Thinking Too Slow

Driving along the dark state highway Carl fought to keep from nodding off. Several times he barely missed running into signposts and once veered off the pavement and narrowly missed a barbed wire fence. He rubbed his face then shook his head to clear the double vision that had plagued him for the last ten miles.

He had to find a place to sleep. He figured he was three hundreds miles from the robbery and he hadn’t seen any flashing lights in the rear view mirror. Having got off the interstate quick it was a good bet they wouldn’t find him if he found a place to hole up.

A couple of more miles down the road he spotted a sign. There was a motel on the left five hundred feet ahead. He pulled into the courtyard and surveyed the scene. Something didn’t look right. The neon was burning and the office light was on but there was no one around and the place had a bad feel about it.

He couldn’t afford to be choosy so he got out of the car and headed for the office. Tucking his pistol into the back of his pants he went inside and rang the bell but no one answered. He peeked over the counter and could just see into the apartment at the back. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary but as he turned away something registered and he looked again.

Moving around the counter and into the back he saw a hand on the floor just behind the door. He moved into the room and his eyes went wide as he saw the hand wasn’t attached to anything. He moved further into the room and there was blood spattered everywhere.

He ran out and took deep breaths of night air to calm down. Shit, must have been a robbery. He decided to go back in. He went to the register and found it full of money. Damn, not a robbery. What the hell had happened?

He looked to the block of rooms and began going along each one and trying the doors. They were all empty. He went to the second floor and did the same. Half way along the row he came to a room with the door ajar. He pulled his gun and kicked it open. He heard a thumping sound and a muffled noise and reached for the light switch.

In the middle of the room was a man tied to a chair, his mouth taped shut, a pleading look in his eyes. He went over and tore the tape off and pointed the gun at him.

“What the hell is going on? There’s a hand and a lot of blood in the manager’s apartment and you’re the only one here.”

The man nodded his head. “Yeah, he’s gone. So is everyone else who’s been here.”

“What are you talking about?”

“A week or so ago some guy showed up. He was in the next room. He showed up in the afternoon and that evening I heard gunshots. This psycho was going door to door and killing everyone staying here. I tried to run but I was hit in the head from behind. I woke up in here tied to this chair. He told me he had killed everyone. He showed me body parts. I almost lost my mind.”

Carl rubbed his face and sat down on the edge of the bed. He was so tired. He needed rest and now this. He thought about what he was hearing. The man went on.

“That’s not the worst of it. This guy has been eating the parts he collects. He came in here and ate in front of me.”

Carl tried to get his mind around the story. “Wait…you said this happened a week ago. Where did the guy go? You’ve been tied up here for a week and no one has found you?”

“Oh, I didn’t say that. What makes you think he’s gone?”

Carl jumped up and pointed the gun at him. “What the fuck! Where is he? Why are you still alive?”

He grinned. “You’re a little slow aren’t you? Why am I still alive? I’m the bait.”

Too late, Carl heard a click behind him.

Later that night they dined on fillet of Carl.

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