Monday January 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Today let us write about: the hotel.

Kat and I went snowshoeing yesterday morning and had a great time. We paused on the way up so that I could take this picture looking down on snowy Osoyoos:

And here's one of the pictures I took on the trail:

Today I chopped and hauled wood down to the cabin. I am very tired, so I shall get on with my writing now.


Henri studied the room he was meant to sleep in, an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. The window, despite being five floors above street level, had been barred. The bedside table was no table at all - it was merely an overturned cardboard box. Tilting his head to the left to read the words on its side, he saw that it had housed a coffee maker in a previous life.

A glance to his right rewarded him with a view of the bathroom. He looked away again before he could decide if there was more drywall or mould to be seen within.

The bed was the kicker though. It sat on the floor, too proud for a frame, with at least six springs poking through the diaphanous sheet. As if it wasn't enough on its own to dissuade him from making use of it, a family of rats had made the pillow their home.

And they were looking at him as though they were prepared to defend it.

Someone, he thought to himself as he pulled his cellphone out of his breast pocket, is getting fired over this.


Helle Kristine Tumbridge said...

An unabashedly grand foyer opened out before her, thrusting its luxury down the necks of its patrons, who devoured it hungrily. The rich ones were eager to display their wealth, and the poorer ones make believed. At this time of evening, there was much less to witness, although the concierge witnessed her. They had never exchanged a word, although they seemed like old friends by now. And if a look does indeed convey a thousand words, the glint in his eye said what it had said on every night like this: “I know what you do.” It was never a moral judgement, but more the look of a partner in crime relishing some mischief. The clicking of her high-heels reverberated around the room, as she sauntered across the foyer. Before the lift doors closed, she peeked out and winked, and then she was gone, off to begin an evening’s work.

morganna said...

i missed all our friends and siblings, when we got taken away into the hard-to-breathe place and then in this little room, but sammy said we'd see them again some day. sammy said this was only a hotel. i was never so sure, and the big things paid us more attention than when we lived with our family, but sammy was always there to make me feel better. in the dark time just now though sammy said he felt sick and then he laid down on the green floor and wouldn't get up. i tried to get him to move, but he didn't. i miss him already. then the big things came and took him away in the scooper. now he's gone and i'm all alone. he said it was a hotel.
One of the goldfish died this morning.

Zhongming said...

Marc - sorry for missing out. I'm making my way back! 

I like those pictures that you've captured. Fantastic view!

The hotel

*knock*, *knock* room service, madam, your order is right up! 

Can't you see that -"Do not disturb" sign? 

"I'm so sorry, I'm new here. Could you keep an eye close?"

She wasn't in her best mood but she let him go anyway. 

"Just go away!" Coupled with a firm door slam that almost hit his nose.

Greg said...

@Helle: I can't decide if your protagonist is a call-girl or a cat thief, but she's delightfully described anyway! You've got a very light touch with your writing, though I wonder if "pretended" instead of "make believed" (made belief?) would flow better?

@Morganna: I had a feeling your tale was from a non-human perspective, and although I hadn't worked out they were fish until you told me it fits perfectly! I am sorry about your goldfish though.

@Zhongming: I don't think I've stayed in a hotel yet where room service would come in uninvited, but I'm sure they have to deal with just such rude guests!

@Marc: Gorgeous pictures, as always! Sat here in Malta, where it's quite balmy and sunny you almost make me miss the snow and chill. Henri's an interesting character, I hope we see a little more from him. And whoever he has fired :)

The Hotel
Jack sat on the end of the bed, which promptly bounced him off. He tried again, sitting down more carefully this time. Another hotel room, another city, and another unbelievable tale. If he were an FBI agent, this would be the X-files; as it was he was a freelance journalist researching a story for the Fortean Times and this was getting boring.
"Reported sightings of a mummy," was what was written on the briefing note, followed by a name and an address a street or so away from the hotel. Jack sighed, and decided to hang his suit up in the wardrobe, have a shower, and see what room service had to offer.
King Hatsuphet was quite startled when the wardrobe door opened: so much so that he took the jacket from the stunned man's hand, said thank-you in 3000 year-old Egyptian, and closed the door again. Then he backed through the wall as quietly as possible, shattering brick and tearing electrical cables, wondering where on earth he could find somewhere quiet for a rest.

Helle Kristine Tumbridge said...

@Greg: Thank you very much, and yes, you're right, "pretended" reads much better.
I like your very amusing take on the theme, and direct style which quickly immerses you in a scene.

summerfield said...

marc, really, rats in the pillow? i'd be out of there in a jiffy! beautiful pictures! donned the cape again, didn't you?

helle, i love the picture of the protagonist and the concierge's implied 'tolerance' in your story.

morganna, i'm sorry about the fish, but your story was a great 'eulogy'; that was a wonderful take on the prompt.

greg, what can i say, you and marc, donning the capes again. your story reminds me of a story i just read of Nancy Kress, where a man goes back in time through his closet. that's a really great premise for a novel. splendid!

zhongming, where have you been, young man? but so glad you're back.


Sonja stood a good distance as she watched the large metal ball as it swung and hit the brick facade of the old hotel. Seemingly defiant, only a few bricks budged and fell and the same thing happened at the second hit. The third time, however, the structure just crumbled to the ground, all of its broken concrete and distorted metal and broken glass reduced to one great heap of rubble. It took a mere fifteen minutes.

The workers erected a makeshift fence around the rubble, and posted a NO TRESSPASSING sign. When everyone else had left, Sonja walked towards the fence and stared at the remains. She bent down to pick up an errant red brick and threw it down the heap.

She was glad the hotel's gone. She was relieved at its demise.

Twenty-five years ago, her dreams ended inside that hotel. Twenty-five years ago, Armand left her because of what happened at the hotel. Twenty-five years ago, five young men, sons of rich businessmen and high profile politicians, took away her dignity, her life, her dreams, her love. They did it in that hotel. They tried to bribe the workers, the police, everyone. But Sonja stood her ground. She fought the giants in order to obtain justice, as her beautiful face appeared in the newspapers the common folks rallied around her. And the powers that be listened. Not one of the five was spared. Justice came and exacted payment for Sonja.

Ironic, it was. The families of the criminals paid her a large sum of money. Now she's rich. But money could not buy back her youth, her innocence, her dreams, her love, her life. And so, she was there when all five were placed on the electric chair, one by one. She watched them die, the same way they had watched while they took turns pillaging her body.

There was no forgiving in her heart. And yet there's no happiness either. The memories still lived in her mind, but she was glad the hotel's gone.

Heather said...

I felt sore, the bed being harder than I preferred, but alive. Gloriously alive for the first time in many years! Stretching until my toes were caught by the sheets and my fingertips brushed the headboard, I opened my eyes. It was still dark in the room. I had pulled the heavy curtains shut against the high moon and low noises in the late night hours. I didn't think about how they would easily hold out the sun. I smiled and rolled over.

The alarm clock read 9:30 a.m. I smiled and stretched out again. Sitting up just long enough to fluff the pillow, I burrowed back into the covers and fell asleep. Awaking again half an hour later, I finally climbed out of bread and grabbed the hotel guide. Continental breakfast was available for another half an hour.

I shrugged. I wouldn't make it to the bagels before they would be put away. I could grab something from the corner bakery on my way to the boat. Sighing, I gathered my stuff to get ready for the day. Walking into the bathroom, I smiled again. It would be another first in many years. An uninterrupted shower.

Girls weekend away was going to have to happen far more frequently.

gada said...

The Hotel

It squatted alone on the top of the hill, the winding driveway up surrounded by scrawny trees that looked like they had been petrified a million years ago.
The walls had been bleached gray by the sun, and the windows struggled to escape with every breath of wind. The damn thing looked like it was alive and watching you with hunger, waiting for you to let your guard down.
It was no coincidence that the various owners had met with horrible ends in its depths. The hotel was evil. And after fifteen years of being abandoned, it was being bought again.

Marc said...

Helle - that's a fantastic first line, and those that follow are pretty darn good as well. Great take on the prompt!

Morganna - aw, that's so sad. A very fitting tribute though.

Zhongming - welcome back! And thanks for making me smile with that story :)

Greg - ah, Malta. I enjoyed my two weeks there. You on vacation or working?

And yes, now that you mention it, I might bring Henri back around for another visit or two :)

Yes, I very definitely like this mummy.

Summerfield - a very powerful piece of writing. Well done.

Heather - that scene sounded absolutely delightful. I could feel the pleasure in every tiny luxury.

Marc said...

Gada - ah, you just managed to post before me!

Loved the description of the windows trying to escape, and all the possibilities within that final line. Would be great to see you continue that further some time :)