“The Doom Statues” — Chapter 25

Jason McGathey
12 min readJun 5, 2024
front desk at artists’ retreat

Within fifteen minutes, they are rolling down the long, diagonal hill into Stokely, gently curving at the bottom where it runs into the state route. Just past the intersection, in the row of buildings on the left, Fairlawn Diner sits at the end, H.L. Mortensen Hardware a few doors nearer. Its front, typical for buildings of this advanced age, features bay display windows on both sides of a double wooden door. Clay coasts his faded red pickup into a curbside slot across the street and Jeremy, though in the lead, without another vehicle behind them, is able to hit his brakes and back up to draw even. After a quick discussion, Kay climbs out, to join the other two, as Jeremy and Emily reiterate their plans to hit the nearby library.

“They’ve got a liquor store in this town?” Clay notes, obviously impressed to spot one. Peering back the way they’ve came, albeit where the state route continues winding out of town in a vague south-southwest direction.

“Man, I almost wish I was going with you guys,” Denise laments. Though a couple of cars have passed, heading the opposite direction through town, none have yet come up behind them, and she continues to lean in Emily’s window.

“Well, you could, I mean,” Emily tells her, “how much time can you possibly spend in this hardware store? Not to mention the library’s, what, a whopping three blocks away.”