Note: What you are about to read (orglance at, than lose interest)is the first short story I ever completed. It was completed about seven or eight months ago. The reason it is my first short story is because it was my first stab at short stories, originally intended to be contained within a novel as a creation of the main character, who was in fact a writer. I've yet to finish any novel I've begun, and I never finished or have worked on the novel this short story was contained within since a few paragraphs or so written just after this section. As it was my first short story, and I've yet to post one on Fictionpress, for your delight, you see it here. Don't expect more if you like it, and if you hate, be glad that there won't be many more written by me.
IfI have any stalker fans (ha...I wish....), the reason that I haven't posted on Fictionpress in a while is because I've tried once again to write a novel, my fourth attempt, and it appears I will finish this one since it is a relation of my life in a parallel universe: in other words, I've finally decided to write about what I know, and not just what I can simply imagine, or hope to gain facts from by just seeing movies.
In other words, this, my first and perhaps last short story is here for your reading pleasure or displeasure. It's actually loosely based on a nightmare I once had.
The Ace Of Clubs Casino
The Ace Of Clubs Casino is a small time casino located in the remote city of Rose Valley, which is a peculiar name for a city, as it does not lie in a valley, but like one, it is where the rain rolls down from the hills, carrying the dirt along with it.
But hey, legal gambling.
That's what Sally Parker's grandfather thought of the place anyway. He liked to gamble, but living in a small town where gambling was strictly forbidden, he never got the change to enjoy a rousing game of high stakes poker, not that he could afford it. He couldn't even afford a room at a hotel, so when he got a free invitation for a two night stay at the Ace Of Clubs Casino located in Rose Valley, you hear the wind crack as the smile slapped onto his face.
He never understood why he was invited, as the invitation he received seemed to be addressed to a high roller, rather than a possible new monthly donor, but he asked no questions. He told grandma to pack up her all her expensive china to pawn for some cash when we made it to Rose Valley. And being the senile, order taking woman that she was, she did without asking questions.
Sally Parker had lived with her grandparents for the last ten years after her parents died in a car crash. Her parents had lived together against the Catholic Church's good book for five years before deciding to get married, when Sally was four years old. They were killed on their drive to Las Vegas for their honeymoon when a drunk driver didn't stop at a red light and crashed into them at an intersection, where they were killed instantly. Heading to any place remotely like Las Vegas, which seemed to Sally like any other place where gambling was legal, as she hadn't ever been to any place in Nevada, seemed to bring back old feelings of being alone. She longed for someone to tell about them, but her grandfather was too much of tough guy to be caught acting like he cared about anyone other than himself. At least she got a reaction from him. One like "quit being a baby, this is a family of troopers!" Whenever she spoke to her grandmother, she'd be lucky to get a blank stare before her grandmother would change the subject to some off the wall topic.
Grandpa was excited as a little boy in a candy store when he arrived at the city, which looked more like a large town. Actually, it seemed like a place hard to name as either a city or a town, as it was too big to be a town, and too small to be a city.
Grandpa took in the sites, which included the likes of a diner combined with a gas station, a few small shops, and the only casino in site: The Ace Of Clubs.
"Pretty easy to be the Ace in the deck when there's no competition," Sally spoke from the back of her grandfather's pick up.
"This is going to be the best vacation ever! Now be a trooper, goddamn it!" he barked from the front.
He pulled up in front of a run down pawn shop, got the poorly packaged bag of china from the back of the truck, and walked toward the shop.
"Sally, move your butt!" he called, motioning for her to follow. "They give you more money if they think you need it to raise a child. Act neglected and needy."
She followed him with a frown on her face. As she followed him inside, she watched a shard of broken china tearing out of black garbage bag. Was any of the china not in pieces.
"Got some stuff, mon?" a Jamaican voice asked from behind the counter, but the man couldn't be seen.
"Uh... where are ya?" grandfather asked curiously.
I watched behind the metal gate protected counter as a short Jamaican man climbed on top of a high chair to face grandpa.
"Howdy! How much do you think I can get for some high quality china?" he asked, removing a plate from the bag he didn't realize was badly chipped.
"That be a pretty strange way to package de china, mon. I couldn't give you much if all de plates like dat."
"Oh!" grandpa said, quickly putting down the chipped dish on the counter through a small break in the gate. "I got better china. Here, how about this!" he said removing a cup and plate in almost perfect condition. "And this...and how about that..."
When he finally placed all the china on the table that was in decent condition, Sally discovered that only half of it had survived the trip. Grandma's inheritance was severely mistreated by her husband with an obvious gambling addiction. At least she was too crazy to understand what he'd done.
"I can scrap up maybe a hundred for it, mon, no more, no less."
A priceless family inheritance. Passed down for generations.
"Make it a hundred and ten, and you've got a deal," grandpa said with a smile.
They arrived at the casino five minutes later. It was obviously the main attraction of the city, but that wasn't saying much. The casino was rather small, decorated with dirty yellowish carpet and dark red walls. The air was awfully thick with smoke for there being so few of customers.
Grandpa slapped the invitation against my chest, and headed for the blackjack tables where a bored dealer and a tired man in a suit stood.
"Mornin' gentlemen! Better watch out, cus a high roller just stepped up to your table!" he spoke proudly.
"You don't look like a regular here," the dealer spoke in a tired monotone.
"You bet, but I sure will be if you deal me the right cards!"
"Where are you from?" the dealer asked.
"Some small, unknown place. Nowhere important," grandpa responded as he pulled out his wallet.
"Then you should feel right at home. Good luck sir."
"Thanks! But you're the one who's gonna need it," he replied loudly. "Hey Sally! What are ya, a support wall? Get us the room! You and grandma can meet me down here in a few hours for dinner, but take your time, cus I'll be on a roll!"
Without a word, she headed for the front desk. From there, she could hear the man in the suit speaking into a radio.
"Found anything up there yet, John?" he asked, then listened in to a voice Sally couldn't hear, then replied, "Yeah, I'll switch off with ya later. What a mess up there! And we still got three rooms to go!"
"Can I help you two ladies?"
Sally turned to face the receptionist. He was a tall, handsome man wearing a faded suit that seemed to speak for itself: I don't care anymore. She handed him the invitation.
"Ah, one of these," he frowned. "I thought nobody would reply to these."
Sally almost asked why before he called the bellhop.
"Edmund!" he called sharply.
Edmund jumped awake from his sleeping position on a bag carrier.
"Take these two ladies to the sixth floor, room 607," he said handing him the key.
Edmund headed for the elevator.
"Edmund! Are you forgetting something?" the receptionist asked raising an eyebrow.
He looked back at us.
"GET THEIR LUGGAGE YOU DOLT!" he shouted.
Edmund sluggishly walked to us and grabbed our luggage. He looked like the average bellhop in those red clothes and hat, but he sure acted like someone off the street.
"Enjoy your stay!" the receptionist said with a smile.
They followed Edmund into the elevator, where a framed sign was posted above the elevator buttons saying the due date for the next elevator inspection, which was circled with a sharpie with a side comment written "Shit, it's expired!", as the elevator had been due for a year and a half.
Edmund waited impatiently as grandma slowly shuffled into the elevator. When she was in, he hit the button for the sixth floor, which Sally then realized was the highest floor. The elevator slowly climbed.
"Was there a wedding reception her?" grandma asked to Sally's surprise.
Edmund was silent for a minute, then spotted what she was looking at: an invitation to a wedding reception.
"Yes, it was yesterday," he slowly responded. "They... were such a happy couple..."
Sally watched him analytically as he continued to sadly stare at the invitation on the floor. Sally was more than happy when the elevator doors opened to the sixth floor and she and grandma could leave the confined space with the bizarre bellhop. He reached out of the elevator, and pressed the key into Sally's hand.
"I...your room is close," he replied nervously as he continuously pressed a button on the elevator which Sally assumed was the close button. "En... enjoy your stay!"
The elevator doors shut, and Sally turned to face down a small hallway where there were four doors: rooms 600-604. She assumed the turn to the left led to the rest of them, and grandma followed close behind.
When Sarah slowly made the turn, she discovered what the police officer downstairs must have been referring to: A crime scene.
Grandma hadn't noticed it, but looked around, wondering why I'd stopped leading her down the hall.
Yellow crime scene tape had been taped to several doors: 605, 606, 608, and 609. The only room down this hall that wasn't marked with "Do not cross" was room 607, and having several rooms that were crime scenes dotted around it, Sally didn't feel comfortable.
"Sally, dear, why have we stopped?" grandma asked confused.
No use explaining.
"Nothing grandma," Sally gulped. "Let's go to our room."
As they walked by the rooms, Sally noticed that the doors had duct tape across where the locks where: probably to keep the doors from locking when the officer left the room. Sally was curious what had happened in those rooms, and if her grandma hadn't been with her at the time, she might have opened one of the doors and went inside.
When they reached their room, Sally noticed something she was surprised she hadn't noticed before. From room 607, there was a faint, bloody set of footprints in the carpet leading back to room 606. She knew someone was in her room.
The doorknob turned and as the door opened, Sally screamed and closed her eyes. Grandma seemed to awake from a daze.
"Ah! Honey, it's alright!'
Sally hesitantly opened her eyes to a friendly crime scene investigator. His kind face was marked with wrinkles and was pale as a dead man's face; the look associated with a crime scene detective who had seen it all.
"Who are you? What happened? Was someone hurt?" Sally asked, realizing afterwards that it was somewhat of a dumb question.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't know anyone was coming up here," he quickly explained, obviously feeling bad about scaring the poor girl. "They said this floor had no guests. I didn't know this room was taken. They said the only rooms I might see anyone in were the staff rooms, which are down the other hall. My name is John Baxter. I'm a crime scene detective," he said showing his badge.
"What... happened?" she asked, still shaken up.
"Oh, it's no big deal. Uh... well you see there was this drug bust up here and.... well, someone had OD'd in one of the rooms, and they just coughed up a lot of blood on the floor. No big deal. They were all staying in a few rooms, so we had to block off all of them. It really isn't as bad as it looks. Anyways, I um, accidentally stepped in some, and tracked it into your room, but don't worry, it's hard flooring in there, I cleaned it up. I just went into your room with a master key they gave me so I could wash my boots off. It's really no big deal. The girl who bled is just fine, she's in the hospital, and all the drug abusers were arrested, so don't worry about a thing."
Sally felt a little better, but had a feeling he wasn't telling the whole truth.
"What a handsome man!" grandma said smiling at the detective.
"Thank you miss! By the way, for scaring your.... granddaughter?"
She was expressionless for a moment, then smiled again and nodded.
"I'll pay for your dinner. I'll be done up here in about an hour, when I trade shifts with my partner. There's this diner down the street, Joe's Diner. Does great hamburgers."
"What about Bill?" Grandma asked.
"Who's Bill?" he asked curiously.
"My grandfather," Sally interrupted. "He's busy downstairs, he said he'd be skipping dinner. Thank you so much sir."
"No problem. If there's anything else I can do for you..."
"We'll be just fine," Sally said forcing a smile.
"Ok honey, you have a nice night. Take care of that sweet lady you have with you too," he said, looking at grandma.
"Will do," Sally said.
The detective left their room, and held the door open for them as they entered the room, which turned out to be a suite.
"I'll knock on your door when my shift is done," the detective spoke. "Enjoy your stay!"
"Thank you," Sally spoke smiling, and shut the door.
The room was nicely decorated: white walls, tile floors (the detective missed a spot of blood), two comfortable looking arm chairs, one of which grandma sat in, and two large queen size beds, including an large window with bright red drapes and a great view of the city, and a large TV stand. Sally turned on the TV to the Turner Classic Movies station for grandma, and then went into the bathroom, which was a large, marble tiled, and had a Jacuzzi and a glass shower.
"Looks like Bill hit the jackpot, huh grandma," Sally called from the bathroom.
Grandma didn't respond, but only laughed, apparently at a funny scene in the movie Casablanca.
Sally went back to the door, and looked out the peep hole.
The detective was standing there, talking into his radio, and from behind the thin door, Sally could hear him talking to the detective downstairs.
"Alright, I've got one room already; didn't find anything," he spoke, wiping at his forehead, and there was a pause. "Yeah, it's hard work. Speaking of which, when are you going to get your ass away from that blackjack table and help me up here?.....Look, I don't care if you have a weak stomach for this stuff. Get used to it, or get a new job.....Damn you, Snyder. I don't want to go into that one yet. Not without someone to help out, it's fucking creepy in these rooms and I may have done this for years, but I've almost puked twice. Now get up here and give me a hand, goddamn it!....Fine, hurry up then. I'll get started, I guess."
As he put away his radio, he turned to face room 609, right across from Sally's room. As he opened the door and slowly walked in, Sally got a quick, but detailed view of the inside.
At first, as the door slowly opened, all she saw were a stained pair of black tennis shoes hanging off the bed, obviously still being worn by someone. The door opened a little further, and she saw little red stains of blood that had rolled down the bed. As it opened some more, she saw a pair of legs wearing white, high heeled shoes. A little further, and some of the pure white dress. Further, and a realization that the dress too was stained. The door seemed to open forever in that short second, as she saw the woman was curved around a second bed. The door reached it's furthest point, and she saw the most horrifying site: the bathroom where the glass shower was broken into many shards stained with red and at the floor of the shower there was only a horrifying, dark figure that had been...
Sally woke from her unconscious state an hour later when she heard the sound of a plane. She turned to face grandma, where she was still sitting, watching Casablanca. Sally looked out the door's peep hole again to see the closed door of room 609.
Sally was afraid, but she felt it might be worth going downstairs and trying to convince grandpa to leave this place. She slowly opened the door, careful not to let grandma hear, and shut it behind her. She ran down the hall as fast as she could, feeling as though an invisible being was chasing her. She pounded on the elevator button, and kept looking down the hallway as she heard it approach ever so slowly. When the door finally opened, she jumped inside, and hit the button for the lobby.
When the elevator finally reached the bottom, she ran to the blackjack table. Sure enough, grandpa was still playing.
"YES! 21!" Grandpa shouted from the empty table.
"Look's like you're on a streak," the dealer spoke, miserably trying to sound excited.
"Sally! Get out of here, you're bad luck! I'm already up five grand, don't blow out my fire!"
"Grandpa, we have to go now! Upstairs, there's this awful, awful crime scene! I can't stay, I'm... I'm afraid!"
"Sally, we must have raised you wrong. I thought you were a trooper," he said, looking at his cards. "Hit me!"
"Player busts," the dealer spoke after dealing grandpa a twenty two.
"See what I mean?" grandpa yelled at the dealer. "Sally, I'm sick of your shit. Go upstairs, and keep your grandma company."
Sally was about to break out in tears when she jumped from a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see the detective and grandma standing side by side.
"Ready for dinner," he asked with a smile.
"Who are you?" Grandpa asked aggressively.
"John Baxter. I'm a detective. I was finishing up some work at a small crime scene upstairs, and I scared your daughter by accident. I was going to buy dinner for my mistake," the detective smiled. "If that is alright..."
"Why, sure!" grandpa boomed. "Why I just lost what I was going to spend on dinner. Sounds great, I'll take a break I suppose. My granddaughter didn't give you any trouble, did she?"
"Oh, none at all!" the detective exclaimed. "She's a very sweet girl. And so is your wife. You're a very lucky man, Mr...."
"Parker! Bill Parker," he left the table to shake his hand.
Sally was strangely able to forget about what she saw on the sixth floor from behind her door. She enjoyed a delicious hamburger and John insisted that she try one of their shakes. As she drank the last of her chocolate milk shake, the memory seemed to come back, and she began to feel dizzy again.
"So what's it like being a crime scene detective?" grandpa asked between chews of his burger.
"It has it's up's and down's I suppose," he drank some water. "There are some things I've seen that I wish I'd never had, but in the end, it's all worth it. Working for justice is the best kind of work there is."
"So what kind of things have you seen?" grandpa asked.
"Things that shouldn't be described at a dinner table," the detective spoke gravely.
"Hey, I'm the only one eating," Grandpa said, looking around the table. "Go on, I've got a strong stomach."
Please don't. Oh please don't.
Sally watched the detective with eyes that could beg for peace by themselves.
"Well, I've seen horrible things. One time, I had to investigate a suicide where this woman had hung herself after slicing away at her wrists with a kitchen knife."
Why is he doing this. Why?
"I had to investigate the death of this worker who got his head squished by a several ton tractor. Just imagine what that looks like."
Sally had begun seeing images of what the detective was describing, and she felt he knew that she was, but he wouldn't stop.
"And this baby who died when it's mother, who was high on crack, dropped it from a ten story building."
"And then there was the crime scene I just investigated upstairs. I think Sally knows it had nothing to do with a drug bust. This serial killer killed the people upstairs. They had just been married, and he decided to cut their lives short, along with several guests. By the way, guess who the bride and groom were Sally?"
No. Don't say it, please!
"George and Samantha Parker!" he yelled. "Your parents are dead, Sally! They didn't die in a car crash! Your grandparents just lied to make you feel better about it. They were brutally murdered Sally! Happy that you have the truth now? BECAUSE THAT'S THE TRUTH SALLY ALLISON PARKER! THEY WERE MURDERED! AND YOU ARE TOO AFRAID TO SEE THE TRUTH!!!"
Sally let out a horrifying scream and ran away from the diner.
This isn't real. This isn't real. And I'm not going to be afraid! I'm going into that room and finding out what happened to my parents. I'm not going to be afraid! But I am afraid! No, no I can't be. I'll never escape this horrible place unless I stop being afraid!
Sally swung the doors of the hotel open, past the reception desk, and began banging on the elevator button.
"Where are you going so fast?" the receptionist asked in a warped voice from behind the desk.
She turned to face the man, who had no face, only a blurry, cloudy looking image that looked like a smudge of wet paint.
"YOU'RE A DEMON!" she shrieked. "AND I'M NOT AFRAID OF YOU! I'M NOT AFRAID OF YOU! AND I FINALLY KNOW HOW TO LEAVE THIS PLACE!"
The elevator door opened, and Sally ran inside. The button for the sixth floor was covered in blood, but she pushed it anyway. As the doors slowly creaked shut, she watched out them as grandma, grandpa, detective Baxter and his partner, Edmund the bellhop, the receptionist, and even the pawn shop owner all watched her with their cloudy faces.
"YOU WON'T STOP ME," she screamed as the doors slammed shut.
The elevator was slower than ever, and this time Sally could hear an eerie music that sounded like it was being played backwards echoing in the elevator that seemed to be closing in on her.
"YOU DON'T SCARE ME! YOU DON'T SCARE ME!"
When the doors finally opened, Sally found herself running down a hallway that seemed to be moving and twisting, and the floors splashed as she ran down them as though the hallway was flooded in melted floor or blood, she didn't look down to find out.
When she reached room 609, a voice echoed down the hall.
"YOU ARE IN HELL!!! YOU ARE IN HELL!!! AND YOU'RE NEVER GETTING OUT!!! NEVER!!! JUST GIVE UP!!!"
She slammed the door open and focused on every horrifying detail: the blood, the gashes, the wounds, the penetrations, that stains on the furniture, the dead bodies. She didn't recognize the man on the bed, but knew the woman on the floor was her mother.
"SEE I'M NOT AFRAID!!! YOU DON'T SCARE ME!!!" she yelled madly.
"WAIT TILL YOU SEE YOUR FATHER!!!" the eerie voice came again.
She ran into the bathroom and took in every last nightmarish detail. The completely dismembered body lying there among shards of broken glass, and a knife firmly stuck in it.
"Why? Why did they die this way? Why? Why am I in this horrible place! God curse this place of Hell and every demon in it!"
There was a loud shrieking all around her, and all went black.
She seemed to spiral down a large tunnel, leading to a bright white light, and there stood the figure of a woman.
Where am I?
"My little angel..." the woman spoke.
"Mommy!" Sally yelled.
They embraced each other. They held a tight hold on each other that no demon could break.
"Where's daddy?" Sally asked between tears.
Suddenly a second embrace was made.
"Daddy!" she sobbed.
"We've always been with you," daddy spoke. "And we always will be. But now it's time for you to wake up, and forget the nightmare you've had."
"I'll never sleep again," Sally cried.
"You never have to fear that nightmare again," came her mother's gentle voice. "You broke away from the evil that possessed you. And it will never haunt you again. We were with you the whole way, but only you could break free."
"What happened to you and daddy," Sally cried hard. "What happened to you."
"We died in a car crash sweetie," Daddy spoke as he hugged her tighter.
"But in that place... that room..." Sally cried harder as the memory returned.
"When we got into the crash, you went into a coma," Father explained. "You've been asleep for three months."
"It feels like forever," Sally spoke as her mother wiped away her tears.
"Honey, don't worry," her mother's voice spoke again. "You saved yourself from the evil, and you'll never be haunted by it again."
"But I'll always be afraid!" Sally exclaimed.
"You'll forget all of this when you wake up," daddy spoke to help comfort her.
"No!" Sally cried. "I don't want to forget you! I don't want to ever believe anything other than a crash took your lives!"
"Don't worry," mommy spoke. "We'll make sure you always know the truth."
"Time to wake up, Sally," daddy spoke.
"I'm not ready," Sally cried.
"You've always been ready," mommy spoke. "Don't be afraid. We'll never ever leave you."
"We promise," they both spoke together, and then everything disappeared.
Sally's eyes slowly opened to a bright white room. Her eyes took a minute to gain focus, and when they did, she realized she was on a hospital bed. She felt like she'd slept for years, but fortunately, she couldn't remember any nightmares.
In her room was a thin, black nurse who was watering some plants.
"Hello?" Sally called.
"Oh my God!" the nurse cried. "She's awake! Praise the lord!"
"Where am I?"
"You're at Oak County Medical Center, child," she exclaimed. "You've been asleep for quite sometime!"
"Oak County... I'm at my hometown," Sally spoke quietly.
"Where else would you be, precious?"
"I don't know," she said feeling a little confused. "My parents...we were in a crash..."
The nurse frowned. She was about to say something when Sally interrupted.
"They are in Heaven now, aren't they?" Sally asked, somehow knowing the answer.
"Yes child," she sighed. "But it sure ain't a bad place to be, now is it?"
"Nope," Sally smiled. "Now, they'll be with me everywhere."
"That's right," the nurse looked out the window. "I know my late husband sure is."
She paused for a minute.
"You woke up at the perfect time. It's a beautiful day," the nurse spoke as she opened the drapes to let in the golden rays of sunshine.
Sally was a little confused as to what had taken place, but there was one thing she
did know was true: it was a beautiful day, and she was going to enjoy every minute of it.