The Anatomy of a Hotel Psychopath

anatomyI arrived around noon…ish. Maybe closer to one, but I can never tell. I don’t have a watch so the only way of time I have is the sun and passing clocks I see on my daily routines. Anyways, I didn’t have trouble parking. There were plenty of open spaces, and the staff happily showed me to the best spot for the room in which I was staying. I was on the 4th level of the hotel, 15 doors down.

It took a little while to get my key once I arrived in the lobby, not because there was a large line. Just that the lady at the front desk was a little too perky. She had her hair up in a bun and she was dressed like a 20 year old when you could clearly see by the way her face drooped that she was more probably nearing 60-some. I finally did get it, and the younger woman working in the lobby gladly retrieved my bags for me and followed me to my new home for the weekend.

That was when I began to notice something was wrong. I was walking up the stairs from the 3rd floor to the 4th when the young woman asked me what room I had booked for my stay. I told her, and even though she was quick and somewhat secretive about, I saw her pause after I said it. She seemed hesitant to me. From the eyes in the back of my head, I could feel her eyes widen a bit. Though like I said, she was quick and quiet, and shook it off before I had time to respond.

“Good choice,” she said. I think it was the first thing she could think of to say, fearing that I would point out her sudden fluctuation. She spoke as if she were taking my order at a restaurant. It bugged me even further than if she had simply stayed quiet. We finally reached the 4th floor, and the stairs dropped us right in between 411 and 412. I could see my room at the end of the line. We began to walk, but by the time we were 2 doors away, she stopped suddenly.

“I’ll leave your bags here.” She spoke quickly, hiding her face. I could see from the quick glance I made before she darted back down the stairs that her cheeks were void of blood. It looked as though she’d seen a ghost.

I tried to call to her, not to ask what it was she was darting away from, but to thank her for her service. She briskly cut me off at the sound of my mouth moving with a, “Call at the front desk.”

I took my bags and went past the remaining two doors until I reached my room.  The key went in smoothly and the door unlocked with a click. Opening it, I found the room to be very, very well kept. Everything was dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, made, tucked in, and folded. There was nothing out of place, and there wasn’t a single thing that seemed at all suspicious of any “goings-on” that may have affected the woman’s wanting to be near it.

I think that was my first clue.

Nothing really out of the ordinary happened at all that day. Well, until that night. I had come back from my dinner at a Thai restaurant down the road. My feet ached, my head ached, and I dreaded tomorrow, seeing I had come here for business. I was in dire need of sleep. I didn’t get much that night, or any of the following for that matter.

On the first night, it wasn’t until maybe one in the morning that I began to hear the voices. I recognized one as the young woman who took my bags up. The other was a man, whose voice I had not heard before. They spoke quietly, full of anxiety. I listened closely.

“What do we do with him?” the woman said.

“What do you mean what do we do with him? He can’t stay here, that’s for certain,” said the man.

“I can’t just ask him to leave though. I don’t want to be suspicious. I already had a close run in this afternoon.”

“Look, alright. You gotta do what you gotta do. I don’t want you to get caught as much as I don’t want to get caught myself, maybe more. I can see what I can do, but I need you to swear that if I can’t get it done, you will. I don’t want this to take more than a day. Get rid of the obstacle, and get to work. Capiche?”

“Yeah, but…”

“Don’t yeah but me. Get rid of the obstacle, get to work.”

“Capiche,” she responded.

I didn’t fall back to sleep.

At exactly 6 that morning, and I know exactly because I was watching the minute hand of the bathroom wall clock when I heard it, there was a solid knock on the door to my room. I went to answer it. A man was standing there, a too broad a smile painted on his face, and a bag of newspapers slung over his shoulder.

“Can I help you?” I asked, still asleep in mind, despite the fact I needed to leave in another 45 minutes.

He formed his words. “Oh, no!” The smile widened. “I’m just, uh, going around giving out these papers. Courtesy of the hotel. No charge.” It was him.

I took a quick glance at the papers in the bag. The one I saw first was from two days ago. I didn’t point this out.

“Oh, thanks, but no thanks,” I said. “I don’t read the paper.”

The smile shrunk. “Oh.” It returned in a lesser form. “Is there anything else I can do for you? There’s coffee downstairs. If you just take the stairs down to the…”

“Sir?” I interrupted. “Umm…”

“Oh, I’m Brad.” He shifted the bag to free up one hand and offered it to me. I refused with an annoyed wave.

“Frankly, I don’t care. I was just going back to bed,” I lied. “So, if you can bug me in like an hour, that would be great.” I closed the door and locked it.

My headache had worsened from the night before. Between the conversations last night and this annoying ass returned to “get rid of the obstacle”, I was far from ready for an eight hour meeting on our company’s budget cuts.

I began to retreat from the door, but then curiosity snatched me back and I took a quick peek though the peephole on the door.

Brad, if that was his real name, was still standing there. A frustrated, genuinely pissed look was clear. He stuck his middle finger up to the door and mouthed the words, “Fuck you buddy.” He turned and left.

At approximately 6:45, I was showered, shaved, dressed, and out the door of my room. I flipped the door hanger from “Shh… I’m tired,” to “I need cleaning!” To get to my car, I had to go through the lobby. The young woman was sitting at the front desk, completely immersed in her paperback copy of American Psycho. It was only a few seconds before she looked up and tossed it aside like a gum wrapper, getting up and putting all her attention toward me.

“Good morning, sir!” she said. I already felt her adaption of the other lobby lady’s perky optimism.

“Morning,” I said, avoiding eye contact and moving full force for the front door.

“Sir, I actually need to talk to you. See, there’s…”

“Look.” I turned around and gave her the eye. “I’m in a bit of a hurry if you couldn’t tell. So, can you and your boyfriend just…”

It was then that I realized that she didn’t know I had heard the whole conversation last night.

“Boyfriend…?” she asked, an obviously fake look of confusion upon her face.

I knew that now that I seemed suspicious, and if there was anything I absolutely didn’t want to do at this stage, it was dig myself deeper into their plotting. I surrendered.

“I’m sorry,” I told her. “I really don’t know what I’m saying right now. I have a meeting, and I’m super stressed, and I…”

“It’s alright.” She stopped me midsentence, just as I had hoped.

“Yeah, thanks for understanding,” I said. “I really am sorry though. So, what was it you wanted to ask me?”

She still looked concerned and confused, but she attempted with no success to cover it up. “Yeah, I was just going to say that there was another family, but…” She paused and shook the look off her face. “It’s not important.” She smiled and began to turn back toward the front desk. “Good luck at your meeting!”

At around 10 that evening, I returned back to the hotel. I had caught a cab back, as I had gone out drinking with some of my coworkers at the meeting’s end. I won’t go into details with what all went on in those eight hours, but I will say that I highly doubted that I would have a job at the end of the retreat. I exited the cab, unconsciously tipped the driver a little too much, then proceeded to the lobby.

The young woman was still there at the desk, now moved on to a copy of The Killer Inside Me. I could tell she didn’t get a lot of action. I stumbled over to the desk.

“Hey,” I slurred.

She looked up. Her eyes widened in surprise. Clearly she didn’t register my entrance. “Oh, you’re still…”

“Yeah,” I interrupted. “You know, I don’t think I ever caught your name?” I leaned in closer.

“Oh, I’m Brigitte,” she said, providing a slight smirk. “And you are?”

“Look,” I slurred again. “That’s not important.” I gained a serious stance. “What the problem is is that I know what you’re doing. And when I find out what it is, well…” I backed up and stared her down. “I have my ways.”

The sentence didn’t make much sense thanks to the alcohol, but it was enough for her to know exactly what I was getting at. Her face straightened. “Goodnight sir,” she said before picking back up her book and returning to the world of Lou Ford.

It probably took me longer than it should have getting to my hotel room, but when I arrived, I quickly shut the door, locked it, and involuntarily began to build a barricade against it. I don’t know exactly why, but in about a matter of five minutes, all the loose furniture in the room was piled against the door. The only space left uncovered was the peephole. I immediately stood and looked through it. I kept staring.

After who knows how long of sitting there, I finally got some action. Brigitte stood at the other side of the hall, looking at her watch. She was waiting for him. Five minutes later, Brad shows up to greet her with a long, passionate kiss.

“Any luck?” she asked.

“Nope. He was just being an asshole to me. I tried the whole “coffee’s down here” trick on him, too. Nothing. How about you?”

“Same here. I was going to make up this whole spiel about how a family couldn’t have the lower level and there were no more rooms and all that. But…” She paused. “I think he’s onto us.” Brigitte glanced toward me, seeming to make eye contact. She leaned in to whisper to him. He turned and looked toward the door.

I stumbled back in a mixture of fright and intoxication.  My mind racked for answers, and in the moment, I had them.

They were serial killers. I knew it from the start. All the signs pointed to it. The incredibly clean rooms. Clearly, they had scrubbed out the blood stains and wiped all the evidence. Brigitte becoming frightened. Of course! She was afraid there may be evidence I would find! As for Brad’s newspaper boy act, they wanted me out. Why? I was in their way! Obviously this was the one room they held their torturous rituals in. Now, of course they didn’t want me to be their next victim. I didn’t fit their bill. But perky lobby lady did. I hadn’t seen her since when I arrived. They probably had her tied up in storage, maybe in the boiler room. Plus, to top it all off, why else would this young woman be reading books like American Psycho and The Killer Inside Me? It was the anatomy of a hotel psychopath!

What now though? I had dug myself so deep there was no chance of getting out now. The walls were closing in and there was one possible outcome: I was their new victim. It made sense after all. They couldn’t get me out in time, so they had to result to their only remaining solution.

I could already hear the cocking of the shotgun in my head, and I had to find my weapon of choice. It was fairly limited, being in a hotel room, but my impaired eyes locked on to a heat vent on the floor. I moved quickly toward it, took it from its spot near the bed, and went back to the door, holding it in my dominate right hand while opening the door furiously with the other.

A look of shock filled their eyes as I raised the vent above my head and brought it down hard on Brad. I could feel his skull pierce the gray mush that was his brain. A good amount of blood and other fluids jet from his mouth, and he collapsed down on the concrete, his knees smashing against the ground in a sort of ragdoll fashion. Brigitte opened her mouth to scream, but her attempt was cut short by the vent smashing her in the side of the face. Her jaw flew out to one side, unlocking and hanging loose in her mouth. She too collapsed, though I was uncertain she was fully dead or just unconscious. To be sure of my safety, I dropped the vent on her head and watched it as matter went from the sides like a crushed watermelon.

It was now about 2:30 in the morning, from the last I saw on the clock in the bathroom. I had spent probably less than 30 seconds staring at the bloodied corpses I had created, though it felt more like a whole 20 minutes. I then proceeded to drag their bodies into the room and wrap them in the clean white sheets supplied in the linen closet. I shoved them under the bed. The dried blood stains on the concrete had completely slipped my mind, and I was out of the room waiting for my cab without a second thought.

The driver who had taken me back from the bar rolled in and looked at me with a chuckle. “Back for more?” he joked.

“No,” I said, getting in the back seat. “Just take me to the nearest 24 hour diner.”

Without another word, he gladly obliged and I arrived at a little bright neon dive in a matter of minutes. I paid him and tipped him a little less than the first time before exiting and going inside the diner.

I don’t remember a lot after that. Bits and pieces, but I remember waking up with a tap on the shoulder. There was a bubbly waitress standing above me, chewing gum loudly and obnoxiously.

“Sir, you’ve been here for an awful long time. Can I get you anything?”

I sorted my vocabulary, though my head was heavy with a hangover. “Just a water would be fine, thank you.”

I looked up at a small TV on a shelf high up on the wall. It was turned to the news, and a little clock told me it was nearing 6. The screen flashed red and a high tech “Breaking News” alert spun in on screen.

“This just in,” the woman announced. “A drug dealer, Roy Ripley, often going under the alias Brad Ellis, and his partner Brigitte West were found dead in a hotel this morning.” Two mug shots of “Brad” and Brigitte appeared on screen. “Police can find no direct motive in crime, as the two did nothing but deals, but they have their suspect list narrowed to one. They believe the killer is one Jeff McKinley, the man who was staying in the room the bodies were found in.” A sketch resembling me appeared. “If you have seen this man, please contact local police immediately. He is considered extremely dangerous.”

I looked over at the waitress who stood behind the counter, jaw dropped and eyes locked on me.

“What did you say your name was again?” she shouted.

“Clive,” I lied.

Copyright © Brendan Swogger 2013

This is a little (or a long) story inspired by a post by David K. Hulegaard. This is not a Reader’s Request, as there was no prompt, but there is a story to go behind this. Dave tweeted a few days ago that he had mischievously written a ghost story about the hotel room he was staying in, then left it for the next occupant to find. He later posted that story and more background on the idea here. Well, I tweeted him back saying, “I really want to try this.” He replied with, “Can’t wait to see what you would do with that story!” Well, here you go. Now, granted, it is not a ghost story, nor did I leave it behind for future occupants…or was it meant to be left. But, it takes place in a hotel. And I think it turned out pretty well. I look forward to hearing your feedback on it! Also, please share this on Facebook, Twitter, etc. if you so desire. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or my email at the bottom of the page. Have an idea for a story? Click on Reader’s Request at the top of the page and send me a request! Your story may be used in a future post! Happy Reading! ;)

About indiealtpdx

Writer for indie.alt and Vortex Music Magazine

Posted on 30/03/2013, in Short story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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