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The Hotel California

by Scott Wade 2 months ago in fiction · updated about a month ago
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Such a lovely place, such a lovely place

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

Tommy hurried along the worn path, he was late, and his mom didn't like tardiness. The grocer had ignored him to feed the bottled beer to the miners after their shift.

Through the trees, the sky blackened, and thunder rumbled like the cannon of a battle over the next hill. A rush of wind rustled the trees and whipped their branches into animated life. The arms appeared like warnings to stop, go back. The path before him faded as the light failed until a lightning bolt illuminated the cabin above him and to the right. An explosion of thunder followed, and a deluge of water flooded through the forest and soaked him. The accumulated downpour raged down the trail and flooded his shoes.

The sky lit white again, and the cabin silhouetted against the black hill, and he turned towards the shack to seek shelter. He slogged the last few feet and stopped when the candle like a sailor's beacon in the window, appeared inviting or a warning of danger. The trees danced in another onslaught of high wind as debris sailed through the air. Fearful, he pushed forward the last steps onto the porch and found some relief from the downpour.

He knocked on the door, and the flimsy entry eased open an inch. Though hesitant, he pushed the door harder, and it creaked like an old wood ship as it opened.

"Hello, is anyone here?" he said.

After a moment, he stepped through the door, and a massive, spiraled web slapped him. Tommy dropped his bag and pawed the sticky trap off his face. A cloud of delicate gold dust filled the air, and he inhaled the foreign substance and choked. An onlooker would think the young boy a Texas Two-Step pro when adrenaline flooded his veins and fought the phantom attack. He hated spiders.

The one-room cabin appeared abandoned, with a table and chair centered, a single bed by the wall, and a candle in the window. Lightning and thunder crashed as the storm's intensity increased, but the cabin stood fast and remained dry. Tommy stumbled like a drunk, took the candle from the window, and inspected the bed. The single wood frame bed appeared clean and sturdy, so he sat and peeled his wet coat and water-laden shoes off and laid back on the bed. Exhausted, he slipped into a deep, gold dust induced, sleep and dreamed of being home.

Unaware of how much time had passed, he awoke to the sound of music and jumped up. His eyesight grew dim and narrow as if black curtains closed over them, and he fainted back to the bed.

"The song, what is the tune? It plays on my mom's favorite radio station."

The volume rose and the lyrics became clearer.

___

Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (any time of year)

You can find it here

___

His eyes weighed heavy from the exertion, and his neck itched, so he scratched the skin. His fingers' touch sent a painful shock to his spine and brain.

"Ouch, What the hell," he said and drew his hand back with fingers red with fresh blood.

___

So I called up the Captain

Please bring me my wine

He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here"

"Since 1969"

And still those voices are calling from far away

Wake you up in the middle of the night

Just to hear them say

___

Tommy picked up the candle and examined his feet. He screamed. Pinhead sized spots of blood covered his hands, arms, and feet like someone had pricked him with a hundred needles. Dozens of black and red spiders the antithesis of lady bugs scurried across the bed and disappeared into rustic walls.

Ladybug Spider

___

Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (any time of year)

You can find it here

___

Movement above him beyond the shadows of the flame drew his attention, and hundreds of green-eyed black spiders glared at him like starved wolves of winter. The hairy-legged, half-dollar-sized creatures, agitated by the scent of blood circled like vultures in concert around the ceiling.

___

Mirrors on the ceiling

The pink champagne on ice

And she said, 'We are all just prisoners here"

"Of our own device"

And in the master's chambers

They gathered for the feast

They stab it with their steely knives

But they just can't kill the beast

___

"I've got to get out of here," he said and attempted to stand again and fell to the floor. The music played louder.

Tommy, unnaturally weak, struggled to move towards the door. A gray and white spiny spider, the size of a peach, clicked across the floor and stopped at his left wrist.

Determined to smash the invader, Tommy raised his right hand, but his arm flopped limply across his stomach in rebellion. The Arachnid's cold ebony eyes stared into him as two long white fangs slipped into the veins, and the helpless boy's body went numb as the injection paralyzed him. The queen sucked out the first offering until her once gray furry fangs withdrew a deep blood red.

___

There she stood in the doorway

I heard the mission bell

And I was thinking to myself

This could be Heaven or this could be Hell

Then she lit up a candle

And she showed me the way

There were voices down the corridor

I thought I heard them say

___

Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (any time of year)

You can find it here

___

Helpless, Tommy's eyes flicked back and forth as the hundreds of black spiders clicked their way off the ceiling to the floor. The green-eyed vampires crawled on his body until they covered his hands, arms, face, feet and legs. His sight faded, and tears leaked from the corners of his eyes and dripped down his cheeks. "Mother, please help me!" echoed in desperation through his mind as a thousand fangs sank into his flesh and as slow as a candle burns sucked the blood of life from him. The music continued to play.

___

Last thing I remember, I was

Running for the door

I had to find the passage back

To the place I was before

"Relax," said the night man

"We are programmed to receive"

"You can check-out any time you like"

"But you can never leave."

___

The candle lost its form to a mass of burnt wick and wax, as did the light in Tommy's eyes and shriveled body. Soon, they both flickered out and the abandoned cabin preserved his bones and skin. The spider trap cabin faded with its song into the dark of the forest to await its next victim.

___

Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (any time of year)

You can find it here

___

Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). Joe Walsh came up with the dual-guitar descending ...

fiction

About the author

Scott Wade

Since reading Tolkien in Middle

school, I have been fascinated with creating, reading, and hearing art through story’s and music. I am a perpetual student of writing and life.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

Add your insights

Comments (17)

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  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a month ago

    I will never listen to that song the same anymore

  • Kendall Defoeabout a month ago

    Very clever...and watch your italics with the last two sections of lyrics. We really are all prisoners here of our own devise...

  • Angelina F. Thomasabout a month ago

    Keep up the good work. Good day.

  • Angela Derschaabout a month ago

    Creepy!!

  • marty roppeltabout a month ago

    Ooh, is this ever creepy! Excellent work.

  • Sid Aaron Hirjiabout a month ago

    This was a really nice story

  • Call Me Lesabout a month ago

    omg the spiders!! YIKES! Great job Scott. Really well done,

  • Cristina Hectorabout a month ago

    No words, just applause. 💛

  • Jim Fritzenabout a month ago

    You got my vote for the top prize. Great writing.

  • Mark E. Cutterabout a month ago

    I guess I'll be taking Hotel California off my playlist. Great job on this story.

  • L.C. Schäferabout a month ago

    I'm never going to listen to that song the same way again! This is real horror, taking something safe and familiar and twisting it all tae f***. My skin prickles all over right now and I feel very uncomfortable. Well done!

  • Jyme Prideabout a month ago

    Wow! So great Wade! Uhm, you know, I think you'd give Steven King a run for his money, you've got a gift and a way about your written voice that moves me. Thanks for this treasure!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    This was super creepy! Thank God it wasn't cockroaches. I couldn't have finished your story if that was the case lol.

  • Carol Townendabout a month ago

    Brilliantly written and well thought out. I love how you used the song lyrics to tell your story.

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Bravo!!! Brilliant storytelling!!!

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    this is great. love it. love the song too.

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