General Fiction posted May 25, 2019


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A contest entry

The Hotel Mystery

by aryr


Behind the door marked '717', lay a young woman named Sara, who was in the throes of waking up. At least she thought she was 'Sara', something in her distant memory indicated she was.

It took forty minutes before she was fully awake. Initially she just laid there looking around the room. None of it seemed familiar. She was clueless as to how she got there, or even where she really was.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing.

The bed she had been laid upon was neatly made up. The only ruffled spot was where her body had been.

Her shoes had been removed, heaven knows where they were? She felt the discomfort of a full bladder and sat up. When she swung her legs over the side of the bed, she found her shoes neatly placed near the bottom corner. A door that stood slightly ajar presented a mirror, so she safely assumed it was a bathroom. After relieving herself, she gazed into the mirror for several minutes with the hope she would recognize herself. This endeavor proved useless.

As she turned on the water to wash her hands, she discovered the telephone number written on the palm of her left hand in biro or ball point pen. She quickly allowed the running water to flow over her right hand, grabbed a bar of soap which she rolled around in that hand, rinsed and reached for a hand towel.

She left the bathroom and sat at the desk. In the tiny drawer were two pens and a small notepad. Someone definitely knew her well enough to know that she was right-handed because they had written the number on her left palm. She wrote the ten numbers across the top of the page, '704 9?7 2?59', the 5th and 8th numbers were badly smudged. She ran the fingers of her right hand over the number, perhaps they had gotten wet by accident or maybe due to her perspiration.

"
'Nope, the numbers were as dry as could be. Now, where was she? And even more pressing, how had she gotten here? What did the phone number mean, and who did it belong to. Well I could go through the possible ten number and call. Good God, that will take forever.' she whispered quietly.

She noticed that the notepad indicated she was in the Holiday Inn Express and the phone was a landline with buttons. Three of those had small words of 'desk', 'room service' and 'taxi'. She pressed number '7' for desk, surely a person would answer and explain who she was, where she was and why she was there. A polite female voiced responded. Within seconds she hung up, it was a recording. Number '8' for room service and '9' for taxi had the same results, all were recorded replies.

Out of the corner of her eye she spotted what she thought was some sort of welcome basket. She rose and walked towards it. It had a couple of bananas, an apple and orange, two rolls of crackers and a vacuum pack of cheese. A small fridge was beneath the counter and in her peripheral vision a window.

"Why did I not notice the window first off?"

The drapes were tied back but the sheers had been pulled together. She flung the sheers open. Looking down she saw several cars in the parking lot. She was far enough away that the tags or license plates could not be seen clearly. Across the way was a Ramada Inn, and in the distance, a possible Wendy's sign. Snow covered the ground and the cars in a light dusting. The window provided nothing.

"Well, I have food at least and I am starving."

A banana and a bottle of water that had been one of many in the fridge had at least satisfied the hunger.

A flashback of memory fluttered across her mind. She remembered getting into an elevator, several others were with her. For some reason it seemed like every button was pushed and she was insistent that they check out the 8th, 9th and 10th floors before returning to the 7th. At least, that is how her mind saw it.

"Ahaaaa, I am on the 7th floor. I know that and I know I am Sara!"

In that moment, she saw the door. Running to it, grabbing the handle to yank it open. Unfortunately, it was either stuck or locked. There was no chain lock, so it must be stuck. Pulling harder proved useless.

She was back to square one, well almost. The room was at the Holiday Inn Express, Sara was her name, she was locked in, there was fruit and water.

"I am alive, at least and my clothing is intact, so there was no chance of rape or beating. All else is a mystery. Oh, wait I remember that word. Think, damn it, there is something to do with a mystery. Think, have a drink, think."

After retrieving another bottle of water, the bed looked to be more comfortable than the chair at that moment. A couple of sips while sitting on the edge, prompted her to lay back and to think.

Staring at the ceiling brought her attention to the water sprinkler, causing her to wish she had her purse. She always carried a disposable lighter. Noah was a smoker and sometimes his lighter failed. Wait, she remembered that she was married and that her husband was Noah. However, there was no mental picture of him and nothing other than his name and that he smoked.

Anyway, if she had her purse, by pulling the desk from the wall, putting a chair on it, she would be able to light it and hold it under the sprinkler. But she didn't and couldn't.

"Bummer, it was a great idea. If the sprinkler went off, it would attract the attention of someone and the fire department who could shoulder open the door. I guess I will just lay here and think about the mystery. My memory will have to come back, won't it?"

Sleep unfortunately overcame the thinking process. An hour later she woke with a start. Sitting up she remembered the mystery.

Noah had taken her to a local fair, but she couldn't remember where. He had won her two stuffed animals, a cuddly teddy bear and a ridiculous two-foot caterpillar. His next suggestion was to visit the gypsy who did fortune readings using a normal deck of cards.

They entered the tent and faced an elderly woman dressed in a multitude of bright colors. The head veil was secured by a band around her head decorated with golden coins. They were gestured to sit in the two chairs. Not a word was spoken. No questions were asked. The cards were dealt, and the reading began.

The gypsy provided information that his name started with the letter 'N', while hers started with a letter 'S'. She indicated that they had been married for just under three years. Then she advised them that they were about to partake on an exciting and mystical journey.

That was all she could remember. Nothing else. Just a gypsy and a predicted mystery journey.
"Well, the gypsy was right, this is definitely a mystery. I wonder why I do not feel panic or stress. There has to be a reason. Maybe I will check the window again."

The view from the window had not changed, nothing had changed. So, Sara returned to the bed feeling tired, actually feeling exhausted. Stretching out, sleep once again engulfed her tired body.

It only seemed like minutes before she heard the sound of someone calling her. It was Noah.
"Sara, honey, please wake up. I know your head hurts and so does your tummy. But wake up, remember our journey, we have to do this together."

"Sara, it's your mother. That was a nasty fall you had. They had to put in five stitches where you hit your head on the vanity and the leg of the chair that you toppled over is the reason you have a bruise on your tummy. Now wake up, dear."

"My mom and dad are here as well. They are so anxious. The doctor said that the blow to your head made you pass out and a little loopey. Wake up please, it is time. I bet you don't remember the ride in the elevator. Before the sister knew it, you reached over and pressed every button. Even though, she told you not to. You just kept yelling 'weeeeee'. You almost fell out of the chair. Once she got you in the hospital bed, you passed out again."

"Your father is on his way, my dear. He regrets going into the office today. None of us knew you would have an accident, everything seemed fine."

Sara moaned, she felt inundated by all of the voices that were calling her. A severe pain made her arch off the bed.

Where was she, why did she hurt, why did she hear voices? She really wanted Noah. Why could she hear him but not see him?

The cold, damp compress was taken off her forehead and eyes. Noah's face came into focus. He was there. So were his parents and her mother. Why were they all in the hotel room? Why didn't she see them earlier.

"Sara, honey, your mother found you on the floor. She had only been out of the room a few minutes, but of course, we all know of your stubborn streak. The doctor says you do not have a concussion but between the head cut and you being in active labor, it was enough to cause confusion. You have drifted in and out."

She smiled, "The baby is coming?" Another gigantic pain griped her.

"Yes, indeed Sara. You gave us all a bit of a scare for a while. I assure you that the bruising has not affected the baby in anyway. You probably fell because of the pain. And my guess is that you had been having them for some time, correct?" asked the doctor who came into the room at that moment.

"Yes Sir." she weakly answered.

"Well, let's get your visitors out of the room. Do you want Noah to stay? The two midwives are just coming down the hall. We have a baby to deliver!"

Her mother and his parents kissed her on the cheek. Noah was already gowned and capped. She noticed then that she was in a hospital room, in a newer birthing bed and a nursery type bed for the pending baby. She smiled at the nurse, who had been there for some time and Dr. White.

Hey, she remembered him. But wait, she also remembered that here in the UK, he was considered a Sir. Just then another contraction hit her full force.

"Noah, it hurts, make it stop. Hold my hand, #@%*, that hurt."

He smiled as he grabbed her hand, "I am so glad you wrote the phone number on your palm, it was easy for your mother to find and call me. I am surprised the numbers are still there, well most of them."

Suddenly, the foot of the bed was dropped into a chair position and everyone took their places.

Looking at Noah, "I dreamed it all, didn't I? There was never a hotel room. It was because I hit my head and went a little crazy. Right? Oh, that silly gypsy was so correct, she seemed to know of our adventure before we did. The cards were so right." Then another pain.

"What are you hoping for Sara, a boy or a girl? It will be all over shortly. Just listen to my instructions and do not push until you are directed to. Fair enough? Breathe and pant, then push when I tell you to."

Within five minutes, Noah and Sara were proud parents of a beautiful baby girl.

The nightmare was over.



Every Story Has A Beginning contest entry


A thank you for the picture - another view from above by supergold.
And per contest instructions: Your scenario is - a young woman wakes up in a hotel room with no recollection of how she got there. She has a phone number scrawled on her palm, written in biro. it's smudged so two numbers are indistinct. She knows no one.

You must include an elevator conversation and a pack of cards. these must be used in a meaningful way!

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by supergold at FanArtReview.com

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