Welcome to the Hotel, in any new culture, you need entertainment, and this comes from stories, which helps to create culture. Based on last weeks instalment on ghost stories, I thought I would try a piece I had been working on. It is from one of the many books I’m working on, this particular excerpt is from my book on school life. So sit around the fire, get the marshmallows out, and have someone one read this aloud.
It was Halloween, and we never really did what the American’s did. We knew the tradition and loved the idea. Put on an outfit and knock on doors saying, “Trick or Treat.” One year we tried to go for it. My brother and my friend named Alex decided to try hitting the neighbourhood and seeing what goodies we could find. My brother dressed as a Freddy Kruger type character, Alex had fake blood smeared onto his face and I decided to get a clay pumpkin, string and a long stick and float the pumpkin over the tops of their heads. By the end of the night, most people had turned us away; one woman had told us off for being too scary, and me wanting to create the illusion of a floating pumpkin meant that most people who had given us a treats for two people and not three. The only bonus had been that one girl had opened the door to a house and was apparently stunning. However, being hidden around the corner, I didn’t get to see her either.
The better part of the evening were the horror movies as well as later in the night the horror stories that we shared. The stories were not crappy either, they were Stephen King quality stories, something that built tension, made you curl your toes and feet underneath you and make sweet dreams into nightmares.
The first of these tales is called ‘The Hotel.’
The lift came to a juddering stop, and the doors slowly crept open with the lights in the elevator flickering as the doors opened.
‘Where did you say you found this hotel?’ Said Mary.
‘Travel agents in the city centre.’ Replied Stephen.
They stepped out of the elevator into a long corridor, with a red, orange and brown carpet, and dim lights that hung unusually over the door to each of the rooms. The newlyweds looked at each other and moved into the corridor. They smiled comfortably at each other.
They didn’t have much money; Mary had just started work as a primary school teacher and Stephen worked in a laundrette.
Stephen carried a bottle of Prosecco in his hand, and a medium-sized suitcase in the other. All of their belongings for the weekend-long honeymoon.
‘The agent said it was a new build, a recently renovated hotel.’
‘It doesn’t look so bad. What room was it?’
They moved along the corridor, and couldn’t help but taste the damp, stale air, the smell reminded Stephen of grandma’s house. He pulled out a key, to the bridal sweet at the very end of the corridor. A large wooden panelled door, and with a push, both doors swung open.
‘Stephen, do you have to be so aggressive?’
‘Would you prefer me, meek and mild.’ With that, he picked her up.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Carrying you over the thresh hold? I could carry you caveman style if you prefer more aggressive?’
She giggled. ‘No, this will do.’
The initial room looked nice.
‘Our room for the weekend sweetheart.’
She rolled down from his arms, and he shut the large thick doors. Placing the suite case down by the entrance. He strolled around.
‘I have to say I thought it was going to be worse.’
The room was large, a grey sofa lined up against the wall, a large glass coffee table in the centre of the room, a widescreen T.V. on the opposite wall, even a fireplace.
They moved around the room, there was a bucket for the prosecco. Stephen picked up the remote and tried to switch on the T.V.
‘Do you have to put the T.V. on?’
‘Just wanted some music that’s all. Don’t want to piss off the neighbours too much.’
Nothing happened, he pressed the button a few times, and it didn’t switch on.
He moved over to the back of the T.V. to see if the mains needed switching on. Nothing.
‘I’ll call down in a minute.’
To the far corner of the room were three doors. Left, right and centre, with the centre being a set of double doors like the front entrance, to the left mirrored sliding doors and the right was a single door. Mary pushed the sliding doors across to open them. To her amazement, there were clothes in there already.
‘Stephen, the hell. There are dresses, bags, shoes?’
‘No, there’s, there’s even a wedding dress in here, the hell is going on. Don’t they have housekeeping?’
‘It’s probably just a mistake.’
‘It’s pretty dam weird, who forgets their wedding dress.’
‘I’ll call the front desk and I’m going to have words with that agent when we get back.’
Mary went to the double doors and pushed them open the room was pitch black. She walked inside to see if she could find a light switch. The double doors kept starting to close on her limiting what light she already had. Stephen couldn’t get anything on the phone it was totally dead.
Mary scrambled around for a light switch and finally found one that worked. ‘What in hell!’
‘What is it now?’ Stephen walked in and the doors to the bedroom closed behind him. ‘Holly hell.’ The room was a third of the width of the suite they had just come from. Grey barren walls, a light switch, a stool, with a small lamp, two posts with a crossbeam stood in front of them, with white sheets laid over the top, as you would see in the wedding magazines, and underneath that, was a pit, with what appeared to be a giant cobweb the size of four king-size mattresses stuck together.
‘Well, I didn’t expect this.’
Stephen entered the room with the prosecco bottle in hand. He scratched his head with the top of the bottle.
Not wanting to have his plans for a perfect wedding night undone he was determined that this couldn’t be what it looked like.
‘This…This has got to be one of those new beds from the states.’ He paused ‘Yeah like a giant hammock.’
She looked at him, with the eyes only a loving wife or girlfriend could give, of contempt for his complete positivity and utter stupidity.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘Where have you seen an advert for a hammock that looks like a spiders web. You know how much I hate spiders?’
‘Sure, I do honey. Every time you see one, I know, the neighbours know, maybe even social services and the police know.’ He pinched his fingers together in front of his face with a cheeky grin ‘Just a little.’
He turned to face her, with his back to the web. ‘There is nothing to worry about.’ And with that, he flung his arms out wide and fell onto the web.
He bounced up, and parts of him moved freely, and parts of him stayed fast to the web. His suit, stuck, his legs stuck, and his hand let slip his prosecco bottle, which came crashing down to the hard-grey concrete floor below.
He looked down and quickly realised that his suit was stuck to the web.
He struggled. He wriggled. Nothing would come loose. In fact, the more he struggled. The more he became stuck to the web.
‘Stop moving.’ Shouted Mary.
‘It’s fine, it’s only my jacket and trousers. I can wriggle out.’ As he wriggled, he did seem to loosen his left arm.
‘See my left arm is almost already out.’
He froze. He stared to his left. There was a long piece of thick webbing that led up and into a large metal door that appeared to be horizontal, almost like a huge dumbwaiter.
‘What is it?’
‘Look.’ he said.
She froze and stared at the door. Stephen started to struggle again, desperately trying to get his left arm out of the jacket.
‘I’m almost free.’
‘Do you know anything about spiders?’
‘Did you ever learn about spiders in school? David Attenborough?’
‘No….’ he stopped moving. ‘Why?’
‘Well we did learn about them in school last term, and everything you are doing would attract a spider. Everything.’
They both stopped moving, just looking at each other. She slipped off her purse and emptied it onto the floor. Coins rolled down into the drop under the web. She scrambled around, a hairbrush, hair pins, a file, tweezers, earrings, and wipes. No scissors. Nothing to cut, nothing to help. She got up, turned to the door, and hammered her fists.
‘Open up. Oooppppeeeennnnn the dam door.’
She hammered the door until her hands turned red and the pain became intolerable. Then she hammered some more. Looking down to her right, she saw the stool and bent down to lift it. She pulled and it wouldn’t budge. It was fastened to the floor.
She kicked at it, even the lamp had been screwed into the stool as if someone had sadistically given some false hope of a weapon. She pulled and tugged at it, but nothing could make it move, but maybe the two of them could. She turned back to Stephen; this was getting hopeless.
‘Look there is no point in struggling. One set of strands are covered in the glue, the other strands don’t have any.’
‘Well, that doesn’t help me. I’m stuck on the sticky.’ Replied Stephen.
‘I have an idea; can you see the glass?’
He turned and looked down.
‘Yeah, it’s to my right, and it’s smashed. Oh my lord, there are shoes down here, watches, Jesus, there’s all sorts of stuff down here.’
Panic had finally started to set it. The reality was nothing anyone would want in their worst nightmare. No amount of positive thinking was going to help Stephen now. Evidence that whatever was going on had been happening for some time to many people. He could smell the thick dust that carpeted the floor below.
‘Well, if it’s smashed it’s probably sharp.’
She reached to the white lace at the back of her wedding dress, and pulled, allowing the wedding dress to fall to the ground.
‘I’m coming onto the web. I don’t see any other way of doing this.’
‘You got a better idea?’
He looked at her, his lips tightened up, and he ground his teeth.
Her dress now covered in the grey dust from the floor. She squatted down and got close to Stephen and threw her dress onto the web as close to him as possible. She then moved cautiously onto the web trying to spread her weight and trying to move as stealthy as a cat. Left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg. She could now see the glass. She pressed her whole body onto the dress and lowered her arm.
‘This, this is what they wanted, they wanted us both on here.’
With that, a clunk came from the elevator. She looked at the large dumbwaiter doors, doors large enough to have a large Irish Wolfhound comfortably stroll out. Another clunk. She looked back to the floor, and reached, she would have to move, adjust to reach the glass. Then a whir, a large constant noise, like a motor started up.
She pressed down, and the whirring noise was getting louder. She touched the green sharp piece of glass, she touched it and it moved, it bobbled, and wobbled. Her fingernails touched; the tips of her finger felt the cold glass. Her ears still picking up the sound of the elevator. Clunk, it stopped, she had it, between her two fingers, the doors opened, and flickering light could be seen. She pulled the sharp-edged glass into her hand and with that, the full doors opened and as quick as a flash a black monster came out of the darkness. It hit the web with such force that Mary bounced off the web, and her arm caught on the sticky webbing causing her arm to wrench and she fell, unbalanced onto the floor. The glass cutting into her hand and all she heard was an ‘Ah’
She opened her eyes; her hands felt the dusty floor, a stinging sensation cut across her left hand and she felt dazed. She hoped it was all a bad dream, but the dull pain let her know otherwise. She looked up, and could see the large shadow, turning a large object, she wanted to scream, so desperately call out, but couldn’t, shouldn’t she began moving to the side of the elevator, it was her only way out. The floor was strewn with shoes, watches, rings, and things that humans would find valuable. She came to the lip of the drop and looked back at the horror unfolding behind her. She threw the shard of glass to the back of the elevator. She pulled herself up and inside. The beast still twisting and turning the body. She pressed herself into the corner and could see and two large red buttons and she punched it with her remaining good hand. The doors clunked. She couldn’t stop watching, not taking her eyes off the moment for a second, and yet the horror.
As the doors began to shut, the beast turned, its face with its multiple hideous eyes focused in on the door and started towards the elevator. Only a small amount of the door was now open but enough for its legs to pass through. It slammed into the iron door, and its legs began to piece through the gap as if trying to bring the doors down.
Adrenaline kicked in and Mary grabbed the glass and raced at the door, hated filled vengeance consumed her, and she slammed the glass into the monster’s black leg. Green blood oozed out of the beast. She attacked, again and again, stabbing with vigour, and ignoring the glass cutting into her own hand. She heard a squawking scream come out from behind the door and the legs quickly disappeared. The doors shut and the lift started to move up, and away.
She cried, she howled, as the lift moved. Tears of terror, relief and heartache streamed down her face. Clunk. The lift stopped. Clunk, whir, and the lift started to go down…
If you enjoyed, you know what to do below.
So good day, where ever and whatever you are.