eileen_alphabet (eileen_alphabet) wrote,

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Flash Fiction Challenge: One Small Story In Seven Acts

Link to the challenge: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/02/03/flash-fiction-challenge-one-small-story-in-seven-acts/


Tanya walked up the stairs of the small hotel, following the bellhop. “There's not a lot of people here,” she said. “Considering the season and all that.”
The bellhop, who was a man in his early sixties, looked at her. “Well,” he said, “you look like a sensible young woman, so I suppose there'll be no harm in telling you. This place has got a reputation as being haunted.”
“Haunted?” Tanya repeated with a laugh.
“Yes. People have seen and heard thing, although hardly more than the floorboards creaking. Then some local paper decided to look into it; silly season, you know. They found out that there had been deaths in the hotel. Completely natural of course; after all, most people die in their beds and this place is filled with them. But they took the story and ran with it. And in this day and age, what with the internet and all that, it is impossible to bury.”
“That's too bad.”
The bellhop shrugged. “Some of the boys say, that lots of people would like to stay in a haunted hotel and that we should advertise it. But this is a reputable family hotel, not a ride in an amusement park.”
“Of course not. So, is my room one of the haunted?”
“No, the so-called sightings have been made in lots of different rooms and other people have slept in the same rooms and seen nothing. There's no rhyme or reason to it.”

Tanya woke up, because the moon was shining through a slit in the curtains and the light hit her face. She turned over and closed her eyes. She was just about to drift off to sleep again, when she heard a creaking sound. And another. She opened her eyes, but even with the moonlight, the room was too dim to make out.
She remembered the bellhop's remark about people hearing floorboards creaking and what she had thought of people, who got scared because of an old building settling. But this was different. The creaking sounds were coming from different directions as if someone was moving around the room. Then she heard the distinct sound of a hand sliding over fabric; someone was touching her sheet.
She shot out her hand and nearly knocked over the lamp on the bedside table, but she managed to turn it on and blinked in the sudden sharp light. The room was empty. Great, she thought, you're one of the people, who are scared of an old building settling. At least she hadn't embarrassed herself by screaming.

The next night, Tanya closed the curtains firmly and hung a black shawl over the middle. If she didn't wake because of the moonlight, then she wouldn't hear any suspicious sounds.

She was woken by a gentle shaking of her arm.
“Mfl gref five more minutes,” she muttered and turned over.
The shaking became firmer.
Tanya's eyes flew open, but in the darkness of the room she couldn't see anyone. It had to be one of the staff, who was here to tell her that there was something like a gas leak and they had to be evacuated. She reached out a shaking hand and turned on the light.
A woman was sitting on the edge of her bed. She was plump, with lots of wrinkles and looked like a kind grandmother. The room was visible through her..
Tanya wanted to scream but now that she finally had good reason to do so, she found that she couldn't. A croaking sound was all that escaped her lips. She jumped out of bed and ran out of the room.
The lit hallway outside was filled with people and for the briefest of moments she thought that everything was normal. That there really was some kind of evacuation going on and that Tanya had simply imagined that the old lady was transparent. Then she realised that she could see the pattern on the wallpaper through all the people here. They turned and looked at her and a couple of them took a step towards her.
She had to get out, but they were standing between her and the stairs, so she ran towards the window in the other end of the hall and opened it. It led out to the fire escape and she slipped out and started down. The metal grill hurt her naked feet and she immediately started freezing in her pyjamas. She didn't care.
She stumbled and fell down the stair; tumbled down the hard metal, then landed one the ground. Tanya got up, shaking, and brushed herself of. She had scraped a lot of skin, but wasn't seriously injured.
She ran towards the gate leading out of the hotel's garden, without any idea about where she would go. She just had to get out of this place.
She turned her head to see if the ghosts were following her; they weren't. Then she stopped. At the foot of the fire escape something was lying, something big. She started to slowly walk back. This side of the house lay in shadows, the only light came from the distant street lights; therefore she had to walk all the way to the thing before she could make out what it was.
He legs gave out under her and she knelt on the ground next to her own dead body. The face was turned towards her and there was puzzled expression in in, as if the body in its very last second had seen its spirit get out and run off without it.
She heard soft steps on the fire escape and looked up. The ghost were making their way down towards her. They looked sad. They also looked more solid. The old lady was first on the ground and she wrung her hands and tried to smile. “Don't worry, dear,” she said. “It's not all bad, once you get used to it.”
Tags: flash fiction challenge, story arcs
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