A Murder of Crows (Part Seven of Nine)

An excerpt from Descendant
Available now from Belfire Press

SEVEN

Martin Crowe was smoking a cigarette and watching the National Guard set up their roadblocks around the Logan city limits. FEMA and CDC agents in their yellow environmental control suits were putting on a show for the news media that had descended on the small Ohio town. The lie was in full force. Crowe wasn’t sure of the particulars, something about a chemical spill or some such bullshit. Selina had a knack for this sort of thing, developing a story that served to cover up an event like this and keep everyone at bay. Martin’s expertise lay in other areas. He flipped the spent cigarette butt into the street and entered the Hocking County Sheriff’s Department.

The majority of the townsfolk were alive and well and they’d been evacuated and most hospitalized for observation. The possession was ended pretty much when he’d separated the scarecrow’s head from its shoulders and those under the influence of the damnable malediction seemingly had no memory of the events that took place while they were hapless vessels for the Nameless One’s resurrection. But there was one who remembered. One who was not an enfeebled victim. Walking down the long hallway toward the isolated cellblock within the Sheriff’s Department, Martin Crowe was prepared to reacquaint himself with the monster who had set all of this in motion.

“Release me, insolent swine.”

“Well, hello to you too, Mrs. Potter,” Crowe responded.

Elspeth Potter was frothing at the mouth, raging against her captivity. Her prison was not the bars of her tiny cell, but a magical circle, carefully drawn out on the cell room’s floor. It was made up of two concentric bands filled with arcane sigils that encircled a binding rune. The frail looking grandmother of Brian Potter threw herself against the eldritch entrapment with a strength and power that belied her appearance.

“These markings will not hold me forever, you pathetic cur,” she growled. Her eyes were wild and filled with a burning hatred.

“They’re not meant to,” Crowe said. He removed the Desert Eagle from the shoulder harness under his coat and chambered a round. “I’ve got to tell you, Elspeth, it came as a real shock to my partner and me when we found a couple of snowbirds huddled in their basement instead of soaking up some Florida sunshine… especially when that basement has been converted into a ritual chamber dedicated to ancient gods that are really best left undisturbed.”

“Go to hell,” she spat.

“Been there. Bought the t-shirt,” he responded. Crowe slid the cell door open and stepped inside. The image of seeing Elspeth Potter kneeling in the floor of her basement, her husband, Lyle Potter, laid out before her with his chest ripped open, his heart removed and replaced with the corpse of a black crow, was etched in his mind. Bringing her in had not been easy, but they’d done it. Now Selina was poring over the grimoire they’d found in the place and connecting the dots, while he was preparing to do what he did best.

“I’ll rip you to shreds, boy, and feed on your heart.”

“No,” Crowe said, calmly, “you won’t.” He raised the Desert Eagle and fired. The .50 Action Express punched a hole right through her face and left a splatter of blood, bone, and gray matter splayed across the rear wall of the cell. “Tell your dark god that I’m still here, alive and kicking, and that if he really wants a piece of me he needs to quit sending the junior varsity to do the job.”

Martin Crowe shouldered his weapon and left the carnage behind, stepping back out into the chilled October afternoon. Happy fucking Hallowe’en, he thought. Lighting a cigarette, he motioned for the waiting clean-up crew to get to work and sat down on the steps to wait for his partner to come pick him up so they could get the hell out of this godforsaken town.

 

Return here next week for another Wicked Wednesday installment of
A Murder of Crows

Chapter Eight will be posted on October 19th

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