There was a knock at the door. Then there was a bit more than a knock. The door pounded as if someone was trying to kick a hole in it. My eyes widened as I pounced up out of bed. A few quick blows shot to the top part of the door right before a voice ripped through it. 'Let me in!' screamed what sounded like a middle-aged man through the thick wood. His demanding voice was trembling itself around fear with a hint of plea. The latter was better heard in his next, and, as far as I know, his last string of words. A 'please' slid down the door. I imagined a bony, leather-skinned old man, sitting on a street corner with his elbows on his knees, as his back and spirit slouched in a parallel unison. I perceived him looking up at me, begging me in desperation for change to buy some food.
I took a few quick steps toward the door before my roommate stopped me. He was sitting up slightly in bed with an annoyed expression that read: Why am I awake? He simply stated in a just-kinda-woke-up mumble 'It’s prolly jus’ Joe.' My mind changed, it wasn’t a helpless spirit, per se, he was just our co-worker and drunk, like usual.
However, nothing, no logical thought process could have enabled me to explain the next sound. I still have trouble with it. The sound grabbed me from inside, twisted my stomach as my nerves turned to goose bumps and stood the hair on the back of my neck straight up. The noise radiated from the bottom of the door. It sounded like someone kicked a soggy laundry bag against the door, kicked it a few more times and, suddenly, started clawing on the door. Very odd, I thought, as a slowly stumbled to the door. The sound continued. I looked out the peephole and saw nothing but the door to Room 231.
I was trying my best to look down both sides of the hallway to get a good glimpse. Suddenly, at the bottom of the convex image, I saw a quick movement. I heard a dragging sound and this is where the proverbial cat died. I stepped to the side, pressed my right foot about two feet from the door, turned the handle and slowly opened the door. I slid toward the gap and peered to the right as my eyes made their movement toward where the alleged laundry sack would have been. I gasped as I realized there was about a liter of blood all over the floor. Shocked, I slowly followed the trail to the left side of the hallway.
At this moment my roommate asked in a courageous but curious tone, 'What? What do you see?'
'…blood.' I quickly noticed a movement from my right. I pulled back into the room and planted my foot as someone slammed into the door at high speed. I painfully stopped the door with my foot. Though I was knocked slightly off balance, the door did not go any further than where my foot stood. The person in the hallway stabbed their arm in the room toward me. I leaned away and against the refrigerator. My chest was pounding. I kept pushing the door further closed and wedging it at every opportunity the flailing arm lent. This crazy person wasn’t stopping, slowing down, or showing any exhaustion.
This person had to be insane. He was hissing, mumbling grunting noises, and frantically swinging his arm at me. My mind raced as the adrenaline pumped through me. What if this were the killer? What if he was after me because he thought I saw it? Why did the blood trail run to the left when he came from the right? My thoughts were interrupted.
'Watch out!' I glanced between the door and Kyle, a few times, until I figured out what he was planning. He stood across the room, crouched like a runner before a race, swinging his arms slightly, and staring at the door almost to look through it. He huffed and puffed a couple of times and took off sprinting toward the door. As he built up speed and I thought to myself, Kyle is gonna slice that dude’s arm off. I turned my head away as Kyle slammed his shoulder and all his weight into the door. The hissing and mumbling had not stopped. It didn’t even pause or change tone. Yet, the arm stopped moving. It swung lifelessly down to this psychopath’s side.
I quickly tried to take advantage and push the crazy man away and shut the door. As I put my hand toward him I saw it's face lunging at me. It’s jaw was clicking as it constantly opened and shut. It’s skin was grey and shaded with a pus color and peeling all over. His eyes were glazed like marbles; however, his eyes, minus the bloodshot, were a jaundicing yellow. It was clothed in business attire and covered in blood. Its smell was engulfing. It smelled like rotten eggs. It bared its teeth quickly as I pushed the psychopath away, far enough to clear the door.
I slammed the door shut. Locked the latch up top the door and secured the dead bolt. Had there been thirty other locks on that door, I would have locked them as well. Kyle sat on his back against the wall across from me. He was rubbing his shoulder. My jaw was still hanging from the events in the past five minutes. He looked up at me and said, 'Well, my shoulder prolly ain’t as bad as that other guys.' Happy go lucky Kyle.
I swallowed my sigh as I nervously stuttered back, 'I-I th-hink you, um…he’s, ha, not gonna be using it…I think you, uh, severed his, ah, what-do-you, um, t-tendons…' I was still puzzled. I looked down at my hands and realized I had blood on them. I went to wash them. I stopped and turned to Kyle, 'It was a business man.'
Kyle looked back as he stood up. '…so?' Kyle never thought things through. That thought probably went right through his head, never stopping at logic.
Kyle was about my age, a couple months younger. He was shorter than me, though, bigger. He weighed approximately "one-hundred-and-ninety-seven pounds." That was that day. He said it every day. He was one of those fit freaks. He ate the same thing everyday. Did alternating workouts depending on what the fitness magazine he was currently reading featured. How could you eat the same thing every night? Chicken Breast, whole grain rice, beans and a salad. He was always doing sit-ups, push-ups, planks, squats and whatever other workout he would come across. He even bought a pull-up bar. I mean, we only spend a couple weeks on the road at a time for work. It was such a big deal for him and, yeah, he was pretty fit. He could probably hold his own in a fight, but there was something eerie about this situation.
I stepped out of the bathroom to see Kyle on the phone. 'Are you calling the police?' He hung the phone up without saying a word.
Kyle complacently looked over to me and stated, 'It’s busy.'
'What? 911 is busy?'
'How many times did you try?'
Kyle sighed. 'That was the third…'
I walked cautiously to the center of the room. As I scratched my head, I peered at the generic hotel phone and solicited a response from Kyle, 'Did you try on your cell?'
'Why would that make a difference?'
I didn’t have an answer. 'Why? Well...How could the emergency hotline service be busy?!' He just shrugged his shoulders. His body read how am I supposed to know but his face posed an oxymoronic expression broadcasting: I don’t care.
Kyle stood up and started changing out of his bedclothes. 'What are you doing,' I asked.
I thought he was nuts. 'What is this? Are you in a contest with the dude outside to see who is the craziest?'
Half way through pulling up his jeans, without stopping, Kyle looked up at me and said the stupidest thing I had heard in weeks, 'We can’t properly assess the situation from inside our hotel room.'
I felt my eyebrows drop in concern. 'I have assessed all I’ve needed to. It’s not safe outside the hotel room and there ain’t no way, in hell, I’m going there until I have some sign to show me otherwise! And I suggest you do the sa-'
My safety speech was interrupted by Kyle. 'You don’t have to go! But…I am going. Don’t try and talk me out of it, I’m not staying here.'
I sat on the bed and slowly fell backward to stare blankly at the ceiling. My soon to be ex-roommate gathered his essentials, keys, phone, wallet, and the two knives he kept with him. 'Those are goin’ to do a lot considering what had just happened,' not directing my speech to anyone in particular.
'Dude! You don't have to come along. Not like I asked you anyway. I’m not leaving for good, either. I’m gonna go see what’s up, and gather some info. That’s it. The cops should be here already. Maybe my statement could be of some use.'
That bothered me. The cops would knock on our door if they needed our statement and they surely would when you take into count that there is blood all over the hallway in front of our room. I looked over at Kyle without moving my head, 'Whatever, the cops would come to us. There’s only about a half gallon of blood all over in front of our door.'
'Look, I’m doing what I want! You’re not my daddy. And, I’m not gonna sit in here waiting because I’m too scared to leave my safe little room.'
'Whatever! You weren't holding th-th-that thing back! You don’t know how relentless and strong he was. Jus’ because you’re .Mister Strongman-Hero doesn’t mean-”
Kyle interrupted me 'Shut the fuck up! There are a lot of unknowns and, frankly, I don’t like unknowns. And, I do not appreciate you summing me up to some hero that blindly...you know what, I’m not gonna sit here and explain myself to you. People may need some help, or, this could be a sickness, a disease and I don’t wanna be quarantined, or…dude, you can stay here. You are a big boy that can handle yourself, right? I’ll be gone for a little while. If you’re here when I get back…Three knocks and a slap. Do what you want.' Kyle got up, walked to the door, and preceded to unlock it.
I leaned up and prepared myself for what might happen next. Kyle took a quick peek through the peephole and slowly opened the door, peered out, and leaned back in. He said the last words I would ever hear him say, 'Peace brah.' Then, Silence.
- Continue Reading (part 2)
- Continue Reading (part 2)