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The Chickening - Part 8

 
Veronica Volt's picture
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        Room 237

Veronica slowly walked up the stairs to the guest rooms above. “Room 237, room 237” she muttered to herself. Soon she was on the level where all the room numbers began with two. She walked along the corridor and around the corner. She saw the door. ‘Room 237,’ Veronica muttered as she approached. The door was closed but there was a key in the keyhole. She turned the handle, the door opened. Slowly Veronica stepped inside.

Inside the room was painted a curious green and gold. Shadows appeared and vanished as the light in the room flickered. ‘Hallo?’ Veronica called. ‘Is anyone here?’

There was no response. Veronica looked around. Dust was in the air and there was a smell of decay. The bed was empty of sheets and blankets. There was no sign of anyone staying in the room. No clothes in the wardrobe, no suitcase on the floor but something.. Veronica bent and picked up a feather, dirty and ugly.

The bathroom door was open. It was dark inside but from the flickering light in the room, Veronica thought she movement. Was somebody in there? In the bath? She dropped the feather back to the floor and approached the bathroom and stepped inside. She could not quite see all of the bath. If somebody was in the bath, she could not see who it was. Veronica could now hear breathing, a slow rasp breathing. She repeated ‘Is anyone here?’

The breathing stopped a moment then continued. A hand gripped the edge of the bath, the fingers long like talons. The light in the room flickered behind her, Veronica could only see movements in the shadows. Somebody was there, slowly they stood from the water. The light in the room flickered brighter and Veronica saw, a brief moment, a reflection on the bathroom mirror - skin linking arms and body, dirty feathers hanging from skin, a twisted beak from the face. The creature screeched. Veronica shook with terror, it was the chicken king. She ran away and out of the hotel room, slammed the door shut, turned the key and pulled it from the door. Holding it tight she ran along the corridor, and down the stairs. Party balloons were tied to handrails, and ribbons hanged down, but Veronica did not notice them. She ran to the ballroom and went through the doors.

Inside the guests were talking, sipping on drinks, all were dressed in their evening dresses and suits. A few were dancing as musicians played music from a time long before. Veronica stopped and breathed deep before walking toward the bar. As she passed, people nodded to Veronica, some spoke. ‘Good evening Miss Volt’ ‘How are you today Miss Volt?’ ‘Good to meet you Miss Volt.’

Floyd was standing behind the bar. He smiled to Veronica as she sat on the barstool.

‘Hi Floyd,’ Veronica said. ‘I am back.’
‘Good evening Miss Volt. It is good to see you.’
‘It is good to be back, Floyd’
‘Did you find what you were looking for?’
‘Nothing there Floyd’
‘Nothing?’
‘Nothing.’
‘Of course. Well, what will it be, Miss?’
‘I think something more than the soda Floyd,’ Veronica said. ‘How about some of the red rum?’
Floyd eyes sparkled. ‘Certainly.’ He poured some red rum into a glass and put the glass in front of Veronica. Again, Veronica did not see him fetch the bottle or put it back.
‘How much to pay?’ Veronica asked. She opened her hand. There were no chips in her hand, and no key.
‘No charge to you Miss Volt.’
‘No charge?’
‘Your money is no good here, Orders from the house’
‘Orders from the house?’
‘Drink up Miss Volt.’
Veronica took the glass, lifted it to her lips then paused. ‘I like to know who buys the drinks Floyd,’ she said.
‘Do not let it concern you, Miss Volt. At least, not now.’
Veronica shrugged and sipped the rum. ‘Anything you say, Floyd. Anything you say.’

Carrying the glass, Veronica left the bar counter and began to walk around the ballroom. Again guests looked at her, many smiled, nodded, some spoke. Veronica turned around and walked into a waiter who carried a tray of scrambled eggs. The glass fell from her hand. Egg and rum splashed on her clothes.

‘Oh, so sorry Miss,’ the waiter said. ‘This is egg, yellow, bad on the purple, we must put some water on it immediately and clean.’

Veronica looked at the white shirt of the waiter which seemed to glow under his black jacket and black bowtie. She noticed some rum on his shirt. ‘Sorry,’ Veronica said, ‘I think you have some rum on your shirt.’

‘Oh no matter,’ the waiter said. ‘We must make you cleaned. You are the important one.’

‘I am?’ Veronica asked surprised.

‘Oh yes Miss. Please follow me.’

Veronica followed the waiter across the ballroom and through a door. She noticed they were now in the kitchen. The waiter took her to the sink where he took a wet cloth and began to gently remove egg and rum from her clothes. Veronica looked to oven number three, the oven door was open, and looked back to the waiter. ‘Have we met before?’ she asked. The waiter continued to remove the egg and rum. ‘I do not think so Miss,’ he responded. Veronica was more sure. ‘I know you,’ Veronica said, ‘You are Dilbert Gravy.’ The waiter stopped and looked directly to Veronica.

‘That is correct Miss,’ he said.
‘Mr Gravy, you were the repair caretaker here. I saw picture of you on a newspaper page in the Manager Office,’ Veronica explained. ‘You chopped your pet chickens into pieces and then roasted yourself in an oven.’
‘That is very strange Miss. I do not have any memory of that at all.’
‘Mr Gravy, you were the repair caretaker.’
‘I am sorry to disagree Miss, but you are the repair caretaker. You were always the repair caretaker. I should know Miss. I have always been here. Für immer und immer.’

Veronica was confused. She tried to think. What was happening?

Gravy continued to look at Veronica, his eyes dark and serious.

‘Did you know Miss Volt, that somebody is attempting to bring a person from outside into this situation? Did you know that?’
Veronica shook her head. ‘No.’
‘She is, Miss Volt.’
Veronica was confused. ‘Who?’ she asked.
‘A clone.’ Gravy spoke the word clone with much hatred.
‘A clone?’
‘A clone Tech.’
‘How?’
‘She has a talent, a talent for chaos. I do not think you realise that Miss. She is trying to use this chaos against you.’
‘She is?’
‘Indeed, Miss. She is very naughty if i may be bold to say Miss.’
‘She..uh.. interferes’ Veronica said unsure.
‘Perhaps she needs a serious talking with Miss, if you do not mind me saying. Perhaps a little more. My chickens, Miss, they did not like the Hangover at first. One of them actually tried to fly to escape. I corrected them Miss.’

Veronica stared at Mr Gravy, eggs and rum forgotten.

‘Perhaps you need to correct her?’ Gravy suggested.

About one hour later, Veronica was sitting again at the desk in the hotel lounge, busy writing on the paper. Outside the wind howled. Veronica needed a plan, she was making a plan, writing a plan. A plan for correction. She wrote fast on many pieces of paper, a plan to correct this situation. Suddenly she heard something fall to the floor. She looked up and saw somebody standing at the open doors.

‘Why are you here?’ the person asked.

Comments

Joe Spivey's picture

It's 2:45 in the morning. I couldn't sleep. I thought I'd get up and browse and get sleepy and go back to bed. Then I read this. It's 2:45 in the morning. I'm not going back to bed now until it gets light. Thank you V V. Thank you very much.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Hyle Troy's picture

I suspect fowl play. They have the run of the place.

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

Ended up working a double tonight, was able to catch up on my reading. Still loving it, thought it did start raining here shortly after i got done readin it...

reikage



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