Walking up to the building was strange; the hotel was set deep in the woods, almost invisible from the road. I looked over to my mother, she winked at me. I turned towards my brother, he also winked. They both seemed unaware of the eerie presence I felt surrounding us, I guess it should have eased my nerves but it only strengthened them. Rain sprinkled down and blurred the evening’s darkness; my family’s bright blue eyes glistened in the fuzzy gray sky, our dark hair camouflaged by the blackness enveloping us. My family looked happy, yet my eyes darted nervously around searching for some unseen predator. Suddenly the building appeared, broken neon lights spelled out “Hotel Abaddon” my mothers face lit up, my bother pointed excitedly towards the front door. They seemed so happy and excited, yet all I saw was a rundown hotel masked by the night’s fog. They quickly approached the door and headed inside. I lingered back, uneasy. The hotel was gray, I couldn’t tell if it was painted that way or if it was just old. From what I could see, most if not all, the windows were cracked or shattered. Everything about the place seemed off, was I the only one who noticed? Reluctantly I entered the building.
Contradictory to the outside, the inside of Hotel Abaddon was stunning, it looked brand-new. The carpet in the lobby was a deep crimson red, while the walls complimented with beige paint. Dark wooden counters made up the check-in desk, and comfortable seating that matched the carpets decorated the room. To the right of the desk was a grand staircase with a red stair runner draping elegantly over each step. I was taken aback by the unexpected beauty of the interior; it was as if I was in a different building then the one I had observed outside. When I recovered from my shock I made my way to my mother’s side. A hotel attendant smiled at us, handed my mother a room key, and then pointed to the staircase. My mother nodded and the three of us headed up the stairs.
As I was going up the stairs I noticed something out of place. From where I stood I couldn’t see it so I quickly ascended the stairs and headed for the object. It was a box. It looked long enough for a full grown person to lie in, but that’s not what caught my attention. The box was so oddly placed. The wood the box was made out of was very light unlike the dark wood everywhere else in the hotel, and it was wedged against the corner like someone had tried to make it seem inconspicuous. Standing in front of the box brought back the eerie air that surrounded me in the woods, something was very wrong but I couldn’t tell what.
Sudden curiosity swept over me and my thoughts raced. What was inside? I bent down and reached for the cover when an old wrinkled hand gently stopped me. I turned and looked up, there was an old man standing in front of me with a smile so wide his eyes were almost closed. He wore a black buttoned shirt with a small red vest that hiked up over his rather plumb belly causing him to constantly pull it back down. The employee shook his head at me and motioned back to my room where my mother and brother had already disappeared into. “But why?” I asked, “What’s in it?” the man shook his head again and pointed to the room. I sighed and stood and started down the hallway.
Room 202, floor 2, second room from the stairs. The inside walls and floors matched the lobby downstairs; there were two beds with bright white pillows and dark maroon blankets, each bed a nightstand and a lamp. In one corner of the room was a couch, being the youngest and smallest, the couch would be my bed for the night and since it was already nighttime, we headed to bed. My brother and mother fell asleep instantly. I on the other hand found myself unable to sleep with the box on my mind. I crept out of our room and snuck past room 201 and over to the box.
I slunk forward and pulled the cover off, inside was a second cover that looked like it could slide to the side and into the wall…like the box was built into the wall. I put my palms flat of the second cover and began to slide it when a piece of paper caught my attention. It was a newspaper article. I lifted it out of the box and looked around, the hotel was almost pitch black, I hadn’t noticed until now. It was also quiet…no, quiet didn’t describe it…it was absolutely silent. The thought unnerved me, it had been silent all day, in fact…I was the only one here that had spoken.
I pushed the thought out of my head when I saw my mother and brother approach. They knelt down beside me and gave a questioning look. “Open it.” I urged. They did. I stood and moved away, unsure whether or not I wanted to know what was inside. I heard the second panel slide and then slowly…painfully…it slid back. I turned; my family stood facing me with two big grins then motioned to our room and headed away. My stomach churned and I unfolded the news article. From what I could manage to read, Hotel Abaddon was condemned after all the staff had died of mysterious causes, none of their bodies were found and it was believed that sprites or demons were involved. Now I’m not one to believe in things as absurd as demons or dark forces, but when I slid the cover off of the box and stared into the clouded black eyes I felt as though I couldn’t move. I tried as hard as I could, but I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my face.
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