Category: Short Story
Genre: Fantasy short story
Approximately 11 printed pages (or about 9 minutes to read).
Jeremy works as the night manager at a motel. An ideal job for a college student. One evening when a creepy guest with strange trunk checks in, Jeremy’s life is changed forever.
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I will never forget the events that evening last spring.
I worked the night shift at the Stars Motel. It’s just outside Warner’s Crest and doesn’t get many visitors because most folks continue down the freeway another twenty minutes to stay at a decent hotel in Spokane. The Stars Motel has eighteen units, two units per cabin, and is surrounded by woods. Actually, there are twenty units but the cabin with unit fourteen is no longer rented out.
The motel job was perfect for a college student. I’d spend my days at Eastern Washington University and my nights at the Stars Motel. I worked 6:30pm to 5am. A long shift and a low wage, but perfect for me. Joe, the owner, knew I often dozed and worked on schoolwork, but he didn’t care. As long as a warm body was in the manager’s office Joe was happy.
It was Tuesday, May 18th and we only had one guest. Just after 8pm I heard the door chime’s “bee-bah” and looked up from my laptop to see the strangest looking fellow I had ever laid eyes on. He was fence-pole thin and so tall he had to stoop his neck to get through the door. The guy must have been sixty or seventy years old and I could tell, even before he spoke, that he was foreign. His clothes looked straight off the rack from Goodwill. His black pants were at least five inches too short, the shortness accented by white socks and sandals. He wore a brown tweed jacket with his skinny wrists jutting out the sleeves like white bones. He held a cane, but seemed to carry it for style not purpose. He approached the counter and removed his fedora, revealing a bald head.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
“Yesss.” I couldn’t place his thick accent.
“Pleassse,” he said, “Number thirteen.”
I cocked my head at him. “We don’t have a number thirteen on account the boss’s superstitious. It goes from twelve to fourteen.”
“I’m sorry fourteen’s unavailable. We have 2 through 12 and 15 to 21 available.”
He leaned forward on the counter, elbows propped, hands clasped, his eyes intense. “Must have fourteen.”
Although fourteen was empty Joe didn’t want it rented. Joe’s a bit superstitious and after what happened in unit fourteen back in April, he thought it best not to rent out.
The man noticed my hesitation and continued. “I pay double. Here isss nice tip.” He laid a twenty on the counter.
Joe would surely want fourteen rented at double the cost. I placed a clipboard on the counter and snatched the twenty.