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Noises in the Hotel

by Harvest 5 months ago in fiction
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"A dream written, is a dream you can forget..."

Eyes close. Body stills. Breathing regulates. Sleep.


Imagine a large hotel. The walls are maroon and faded brass, the suggestion of colours long since aged under low toned lighting from simplified chandeliers hung from brown painted electric wire.

The doors to each room are archaic. Carved from ironically expensive mahogany with thick frilled ornateness and a sense of the impregnable.

The hallways are long and seem to shrink into the distance, intervals of darkness cropping up with each light fixture in need of replacement. The carpet underfoot squishes without sound, in such a way that your teeth rattle. Like chewing felt or scraping Styrofoam.

There are people too. In suits and dresses. I’m not Fashion knowledgeable so I couldn’t tell you more than that they looked fresh pulled out of some 50s ideal civility. Modest pumps, cigar lined pockets, fedoras and ringlet tresses.

They’re panicked in the halls. Opening and closing their hotel doors to inspect the safety. Slamming them shut a moment later, paranoid and frightened. The halls ring with the percussion of heavy, erratic mahogany.

Every floor is the same thing. I know this because I am trying to find a way out. The stairwells are narrow. Submarine, arms tucked in, spiral vertigo narrow, chipping lead paint coming off the rails in your hands. The stairs ring dully. The percussion has chimes now.

Each level I go to has more of the same. Each one has a few brave souls desperate to get out as well. They never talk in clear words, just mangled syllables that gives you something to chew on besides the tension and brittle air.

They follow or they lead. Someone takes charge and someone follows, terrified. The faces are always different. Forgettable. Their clothes though are there, with immaculate recall.

There are no windows. I remember thinking this hotel was a fire hazard waiting to ignite. There are no exit signs, even when we reach what must be a dining hall in some part of the first floor. I seem to be missing the notable portals where freedom stands. All i see are more doors, these ones closed and saying ‘Private’ in fancy gold letters.

We’re losing people as we go. Couples split off into the dark against the groups better wishes. Singles go blubbering into open rooms where the light cuts brilliant knives over faded beige wallpaper and thrown furnishings. The doors always slam shut. The percussion never stops.

Someone says we should go up and like the logic of any dream we’re at the top floor within the first set of chiming stairs. It isn’t that fast. We stop twice halfway there when we hear calls for help.

We lose half our number to good Samaritans who always exclaim

'Wait. Here.’

Who are really saying.

'Don’t. Leave. Me’

The penthouse is a gentleman’s club with cigar smoke, fancy tables with ashtrays at the centre. A dozen business men are sitting around quietly swirling their bourbons and their scotches without looking at each other.

The host in her black red and white uniform looks up at us when we pour through her doors. Points at the sign overhead which reads either

'Members Only’


'Real Numb Now’

Someone says 'there’s nothing here for us’ and we apologetically scurry into the stairwell again.

The percussion has lessened. Our chimes are louder. We go three floors down on five floors of stairs and come into a dark with polka dots of illumination every hundred feet. The halls seem longer but that might just be that we can’t see the ends any more.

We’ve somehow lost another chunk of our number. A half dozen or a few. Enough to make me count eight left. A definitive eight.

We move from light source to light source, eager for the safety of visibility. We pass doors with flickering lamp light. With smeared walls and silhouettes just…standing in the mess of bedrooms crumpled on the shaggy floors.

We pass doors with pieces chewed out. The rooms beyond are darker than the halls we’re moving through.

There’s a scratching noise coming from somewhere.

We’re down to five now. Three lost somewhere between the lights. Someone whimpers and the man in charge mumbles more syllables of warbling encouragement.

The next light is a hall corner that turns left and we make it there intact. The way forward is the same spot-lit stretch of forever. Fewer lights.

That scratching is louder now. The percussion is all but dead.

The next light and we’re down to three. That nice newlywed couple or brother and sister? 


The man in charge looks at the two of us and smiles in a brittle sort of way. I think he says

'Everything is fine’


'Carmen is lying’


'Summer is around the corner’

Then he steps into the dark again.

And I wake up. Or at least don’t remember anything more of what happened.


About the author


Gamer, Writer, Design Theory and Spec. Fic. Everything else is just noise.

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