It was on his way home that the most shit that has ever happened to Ross happened. It all started with a little road construction. He had planned to take a couple back roads to avoid a bunch of small towns, but he came to find that the back roads were being worked on. This was going to double his trip time, and he wasn't happy about it. He got through the first few towns without incident. But one town was about to change his life forever. The town was called Paradise City. He remembered getting a funny feeling as he entered the town. At the time he thought it was because it shared the name of a popular Guns N Roses song, but little did he know the horrors he was about to face.
It was one of the smallest towns Ross had seen on his trip. The entrance sign said that the town only boasted 257 people, and apparently their football team had won state about twenty-five years ago. He entered on the main street aptly named 'Main Street'. In fact, from what Ross could see, it was the only paved road in the town. He drove along a little above the posted speed limit to get through the town as fast as he could. Suddenly, out of nowhere, someone darted in front of him. He tried to stop but he just couldn't do it in time. He struck the person head on and sent them flying.
He slammed on the breaks as hard as the could until the car came to a screeching halt. He slowly got out to see what he had done. A crowd was already forming around the motionless body. As he got closer, Ross felt his knees start to shake and his stomach felt queasy. He got close enough to see the body. he couldn't tell if it was a guy or a girl as it was face down and wearing clothes that could have gone either way. What he did see was a large pool of blood forming around the head of the body. Seeing the blood made his knees give out and he blacked out.
He woke up a short while later lying on a counter. He sat up and looked around. He was surrounded by a lot of people, some looked angry, some looked sad, others just had that country bumpkin look. "W-What happened? Where am I?" He asked. He thought he knew the answers to both questions, but he wanted someone else to say it so he knew it wasn't a dream.
A young, and rather good looking, woman pushed her way forward. She looked at him sweetly, then punched him in the face. "Ow! Ffffudge! What the hell was that for?" Even though he was pissed at being hit, he still managed to watch his language around the simple town folk.
"You killed him, you son-of-a-bitch. You killed Larry." She started to swing at him again, and had to be pulled off by more people than one would think it would take to pull off someone her size.
"All right, everybody out! Let me talk to him!" A man that had to be at least seven feet tall and built like a truck forced everybody out. Other than his size, the first thing Ross noticed about the man was that he was wearing a priest's collar. Ross was happy about that. While Ross wasn't religious, it meant that the large man probably wouldn't hit him.
Ross's face was sore, his head was swirling, and he was still feeling nauseous, but he managed to ask again, "Where am I? What happened? And who are you?"
"I am Father Scott Dime. You're in the local general store.' he hesitated before he answered the last question, 'You… you hit and killed a man by the name of Larry Jenkins. You blacked out and we brought you in here."
Ross looked like he was going to get sick. He held it in and said, "You have to believe that it was a total accident. He just darted out in front of me. I didn't have a chance to stop." He stopped to think for a moment. He hoped that nobody knew that he was speeding a little bit. He didn't know law, but that might be bad for him when the cops showed up. Which reminded him to ask, "So, when are the cops going to be here? I should probably start to file a report or something."
Father Dime looked visibly upset when Ross asked that. He wasn't trying to be rude or anything. He was just trying to get out of there as fast as he could. He knew in a town this small the two were probably friends, but it was still just an accident and he wanted to get home and put this whole mess behind him as soon as possible.
"Um…You see…' he seemed to be struggling to find the right words, 'Larry Jenkins…In a town this small there isn't a big need for a lot of law enforcement and well… Larry was our only cop. And as the Mayor here, that leaves me as the…uh…guy to be in charge of this thing."
Ross just stared blankly. He had never heard of a town having only one cop before. "So…what do we do now?"
"Well, I've sent someone to the next town over to get some help."
"Why didn't you just call over?"
"It's weird, our phone lines have been down for the last few hours. I sent someone to check 'em out, but he hasn't come back yet. And cell phones have never worked around here."
"So I guess that means I'm stuck here for a while, huh?"
"Looks like it.' He opened his mouth to say something else, but before he did the door of the store swung open.
The woman that had punched him came in and shot Ross a dirty look. She turned to Father Dime and said, "We can't get it off his face. The doc don't know what it is. If y'all ask me, I'd say he put it on there." She indicated that she was speaking of Ross.
Ross had no idea what she was talking about and said, "I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't put anything on anybody's face."
"I don't believe him, Scott. He murdered Larry, then put something on his face that we can't get off. Make him tell the truth!"
Father Dime came to Ross's defense, "Now, April, it was an accident. For reasons only known to Larry and the Lord Almighty, he just ran into the street. It was an accident. And there is no way he could have put it on Larry's face, he blacked out before he even got close to the body."
The young woman, April, still looked unbelieving, but showed respect for Father Dime's opinion and accused Ross no further. Curiosity finally got the best of him and he just had to ask, "What's on his face?"
April glared at Ross for speaking and said angrily, "What do you care, murderer?"
"April that's enough! It was an accident! I'm sure he feels bad enough without you making him feel worse. Now if you're not going to be hospitable to a guest in our town, then just go home."
April gave one more nasty look to Ross then stormed out of the store. Father Dime turned to Ross and said, "I'm truly sorry about that. April and Larry were good friends."
"It's all right." There was a very uncomfortable silence that followed. Not a big fan of uncomfortable silences, Ross asked, "So…uh…do you think I could see the body to pay my respects, or say I'm sorry, or something like that?"
Father Dime thought for a moment then said, "I guess that would be ok. You could also take a look at what's on his face. Nobody here has ever seen anything like, maybe being from out of town, you might know."
Ross didn't really want to give his opinion on anything, but he wasn't really in a state to argue. Father Dime led him out of the store and to the doctor's office that was only a couple buildings down. It was clear to Ross on the way over that everybody in the town was there and everybody hated him. But nobody said anything. Ross guessed that was the respect factor as he was traveling with Father Dime.
The reached the doctor's office and went inside. After passing the reception area, they went to the examination room where the body was being held. The first thing Ross noticed about the body was the face. It was like a mask, but like no mask that he had ever seen before. The entire mask/face/thing was blood red, but with blue veins throughout. It had two large pointed ears that stuck out on either side. It had two very small slits for a nose and two equally small slits for eyes. But what was most noticeable was the mouth. The mouth was huge, it took up half the head and was filled with sharp pointy teeth. Ross couldn't see where the mask ended and the rest of the head began. It seemed to flow seamlessly from right behind the ears into the man's head.
"So what do you think?" Asked Father Dime.
Ross thought for a moment then replied, "I think this is impossible. I mean, it looks like what ever that thing is is actually apart of his face. There is no seem, it just flows like how your nose just flows into the rest of your face. And I have no clue what the hell is going on."
"I was afraid you'd say something like that. I hope to God that Peaty gets back with some help soon."