Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Morty Part 6


Category: prose

Read the earlier parts by clicking on the Prose link to the left.

Deputy Walton's flashlight moved strait to the door. The deputy drew his revolver as well. The light danced nervously around the opening. "Where is it, Morty? What were you pointing at?"

"No, I wasn't pointing at anything. It's just that that thing, whatever it was, I didn't see it clearly."

Walton holstered his pistol and drew himself up strait. "Let's we start from the beginning. What happened first?"

Morty wrung his hands together. "I was out in the woods all afternoon. Deer season starts in a couple of months and I wanted to check the tree stands to see what needed fixed. When I got back, all the lights was off."

Walton nodded. "Did you have reason to expect the lights to be on?"

Morty swallowed. "Yep. See, grandma and mom were supposed to be home. They were going to play cards with Mrs. Melbourne from across the road. When I got home, none of them were around. I looked to see if there was a note but didn't find one. That's when I figured out that the electricity is out.

"I though maybe is the fuses were blown or something, maybe they all went over to Mrs. Melbourne's house. I was going go over and see, but I heard a knocking noise upstairs."

"What kind of knocking noise?" asked the deputy.

"It was real slow, like thump, thump. And it sounded like someone knocking softly on a door. I figured maybe someone was hurt and was trying to get attention, like maybe there was a burglar when I was gone. So I ran upstairs to the corner room."

Deputy Walton tilted his head to the side. "The corner room, wasn't that the one with the imported wallpaper with all the swans on it?"

"What? Oh yea, that's the one."

"I remember your grandmother asking us to arrest the home supply store manager because the wall paper took so long to arrive."

Morty shook his head once for clarity. "Yea, that's the paper. Any, so I went to that room and the knocking was definitely coming from there. It didn't sound like it was coming from low like you'd expect. The knocking was coming from the top."

Walton pulled out his notebook and started writing things down. "You say the knocking was coming from the top of the door? The absolute top or just high up on the other side?"

"On the other side," answered Morty. "That seemed real weird. I tried to think, maybe they're knocking on the door with a stick or something. That's when I opened the door."

"You opened the door," repeated the deputy. "Then what happened?"

Morty took a couple of deep breaths and clinched his fists. After blinking a few times, he took one more breath and answered. "It was horrible. They were all over the place. Grandma, Mrs. Melbourne," he shook briefly, "mom, they were torn apart and parts of them scattered everywhere. Blood dripped down the walls. There were arms and legs unattached and thrown around. Their heads though?" He squeezed his eyes shut and pulled his arms tightly to his chest.

Walton finished his notes and looked around the yard, trying to give Morty a moment to compose himself. He had seen people pretend to be distraught in the effort to avoid looking guilty. Morty looked to be genuine. In both cases the trick was to give the individual a little time. The genuinely distraught person needed time to work through the emotions. The faker would check after a while to see if you were falling for it and that's when you would catch them.

Morty grimaced and lifted his face skyward, his chest heaving with breath. He seemed to squeeze tighter for a moment, then relax. He turned his head away for a moment and wiped his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. He finished by sliding the back of his hand across his nostrils and then against the back of his pants. "Sorry," he said, "I just, well, anyway."

"That's alright," said Walton. "Take your time. Did you happen to see this 'thing' you keep talking about?"

Morty nodded. "Yea, I saw it. Not at first, mind you. It was against the ceiling in the corner across from me. It looked like it was about the size of two raccoons. I couldn't see any details because the room was too dark. It was that big and probably about that shape. It had all these, I don't know, tails. Yea, it lots of tails. They were long and thin."

Walton looked up from his notebook. "Tails? You said lots of tails? Can you describe these tails?"

Morty lifted his hands to try to demonstrate and then gave up. "Yea, it had tails. I don't know; it was dark. There was just a bunch of tails coming out of the one end. They looked like they were different lengths and thin. I can't tell you more than that. They just whipped around a lot."

Walton shifted from one foot to the other. "Now, Morty, I got to ask you this because it's procedure. Have you been drinking anything or have you taken any illicit drugs?"

"What? No, no I haven't taken anything. You know I don't drink either, though I might take it up tomorrow."

The deputy held up his right hand, palm toward Morty. "Don't get excited. Like I said, I have to ask that because of procedure. Now, is that creature still in the corner room?"

"No, it got out. I was staring at it and it zoomed across the ceiling and ran strait into me as it went out the door. It knocked me on my butt and then it went down the stairs. The door flew closed behind it. I crawled under a table and waited till it got quiet. Right after that is when you showed up."

After a few more scribbles, Walton folded his notebook closed and tucked it into his belt. "I tell you what we're going to do, Morty. I'm going to call this in and try to some help out here, all right? Then I have to have you show me where things happened inside. If that thing you saw is outside, we should be ok inside. When the others get here, we'll get you into town and have a doctor look at that knock on your head and we'll see what happens from there."

Morty nodded his head a couple of times. The stress was getting to him and adrenaline was wearing off. It was good to make it all somebody else's problem.

Reaching through the open driver side window, Walton grabbed the microphone for his police radio. "Rosie? This is Jack. You know Morty Franks? Yea, that's him. I'm out at his house and I'm going to need some backup. He says there's some kind of vicious animal out here that attacked him and his relatives. I'm going in to look at the damage but we're going to need the ambulance, maybe the sheriff, and animal control. You can wake him up. It's about time Barney earned his pay. Yea. Jack out."

He turned back to Morty who was staring at the ground. "Come on, Morty. Show me where everything happened and then we can get out of here. Alright?" He gently grabbed Morty's arm and led him back into the house.

The flashlight played around the knife in the floor. It reflected from the plate in the kitchen door. It led the way up the stairs and down the hall. Morty's steps fell with no passion. He walked like a zombie as his brain closed up shop for the night.

At last, the light circumnavigated the doorframe of the corner room with the imported wallpaper. "Is this it, Morty?" Morty halfheartedly pointed toward the door. "Yea, that's it." His arm dropped.

Walton tucked the flashlight under his left arm and pulled a pair of rubber gloves from his pocket. Fighting to avoid dropping the light, he pulled the tight fitting gloves onto his hands. With one last muffled grunt and a last snap of rubber, the gloves went on. The deputy gripped his light with his left hand and reached for the doorknob with his right.

The knob turned.

The door opened.

There was nothing.

Jack shone the light all around the room. The walls were bare plaster, though in some places the lath showed through. The ceiling was the same. There were no curtains or shades on the windows. The floor was dusty old wood. There was no furniture. There were no mutilated old ladies. There was absolutely no imported wallpaper with swans.

"Are you sure this is the right room.?"

Morty, who had his eyes closed, opened them and looked up. He looked from side to side, and then leaned to put his head inside the room for a better view. Leaning back, he surveyed the hallway. Then he looked back at the room. "That was the room. It was bloody and messy and the wallpaper was ruined. The bed was soaked with blood. The carpet was stained all over." He pointed across the room. "Right there, there, that was where my grandma's dresser sat. That's were the heads were arranged." He gasped and stepped back.

Walton looked at Morty, back to the room, and back at Morty. "You are sure that you saw all of that in this room tonight?"

Morty fell hard against the wall with his head lowered. There he stood. "I'm not sure of anything right now."

Walton turned away from him and walked into the room. The sound of his footsteps echoed off the bare walls. In the distance, outside, he could hear the sirens of approaching help. "There's nothing in here, Morty."

Morty rolled off the wall and walked into the room. "I don't understand. I saw it all. I just don't understand."

"It's ok, Morty. Strange things happen sometimes. It just takes a while to adjust and figure them out." He walked toward the window to look out. The sirens were closer now. So was something else.

In the corner of his eye, he saw a shadow move by the door. It hit Morty and knocked him down. Then the thing slammed the door shut.

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