Supernatural Fiction posted August 4, 2011


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This work has reached the exceptional level
Short story

Lost in the Middle of Nowhere

by dejohnsrld (Debbie)

Lost in the Middle of Nowhere

Julie was exhausted as she drove the three hundred and twenty miles from her home in Colorado to the flat-lands of Nebraska. She muttered to herself about the insanity of planning the national convention way out in the middle of nowhere. Western Nebraska had to be just about as close to nowhere as you could get. There hadn't even been a town for the last forty miles.

She thought of the trouble last year with her colleagues closing down the bars and returning to the convention center at 2:00 AM, loud and disorderly. She hadn't been a partier in years, but on the first day of the convention, she had gone out, and after a couple of glasses of Lambrusco, had returned to her room to finish the John Grisham book she had picked up at the airport gift shop. She knew it was silly to pay that much for a book she could have gotten used on Amazon for a third the price, but had left the one she was reading at home on the bedside table. She had awakened late. The storm during the night must have caused the power to flicker off long enough to reset her alarm clock to midnight. Of course it had a battery backup, but she didn't remember the last time she had changed the battery, so it must have run down. She read a couple of hours and then turned in with her Mp3 player on playing her favorite relaxation tape, Guitar by the Sea.

The next morning, she got up early to eat breakfast in the restaurant and read the paper by the poolside before the other attendees started staggering out of their rooms, hindering her concentration. As she walked toward the restaurant through the lobby, a few unhappy hotel staff scurried to pick up empty bottles, cans and garbage. Julie's colleagues had an after hours party in the lobby last night from the looks of it. It had to be them, as they were the only ones at the hotel. She had a quick breakfast and hurried off toward the pool area with the newspaper. As her eyes adjusted to the lighting, she observed there were no lounge chairs around the pool. A closer look revealed they were all under water in the deep end. It looked like her colleagues had done more than just drink in the lobby. The rest of the convention was rather subdued because of the other attendees being embarrassed by their behavior and the fact the hotel had told them they weren't welcome to return next year.

So much for the Dental Hygienist's Conference being held in big cities. Now they were meeting in rural Nebraska, so rural there wasn't even an airport near enough to fly and she had been forced to drive all that way. She sighed as she passed the 'Welcome to Nebraska' sign and hoped the conference this year would be quiet and uneventful. She had brought the latest John Grisham book with her to fill her evenings.

The first three days of the convention were quiet and Julie was enjoying the time to relax in her room in the evenings. On the last night, after finishing her book, she carefully brushed and flossed her teeth, as she had a bit of paranoia about them after dealing with so many mouths full of rotten teeth the past 20 years. As she flossed, she reflected on the relative quiet of the conference this year. Perhaps Nebraska had been a good choice as there had been none of the usual carousing out there in the middle of nowhere. The educational sessions were well attended, whereas in the past, the morning sessions had been sparsely attended while everyone was busy nursing their hangovers. One more night, and meetings until noon tomorrow before the long drive home. She was missing her cat, Flossie, named for one of Julie's favorite tools of her trade. A neighbor was caring for Flossie in her absence. She crawled into bed, started her music and dozed off.

She awoke to silence, no music playing from her Mp3 player. She was shivering in her thin nightgown and she could hear the air conditioner running on high. Always having been a cold person, Julie never slept with her air on at night. She noted the bathroom light was off. She always left the light on and closed the bathroom door. That way, enough light shone under the door that she could find her way if she needed to get up at night. She thought she could smell the faint scent of man's cologne. Fumbling around, she tried to turn on the lamp on the nightstand in the pitch black darkness. As she reached for it, she hit something with her hand and it splashed liquid on her before landing on the floor. It smelled of alcohol, but she hadn't had even one drink while there. An eerie feeling was building as Julie realized she wasn't dreaming. She was awake and this was really happening. She got a lump in her throat and her heart raced as she realized this truly was not her room, but where was she?

She finally got the lamp turned on and looked around. She was glad she was the only one there. She had wondered about that when she noticed the cologne smell. Her possessions were not there, In fact, no one's were. The hotel room was devoid of all personal items except a room key which she carefully looked and determined it was to her room, #137. But this was NOT the room she had fallen asleep in last night. She continued to feel the panic build as she weighed the options of what she could do.

She located the phone on the desk. Not knowing what else to do, Julie dialed 911 and tried to explain to the dispatcher what had happened. By now she was sobbing uncontrollably. The dispatcher reassured her they could trace the phone call and locate her wherever she was. Julie continued to sob as the female voice on the phone tried to calm her down. Soon she heard a knock on the door. The dispatcher told her it was the paramedics and that she should answer it. A wave of relief swept over her as two friendly, but concerned men were there to help her.

They came in and checked her vital signs. Then they informed her she was at her hotel, but she was in the room one floor above hers. Julie was escorted back to her room and was greatly relieved to find all of her possessions there. Once she felt a bit calmer, she remembered her mother telling her she had sleepwalked as a young child. Julie had lived alone for so long, she could have been sleepwalking, and without someone there to see her, she wouldn't have known. Probably that was how she got on the wrong floor, but no one could explain how she had been able to unlock that room with her room key...









Recognized


This is rather long but is an assignment for mt writing class, Prompt-Fiction. Must have one of the following locations
1)a open boat on the ocean

2) Your grandmother's kitchen

3) Someone else's hotel room

Be descriptive and try to show rather than tell.

Thanks to ambermay foe the picture of Flossie.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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