~ PART FOUR ~
Our experience at the hotel wasn’t what we’d imagined it to be.
Have you read Part Three? You can catch up *here*.
In the next moment, George came running to witness me fall flat on my face.
“Why did you leave me?” I complained later, in our room.
“Sorry Maggie, I don’t know…to tell you the truth. I suppose I was enchanted by Mary.” George perched himself on the edge of the bed, beside me.
“If you weren’t such an old goat I’d be jealous! Really, George!”
“You know me, Maggie. It wasn’t like that.”
I plumped up the pillows behind me on the bed. Within my heart, I knew it wasn’t really like that. I leant back. “So explain how it was…’enchanting’.”
“I suppose she bewitched me with her melodic voice. I got lost in her words.”
I laughed at that. “Melodic voice! The girl – although pretty, I grant you that – sounds like an old hag.”
“Huh?” He stood up and went to the window.
The only window in our room was like the ones in the reception room: long, sashed, and painted cream. George opened it a few inches and let in the pleasant tepid breeze. I remember the weather that day, it was in the mid seventies, and very clammy. Even the tepid breeze was a welcome when our thin cotton clothes adhered like a second skin. Despite all the opulence elsewhere in the hotel our room wasn’t air conditioned.
I was still too dizzy – sipping the cool water from a glass, poured from the tap in our ensuite bathroom – to change into something fresh. For now I was content to lay back in the bed, with my bare feet up on cushions.
Our Fairyland room was painted and decorated in powder-blue hues with accents of gold. The double bed was a four-poster with an overhead canopy and curtains that were tied back to the gold posts, with golden tassles. The cover spread over the bed, and the pillows and towels were of the highest quality. Either side of the bed stood glass topped ironwork tables, with each holding a small lamp; spheres of light carried high by metal fairies. The indigo blue carpet let your bare feet sink into it. The metallic and mirrored stars on the overhead bed canopy let your imagination drift off into sleep.
“Maggie, what did you see when you screamed?” George asked, his back to me, still by the window.
“I’m not sure really. Not anymore…” I answered.
“When we got to you, you said you saw something ‘revolting’…that it was touching you.”
“I think I remember. But you’ll laugh at me if I tell you.”
George shrugged his shoulders. “I won’t laugh at you.” He said softly.
“I must have fallen asleep in the heat, tired from our long journey. I had an unsettling dream…you were standing exactly there by the window. Then the dream was nice. I felt truly loved. I thought it was you gently stroking my face.” I paused, uncertain how to continue without looking absurd.
“That does sound nice. What happened next?”
“When I realised it wasn’t really you, I awoke. It wasn’t even a hand stroking my face all that time; it was something else. It was large and black, with more than five fingers. It was covered in dense hair that was really fur…” I couldn’t bare to think of it anymore.
At the window, George sighed. “Oh Maggie, it was just a dream. You know when you awake and you think you’re awake, but you’re really awake in another dream. A bit like that Inception film.”
But it had seemed too real.
I couldn’t argue about it; I wanted to forget it.
“Maggie,” George was saying, standing by the only window in our hotel room. “you really should have a look at this.”
I was reclining on the double bed, with the inertia of not being able to move. Even if I could, I wasn’t willing to move my resting pained body. The only view I had out of the window was the top half which showed an expanse of cloudy but blue sky.
Somehow, I felt I had already lived through this part.
“George, please don’t tell me to look now: I’ll look later.” My words seemed held by time; they lingered in the air.
George made an odd clicking sound in the back of his throat. Something I’d never heard him do before – although it was strangely deja vu.
“What George? What is it?” I pulled myself up into a sitting position and craned my neck.
Still transfixed on the happenings going on outside our window, my husband sighed.
“George, will you tell me what’s going on?” I put forth the question I was supposed to ask; the words familiar from another place, but still necessary.
“I’m not sure,” he answered, without turning. “they’ve taken the body away now.”
“I knew you were going to say that.” I told him.
“How? That’s not possible.” George neared the bed. His face white with shock. “Had you seen the dead person earlier?”
“No, I didn’t need to. I already knew what you were going to say – word for word – before you said it. Don’t ask me how.”
“It’s this place. There’s something about the hotel that isn’t right.” George said, summing up my own uneasy feelings.
He reached for his mobile phone in his back pocket, then his hand faltered. “I didn’t bring it – my work phone – remember? I left it behind. See if you can get a reception on yours.”
I searched inside my Italien leather handbag beside me on the bed, and located my phone quite easily. We weren’t surprised to find that we couldn’t get a signal on it out here.
I recalled the words from the hotel’s web site:
Leave behind your current worries and the modern world…and let us entertain you!
We had left behind our current worries and the modern world. But what was entertaining us? What did it want with George and me?
~ To be continued! ~
Photographs and digital manipulation by me, 3rd May 2016, Great Yarmouth Row Houses.
My day out at the Great Yarmouth Row Houses.
Writing prompt: Our experience at the hotel wasn’t what we’d imagined it to be.
Writing inspiration: A strange dream. And a little Hotel California.
What’s a Short Story Series?: A short story written over several parts, around 1,000 words for each part.
Copyright Faith McCord 2016
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide right