*This story discusses topics of death, suicide, cutting, drugs, swearing, and gore.*
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You wake up in the middle of a hotel room you don’t remember checking into. Not in a bed, not on the couch. You’re in the exact middle of the hotel room, lying on top of a tourist magazine. Sitting up, you take the time to observe your surroundings. It’s a small, dark room with empty walls and no windows. Your eyes, tired and stinging, look over at the red clock numbers provided by a small microwave in the room. The time is now 3:34, one minute after you’ve woken up. Where am I? Your legs have a prickling sensation from being asleep for too long, and as you stand, gravity pulls your blood down to your toes. Light switch. Where’s the light switch? Now, skimming the walls, you reach a hand forward and feel for a switch, and in finding it, the room is illuminated.
You now can see that the small suite you’re in has sickly green walls, and the floor is a dark, unsettling black - clearly not how you would picture any normal hotel room. In the corner is a small, wooden table with a note, the size of a business card. You walk over and pick it up, reading out “Enjoy your stay. Sincerely, management.” Still, no explanation as to how you got here in the first place. Well fuck(crap). You creep into the bedroom area of the hotel and survey the room - a full sized bed with freshly made sheets, and a small nightstand with a red, glass lamp. In the corner to the left of the bed sits a wooden chair knocked over. The shock comes slowly, then hits you like a train, stealing the wind from your lungs as you take in the rest of your surroundings. Your eyes bulge in horror, mouth agape at the scene before you.
Your eyes rise from the dark pool on the carpet, to a scarlet splatter of blood. The blood is pasted onto the fermented-olive wall as if a nuclear warhead of red had detonated only seconds ago. “Oh my god. Holy shit (crap)!” You curse out loud, stumbling back into the other room. Panicked, you race out into the hall to search for the so-called management, who had somehow managed to miss the massive pool of blood while their maids were cleaning. The hall is lit brightly, sterilized and blue, similar to the lights in a warehouse. The walls are a piercing white, the floor covered in a crusty, carpet-like material in black shaded print. The hall has no pictures or details, and every room is titled with a single, full name. The plaque outside of your door, which under normal circumstances would display your room number, instead has your full name carved into the tarnished brass, along with a small date on the bottom:
The last day you remember experiencing before waking in that hideous hotel room.
In a state of surrealism, you feel the sensation of waking from a complex dream. You nervously pick at your fingernails as your bare feet cross the crusty carpet, taking you down the hall of the hotel. To your right, you pass a room with an open door, and your eyes wander over to the inside. A man hangs from a noose, his eyes bulging out of their sockets. At first you begin to scream, then catch your breath as you notice something that doesn’t seem possible. You see that the man is clearly alive, his eyelids twitching, attempting to blink at the TV Screen in front of him. In awe, you stare with a bewildered expression, and eventually you muster up the courage to shout a weak and shaky “Hey!” A pretty lame greeting to someone in a state such as his, but he looks over to you with his wide, protruding eyes. With a pop, one of his eyeballs falls out of its socket and hangs by the optic nerve and surrounding muscles, resting above his slowly grinning mouth. With the eye that’s still in its place, he glares into your eyes, and begins to laugh a loud, maniacal laugh that bounces off the walls and violently attacks your ears.
A shiver travels down your spine, and you hold back the bile rising to the back of your throat. Shakily, your knees buckle from the unadulterated fear, and they begin taking you down the hall as you attempt to scramble away from the man with the noose around his neck. They take you faster and faster down the empty hall, and as you turn the corner you crash into something. No, someone. “Shit(shoot), I’m sorry-” you apologize, stretching your hand out, helping up the girl dressed oddly in a poodle skirt, a choker scarf, and a white blouse.
“Oh, it’s alright.” She stands to her pale, sickly colored legs and picks up the empty bottle of prescription pills to her right. Her bony form shakes as she wipes the corner of her mouth, crusted vomit and blood mixing in a disgusting mosaic around her lips.
“Oh my god, are you alright?” Your voice cracking as you ask her, taking a step back. She looks up at you with pale, clouded eyes, a quizzical expression glossing over her face.
“What do you mean? Of course I am. I should be asking you the same question.”
You’re not sure what to make of that statement. What does she mean ‘am I alright?’ The girl brushes off her skinny, scarred knees hidden under her skirt, and continues down the other side of the hall.
You decide it’s not best to talk to the people you pass. You’ve set out to talk to the management and get some answers, not talk to the sickly people around you. Taking a deep breath, you fix your eyes forward. A man carrying a bottle of bleach with chemically burned lips passes to your left. A girl with long hair and a bloody tie-dye shirt sits in the hall, humming a grateful dead song to herself while holding a bloody knife. Jesus Christ. Why do these people look so… messed up? You think, just before you spot a tall man with tidy hair, wearing dark dress pants and a formal button-up shirt. He works with a small chisel on an empty bronze plaque, carving out what seems to be the last name “Sampson”.
A wave of relief watches over you, after noting that this man as no physical afflictions or pale, sickly skin like the other people you’ve passed. “Excuse me, sir!’ You call out, jogging over.
His head turns, revealing a handsome face with chiseled features. What strikes you most about him are his entirely black eyes, flickering with malice. He flashes a blindingly white grin, dimples forming in his cheeks as he speaks in a multi-tone voice. “How can I help you?”
You stare into those soulless pitted eyes, and the relief you experienced just moments ago is gone. Gulping, you gather the courage to speak to him. “Where the hell am I?” you ask.
“I guess you could call it that.” He turns his focus back to the plaque and begins carving the date.
“Tell me, where do you think you are?” He questions in an uncomfortably sultry voice.
“I don’t know where the hell I am, that’s why I’m asking you! I just woke up in my hotel room, and saw- and saw that fucking (damn) bloodstain. Whose blood is that? Why is it still there, do you people not clean or- or even check the fucking rooms?” You shout at him, tears forming in the corners of your eyes. He doesn’t answer. His chisel works its way through the bronze like butter, etching out the date.
“Answer me!” Your voice cracks.
The man looks back up with colorless eyes. “Look, I only make the plaques.” He says calmly, then writes the final 4 on the date 2014. The moment the last line is made on that 4, he brushes off the bronze plaque and blows metallic dust away from his work. A gunshot, then the uneasing thud of what one could presume is a body is heard from inside the suite.
Naturally, you jump. “Are you not going to do something!?” You shout at the man. Calmly, he looks over to you again, packing up his tools.
“I’ve been expecting this.” He replies, his mouth curling into a devilish smirk. The black-eyed man turns his back to you and walks off into the distant hall.
“Hey!” You yell after him, “Come back here, asshole! I need answers!” All your efforts are useless. The man does not return, leaving you even more confused and distressed than you were 5 minutes ago. Feeling exhausted, hopeless, and terrified of the uncertainty you face, you begin to walk back to the room you woke up in. Maybe there are some more answers in the room? You’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep, but either way you’re going to find some answers. Wincing in disgust with every step on the repulsive carpet, you backtrack through the halls, looking for the plaque with your name on it.
As you turn the corner, you spot a girl. You see her long, silky black hair and olive skin, which looked diseased compared to how you remembered it a year ago. “ Dana...? Dana!” You call, the girl with the dark hair turning to see who is calling for her. Her cinnamon-brown eyes meet yours, and she smiles, lifting her hand to wave. Below her palm there’s a deep cut, still unhealed and oozing a dark maroon liquid. Pausing in your tracks, you see that in her other hand she holds a razor, the same one she used to take her own life with back in January. You remember the phone call you received from Dana’s heartbroken mother, the day they found her in the bathtub, her lifeless body bathing in her own blood. You remember her sobbing and choked-up voice she spoke with as she told you your best friend was gone. You remember the crippling sensation of loss, and the crushing belief that life is pointless without your best friend. You remember the rain that fell on you and trickled its way down your forehead to the black formal clothing you wore at her funeral. Yet here she is, waving at you with her slit forearm and bloody palms.
You miss Dana. You really do. However you just can’t see her like this. She’s dead, you think to yourself. Her face contorts in confusion as her smile fades, weakly calling out your name. But she’s too late, you’re already stumbling back away from her. She’s gone. She’s… She’s dead! I saw her body in the casket! You recover through your thoughts, feet carrying you far down the hall and away from your deceased friend. Relief washes over you when you see a door labeled ‘bathroom’ and you rush into it. Your trembling hands burst open the stall door and you vomit into the toilet, stress and fear taking over your body. You continue retching until your stomach has lost all of its contents. Pulling yourself away from the toilet is an effort as you lean against the wall to regain your balance and some sense to the ordeals you’ve been through recently. Staggering slowly, you make your way to the sink and grip the counter top with one hand. With the other, you begin pooling the water, and bringing it to your face, splashing the icy liquid again and again against your pale cheeks.
You bring your hands down onto the counter and slowly pull your head up from the sink and stare into the grimy glass of the mirror before you. Panting, trembling, and sickly pale is the only way to describe how you see yourself. On the side of your head is... “Is that… blood?” You ask yourself in disbelief. Bringing a hand up from the marble counter, you feel an entrance wound and the all-too-familiar warm, sticky sensation of your own blood. Gently, you touch the area where the self-inflicted bullet wound left its mark in your skull. And on the other side of your head is a matching exit wound. In vivid detail, you recount the internal argument you had with yourself and how your hand trembled before you pulled the trigger. You remember mouthing a final goodbye to the world and those that were close to you. You remember the sound of the gunshot splitting the air in your bedroom. What you don’t remember, is that you succeeded in ensuring your own death.
Enjoy your stay.