By Tomas R.
A doorman greets me as I walk through the door. He is wearing a large coat and a top hat, but no one seems to notice in the slightest. As I approach the counter, another man with large spectacles greets me.
“Hello,” I say.
“Good day to you sir!” He pauses, for more than what seems necessary, but finally says “Can I interest you in a room?”
“That would be great.”
Surprisingly, with no transaction, he hands me a room key and walks off to a back room. Befuddled, I look at the room key. It is not a plastic card like that I have seen in other hotels, but rather a small key you might use to open a padlock. On the key the numbers 203 are inscribed. I look back to the doorman, but he has disappeared as well.
I take the elevator to the 2nd floor and try to locate my room. However, as I pass through the hall, I cannot find a room 203. As soon as I turn back to go locate the hotel staff, a frail old man approaches me and gives me a cryptic warning:
“Ye can stay ‘ere as long as yuh like, cuz there ain’t no leavin’!”
He rushes past me, before I can even utter a word, and hurdles into the laundry chute. A crack erupts from near my head, and suddenly I black out.
As I awake I can hear people talking, but it is distorted, as though I’m under water. I pass out again. When I come to, I’m strapped to a chair with a bag over my head. I’m slapped to full consciousness and then someone starts shouting at me.
“WHY ARE YOU HERE?” The booming voice asks.
“WHY ARE YOU HERE?” The voice becomes louder and more aggressive.
“I… I’m here for a business convention.”
The one light that shines in the room immediately shuts off and I’m once again hit over the head.
When I wake this time, I’m in a new room and I see a shadowy figure about 4 feet in front of me. In one hand he holds a large blade, in the other he as a bag of some unknown substance.
“Ahh, I see you are finally awake.” He says, the man has a very heavy accent, but I cannot tell from where.
“Where… where am I?” I ask.
“Inquisitive, aren’t we?” He laughs heartily, though I do not see the humor.
“Who are you?” I demand.
“My name is Dr. Dread, have you not heard of me in the papers?”
“No! Not you! This can’t be!” He smiles wickedly and with frightening speed hits me with the hilt of his blade.
“I have a surprise for you, my friend,” he says creepily.
He sets the bag on the table and out spills a few flowers. From what I can tell they’re roses, my wife loved roses. From his pocket he takes out a picture of my wife. He lays it on my lap in such a way that I can’t touch it. He grabs a tape recorder from another pocket and pushes play.
The tape breaks my sense of reality. There is no way he could have gotten that tape. This is a just a dream, I think. My mind wanders aimlessly, thinking of a way to escape this nightmare. He places the tape in my hand, and leaves the room.
It is days before he finally comes back. During this time I think that I have gone insane, all I can think about is how to wake up, and how he got that tape. When he comes back he brings with him a small box and a key.
He looks me over for a minute, and then finally speaks. “I have a choice for you my friend, this choice is important, so think carefully.”
I simply stare at him and after a moment he continues.
“In this box I have a wonderful substance that will allow you to wake up from this wretched nightmare. This key, however, unlocks your room. Room 203.”
My mind almost melts down at the mention of waking up, but my curiosity gets the better of me. “The key,” I say.
“Very well,” he says, although he seems almost disappointed.
I finally wake up in my bed, but something seems very wrong. I get out of bed and I look at the door. My heart stops as I read the numbers “203.”