1 - Didn’t know I had an uncle
June 1, 2000.
I didn't know I had an uncle. Well, I sure knew once I inherited his hotel.
Evidently, (the will said so, anyway) it had not done well, but it had been his dream and so he gave it to me, to finish what he could not do. Why, I don't know, I'm an author and painter, not a business man. How well have I ever done with people? Not very. How young am I? Very.
I drove up, after an hour trying to find it, the GPS going screwy. The only thing I got was that it was the middle nowhere, which I thankfully did find...eventually. Well, I wasn't leaving anytime soon, but I really should have drawn myself a map. Maybe if I go back and forth enough...
But enough of that. I turned off my phone, or went to, when it suddenly shut off. I paused in the light of the entry way, unnerved, but I hadn't checked the battery before it went off so I don't know.
But anyway, the place looked like something out of an 18th century French palace. I wondered why it didn't do so well, maybe people don't like history as much as they used to or nobody can appreciate real beauty anymore. It looked gorgeously Baroque to me. Real realistic paintings like the kind I strive for, and real chandeliers. Maybe, though growing up poor and living, eh, not so well, I could truly have a change to enjoy real beauty. It would be excellent for my art, which will, of course, decorate the place, maybe an auction or two among guests?
I was staring around, of course, when the staff came up. Or rather, they were waiting for me.
"Good evening, sir," the man at the end of the line said, startling me. I blinked. A real butler! Tails, tiny mustache, and everything...(I can really sell this as a historical experience, I thought).
"Oh, good evening," I said, removing my sun glasses. "Please, do tell me all of your names. You understand I am now your master, I take it?"
"Indeed," the butler said solemnly. He turned to the ruler-straight line of evidently well trained and silent servants, and, in the manner of a herald, slowly and clearly told me their names, and their duties.
Except I couldn't pay attention. This girl at the end of the line---I forgot to breathe. She was short, brown hair the color of pale chocolate, bright eyes the color of the sea, or sky. Very bright eyes. To call them merely bright is an injustice. To call her beautiful is also an injustice. What a delicate being! How angelic her features, the timid way she held herself. What a desirable creature...!
"The proprietor's room is traditionally sixth floor," the butler said, suddenly right before me. I almost jumped. "It is heavily decorated," he continued. "You should find it."
Nodding for show, my mind obviously somewhere else, I picked up the suitcase I inadvertently dropped, tailed it up the stairs, and hoped the girl was of the cleaning crew. How oft would I get to see her...
2 - Back in his place
June 2, 2000
I waited outside the door to the fanciest room on the sixth floor. As a scullery maid, it was duty to bring breakfast to the proprietor if he did not come down in time. All know one must eat or be dizzy.
Finally, he opened the door, I unable to knock with my hands full. He stared in the same way he did last night, as though he registered nothing else, no voice, no sight nor sound. I had yet to decide how to respond, if I should ask someone else to come in my stead.
"Good morning," I say, to get him to speak. Thus far nothing has happened, nothing said.
"Oh!" he jumped. "I say," he managed, trembling a little, his voice more so. "Dear me. Sorry, I--I--nevermind how do I explain," he went off into mumbling. His glazed eyes trailed downward and he somehow registered the tray. He blinked. "Oh, I see," he said, his voice clear now. He gently took the tray and thanked me kindly, closing the door.
What a wreck. Poor boy.
I couldn't help a little bit of amusement, though. No one had ever done this to me, or for me? Well, it was a passion, he was floundering, and for a second the thought crossed my mind to play with him--but no! That was not my thought, not from my head.
I glanced around, suddenly caught by a vase nonchalantly floating down the corridor. I sighed. Ah but of course, such whispers were stronger here on this floor, things happened. Well, I snagged the offending vase and set it back on its spot. No good if our proprietor should see that so soon.
I went back to the kitchen, glancing behind me to be sure the vase didn't escape again. Good. Back where things were safer, where less happened.
I come to the glorious stair landing with a chandelier overhead, to see Jim bobbing on the mat. I continued walking, snagging him by the collar as I went down the stairs.
"OI!" he yipped, twisting like a caught connie in my grip.
"What excuse do you have?" I ask, not even blinking. "I know you like interesting things, out of the ordinary, but honestly. You lag to often you can no longer work here."
"What, why?" he whined. What a child for a lanky, odd college dropout.
"You are nineteen, you have a job, there are expectations," I said calmly. How many times have I explained? "There is no way to avoid it, and since you are employed, I would suggest you act by your age."
But no, he was raptly watching a rug do cartwheels on the fifth floor. He never listened. I tossed him down the stairs, and ran to catch the rug. I ran once more to snip his ear as he dashed up the stairs again.
"Cut your addiction," I scolded, losing patience. "Now get into the kitchen. The dishes await."
He slunk off, muttering, slouching. What bad posture. I stood, (straight, I must note) wiping my hands on my apron from the dirty rug, making a note to clean it. I watched Jim go, smirking at how many times he glanced back to see if I was still there.
But of course I was. He knew by now he could count on me to be so.
3 - Come see the place
William Eckart III
June 3, 2000
How grossly unacquainted is our proprietor with the hotel. Honestly, in the one day (and 17 hours, to be exact) he had been here, Mr. Jay has sat in his room all day, painting, or chatting to the scullery maid through the door, according to her account. Bright and early the next morn, I stood by Miss Hawkins at the door of our sad loafer (pardon me for the language), intending to tell him he must begin to leave bed more early. An opening was due in a week, and he had explored and acquainted himself with no inch of the place.
She knocked. We stood waiting, and the door came open a few seconds later. Mr. Jay was surprisingly well dressed for a late sleeper, appearing already to have had done the morning routine.
"Gin," Mr. Jay began, only to stop sudden as his eyes registered me.
"Casualties already?" I asked, prim and solemn as ever.
Mr. Jay breathed faster, already flustered. "Uh," he panted, unsure. "Well, she comes to my door every morning, you see..."
"This is the second," I put in, seeing him trail off as he understood, his mind coming to what I had just said, I only put a voice to it.
Mr. Jay's face was becoming a sunburnt red, "Maybe I had imagined it would be everyday. Maybe the time here felt longer than it was."
"His time keeping skills are impeccable." Miss Hawkins stepped forward and handed Mr. Jay his breakfast. "Time seems to pass differently here. He is immune, of course."
"I see," Mr. Jay began, still flustered. He suddenly went pale, staring at something behind us.
We both looked, and Miss Hawkins sighed. "Let me take care of it." I returned to face Mr. Jay, while he watched her return the pot floating lazily down the corridor, as though he beheld a ghost. He might has well have.
"Is that...normal?" he managed as she returned, trying to find his voice.
She sighed. "Yes, that happens..."
"Why?" he burst. "Why? That defies all the laws of physics. That is in no way or respect natural."
"I know," she said, somewhat nervous perhaps by the sound of it. "It happens. Not so much on the floor of the guests though."
"But still!" he insisted.
I cut in, "If it would please you, Mr. Jay, do come down to breakfast with the rest of us. Opening is in a week, and you are required to know the premises."
"How often do things float?" he insisted vehemently.
"Mostly on this floor," Miss Hawkins said, softly.
"Where the staff sleep??"
"Ahem." They both turned to look at me. "Eat swiftly, my friend. I will return to you in half an hour."
Exactly half an hour later, I returned for Mr. Jay, knocking on his door.
Seconds later, he emerged. "Is this place cursed?" was the first thing to come out of his mouth. "You're the butler. How long have you been here? You seem to be in charge of the others."
"Indeed," I said, already striding away. "Come, sir. You have much to see."
Five floors and many chandeliers, paintings, and staircases later, the tour was over. Mr. Jay seemed quite pleased with the place. Not a single thing defied the laws of physics. The art and beauty struck him the most.
"How old are the paintings?"
"How did he get them?" Mr. Jay asked in awe, closely studying one of a Madonna and little cherubs.
"They came with the hotel."
Mr. Jay straightened. "...Wait. The will said he built the place. He...he didn't lie to me, did he?"
4 - Preparing for Opening
June 4, 2000
As requested, I emerged early the next day instead of opening the curtains, setting up the paints, and working once more on that painting of a forest. Gin and I disagreed on how well it was turning out. Then again, an artist is his own harshest critic.
I left it behind with much difficulty, since I did not know when I could return.
I went hurriedly down the stairs, lest some other ornament float before my eyes. If they do, I preferred not to be there.
Several floors down, I got closer to the kitchen on the ground. I heard a gathering of servants, talking. I didn't know if I was invited, of if they cared that I heard, but it was too difficult not to hear and I was headed there anyway:
"We can move it sooner if we finish sooner," I heard the butler say.
"How confident are you?" Her voice made my heart leap unreasonably before I calmed myself. "There are jobs where there is constantly something that must be done, and I believe this has the nature of one."
"The place is in very good condition." Eckart's voice was final.
"The sooner they come, the better," a scrawny boy chirped as I finally turned the corner. The same one I often saw wandering on my floor long before and after the others, his eyes sometimes glazed. That boy makes me nervous.
Gin was facing me and saw me first. "Breakfast is served," she said, calm as ever.
I nodded in recognition, not trusting myself to speak to her with anyone else around. She went (almost floating, perhaps) on light feet, as though one of those little nymphs from Greek books, or something by Tolkien, to the large, ornate door behind her.
Breakfast was rather quick. Having never been there, I had to be reminded to eat instead of staring at the ceiling, or windows, or even the very chairs people sat in. I glanced around, and observed there were now more in the upper thirties of servants. Not so many had lined up to greet me.
Ten minutes of simply talking elapsed after they brought their plates to the kitchen. Then, all the servants rose, and scampered off immediately as Eckart barked orders. He knew all that needed to be done.
"How long did it take to build this place?" I asked, to no one in particular.
It was in Gin's direction, but she frowned. "I don't know."
"A hundred years," the butler said stiffly. He didn't want to tell me, and seemed to resent me for asking that.
"...this--this was built in---well, fifty years ago," I stammered. "Wait--how did my uncle get that kind of money?"
Eckert gave me a glare so piercing it hurt my chest and I resolved to ask some one else. He only said curtly, "Come along."
I followed the stiff-legged butler through the corridors once more. I did not remember them being so twisty, like goblin tunnels.
"What must I do to prepare?" I asked, and when I got no answer, I glanced around, eyes lighting upon a portrait of a lady and her little daughter in sunlight and greenery. "How about you tell me what paintings and art pieces we have in the hotel?"
"That one is 'Lady of Song and her Daughter Arin," the butler half grunted.
I whipped out the little notebook I always carry, shuffling in my pocket for one of the many pencils. Hoping to have snatched one that works, (thankfully, I did,) and swiftly took note of name and description. I glanced up in time to see a man in silverish armor, sword in the heart of a black dragon. "What is that one?"
"Silverstar's Battle with the Enemy of the World," the butler said, some ways ahead of me.
We went through many corridors, and marked down many historical paintings, some from myth, some copies from long, long ago.
"This one has many men with torches, several at the head holding red-bladed swords in the air," I called as I passed a particularly cool one.
"The Oath," I heard from ahead.
I quickly got it down, hoping I could read my handwriting again later, then looked up for the next one. I nearly walked right past it. "Which is this?"
He had stopped, in a back corridor, at a dead end. Candles lit, he stood silent, staring perhaps mournfully at the blackened portrait of two men, one with red hair, one black. The redhead was fiercer, taller, scared, perhaps. The other remained, calm, bright eyes the color of a series of paintings of a man like him. Both were in clothes found only on medieval nobles, the taller one in orange, the other in blue. The heraldry told both were from different families. The painting hung at the head, above the table of candles, seeming half in shadow.
I felt the reverence to whisper. "Who?"
5 - It was built years ago....
June 5, 2000
When I came up to the sixth floor, forgetting I had no breakfast to bring to Mr. Jay (since he got up early, a trend my uncle hopes remains) he was not there.
"Did he or did he not say he would return?" a voice calls behind me.
I sigh and turn my head, to see Jim again. "Why? Did you see him go anywhere else?"
He paused bobbing oddly like a fish, and furrowed in confusion. "Maybe. Oh yes. Down below the first floor, to the shrine, or whatever its called. Grave? Well anyway," and he returned to whatever he was doing.
I sighed, and wondered how often I did that. Well, I put my hands in my pockets after realizing I had no tray, then hurried down to the underground.
Sure enough, there he was, staring at the painting above the candles. Some chill ran through me, for some reason. How did he know about this place?
"Did he show you?" I whispered.
He jumped. "The butler, yes," he panted, still recovering. His attention to the grave appeared to have been broken by my standing where he could see me. "It's a fascinating place! It feels...odd, more odd than the rest of the place. More odd than even the sixth floor. And I don't mean 'feel' as emotion, passion, but as an intuition deep in my soul...does something unnatural reside here?"
What a barrage of questions. "It would make sense," I tried, unsure what I was feeling. "There might be something beyond nature here, more likely than anywhere else. It has some significance..."
"Something unnatural is here," he said, as though something clicked. "The vases."
There was a silence in which I figured we were pondering what was said. Then I realized he was staring, and when I met his dark green eyes his face became red, slowly, like a bloodstain.
"I'm sorry," he said, shamed perhaps, slower and more clear than he had spoken before. "It's just---you're standing there in the doorway and the light is making you glow."
"Oh." I stepped in where the effect wasn't so strong.
"This was built hundreds of years ago...wasn't it?" he asked carefully, his breathing having evened, which I only noticed since he tends to hyperventilate around me.
Reluctantly, I was forced to say, "Well, how else did he get all this wealth? Not just hundreds of years ago, over a century of building."
My mouth moved by itself, knowing the answer so well, even though I was not obliged by curse to give answers. "1393, when they started construction."
He stepped closer. "They told you?"
"They told me everything when I was employed."
"You sure? This place has its secrets, but you are only a scullery maid. Either you're all in with the rest, keeping some secret from me, or you weren't told everything and are closer to my position."
"I don't know," I levied evenly. "My uncle knows more than I do."
We stood in silence. "I see..." he mused, slowly, softly.
"More importantly. Have you toured the entire place yet? Or at least most of it. It's too big to see in one week."
"I know the paintings," he said, reaching into the breast pocket of his jacket. His hand stilled and he turned pale. "Where is it?" he whispered. Frantically, he ruffled around, in every pocket, every fold in his clothes.
I stood and watched helplessly, then spotted something like one on the table. "That it?" I went and took it before it got burned.
He sagged in relief. "O my gosh, thank you." He tucked it carefully into his breast pocket, face stern. "I don't want to know how it got there."
"What is your plan for the opening?" I asked, to calm him from the scare. Stupid spirits.
"How about, a historical experience?" he said. "Look at this place!! It's so old, and looks to be quite new. We just have to rope off a few places, like this grave for instance, ban the sixth floor, and map it out."
"I wouldn't bother," I said. "I've been here since I was seven and I don't know the place."
He frowned. "What? Does the foundation itself move or something?" Panic began to rise in his voice.
"No, the pieces move on the foundation," I said, trying to sooth him with my voice. It worked now, as it always did. "It's just like Harry Potter."
He went an odd color, greenish perhaps. "How is that possible?" It was hard to pinpoint what exactly was reacting in him. "Physics--nature--that's not possible." His face became a groan as he thought back to something. "The place was different when he took me around the second time," he muttered.
I suddenly put my hand on his arm. "Do rest." He visibly relaxed again. "You cannot think when you are flustered. Besides, the floors themselves don't change, or jump that often, just within each floor do things change."
6 - Opening
June 6, 2000
It must be today, it must be today.
Tradition must be kept. Must be today...it was the last time. Good thing I already sent out the advertisement. Now we have no choice.
Mr. Jay was not pleased. "TODAY??" he howled. "What? You know how ready I am?? NOT."
"I assure you, it is set for noon," I said, frowning.
"I was going to advertise it as a historical experience!" Mr. Jay cried. "How can we do that? How--we don't have time to advertise---"
"I assure you, that has been done already."
Silence, while our proprietor panted as he struggled to contain himself. "What do you have planned?" Mr. Jay asked thickly, as though through barely restrained frustration.
"Masquerade ball," I said. "It was in all the posters."
"I see," he said, regaining his calm. "And...I don't suppose we have anything for that? Do we make the guests bring their own?"
"Of course, all is accounted for," I said. "Costumes for all of the staff, and you, of course, are in the closet at the very end of sixth floor hall."
June 6, 2000
We all scrambled, but managed to make it. I got first pick of costume but didn't care what I got. Ended up with a green-black striped suit, and the masque of a plague doctor. Odd. O well.
All was set, I waited nervously as the guests arrived. Rich people, some middle class probably, all able to make their own gown. It was really impressive watching them trickle in from my spot on the music stage at the front of the ballroom. They were in the fanciest gowns and suits I had ever seen all in one place. Marveling, it suddenly came to me, that this palace was of the 1800s but Shakespeare was four hundred years ago...I mentally noted to perhaps try other times in history as well.
"Ladies and gentlemen," I said, hugely relieved out butler had written a speech already. The guest's chatter died down and they listened, all eyes on me. Quickly, before my courage failed me, I went on, "Tonight--well also tonight--Today is the day you have awaited. Today, this hotel opens to the public. Today Letare is --- well, able now to be enjoyed by all who love history...Ah, 'Letare' is the Latin word for rejoice. So let us do so."
People cheered and clapped. I resisted the urge to swipe the sweat off my brow as I stepped back, glad at least I had only forgotten my lines a couple times. Maybe nobody noticed.
Lively music began, starting the party. I watched the guests begin, slowly at first, to pair up and twirl around the lovely room.
I went into the crowd, dancing with several ladies, knowing that the entertainment would last until long after the sun set. My mind went on with plans, what was for dinner, when I should check, and all the while I found myself glancing around the room. Almost lazily, as though I were looking for someone.
When I realized who I was looking for, there she was. A dark blue dress, fluffing outward and speckled with little silver specks, making her skirts look like the night sky at its finest. They winked at me with every little turn of hers, and I peered at her face to be sure. Through her matching butterfly masque, I recognized her eyes instantly.
Restraining myself from walking over then and there like in movies, I waited and nodded politely to the lady in pink I had just danced with, waiting until the song ended before I went to find Gin.
The song ended, I kissed the lady's hand and thanked for for the dance. Nearly dying with the wait, I didn't leave until she wandered away and took the arm of a man in a blue suit and green stripes. I rushed over to where I last saw Gin. She noticed me as I approached her on the stairs before the entry.
"You're radiant," I breathed.
"Pinstripe," she said.
I was startled a moment before I saw her grin. I relaxed, now that I knew she wasn't making fun of me.
"The sun has set." Matter of factly she said it, softly, like a butterfly perhaps. "Come."
I followed out into the cold air, biting, but I only noticed it for a second. We wandered to the edge of the property, or at least to a decorated fence that stood some ways from the entrance. It served no purpose other than to look fancy. We leaned against it, pretending to be on a balcony. Or I was, at least.
"What a lovely night." I looked to her, dreamily, only to realize she was staring at the sky. Sheepishly, I looked too. I could see the Milky Way. We were out in the middle of nowhere.
For hours we talked, (ok fine, it was probably maybe only one) and suddenly there came a scream from inside.
We ran. The lights were off---the chandeliers!! What happened---
Wait. We burst into the ballroom, and stared at the lights. "They're flickering!" I panicked.
Just as suddenly, the lights went out. Ladies screamed again. Men shouted.
Then the lights returned, just as bright as before. An awed gasp went up from the audience, and then some cheered, more clapping. Music stared up again, a lively jaunt, as though nothing had happened.
I had been frozen in the doorway. I felt I knew what happened.
"They think it's part of the show." I turned to look at Gin, behind me. She went on, "The spirits undoubtedly want people to come and stay, so they shock and amuse." She frowned. "At least at first."
"We need to drive them away before it comes to that," I said, urgency slowly flooding my chest.
Her hand was on my arm, calming me. "Tomorrow."
7 - Discovery
June 7, 2000
First thing's first. We need to know why the place is cursed. We need to know how to break it. We must find out and end it before the guests start disappearing. I was told many things, but not all.
Sam seems pretty surprised how well the place is doing. Some people were fine paying both the small admission fee, and the price of a room (which was discounted for guests at the ball, first night.) Many stayed, since we are indeed in the middle of nowhere. A few brought children, which makes me even more nervous. After running breakfast rounds to those who didn't make it to the kitchen, I rush to find Sam.
He was leisurely walking down a corridor (I didn't realize he was deep in thought) when I seized his arm. "We must find out."
He jumped and jerked away, but once he spent a couple seconds realizing it was me, he relaxed. "Good grief," he said. "Yes, I know. I was just thinking of how and where to start."
"The grave?" I suggested. "Secrets haunt the place."
"Basement," he said, determined. We turned right around and took the first stairs down.
"It doesn't seem to have changed," he said in surprise as we went down to the third floor. "It is the same as it was yesterday!"
"It's because guests are here," I said softly.
He laughed. "I kind of which guests would stay then!"
"Don't," I cautioned. "Last time, the spirits kept the hotel grounds the same, to keep the guests in place. The wish of anyone in the staff keeps the spirits in their game."
He sobered, frown growing more intense as he struggled in himself, as he told me later.
We went deeper and darker, thankfully knowing our way a little bit from last night.
We got close to the final ending, where we saw the little alcove of the grave ahead. Our pace quickened in excitement, only to stop short.
We froze. My chest began to hurt as my heart went overtime, and Sam seized my arm. He was deathly white. No one was down here.
"Let's go back," he whispered.
"You will never know what you came here for," the voice said, clear as day, as though the person stood in front of them. The doors where closed. No guests were on this floor. The voice was not that of any of the staff.
Sam could not speak, so I tried for him. "What is it? No lies."
"I was there in the beginning," the ghost said. "I saw. I saw the founders. I was one of the staff, I one of the first. A chamber boy. But someone cursed us---not only are there evil spirits who were never human, the original staff remain and haunt the place."
A dread chill ran through me. Sam adjusted his sweaty grip on my arm.
"I saw our founders, I know why they are cursed," the ghost went on. "They were inseparable--spent all their time together. Every second. Whole nights, even...people questioned them...and then they cursed us, cursed us!" The voice rose to a shrill and mournful howl that made one fear for one's life and pity the spirit deeply at the same time.
"Who cursed you?" I tried, but the ghost was silent. There was not a sound.
Sam finally could speak. "How can we believe it?" he cautioned, arm out to keep me from going farther. "We must test his words."
A new, deeper voice suddenly spoke, a presence more sinister than that of the human spirit. "Believe me." And I felt the words draw, the creature pulling us in, drawing us by his will alone, forcing us to bend to his will as the draw of the tide. I saw by the strain Sam felt it too.
"ENOUGH!" he suddenly roared, and, tearing himself away, he seized my arm with a grip harder than anyone had put on me and almost threw me ahead of him. "Take it!" he shouted, desperately perhaps, but I wasn't sure what he meant in the panic. So I raced ahead. But I couldn't leave him to the doom...
I slowed and glanced behind me. "We both will die if you do not run," he managed. "Neither will of ours is strong enough to resist. You go. You live. Return when you have more strength."
The ceiling crumbled behind me, in front of him.
8 - A Piece is Missing
June 8, 2000
I was there when shouts sounded from the lower floors. I was there when they carried the battered body of our proprietor to his room. I watched as a frantic, grim faced healer marched into the room, telling the others to remain calm.
I, unnoticed, remained hidden behind a vase stand. I saw everything.
The night was falling and the shadows long as the last of the staff wandered away. I crept out, and began to dance. A voice that was not male came from the room.
Hesitating, I crept close. They were talking. There was one left with him. I pressed my ear to the door, careful to keep my breathing shallow. No one must hear.
"He may have said what brought the curse, not why," a lady said. Ginny. "It has something to do with the founders. Some sin of theirs?"
"Perhaps." The proprietor could think despite being injured, evidently. "Can we trust the ghost? The first spirit was of a human, the second, not."
"He said he was there."
Ah, that'd be Pennyblighter. Always complaining and making vague moans about the curse, him. Rather dramatic for a kitchen boy.
Ginny went on, "I see. So what was the sin of theirs?"
Silence. Appeared to be thinking. I knew something more, but there was no need for it to be said. Let them figure it out if they could.
" 'whole nights together,' " the proprietor suddenly said. Was he...sad? I heard Ginny gasp in what might have been horror. The proprietor sighed, then said, "I think we know. Then who laid the curse?"
"The Church wouldn't have, they aren't that kind of people," Ginny said.
I couldn't take it anymore. In a fit of anger, I turned the knob and marched boldly in. Ginny turned to glare, the proprietor jumping in bed.
"Of course they might," I said hotly. "Plenty aren't perfect, you know. It might have been a back alley thing, or something!" My eyes glittered with the idea, but it made the proprietor look sick.
"I know," he said, shushing me with a glare when I made a triumphant sound. "but in order to lay a curse one has to be very deep into the evil side of the spiritual world."
I delicately ignored his last comment. "Well, it makes total sense that the Church would do it, they have been our enemies for years...Guys, just admit it. God made the rainbow. He's on our side."
"What of Sodom and Gomora?" the proprietor levied evenly.
"That was unjust!" I said triumphantly.
"If so, that would mean He is capable of acts that are unjust. That would make him as broken as the rest of us," the proprietor said calmly.
My face became red, and I snapped. "SHUT UP!" I screamed. "You're wrong! So very wrong!"
I saw him smile faintly, and spat his direction. "Curse," I hissed. I dashed out the door, shaking.
"Jim!" Ginny's firm voice roared. "You show respect!"
"Just don't come any deeper! The secret is ours!!!"
9 - Terror
Fr. Micheal Breane
June 9, 2000
I was just settling to breakfast when I got a call from some place in the middle of nowhere. I set down the bagel and took up the call.
"Father, there's something on my wall." The man sounded young, frantic. "Please! This place is haunted. But the doors and windows are all shut now that I have the notion to get away. The guests are trapped. Things have been floating. They are threatening me. I finally got the phone to work, now that they have written terror on my wall--" and the other end suddenly cut out.
I sighed and stood, nervous for the young man. Snatching my bagel off the plate, I took it with me on the long drive to the address I had been given when Sam moved. I was his parish priest after all, and he still came the Sunday after he left for the hotel.
I knew something was off, knew the poor boy was in otherworldly trouble when I rode in, parked, and reached for my phone only to find it shut suddenly off. I got out, nervous now, crossing myself for courage. The butler let me in.
"Mr. Jay and Miss Hawkins are in the kitchen," he said, arm out to show which way.
"Thank you," I said, letting him open the door for me, since I made a move to but he insisted.
I walked in, but the two didn't notice me at first.
"It's not a very good place for a hotel. It did start out as a castle, a haven for those fighting rebellions against tyrants," the young woman said, frowning.
Sam said, "I know, things have changed, it's in the middle of nowhere, so it should be an attraction of its own...what am I saying? We don't want people here!" His face went pale in his frenzy, then he noticed me. "Father!!" he cried. "Please, drive them away. Save us!"
"I will. Show me the evidence, and we will begin the ritual soon," I said. I was glad I had brought all that was needed, just in case.
The young lady took my arm as Sam led me out. "Father," she said, timidly, "are you an exorcist?"
"Yes, else I would have sent someone else," I replied.
Sam brought us to his room, shaking more as we went on. The young lady came ahead of me and took his arm, visibly calming him. We got onto the sixth floor, and Sam crept ahead, glancing around as though at any moment, something would jump at him.
I frowned at the other young man bobbing oddly on the carpet, a little ways down the hall. His head turned slightly, and he immediately paled to see me. He disappeared in the second I glanced away.
"Here it is," Sam muttered, tugging the door. "It won't open," he said in disbelief.
"Here." I took the handle, and suddenly, it came open with a groan of reluctant submission that sent a shiver down my spine because it was not from the door. I peered inside the ornate room. "O dear."
Scrawled across the wall facing the bed were the words 'delve deeper into our secrets and die' in something red.
I stared a few seconds, and turned, grim, to Sam. He quivered uncontrollably, appearing pale as though about to faint. "We have more on our hands. Let us go the the grounds, and stand before the house." I made a move towards the stairs.
The boy appeared again, face pale and fierce, eyes in immortal fire, hands up. His sleeves fell a little as he rose his arms higher, a bandage around a wrist. He shouted something, but none of us stuck around to find out what.
Hard we pelted down the stairs, running, past everyone, past vases and rugs that came down at our passing to chase us. We got to the door. I whirled around, and at the sign of the cross the objects fell with a clatter to the floor. The dust settled in silence.
The boy's head appeared, hair dark against his chalk white face. He snarled at me. "Get thee gone," he hissed.
The objects quivered once more. I turned, thinking it safer to leave. I took Sam by the arm. "Come!"
I ran, and my hold loosened on him, but I knew he would follow me. I turned to slam the door closed to keep the curse out, but Sam still stood there, pressed against the air.
"Father!" he cried. "I cannot leave! I cannot get past the door!"
Hello, thank you all for loving my story! You put it on the top of the popular list.
I have another big project to work on, a 200-300 or so page book that needs serious editing. (I mean, I wrote that early high school. Parts of it are pretty cringy....)
My mind has fallen out of favor with this story for now, but I assure you, I do intend to make a point to finish it. I am only one third of the way through the story!
So put it in your library and check back occasionally. If you loved this story and want it to continue, I will if I get five or more personal requests to do so. In the mean time, check out my other story! Thank you, love ya~