Day 363 – No Vacancy – Part 3

Word count: 719

A terrible scream shattered through the upstairs corridor and down the floors below. The dark night rumbled on as eyelids peeped open, woken by the frightening chill. On the sea a mist grew and grew and spread, infesting visible sight.

But Bex was not asleep. She had not slept properly in days. She was not insomniac, she desperately wanted to sleep. Her room, though, was a prison cell to her. Its walls were like bars; its door locked and bolted by chains and port chalices. By day the room was as normal. The sun streamed in through the tiny window. By day it was as any other calm place on earth; but by night, it turned into a chasm of fear and a torrent of hell. Bex had not mentioned it to anyone – she did not need to. Everyone knew what that room was about. Everyone knew why no one wanted to spend the night there.

Every night a terrible sobbing could be heard behind the walls and the sound of a man crying out a woman’s name. Bex thought she was imagining it the first night she had slept here; but the voices were continuing. They were unrelenting. There was nothing she could do about it either – she had to stay in this room or look for a place herself, which would take her at least a few days to find, let alone save up for.

On the odd night she could force herself to sleep through it, but the past week had been horrendous. The woman’s name being screamed by this man sent shivers down her body. It was said with such desperation. Bex knew she had died – the tone could not testify to any other emotion but grief. It was too intense for unrequited love. It was the death of a lover – a love taken too early.

It was now three in the morning. The scream that night that had reverberated down the hotel floors, however, was not of the ghost that haunted the room: it came from Bex. Drifting off to sleep, she had suddenly been awoken by a dark figure in her room – it was a tall-ish man who appeared to be holding the hand of a child. Bex, bleary eyed and frightened, had yelled for help. She thought it was an intruder rather than a possible sighting of a ghost. But she pushed paranoid and supernatural potential aside – the figure was real. The figure was actually in her room; this was no ghost! She could not see right through it. She could see the grey hairs on his head; she could see the colour of his eyes and the smile on his face. He was looking directly at her – knowing she was there.
“Who are you?” Bex yelled at him, “What are you doing here?”
The man bowed and said, simply, “I apologise. I do not belong here. I am trying to find my way home.”
“Get out! Get out!”
The man allowed his daughter to dance around his legs, her hair waving behind her.
“I am afraid that I cannot do that right now.”
“Why not?”
“The machine is broken. All machines are broken. The machine must be shut down. Shut down the machine. Shut down the machine else I will continue and forever more travel through these dimensions a lost and lonely soldier. It was might fault that this happen, but I cannot repair the damage. The machine is broken. The machine must be shut down. Shut down the machine: save the world.”
The man smiled at her, gratefully, and disappeared. Bex’s heart was hammering in her throat. She felt sick. She felt ill. She thought it was all a dream until she saw a small piece of paper floating down like a feather where the man had previously stood. She crawled cautiously to the end of the bed and reached out and grabbed the paper. Bringing it right up to her face, she read it and horror fell across her face.

Shut the machine down. The machine is broken. Shut the machine down and you will not die. Don’t shut the machine down and you will die; your family will die and everyone you ever met, ever passed on the street, ever breathed the same air with…. Will also die.

~ by S.G. Mark on October 3, 2012.

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