Dead Motel

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We had come to find and take scrap illegal.

Dawn was in the sky but it was still dark enough that we could hide if needed. Though I don’t think anybody cared. We pulled up in the empty motel parking lot and the headlights flashed across the keep out signs and the flapping yellow police tape.

The boss turned off the engine and the lights. We sat listening and watching for a few minutes. The power was still on here; lights inside and out were on. There was glass, furniture and other debris scattered around. There were tags of graffiti on the walls telling us that the vandals had moved in.

We got out of the car and slowly walked around. If there was anybody here waiting to give us trouble they’d been in for a shock because there was four us and we knew how to gang fight. Also, at least two of us carried guns and we all had knives.

Glass and rubble crushed under our boots. Birds and crickets were making a racket but nothing else came from the motel. A creepy feeling lingered, almost like we were walking into an empty grave. I felt my hair and skin rise, something was off about this place.

There were many in ways and after checking a few, we went into one of the rooms and began stripping it. Copper, other metals, anything that could easily be scraped with no questions asked. We moved through, doing as much as possible in the little time we had.

‘Not been abandoned long,’ Reggie mutter.

‘Few months at most,’ Ben hissed back.

‘Something went down here though,’ I added.

‘Double murder,’ the boss cut in.

We all looked at him, hands stilled on our work.

‘Owners hacked to death by one of their employees.’

‘Ah, I saw it in the news,’ Ben answered, ‘he buried them in the woods out back there then claimed the Devil told him to do it.’

‘Devils,’ Reggie repeated and shook his head.

Boss snorted, ‘let’s get on.’

When my turn for look out came – because always one of us has to keep an eye and ear out- we were close to the owners’ offices and apartment. I kicked the leg of a chair out of the way and looked at the still tied up police tape.

Beyond, the office looked a mess, someone had done a grand job of turning it over. I stepped closer, just wanting to confirm that no one was hiding in there. I had a small flashlight, that helped me not trip over anything.

I scanned the beam across a window then came to a stop. There was a bloody hand print on the glass.

‘Look at this,’ I called in a low voice.

Ben was closet and came over, ‘what?’ he whispered.

I nodded to the window and my light where we both then looked.

The bloody hand print was gone!

‘But…there was a…’

I shone the flashlight around, looking hard to see if maybe I had just moved off the print but no, the glass was clean.

‘Is there anything worth taking in there?’ Ben asked.

‘I’ll check it,’ I uttered, still trying to process what had happened.

Walking carefully forward, I tore the police tape down and went to the door. It opened easily and I stepped into the office. Papers and stuff were scattered around like a hurricane had blown in. The reminds of police things lay mixed in; a white glove, finger print dust, a vial.

Stepping on things, I looked around and spotted nothing worth taking. A door was blocked by a desk but a second door in the opposite wall was wide opening and leading through to the check in area.

Not enough light was entering there so someone could be hiding. Going on, I had the instinct to clutch the handle of my knife in my jacket pocket. The feel of the black, hard plastic helped reassure me.

Something crunched loudly beneath me and I looked to see it was a computer keyboard. Shaking my head, I nudged it away and carried on.

A groaning sound stopped me. I felt my breath hitch. Maybe, it was just the wind?

Under the counter something flashed and I went back to it. There was a plain gold ring on the floor. Bending down, I went to pick it up but a hand whipped out of the darkness and grip me!

I cried out and tried to break free but the fingers dug into me and I felt sharp nails leaving marking in my skin. With an unbelievable strength the hand pulled me down, causing me to lose my balance and I almost fell onto the counter top.

Dropping the flashlight and seizing my knife, I slashed out with the blade. I felt my hand released. I tumbled back, falling and landing heavily. Breathing deeply, everything screamed at me to get away and I tried to get up but then I saw the hand laying by itself.

It was the size of a man’s. The fingers were curled up and all bruised looking, the bloody, jagged nails were clutching at the carpet. The skin was yellow and brown, clearly dead. A small pool of dark blood was leaking around it.

There was no way I could have cut through bone.

Shaking, I fumbled for the flashlight and aimed the beam beyond the dismembered hand. There under the counter curled two figures. They were the size of small adults and dressed in stained clothing, one was a man and the other a woman.

They were kneeling and clutching each other as if desperate to hold on. The woman’s long black hair was covering her face which was pressed to the man’s shoulder. There were deep gashes all over her arms and legs. Her white dress was ripped up, blood and dirt stained. She had no shoes and her feet were cut opening as if she had been walking on glass.

The man had his face shadowed by the woman’s and his left arm was also hidden by her body. He was wearing a white shirt and black pants, both blood splattered and covered in dirt. Also, his bare feet were muddy and he was missing a hand.

One of them moaned then something like a word came out.

I felt the panic fade and my senses coming back. They were clearly homeless and drug users. They must have been so high or low that the man hadn’t felt his hand getting cut off.  They also smelt. The stench coming off them wasn’t just sweat but something else, like rot and putrid waste.

My hand pressed over my mouth and nose but it did little block out the smell now I was aware of it.

‘What are you doing here?’ I demanded.

Again with the mumbled word and the man moved his face. His skin was dark with something smeared across and his jaw looked to be hanging loose. The woman turned slightly and went as if to move her stringy hair but most of it stayed on her face.

‘What?’ I spoke, feeling my angry growing.

‘Help,’ the man’s rasping voice answered.

Frowning, I fixed the light on there close together faces and felt vomit raise in my throat. Their eyes and noses were gone and their faces were rotting away. Bones were showing through peeling skin. There were large chunks of them missing as if someone had cut off parts of their bodies and I could see things that were meant to stay on the inside.

‘Help,’ the man said again and raised the stump of a wrist at me.

He let go of the woman and reached his other arm out too. The woman followed, bloody arms parting the air and fingers searching. Their hands hit the floor and using this, they tried to pull themselves up and crawl towards me.

I shuffled backwards, my mouth opened and closed but no words came out. Both my hands shook. The flashlight that had been my guide and the knife that had been my protection temporary forgotten.

The woman let out an awful gurgling cry and lunged at me. As her hair flew back, I saw she had no jaw and the rest of her mouth was just a black open hole. A tooth dropped to the floor, clicking away into the darkness.

She grabbed my boot. I screamed, swung my knife automatically and lashed her across the face. Then I kicked at her and felt the force go through her spongy and brittle head. She let go, yowling as best she could with half a mouth.

The man reached for her, feeling his way and drew her back to him. They held each other like frightened children as the curled back under the counter.

Panic shot through me, I scrambled to my feet and tumbled out of the room. Slipping and trapping across papers and rubbish, I threw myself out of the office and screamed into the early morning air, ‘Go! Go!’

Bolting for the truck, I slammed into it and scrambled to open the door. From behind me, came running footsteps and shouting voices. I found the handle, yanked it and clambered in. Distantly, I heard other doors opening and shutting, the truck engine starting and the rumbling of the vibrations as we pulled away.

‘What was it?’ Reggie spoke.

‘Was someone in there?’ boss questioned.

‘Chad, you OK?’ Ben asked, ‘what did you see? A ghost?’

I didn’t hear him. Clutching my knife in both hands, I stared into the blade. There was no blood marking the shinny surface but the rotting face of the woman was reflecting back at me.

 

(Inspired by;

Help! #3LineTales

three line tales, week 213: an old school desk with lamp, rotary telephone and typewriter

I broke into the attic of the abandoned cottage for a dare. Carrying my small axe and torch, I walked over the creaking boards and saw nothing but a desk.

There was an old phone, lamp and typewriter. I pulled out the paper which was covered by a single word repeated over and over again; Help!

‘What the….?’ I trailed.

Behind me, the attic door snapped shut. I spun to look and a handcuff was slammed onto my wrist, imprisoning me to the desk.

A voice from the darkness spoke, ‘the replacement is here, Sir. Shall I brief him?’

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2020/02/27/three-line-tales-week-213/ with thanks).

Time Blur #FridayFictioneer

Ivan and his friends were repeatedly told not to go near the tumbled down red barn on the edge of Slim’s farm. From a distance, there seemed nothing wrong with the abandoned structure so the teenagers wondered why they had to stay away.

Bored one afternoon, they checked the barn out. Entering, it seemed to be a normal, empty wooden building. So, had some bad secret the villagers wanted to stay hidden happened here?

Messing about, they accidentally triggered something. There was a mighty whooping sound, the barn began to shake then vanished, casting the teenagers into time and space unknown.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/02/19/21-february-2020/ with thanks).

Empty Fun

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Once the Ferris Wheel had been the height of fun. It had over seen all the laughter of the theme park but now all the rides sat empty and only the wind came to play.

Greenhouse #CCC

The Victorian greenhouse in the middle of the park had probably seen a lot in it’s time. Lovers coming and going, children wowing over the growing pineapples, gardeners complaining about the weather and waves of visitors to smell the exotic flowers.

Now, the whole building was rusted brown and most of the windows smashed. The council wanted to demolish the greenhouse, claiming it was too expensive to renovate.It seemed dooms day had arrived but there was an uproar from the people and fund raising and projects began to save the greenhouse.

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/01/08/crimsons-creative-challenge-61/ with thanks).

Frozen In Time #WUWritingPrompt

The windows were crazed by icy lines as if a spider had gone hyperactive and spun it’s web madly. Frost lay inside the house as well as out, showing that this place had long been abandoned to nature.

My breath fogged before my face and I had cover my mouth and nose with my scarf. Dust lay thick and a crumbled calendar on the wall was dated ten years ago.

I didn’t fear the homeless, drug users or anyone else who might be here because the house wasn’t suitable. It was colder then outside and the water was frozen in the pipes. Plus, this house was far from anywhere else. My guess was it could have been the game keeper’s home from what had once been a big estate before the land had been sold off for the building of new houses.

I photographed what interested me, taking my time and enjoying this experience of untouched urban exploring.

A lone mug stood on the windowsill as if someone had been drinking tea whilst looking out at the winter snowstorm. I captured that moment feeling like it summed up the atmosphere in the house.

 

(Inspired by; https://writersuniteweb.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/enzo-stephens-just-stay-home/ with thanks).

The First Snowfall #3LineTales

three line tales, week 202: snow in the city at night

The first snowfall came silently like icing sugar over a cake, the snow stuck to the frozen ground, making it slippy under foot.

Jack walked to the abandoned pub, he had tried to get a bed next to the soup kitchen but it was all ready full. He didn’t like the pub but it was out of the cold and wet.

He got inside via a broken window, there were other people which he ignored and got into a corner seat, safe there, he slept whilst the snow continued, knowing in the morning he would have to face the streets again.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/12/12/three-line-tales-week-202/ with thanks).

 

 

Hole #FridayFictioneers

The army made people leave town but they couldn’t make me. I was too good at hiding and being ‘a boy’ I wasn’t any worry. I though was almost a man at fourteen but I didn’t look it.

I roamed the abandoned houses, looking at things left behind and the destruction the army did. They took or broke things and built barricades out of furniture.

When fighting started and tanks rolled down the streets, I found holes to hide in until it was over and once everyone had left, I crowned myself King and ruled over the abandoned town.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/12/11/13-december-2019/ with thanks).

 

 

Office Space

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It was the most unusual place to write but Barry loved the abandoned office. He could sit, type on his Sci-Fi dystopia novel only disturbed by the cooing of pigeons.

Coming In From The Storm (Part 3)

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Cole half sat up, the weight of the many blankets keeping him down, and listened. He could hear the fire crackling and the snowstorm raging.

‘It was just the wind getting into my dream.’

He pushed the blankets away and got up to find his water skin. Taking a few mouthfuls, he felt better. Turning to check on Eve the pony, Cole saw she was restless. She was shifting around, her ears moving up and down and her head swaying.

‘It’s fine, girl,’ Cole said soothingly.

He went over and rubbed her shoulders and back.

‘It’s just the storm. We’ve heard the wind louder then this before.’

She didn’t settle. Cole threw one on the blankets over her back hoping that would help then tended the fire. He watched the sparks flickering up as he put on another log.

Getting back into bed, he listened again then shook off thoughts. Sleep came quickly back to him but once again he was disturbed by a beast like roar.

Cole lay still, sure this time he had not dreamt the sound nor was it the wind. The roar sounded like a large creature, maybe a bear? Or even bigger and it was close by. Though with the snowstorm it was hard to tell how near.

‘Whatever it is might pass. It got lost in the storm too,’ Cole muttered.

Looking into the fire, he watched the flames flickering and hoped whatever was out there wasn’t drawn to the farm house by the smoke and smell of it. Cole debated putting out the fire but then there was a risk he and Eve would freeze.

‘If I keep it low now, we should be okay,’ Cole decided, ‘and there’s no telling if there is actually a beast out there. It could so be the wind blowing through something, like in the Crying Glen. Even if it is a beast, it could be anywhere the moors can echo.’

Cole rolled over and looked across at Eve. The pony was still uneasy. Cole knew she could tell the difference between a strong wind and the noise of a beast. The wild born pony knew what lived out on the moors and in fact it was an encounter with one of the Yetis that had brought her and Cole together.

Praying that there wasn’t a Yeti out there now, Cole clutched the sliver cross around his neck. It wasn’t good to fight a Yeti in the best of conditions with many men but to face one alone in a snowstorm in an unstable house was suicide.

‘I should find something to barracked the doors and windows,’ Cole spoke and sat up, ‘though if it was a Yeti or an ogre or something that size then a barracked is pointless.’

Sinking back down, Cole lay on his back and looked up at the ceiling. Flame light and shadows danced across the old wood beams and wooden boards. The wind was creaking them and the other wood in the house, making an eerie sound.

Trying to fight off sleep, Cole listened waiting to hear the beast again so he could attempt to count in between the cries to guess how far away the beast was. He was exhausted though. He had been walking even before daybreak, the farmer casting him out even before the night was over. They had stopped two or three times but then pressed on, the need to find shelter before nightfall too great.

Cole dozed, even a little rest would help if he need to fight. Though running and hiding in the snowstorm would give a much better chance of surviving then trying to defend himself against such a beast.

The howling and roaring of the beast carried on through the night. Cole didn’t sleep fully. Sometimes he counted in between the sounds, hoping it would help tell him the distance. Other times he got up to comfort Eve or to try to stare out of the window. He would hold a candle to the frosted and snow struck glass to peer into the darkness and the storm. Of course, he couldn’t see anything other then the large snowflakes hitting the window.

Dawn arrived but there was no break from the snowstorm. Cole ate a little, give Eve a small handful of oats then realised he would have to brave going out to fetch water. Wrapping himself in his jacket and the dire wolf skin, Cole picked up the water skin and Eve’s bowl and went to the kitchen.

He collected an iron kettle and a few other water holding things to fill so he wouldn’t have to go outside again. Then he tried the back door and found it glued shut with frozen snow. Cole used his hunting knife to chip away at the ice and finally he could open the door enough to get out.

He was blinded by whiteness, snow hit him hard and despite the dire wolf skin the wind found ways to get in to chill his skin. Cole struggled on and stumbled the few steps to the water pump. The handle was frozen solid. Cole chipped away at the ice and spent far too long trying to get the water to flow before it finally did.

Cole dragged all the water containers back inside. He wrestled the door back in place and lent against it. His breathing was ragged, his chest hurt and he couldn’t focus. Snow dripped of the dire wolf coat and the added weight of the wetness felt like it was strangling him. Cole took it off and dragged it back into the first room.

He then brought all the water back with him because if left anywhere else it would have frozen over. Eve neighed her thanks and Cole took a few sips of the icy drink as he dried beside the fire.

‘That was harder then fighting a Yeti!’ Cole gasped.

Slowly, he recovered and wrapped in a heap of blankets, he got out his Bible and read a few pages.

The day passed and the snowstorm didn’t give up. The wind howled and rattled the house, driving the snow into whatever gaps it could. Every glance out of the window showed nothing but whiteness and if there was a beast out there, they wouldn’t have been able to tell till it was in the room with them.

By the evening, hungry Cole decided to risk eating something from one of the jars in the kitchen. It was hard to tell what was in them but Cole took a guess at pickled fruits and preserved things. He took a few jars and two of the bottles back into the front room. He opened one of the jars and took a sniff. A horrible smell of decay hit his nose and knocked his stomach sick.

Abandoning that one, he tried another and found a sort of jam which still seemed fine. He ate a few spoon fulls then went through the other jars. Only the other jar like that one seemed okay to eat. As for the bottles, they were wine that had aged perfectly.

Night came and once again the sounds of beast broke through the wind. Cole spent the night half a sleep and half awake. On edge, Cole barely slept but luckily no beast showed itself.

Eve was uneasy, she shifted around, stamped her hoofs and tossed her head. 

‘You know there’s something out there don’t you, girl,’ Cole muttered to her, ‘I’ll keep my axe and knife close tonight.’

Day broke and so did the storm. Cole watched from the window as the snow died down and vision cleared. Everything was covered in white and Cole knew it would be a struggle to get though but they had no choice. He didn’t want to spent another day and night here.

He packed up, taking the things he wanted and making sure that both he and Eve weren’t weighed down too much. He also wrapped the pony and himself up. He put two of the woollen blankets on top of Eve then secured the dire wolf skin around himself.

Everything ready, they stepped outside into the snow blanketed moor.