Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flash Fiction: "The Hotel"

I realized I neglected to provide a proper introduction to my previous post. So I shall rectify that post haste. What follows is my flash fiction entry in Chuck Wendig's latest challenge over at Terribleminds. One week. 1000 words. And a suitably eerie photo of a hotel for inspiration. Dive in and check out what everyone has to offer. Good times.



Sisters in Melancholy

The warm spring afternoon quickly turned into a brisk and windy evening. Ominous shadows crept away from the fa├žade of the abandoned hotel, leaving intermittent patches of darkness all the way to the girls standing by the gate. The air was thick with gasps of air coming from the hotel. Gusts of wind blowing through the broken windows left the impression that it was alive.
“I don’t like it here Cheryl.” Theresa said.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Cheryl asked.
“There’s a reason nobody comes out here.”
“Why is that?”
“I’m not about to say any of that out loud. Besides, you know all the stories too Cheryl.”
“Your spine leaves a lot to be desired Theresa.”
“I’m just saying there are less hazardous things on the list. I know where we can find a glow in the dark Frisbee. And I know of at least three different cats that’ll let us put a tutu on ‘em.”
“And how many points would that get us?” Cheryl asked. “No way, I’m going for the big guns right up front. This will net us two hundred points and all we need is video of one of us walking up to the front steps. We’ll be out of here in no time.”
A hunched figure moving into the moonlight by the gate went unnoticed by the bickering duo until he brought a shovel crashing against the gate latch, causing it to swing outward. The girls screamed in unison and scurried backwards in each other’s arms.
“Heh heh heh,” the stranger laughed. “That gets ‘em every time.”
Cheryl recovered first. “Are you out of your fucking mind? Who the fuck do you think you are motherfucker?”
“I think I’m Nelson, and I’m completely inside my mind.”
“Those questions were rhetorical asshole.”
Nelson put up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry. A guy’s gotta find a way to break the monotony when he can. Besides, you wouldn’t be able to get your video if I hadn’t opened the gate. It only opens from the inside.”
Theresa took a hesitant step forward. “You don’t mind us trespassing on your property?”
“Not my property. I just try to keep the weeds at bay.”
“What about the owners then?” Theresa asked. “Won’t they mind?”
“Somehow I doubt the bank will really care” Nelson said. “Besides, the hotel isn’t anything to worry about. Just a bunch of bricks and broken glass. Nope, the hotel’s harmless. What you should really be wary of is the gazebo around the south side.”
“Why?” Cheryl asked.
“That’s where Mr. Baker, the original owner, had his daughters killed.” Nelson said.
***
Mr. Baker led the procession out of the hotel and towards the south side of the property. The twins fought against the bindings on their wrists to no avail. Upon their arrival at the gazebo, Mr. Baker instructed the servants to tie his daughters to the beam spanning the length of the small building.
“I forgave your mother when she dared teach the two of you how to read.” Mr. Baker said. “But that was on the condition it be limited to the Good Book. I am a respected business man in this community, and I will not have that filth poison your minds and in turn my hotel. You know the rules.”
Mr. Baker nodded to the servants and they walked back to the hotel. The girls’ screams were carried off with the wind, to be heard by no one.
The lifeless bodies of the sisters were discovered by their mother the next morning. After the funeral an inquiry was conducted and Mr. Baker was charged with their murder. He died in prison awaiting the death penalty. Mrs. Baker abandoned the hotel shortly after her husband’s trial, and was never seen again.
***
“Wow.” Cheryl said.
 “Yep, it was a horrible tragedy,” Nelson said. “Thing like that leaves a mark, you know? How could anybody rest in peace after going through that?”
“You think it’s haunted?” Theresa asked.
“I know so.”
“Alright, I call bullshit.” Cheryl said. “A couple of chicks die of frostbite and now their spirits creep about looking for payback?”
“Believe what you want.” Nelson said. “But you best hurry, or you two will miss the last bus back to town.”
He turned away and walked back into the shadows towards the back of the hotel. Cheryl stepped towards the gate, but Theresa didn’t move.
“I’m not doing this Cheryl.”
Cheryl turned back. “Fine. Just fine. Why don’t you run off to find your kittens? I can shoot the video myself. I’ll meet you back at the auditorium later.”
Cheryl spun on her heel and purposely walked through the gate. Theresa hesitated briefly then turned to walk towards the bus stop. She didn’t see Cheryl take a turn to the south.
***
Cheryl slowed her pace as the gazebo came into view. Its appearance surprised her. In stark contrast to the rest of the property, the gazebo was in pristine condition. It looked brand new and smelled of fresh paint.
“Weird.” Cheryl said as she stepped under the gazebo’s roof.
A torrent of air suddenly swarmed Cheryl. She became disoriented and fell to the freshly sanded floor. She slowly rolled over onto her back and looking down on her were two sets of blue eyes. Those eyes descended on her in a flash and before Cheryl could scream, she was devoured. Nothing was left but pools of blood which began seeping through the floorboards of the gazebo.
“I just sanded that floor.” Nelson said as he stepped up and leaned on the railing.
There were supposed to be two.
Yes two.
“I know, I know.” Nelson said. “I had two, but the other took off at the last minute.”
Just as Nelson finished speaking a sharp pain pierced his left cheek. He raised his fingers and they returned with blood from a cut that appeared out of thin air.
You must bring another.
Yes another.
You know the rules.

3 comments:

  1. Nice one!I can see a good horror story in this too!

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  2. Wow. This is so creepy. Great use of the prompt. I can see this as part of a bigger story. It can stand alone, but you could go further with it, like when the one girl can't be found and so on. I'd be interested to see where this goes if you decide to continue it. If not, that's okay too. Leave the ending to our imagination, which is always so much more frightening! Well done.

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  3. The details of the gazebo intrigued me. Nice!

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