Strange events occur in and around the area of Covefax, Virginia
Years ago, if you had asked Darius Renshaw where he would be by the time he was thirty years old, being a small-time patrolman is probably one of the last things he would have responded with. Not to say Darius didn’t enjoy his line of work, on the contrary, he believed in the duty and responsibility that came along with the privilege of being a law enforcement officer. However, there were still those occasional mornings when, as he got ready for the long day ahead, he’d see himself in uniform in the mirror and chuckle.
Sometimes you just had to laugh at the job, too. As boring as the patrol could be, Darius would always redirect his thinking and turn it into something positive. He knew that if he ever witnessed a crime in progress or found someone in trouble, he’d be there and he’d be capable of helping in some way. That fact made him very proud and made even the most uneventful of days tolerable. Not only that, but he was a family man. The job wasn’t just simply a method of making ends meet, he was also a role model for his young children.
“Gonna catch some bad guys today, dad?” his eight year old son, Michael, would often ask him in the morning as he brewed coffee and made breakfast. “You know it! I’m a force to be reckoned with!” Darius would always respond cheerfully. “Maybe one day the Cap’ll even give me a promotion.” Michael would always smile at that. He loved the thought of his father out there on the patrol, doing good work and making things happen.
“Are you gonna get the one that got mommy?” his even younger daughter, Vanessa, had asked once. Michael would look down when this question was asked, as if he suddenly lost all interest in the conversation and wanted to pretend that he had never even been a part of it. Darius, uncomfortable, had struggled for an answer, turning from the kitchen counter and kneeling down to his little daughter’s level. “Well, sweetie, he can’t run forever. We’ll find him, eventually. In the end, evil never wins. That’s one reason I’m a policeman, so I can stop bad things like that from happening to other people.” Vanessa didn’t seem satisfied with that answer. It was understandable. She missed her mother. Seeing that made Darius miss her, too.
Michael and Vanessa were his motivation. They were the biggest reason he worked so hard. Darius thought that even if he wasn’t the greatest single parent in the world, he definitely was trying his best. That was enough for him and he usually drove to work with a fresh, clear mind. Positive attitude was key and Darius knew it.
That morning, as he was making his way into the station to check out all of his equipment and begin his usual patrol, he heard a call from the captain’s office.
“Renshaw, need to speak with you!” he had heard the gruff voice exclaim. Darius looked in the direction the sound had come from and he saw that the captain’s door was open. He made his way into the room, where his boss was currently filling out paperwork, occasionally sipping from his mug and glancing at something on the computer that sat at the corner of his desk.
“What’s up, Captain?” Darius asked with genuine curiosity. The captain hardly ever called him into his office.
“Got a special little assignment for you.” the captain explained.
“Nothing real major, but you’re one of the only men I trust with an off-kilter task like this, Renshaw.” Darius tried not to let it be seen that that remark made him swell up with pride. He was making at least some impression with the captain. God knew he needed that promotion. Before Darius could say thank you, the captain continued. “Need you to head out to Covefax. You may have heard of it, it’s only a few miles out from the station. Never been out there myself, but it’s a bit renown because of all the reports that come outta the place.”
Darius’ mind wasn’t focused on Covefax as much as it was focused on proving himself on an assignment that came directly from the captain. This could finally be his chance!
“What’s going on over there?” Darius inquired.
“Apparently, there’s ‘vandalism’ occurring in and around one of the local elementary schools.” the captain seemed slightly annoyed. “Probably just some kids having a little too much fun, and trust me, I know it sounds low priority but you’d be doing a huge favor for me. Personally, I’d outright ignore the call, but the higher ups are breathing down my neck and I can’t exactly afford to get caught overlooking things. Just head out there and see what’s what and get it over with as soon as possible so we can all move on to better things, huh?”
Darius thought that sounded excellent. “No worries, captain, consider it done.” he said, beaming with confidence and a hopeful attitude. His career was a car, his captain’s favor was the destination and, with this assignment, he had just turned onto Easy Street.
“You’re my man, Renshaw.” he had heard his captain say as Darius left and made his way to his patrol car. He got in and started it up, then pulled out of the station and began the short drive to Covefax.
Darius thought that, when he was on the beat, there was always a certain, peaceful feeling that accompanied the act of patrolling the small town that he hailed from. Seeing the sun slowly begin to rise, the headlights of the automobiles as they waded through the fading, early morning darkness and the consistent rows of lampposts that lit up the town’s streets all contributed to a certain atmosphere.
However, as Darius sped past the small sign that read ‘Covefax City Limits’, a feeling began to form in the middle of his chest that was anything but peaceful. The place just felt suspicious.
On the surface though, there was nothing that particularly evoked suspicion. The roads were similar enough to the previous town, albeit a bit rugged and worn. Every mile or so, Darius would spot some sort of shack or home, but there were never many signs of inhabitance. The power lines that ran alongside the roads seemed functional from what Darius could see. The cars in the driveways looked rusted and old, but they seemed in good enough condition that Darius was unsure of whether or not they could run. The area could have easily passed for a very small, quaint, in the middle of nowhere sort of town.
This idea was only reinforced once Darius pulled into the C.F. Elementary school parking lot. The facility had not aged well. The pitiful thing appeared to be an old one-room schoolhouse from the 1800’s. Darius found it hard to believe that this place could still be in use, it was practically falling apart. “How could you even vandalize it?” he wondered. Slightly confused, Darius stepped out of his patrol car and shut the door, locking it behind him. Before approaching the school’s battered front door, Darius made sure he had his sidearm, although he doubted he’d need it.
The sun had still not completely risen that morning and Covefax was still slightly shrouded in the early morning fog. Darius stepped up to the door and stuck his hand out to push it open. Surprising him, the door became slightly ajar before his hand had even reached it. Thinking nothing of it, Darius quickly pushed the wooden door open and stepped inside, keeping his eyes forward.
He couldn’t have prepared himself for what he was seeing. The inside of the schoolhouse looked just as bad as the outside, but that was mild compared to what was being held within it. Darius first noticed that there was no chalkboard at the front of the room, as it looked like it had collapsed and broken off into separate pieces that lay in a pile on the floor. There were enough individual desks that littered the rest of the room indicating that the room could have, at some point, been a functioning educational facility. Now, it looked like a contortionist’s funhouse.
The things that were ‘sitting’ in the desks were indeed children, however, their limbs had been bent in so many different directions that Darius had a difficult time recognizing the badly broken bodies at first glance. There were no lacerations on the children’s bodies except for the small chips of bone that were protruding from the skin due to the extreme limb manipulation. For a few moments, Darius was too shocked to recognize a pattern, however, he began to notice that the children’s limbs had been arranged to fit the forms of various animals and creatures.
Darius was utterly horrified. Someone, something, had literally decided to try their sadistic hand at human origami. As he attempted to comprehend that concept, he was interrupted by a realization. The mangled masses whose heads were positioned conveniently in Darius’ direction were using their eyes to look right at him. They said nothing and made no movements, but their eyes followed Darius as he tried with every ounce of his willpower to make his way towards the front of the room.
“Do you like it?” a voice called out. It sounded like a little girl’s. Darius panicked and flailed his head around in every direction until he caught sight of a very young, blonde-headed child a few feet in front of him. “I did it all by MYself.” she gloated proudly with a satisfied look on her face. Darius had no idea how to react. He felt like he may recognize this girl, but was very unsure. He found his hand instinctively on his pistol and, under the enormous amount of stress he was dealing with, he was tempted to draw. But what was he going to do? Shoot a little girl? No. He blinked a few times and scrambled for words.
“You..you did this?” Darius asked.
He couldn’t stomach looking at the horrific sight again, but he knew that the entire class was watching them both at the front of the room. He still felt the eyes on him, like small needles poking against his skin. He opted to keep his own eyes on the thing in the room that made the most sense, which was this strange little girl who was claiming to have the strength to fold the bodies of small children.
“Well..” the little girl looked guilty. “Maybe I had a little help.”
“Where is he?” Darius asked sharply. He wouldn’t let her continue, he needed to know now.
The girl was silent for a moment. She was looking around, thinking.
“..I don’t think you can see him, mister. He’s here, though, in school. Right next to me!” the little girl said cheerfully. Her tone indicated that she was in no danger whatsoever, that everything happening here was perfectly okay.
Still trying to follow the academy guidebook, Darius narrowed down his list of suspects. “..is it your teacher? I see he’s not here.”
The girl quickly shook her head. “Nuh-uh. He left a while ago…I think he went to the department store down the road!”
That answer made a little more sense and Darius was comforted by the appearance of reason in an unreasonable situation. He ignored the full-size origami exhibit he was in the same room with and began to approach the little girl.
“Well, c’mon, let’s get the hell out of here, okay?” he told her.
“But, Darius, I’ve waited for you for so long.” the girl muttered.
Darius stopped and stared. He should have been in disbelief, but instead, the girl’s comment only made him furious. He didn’t even try to think about how this girl could possibly know his name, his mind would never accept it.
“We need to go.” Darius said firmly. He held out his hand.
“Why’d you let me die? I thought you loved me, Darius.” the girl cried out.
Underneath his confused, angry, frightened exterior, Darius’ world was crumbling. His mind was flooded with thoughts that were overwhelming. He thought of his wife. He thought of his kids. He thought of his captain. He thought of his entire career up until that point. He thought about his thirty years of life and all of the experiences that he ever endured. He thought about death. He felt sad, scared, frightened, and heartbroken. What he felt the most was despair. Suddenly, that old patrol routine felt so far away. The fact that he was a cop didn’t matter anymore. He was struggling not only for his sanity, but for his spirit. His humanity. He had to get out.
Darius turned and sprinted towards the school’s front door. The eyes of the class were still poking him. He slammed his body into the door, but it didn’t budge. Surprised, he threw his weight against it again. Nothing. He tried a few more times, slamming against the door so hard in his final attempt that he thought he may have broken his shoulder.
He heard the girl speaking in the front of the room.
“He helps me a lot. He tells me what to say. He can help you, too.” she told Darius, gently.
Darius turned from the door and drew his pistol. He quickly decided that he would kill this little girl to save himself. He had to.
However, she was nowhere in sight. The class still remained, their eyes never leaving Darius. Suddenly, he felt a large amount of pressure on his kneecaps. The pain was becoming unbearable and he thought his legs were going to snap.
“You can be our substitute teacher!” he heard the girl scream with glee.