Okay, this is the plan to write a short, short story for fifteen minutes each morning. Some will be complete, some, I’ll return to either later in the month or for a different project.
The receptionist to the little guest house looked up and said, “I’m afraid only number four is free.”
Before I had a chance to question her concern, a man, her husband I guessed, was by my side. He picked up my suitcase and nodded for me to follow him.
As we reached the top of the first floor he looked down at my key fob and said, “Oh”.
There was a bit of a pause before he added, “Your in number four.”
I jokingly asked if number four was haunted but he just shook his head and said, no, that will be number six”.
I was about to ask what was wrong with number four but had a sudden pang in the pit of my stomach.
A cold sweat form on my top lip as the husband gripped the door-handle to number four and pushed the door open.
A smell of fresh laundry and soap filled my nostrils. The husband hurried across the room, flicked the light switch, hurried back while ushering me in. he then stood in just outside of the threshold and said very quickly, “The bathroom is just down the hall, tea and coffee making facilities are in the corner, breakfast is served between 6:30 and 9:a.m, if you need anything either my wife or I will be on call at reception until then, a night-porter, Derrick, will see to your needs thereafter”.
The husband then took in a deep breath and hurried off back down the hall.
Dusk was thickly disguised by the thick fog that had been building up all day and was now wrapped firmly around the guesthouse. All thoughts of checking out the nightlife were put on hold. Besides, what I really wanted to do was a soak in the bath, something I only allowed myself when staying someplace else and an early night ready for tomorrows funeral.
With my small case unpacked I grabbed my toiletries and made my way down the hall. I had expected to hear the voices or televisions in any of the three rooms I passed, but each was silent. I checked my watch, 8pm, too late for dinner, perhaps the other guests were down in the main reception room having drinks. I thought I might join them, but I really wasn’t in the mood for small talk. So instead locked the bathroom door behind me and ran the bath.
While the water filled, I checked myself in the mirror, the family are going to comment that I’ve got older, but then if I have then so will they.
Turning of the bath taps, I quickly undressed and gingerly dipped my toe in the bath, the water was on the right side of hot, the water stinging my flesh as it engulfed my skin. I let out a silent, “ohh-ahh-ohh” as I lower myself into the water until I was submerged up to my neck when I became aware of someone on the other side of the door. It was then I noticed that someone had slipped a piece of paper under the door.
Although I was in fully immersed, I knew I could not settle until I had read the note. Pulling myself out of the bath, I quickly dried my hands and pick the note up. Someone had scribbled with some haste, ‘Leave room 4 while you can!!!!’
The four explanation marks seemed a bit excessive, but still they unnerved me. I turn back to the bath, pulled the plug, wrapped a towel around me, grabbed my toiletry bag and scooted back to my room.
to be continued