Kurtain Motel: Sin Series Book 1
Kurtain Motel: Sin Series Book 1
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Patrick Lahm is down on his luck. Late for his book signing, out of gas and stuck in a storm. He hitches a ride to the Kurtain Motel where he is forced to spend the night. The small motel seems harmless enough at first, but as the night drags on, Patrick and the other guests slowly begin to realize there is a lot more to their temporary lodging than meets the eye.
Something evil is at work at the Kurtain Motel; something that creeps into the deepest, darkest corners of your mind and tugs at the chords of sanity until they finally break. On the longest night of his life, Patrick soon finds out that there is a reason why skeletons are kept in closets. He realizes that your sins always find a way to catch up with you, no matter how hard you try to run.
Welcome to the Kurtain Motel, where all your nightmares come true.
"What can I get you?"
Alex turned to face the middle-aged woman, her green eyes boring into him as she wiped her hands on a towel hanging from her waist. She was pretty in a back-country sort of way, her hair tied back in a tight ponytail that allowed her high cheekbones to stand out. She was smiling at him, but the gesture seemed more strained than genuine, and Alex could immediately tell that the woman would rather be somewhere else other than here.
Alex grabbed at the small menu laid out before him and quickly scanned it, his eyes flying over the specials before he found his poison.
The woman nodded and turned away, leaving Alex to brood over his phone as he turned it off and restarted it, hoping for a signal. His eyes caught a movement to his left and he looked up to see an old man watching him closely, eyes intent as he sipped slowly at his drink. The lights in the diner flickered with the resonant sounds of thunder outside, and the rain increased in fury.
There would be no calling out tonight. The storm wasn't letting up, and it would be hours before he could jump back into his Beamer and be back on his way. Deciding on a more comfortable seat, Alex stood up and settled into one of the booths near the window, looking out at the falling rain in dismay. His car was the only vehicle in the lot, which struck him as strange given that he was not the only guest in the diner.
The woman at the bar called out to the waitress and Alex watched in amusement as the girl trudged to pick up his drink and bring it to him. She set it down slowly, hands shaking, and Alex could tell from the black rings under her eyes that she was in dire need of a good night's sleep. He remembered his earlier days working the night shift in a call center downtown, how the highlight of his day would be the moment his head settled onto his pillow and his eyes shut out the world around him.
"Thank you," Alex said softly, eyeing the waitress as she grunted and walked back to her booth, immediately settling down again. He watched her, and his eyes moved back to the old man who was still staring intently at him. It was starting to make Alex eerily uncomfortable, and he toyed with the idea of calling the man out and embarrassing him in front of everyone.
Alex shook his head and stared back out the window. He wrapped both hands around the coffee mug, letting the heat seep into his skin and warm him up. He hadn't noticed how cold he was until this moment, and he gently raised the cup to his mouth to take a sip.
The old man slid into the booth, startling Alex.
"Jesus, what's the matter with you?" Alex gasped, frowning irritably at the man.
The old man gave him a toothless smile and pointed a shaky finger at Alex.
"I know you," he said, his voice raspy from one too many cigarettes, his tongue licking his lips as he spoke.
"I highly doubt that," Alex replied, glancing at the bar and hoping to get the waitress's attention. The woman had disappeared into the kitchen, though, and all Alex could hear was her soft humming as food sizzled on the grill inside.
"Sure I do," the old man said. "I saw your face on one of 'em magazines o'er there."
Alex turned to where the man was pointing and saw the front cover of TIME magazine. A large portrait of him filled the cover, hiding the magazine's title behind his sleek hair. Alex remembered the interview clearly, and the woman he had seduced into his bed after she was done asking him questions. It had been a fruitful day.
"That's you, ain't it?" the old man asked.
Alex looked back the man, taking in the thin, long greying hair and the stubble that was interrupted by patches of skin. The man smiled at him, what remained of his teeth yellow and rotten against his pale skin. The only thing worse than his attire, was the pungent smell coming out of his mouth.
"Maybe," Alex said, trying to breathe through his mouth.
The old man shook his finger at him. "Ah, ah, Mr. Time Magazine," he chuckled. "Don't be so modest."
Alex sighed. "Do you want an autograph?"
The man laughed hard and smacked his hand on the table. "That would be somethin', now won't it?"
Alex patted his shirt for a pen and began reaching for his coat when the old man stopped him.
"No, Mr. Pike," the man said, his tone more serious. "What I want you to do is confess."
Alex frowned. "Confess?"
The old man leaned in and gestured for Alex to come closer. Alex hesitated, then obliged.
"You see, I know where your millions came from, Mr. Pike," the old man whispered. "Between you and me, I really don't care much for the thousands y' scammed into trustin' you with their hard-earned savings. If you want to throw your money away, no one's stoppin' ya, is what I always say."
Alex pulled back in anger. "Listen, I don't know who you think you are, but you've got your facts all wrong."
The old man held up a hand and stopped Alex from continuing. "Don't care. I know what I know. All you need to do is confess, and we can all be on our merry way."
"That you're a thief, Mr. Pike," the old man grinned. "That you're a thief and a coward, and that all this publicity 'round's ya is nothin' but show. You ain't got a dime of all dat money left, do ya? That gamblin' problem of yours, a real bitch if y'ask me."
Alex opened his mouth to say something, but the words failed him. He had no idea who this man was, or how he had come to know all that he knew. All Alex did know was that he didn't have to sit around and listen to the old man rant.
Looking out the window, Alex could see the rain letting up. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill from his wallet, threw it on the table and began to stand up. The old man reached out a gnarled hand to stop him, which Alex quickly slapped away.
"Don't," Alex hissed. "I don't know who you are, but what you're doing is called harassment, and I could have you arrested right here, right now." Alex grabbed his coat and pulled it on, keeping his eyes on the old man and the ridiculous grin on his face.
"No one leaves until they've confessed," the old man said, his voice barely audible even in the silence of the diner. "Ask 'round. They'll all tell ya."
Suddenly the diner was full of people, crammed together, shoulder to shoulder as they stood limp and motionless. Men and women varying in age and size, eyes downcast and shoulders slumped with their lips moving as if in silent prayer. Alex felt something cold touch his hand, and his head snapped back at the old man.
Only, he wasn't old anymore, and the hollow eyes staring up at Alex made his blood curl.
"They want their money back, Alex."
Alex pulled away from the man, quickly barging through the crowd of people, pushing past them towards the diner door. The rain outside was falling in torrents again, but Alex didn't care. He needed to get out, now. The sudden urgency was overwhelming as he felt hands grab at the nape of his neck and the collar of his shirt.
Alex pushed through the diner door, hands stretched out to break his fall as he anticipated the rough texture of asphalt and water. He hit the ground hard, his knees slamming against the floor sending bolts of pain up his spine, and when he looked up, he found that he was still in the diner.
Dozens of eyes stared at him, and as the mob of people moved forward in unison, hands stretched out, voices rising, Alex began to scream.
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