"We're here!" Cesar said as the Mustang wound around a hill and came into view of the Overlook Hotel. It was gigantic, but was dwarfed by the mountains surrounding it. There was still snow left over from the last winter, collecting in the corners of the roof. The wood paneling used on the exterior was faded. Smoke rose from the unnaturally large chimney on the right side of the hotel. As Hayes pulled into the parking lot, he continued to stare at the immense building (even his mustache was awestruck). The front doors were open, and two trucks were parked outside. Men hauled mattresses up into the trucks.
Hayes pulled into an empty parking spot and withdrew the key from its slot. He put it in Cesar's open hand, saying, "After you."
The work crew watched the tourists step out of the Mustang. Airako still had two bags of Doritos and a two-liter of Mountain Dew tucked in his arm, and he stumbled out with two bags on his shoulders. "Why do I have to carry all this stuff?" he asked as he lost his balance and tripped into a truck, collapsing on the asphalt with a grunt.
"Do you need me to carry something?" Hayes asked him. He was carrying the smallest of the bags, which was disproportional with Hayes hulking mass.
"That would be delightful," Airako's muffled voice answered.
Cesar walked past the trucks, suitcase towed behind him. Beyond the doors, a huge lobby lay. Square pillars painted red and tan complimented the beautiful dark oak floors, which were polished to sheer perfection. The odor of old cigar smoke clung to the couches and Native American carpets. It was like a time machine back to the Roaring Twenties.
A man dressed in a black pinstripe suit and matching pants stood next to one of the pillars. He smiled and pulled out his hand from his pocket. "Mr. LaRoux, I presume?"
"Williams. Alex Williams. Hotel manager."
"Pleasure to meet you," Cesar said with a sincere smile. Something about Alex looked familiar. The sunken in eyes, the slightly pudgy face. It was as if...
"Look at this place, Hayes," Airako exclaimed, his voice echoing throughout the lobby. "This is so much better than that Motel 6 we stayed in on the way here!" He noticed Alex and hobbled over to him. "Where's the game room?"
Alex chuckled and pointed to a set of glass doors on the right side of the lobby. "I'll get one of our bellhops to take your stuff to the luxury suite."
"Sweet!" Airako threw down his bag and looked took off, nearly running into one of the pillars in his haste. "Cesar, if you need me you know where to find me!" he shouted over his shoulder as he threw open the glass door.
The glass in the panes of the door shattered and fell on the ground. Airako stood awkwardly next to it. Alex looked him up and down with disapproval. "That was some shitty architecture work for whoever made this place," Airako noted as he slowly backed into the room, leaving the door ajar.
"Anyways," Alex clapped his hands together and smiled once more. "On with the tour." He guided Hayes and Cesar out of the lobby.
In the meantime, Airako had quickly become accustom to the game room. There was a dart board, pool, and Asteroids
. Sure it wasn't the newest in gaming technology, but it was fine with Airako. Whatever passed the time, that was his motto. He heard the voice of Alex fade into the incessant humming of the heater behind him. As he grabbed the darts from the board, he felt a chill run down his spine. Damn, they keep this place way too cold,
he thought as he zipped up his jacket and shivered. He tossed a dart. It landed just shy of the bullseye. He threw another one, and another one until he had thrown all six. Airako smirked and slyly walked towards the board. Seemed he had a natural hand for darts. As he took the darts back, he heard two sets of footsteps walk into the room.
"Back already?" Airako said, not bothering to look. When he got no response, he felt a little uneasy. He peeked over his shoulder and gasped. Two twin girls stood in the doorway. They were no older than fifteen, and their attire was outdated. Blue skirts, black flats, white socks...it was rather peculiar. Airako looked down at the darts and back at them. "Wanna play darts? I warn you, I'm a bit of a phenom."
"Oh, sorry," Airako put the darts down on a glass table and put his hands behind his back. "I should've introduced myself. I'm Airako."
Still no answer. There was something unnerving about their presence. It was almost unearthly. The twins looked at each other emotionlessly. Airako took a dart, just in case the girls were mutant vampires in disguise. They turned in unison and walked at the same way they walked in. Half out of curiosity and half out of stupidity, Airako followed. He poked his head out of the door. No one else was around. The ominous girls had vanished.
"Da hell? Am I on Scare Tactics
or something?" Airako said aloud. There was a man walking down the long hallway in quite a haste. He was humming an Adele song to himself.
The man noticed the broken glass door and moaned. "We just had that repaired last year."
"Excuse me," Airako said sheepishly. "Did you see two girls walk by here?"
When he turned his head, the man's messy black hair swung with the movement. "No, I'm afraid I haven't. What did they look like?"
"You would know them if you see them. They were weird. For all I know they may've been mutes. Both were dressed in blue dresses, like they were from an old movie, and their hair..." With each word that Airako spoke, the man's face grew increasingly more solemn.
"We need to talk in private," the man said.
"We're in private now, aren't we?" Airako took a look around and then at the man. "Unless the walls have eyes or something. Maybe you're a creep. Is this the part where you lure me into a creepy white van and do things that I would describe but it would seem kind of weird that I know about, so I won't?"
"What--no, of course not!" The man needed to convince Airako. "Do you want some ice cream, Doc?"
"Oh boy, do I!"
"Well let's go to the kitchen and get you some vanilla ice cream. You like that?"
"How'd you know I like vanilla?" Airako asked suspiciously.
"I'll explain that later. Come on."
* * *
"...And this is our extravagant hedge maze," Alex proclaimed to Cesar and Hayes. "The walls are two feet thick and thirteen feet high. In the middle, we have a frozen Jack Nicholson that cults perform pagan worships on and around. I wouldn't go in there unless you have a few hours to spare."
"We should try that out soon, before it gets cold and all," Hayes suggested.
"Good idea," Cesar said genially.
"And this next area is the garage where we store our snowmobile. Do either of you have a certified driving license?" Alex asked.
"Good, because it's nothing like driving. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it in no time." Alex opened the door to the lobby and motioned for Cesar and Hayes to go on ahead.
"Alex, I believe there's something that you said you were going to tell me when I came here," Cesar said, "What was it?"
Alex's face grew dark. "Did you hear of the 1917 murders?"
"No, I don't believe so," Cesar took off his black fedora and fixed his hair.
"The caretaker, a man by the name of Delbert Grady, and his family were watching over the hotel in the winter of '17. Doctors say he suffered a horrid case of cabin fever. He took an ax and..." Alex struggled to speak, as if he was watching it happen before his eyes, "killed his wife and two daughters, stacking them neatly in a room in the west wing. Then, when it was all said and done, he took a shotgun and put both barrels in his mouth and...pulled the trigger."
"I can see why you didn't want to tell me earlier and scare me off," Cesar commented as a cook carrying a tower of plates pushed by.
"We haven't had a problem since, but the isolation has been known to scare off a lot of people."
"Lucky for you, that is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm writing a novel, you see, about these three boys adventures through a city, trying to stop an evil--" Cesar saw Alex wasn't listening, or even pretending to. He was focused on someone up ahead.
"Anabella! Right on time as usual!" Alex rejoiced as he embraced her.
Anabella was strikingly beautiful, standing at 5'9" with long brown hair that curled at the ends near her waist. She was dressed like a french maid, and had plenty of make up to add to it all. Cesar felt his stomach churn in excitement. Hayes...well he was passed out on the ground.
"Gentlemen--or uh, man
, this is Anabelle. She and Jake will be staying with you for the five months you're here. I don't know where Jake is though..." Alex glanced at his watch and cracked a frown. "We'll find him eventually, I'm sure."
"Surely," Cesar pushed Hayes awake. "Hey, we're not in heaven."
Hayes fixed his hat and looked up at Anabelle, Alex, and then Cesar. "Damn close."
"I believe the next part of the tour is the kitchen. Anabelle will show you. I have to get to a final meeting. Excuse me," Alex tore off his fancy suit, revealing a black shirt with Godzilla fighting Optimus Prime, and his green Nike shorts and shoes. Somehow, he had sprouted a goatee while taking off his suit. It was shallow, but evident. "Sorry, I needed to change into something a little more formal," he explained.
"It's okay," Cesar said. He was still transfixed on Anabelle. Nothing else mattered. Hell, Alex could've turned into a seven-headed demon the size of Godzilla and Cesar still wouldn't have noticed.
"Follow me, if you will," Anabelle spoke ever-so-softly.
"Ten bucks she's not wearing underwear," Hayes snickered as he got off the carpet.
Cesar slapped Hayes and rolled his eyes. "You're so stupid..." Once he saw Alex depart, he got in close and added, "I'd bet twenty."
"Oops," Anabelle sain innocently. "I dropped my keys." She bent over, causing her short dress to ride up. Hayes and Cesar both watched in awe.
"I told you she wasn't," Hayes whispered, "Now pay up."