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Ryan Thomas is a student at a small college in the town of Westminster, Maryland. The year is 1995. He and his friends are about to be dragged into one of the most horrifying events this small town has ever seen. Ryan awakens on a cold morning in March with his roommate, Jarrod Mayfield. They discover one of the Western Maryland College's most respected professors, Austin Webb, has been brutally murdered and left for dead underneath the football field stadium bleachers. No motive, no suspects. Only two clues. The brand of a crow with its wings spread on the forehead of the deceased professor, and a note from the killer printed on a blank business card that reads, "Ring me a Porter." Ryan and Jarrod, two of the most active writers for the school's newspaper, "The Phoenix," team up with the newspaper's editor, Alan Kittridge, an old acquaintance of Webb's to begin their investigation of the murder. What they find will change all of their lives forever. What they will discover will turn this small quiet town upside down where people are afraid to walk the streets at night. Who they will encounter is a serial killer bent on revenge for something that happened 25 years ago. A serial killer who's so filled with anger and hate, that no one can stop him until he cycle is complete.

Mystery / Thriller
Kevin Provance
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter I

FORWARD: Inkitt, apparently, has this new policy where chapters may no longer be over 10,000 words because their mobile app can't handle it (actually, I tested it, it can handle close to 18k words, but, I digress ((which also suggests to me they ought consider redesigning it to not load an entire chapter at once, but, whatever. Buffering, guys? AJAX works too)). Because of this, several chapters in this novel MUST be broken up into two or three different parts, which I feel breaks the flow of the story. I apologize for that in advance. It cannot be helped, and frankly it's disappointing as I have a very specific way in which I tell stories, and having someone tell me to do it differently just isn't cool.

Or, go to Amazon or Smashwords and spend a few bucks for the eBook version. Your call.

Also, please vote for this story! Please?

And now, I give you...Scarecrow.

Thursday, March 23, 1995

O, what a tangled Webb we weave.

This was the message left on Austin Webb’s office desk via a blank business card a few days ago. At first, Austin believed the card to be a prank. That belief became short-lived when an old photo of John Myers arrived in his mailbox later that evening. Austin hadn’t seen John since 1970 when they were both students at Western Maryland College. Austin was also one of the few people to see John last before John disappeared off the face of the Earth. He knew where John was but lied about it in the investigation that followed. He swore to take that secret to his grave.

Now that same secret has threatened to rear its ugly head.

Austin paced the access road behind the bleachers of the Western Maryland College stadium. He was plenty nervous. A voice from his past was coming; a ghost Austin believed long gone. He knew this particular skeleton buried deep within his closet might not always stay silent. Its reveal would undoubtedly mean the end of his career and what was left of his marriage.

Bitter cold held the night hostage. Austin could see his breath with each anxious exhale. A strong gust of wind blew the remaining dead leaves that survived the winter across the concrete. Sweat beaded across his forehead with each step in spite of the cold.

Austin knew who was coming tonight even if it defied the laws of possibility. “It’s a joke,” Austin whispered to himself as he blew hot breath into his cupped hands. “It’s a goddamned joke. It has to be! Someone’s got a sick sense of humor!”

Which one of Austin’s comrades from his past would dare pull such a gag? Each thought led to the same person.

Stewart Boswell. It had to be him. Who else could possibly know?

“That little shit!” Austin snapped, under his breath. How could Stewart, even with his deranged personality, do something like this? There’d been a vow. There’d been a bond. Austin couldn’t believe Stewart would sink so low, even for a cheap laugh. But then Stewart also would have much to lose. It had to be somebody else. But who? Who else knew? The possibilities were minimal.

Austin heard footsteps behind him. He turned to meet them, to meet him.


“Yeah! I’m here, as you asked. Or should I say blackmailed.”

Austin’s bane laughed with self-righteousness. He stepped forward from behind the bleachers. Austin watched the condensation of foe’s breath blow out in long, calm breaths. He narrowed her eyes in an attempt to see his adversary more clearly. The darkness of the night prevented positive identification.

“Have you considered my proposal, Webb?”

“Who are you?” Austin demanded. “I know that voice!”

“Yes! You do!” he said, removing his baseball cap. Long, flowing blonde hair partially covered his face fell as it from his cap.

Austin gasped in horror. He threw his hands over his mouth and took a step back in surprise. “Johnny? Oh, my God! How is this possible?”

“Don’t act so surprised, Webb.”

“This is impossible!” Austin said, beginning to panic. “There is no way in hell this is possible!”

The now identified man laughed. “Funny you should mention hell....”

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