The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Room with No View
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
“You booked this dump with ‘Booker-OffersDotCom, didn’t you?” Marlene’s voice, never dulcet, scraped Felix’s last shredded nerve.
“Yes, my dove. The listing sounded like a real fine get-away.” Felix retrieved the brochure from his coat pocket and read aloud. “‘A unique, one-of-a-kind romantic destination. Once a lavish Victorian mansion, now a lovely, distinctive full-service hotel. Each bedroom boasts a view of Lake Hyacinth and overlooks the Hyacinth House Maze Gardens.’ It sounded so . . . nice.”
“All right, Felix, as you’ve booked us into this ‘unique, one-of-a-kind’ dump – no doubt without an option for a refund – we might as well check in.” Marlene stomped to the reception desk, her substantial bulk raising an unsettling cloud of dust from the faded Persian carpet. A meaty fist battered the call bell half-a-dozen times.
Felix flinched at each angry jangle of the bell. With a sigh, he hauled up the suitcases and trudged behind his wife to the desk. Of the four pieces of luggage, only the smallest was his.
A slender, dark-haired woman poured into a strapless maroon dress glided from somewhere to stand behind the mahogany reservation desk. “May I help you?” Her voice hinted at late nights, champagne, and illicit pleasures.
“We have reservations. Mr. and Mrs. Hammersham,” Marlene snapped.
Minutes later, a uniformed bellman opened the door to Room 666 and allowed Marlene to enter. She waddled in with a sniff of disapproval.
He promptly slammed the door behind her and, with a deep bow, handed the ornate metal key to Felix. The bellman left Felix alone, suitcases at his feet.
The sounds began within moments. Growls. Snarls. Screams. Then silence interrupted only by the cracking of bones and tearing of flesh.
Felix took his lone bag and returned to the front desk. The sexy, dark-haired woman smiled, a close-mouthed curve of her ruby red lips.
“Ah, Mr. Hammersham, may I assume our Black Dog service met with your approval?”
“Yes, indeed. You cannot imagine what a relief this is.” Felix set the key to Room 666 on the desk. “I understand that my, um, date is waiting for me in the center of the Maze?”
“Eagerly waiting, Mr. Hammersham.”
Felix hastened out the front door, disturbing cobwebs as he went, and entered the Hyacinth House Maze. Just before he vanished from sight, he stopped and brushed back his thinning hair with his hands. Must look nice for his date.
The maroon-clad woman leaned on the front desk and sighed in something like contentment. She was joined a moment later by an extravagantly blond man, pale and effete.
“The Minotaur is waiting hungrily, I assume?” the blond man asked.
“Indeed. He won’t like Mr. Hammersham much, I fear, but beggars and choosers these days, you know?”
“Hmm. Have we ever had a double booking like this one?”
“I don’t believe so. Delicious, isn’t it?”
A high-pitched wail reached their ears.
Identical smiles curved their lips.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.