks through the old stone and wood structure splashing gasoline all over the place and asking aloud, to no one in particular, “Is this it? This what you want? C’mon Burn Baby, Burn!!” Outside a few seconds later Katie Lights the fuse on the bundle of TNT and tosses it underhand through the cabin’s open door. She then hears a voice pleading for help from inside what she knows for a fact to be an empty cabin. Contrary to every instinct, counter to all the “Bad Feelings” Katie runs into the stone structure seconds before the explosion would throw her clear of what would become a smouldering rubble heap.

Looking on from several yards back Jules makes no attempt to render aid instead she throws herself into a drainage ditch and waits for help while Katie lay seriously injured and knocked unconscious by the force of the blast. Ray, Danny and Doc Wyman come bolting down the path to find a scene of confusion and carnage. The Doc immediately tends to Katie as Jules crawls from the ditch covered in ash and soot with some minor scrapes. As paramedics arrive Ray is frozen by shock and fear on the sidelines so Danny as calm and cool as he can steps in to get the women into an ambulance.

He then grabs Ray and starts shaking him not shouting but more calmly stating the facts, “This is on you Ray. This is all you.C’mon let’s get to the hospital. I’ll drive Ray doesn’t have a word to say, he knows better. Danny is taking the lead now. He’s in charge and all Ray has to do, all he can do at this point is Shut the Fuck Up and follow.


Wins and Losses


Before leaving Danny asks the Sheriff and Deputies to stay with Vince and keep watch over the still burning motel and also make contact with the Barbara Ann and tell Rico to head back in. All are in agreement to just deal with the situation as best they can for the time being and Danny and Ray take off for the longest and most silent 11 minute car ride the two lifelong friends have ever taken together.


As Danny stops the car at the emergency entrance of the Holy Cross hospital he explains his position to Ray in no uncertain terms, “Just so you know… if anything Happens to Katie you and me are done. You get the Hell outta here and leave me and Maggie the Fuck Alone. Got it?” Ray has already decided to leave town no matter what the outcome. Too much had happened, too much damage already done and as usual Ray Walsh was at the center of it if not the absolute cause of it. Ray answers, “Done deal Brother. I just wanna see Katie then I’m out.”

The two enter the hospital and approach the E.R. desk. They are quickly rebuffed by the nurse on duty from seeing or obtaining any information about Katie or Jules. “Neither of you are blood or spouse so there’s nothing I can tell you except that those young ladies both receiving care as we speak and can’t have visitors. You gentlemen are welcome to wait, if you want.” Ray says “Thank you.” He and Danny sit and wait for Doc Wyman or Maggie, whoever shows up first. After a short period of time that can only be measured in cups of old stale coffee and change wasted on older and even more stale vending machine snacks, Sheriff Brady’s jeep pulls up and he has Doc and Maggie walking in lockstep on either side of him.

“Get the Fuck Outta here Ray!! You’re a Worthless Bastard!” Maggie actually gets a couple of swings in before Danny grabs her around the waist and picks her up shouting “Enough!” Maggie responds, “And you, you Son of a Bitch, you Go with him!” Maggie then crumbles into Danny’s arms sobbing and muttering. Doc Wyman consults with the attending Doctor, Dr. Nancy Sihn for an update on her 2 newest patients. Ray and Brady step out for a smoke while Danny and Maggie wait to see Katie. Lost in all this is Julia Burke signing herself out AMA and walking right past all of them. Outside she sees Ray and the Sheriff and asks, “Got a light and a ride Boys?” Ray offers to take Jules back to town but Sheriff Brady insists Ray should wait for news on Katie and reminds him, “You got no place to stay any way but Miss Burke can stay at the station in the room I have there for late night shifts.” Jules accepts the offer, “Thank you Sir.” “No problem and tomorrow when you’re up to it you can tell me exactly what happened to you and Katie.” Jules agrees, “Deal.” She puts her hand out and they shake on it.


At this point Maggie and Doc Wyman are getting answers on the case and condition of One Miss Katie Dillon. Dr.Sihn explains to Maggie, “Miss Dillon, your sister was involved in an accident. The result of an explosion left her with serious injuries ranging from broken ribs to internal bleeding and blunt force trauma. She is in a coma until we can control or relieve the bleeding.”


Maggie understands the stark new reality. She has many questions but, zero energy to pursue why her sister ran into a building that was blowing up or, why Jules would follow but not help her? For the time being Maggie is resigned to be by her sister’s side and let everything else go just for the moment.


The night ages on. Growing older and colder as the two Dillon sisters, one wide awake and the other in a sort of an in between sleep like state sit together in silence. Maggie asks Dan, “Do me a favor? Go check on everyone. Tell Rico and Anna to stay on the boat and find Ray, I hate him right now but make sure he has a place to stay and then go get some rest. I’ll see ya in the mornin’.” Danny complies, saying only,”Yes my little pain in the ASS.” Blowing her a kiss he leaves Maggie and sets out to survey the collateral damage.


As Danny drives closer to the motel and the pier he catches that campfire smell in the air. First stop...the Barbara Ann, Danny is surprised to find Rico, Anna and Louisa all in good moods. Drinking, eating and laughing they are well aware of the events of the night but are celebrating the victory of as Rico put it, “Life over Evil!” Pulling Rico aside, Danny explains,”Keep them on the boat and stay with them. It’s probably the safest place. Stay with them and protect them but I’m not sure it should be a party Rico. People got hurt, People Died!” Rico answers back, “Yes Danny and I’m sorry but it’s almost over. The bringer of Hell must leave and Hell will follow. Not understanding, Danny just leaves. Next stop… the motel, or what's left of it. Rico yells after him, “Hell needs a home, Hell needs a vessel.


Those words echo as Danny pulls into the parking lot of the Keyport Motor Inn. Danny finds that Ray Walsh has made camp in his old Impala, in the parking lot of the only place he knows and feels welcome. Ray has a pack of smokes and a 6 pack from the gas station and pillows and blankets from the motel. He is comfortable enough, he’s done this kind of car-camping before Ray Walsh is Comfortably Numb! Danny walks up to the car and Ray kicks open the passenger side door, “Me Casa su Casa.” Ray smirks. Dan gets in the car loaded with an offer, “Maggie won’t leave the hospital.” Danny starts…”Come stay at our place?” Ray wants to politely decline and break balls at the same time so he continues, “I’m persona non Grata. You and Maggie made that crystal clear. I’m gone on Monday, til then this car and this parking lot are mine. My property, so get the Fuck Off.


The two old friends had always had a saying between each other… “In life there are wins and losses. Chalk this one up to...whatever the situation. Ray looks at Danny and says “Chalk this one up to a loss.” Danny answers, “a big loss Brother!” Danny goes to the store and makes sure Ray has enough liquid lubricant, they hug both knowing… That’s that.


Take Hell With you


Dalton, Cruz and Vince Bishop have taken care of the fire for hours and Jim Tyler has donated heavy machines and a crew to  clear the land. Nothing left Ray readies himself to walk away, for good.


On Monday Ray stands before the town council. They want him to go. Mostly because poor Katie Dillon died! She lingered between here and there for four days. Lost between this and that, Hither and yon, Heaven and Hell. Ray was done. Ready to walk, He was ready to accept his fate.


The council had a verdict, Mr. Fisk stood to make the official announcement, “Mr. Walsh, we as a council and as a community have decided to present your insurance company with witness statements attesting to the fact that your business burned to the ground by act of God or Nature. We will not stand in the way of you collecting the double amount of the policy to the tune of 4 million dollars. We as a Council have put together funds in the amount of a few thousand dollars to hasen your exit. In essence Mr. Walsh… please leave us and take Hell with you when you go.


Ray takes the envelope, about 4 grand in cash, and walks. Nothing left, nothing else for Ray Walsh to do but walk. Turns out to be the only thing he was ever good at.


At the Sheriff’s station,


Julia Burke and Sheriff Jack Brady sit and chat over coffee and doughnuts, the irony of talking to cops with coffee and doughnuts isn’t lost on either of them, Brady starts, “Miss Burke what happened?” Jules sighs and… “Dynomite went Boom and we both got hurt. Done.” Brady follows up, “Before the explosion what were you doing Miss Burke?” Jules says in return, “Taking photos and video of the fire and writing notes for my article. Any of that a crime?”  “Not at all Miss Burke. So you couldn’t, or didn’t help Katie Dillon?” Jules has no more time to entertain any of this so she offers… “You want an easy answer to a difficult question, well I’ll make it simple Sheriff, I saw her run into a building that wound up exploding. I didn’t interfere nor did I intervene. No crime that I can see.” Brady responds, “Nope, that about wraps it up Miss Burke. Best of luck, hope the article does ok.” As she gets up to leave a confident Julia Burke tells the small town Sheriff, “It’s gonna be a novel and a best seller Baby!” On her way out Julia Burke asks Brady, almost as an afterthought or accidentally on purpose… “ Is changing your name a crime?” a puzzled Brady answers, “No, course not.” Jules says, “Cool I’m gonna publish this under my birth name...Paulina Krieg.

















© Copyright 2019 John Nash. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Horror Short Stories