Hotel 4001 [ch.1]
Contributor
Written by
Sithary Sun
January 2015
Contributor
Written by
Sithary Sun
January 2015

1

Temptation

 

He's panting heavily.

With the wolves' midnight howling—who knows what that means—he runs faster. The vast darkness lies ahead of him; everywhere he looks there's nothing in sight. The more he runs, the closer the shadow follows. He shoves through branches, and steps on endless dead leaves that make such a creepy sound, especially for the lonely explorer who is still struggling to get to a safer place and get a goodnight sleep — if that isn't too much to ask. 

"Ahh!" he lets out a yelp when his shirt gets caught up with a branch that is sticking out way further than the others. Not to mention it look more like skinny arm reaching out from the depth of hell. T.B breathes through his mouth as he entangles his freedom away from the hypothetical fingers. His heartbeat has slowed down a bit now that he has a few seconds to take in more air than while he was desperately running. Sweat drips from his hair and runs down on all over his body. His white shirt is all dirty and soaked wet, and also smells like feet and armpits. He looks at his compass to get a direction; but only to find the clockwise already stopped working plus broken into 3 pieces since who-knows when. Fear rushes into his conscience when he realizes he's probably never gonna get out.

"Oh god, I'm gonna die." he pants exhaustively while wiping the sweat off of his eyes. He's never fond of darkness; especially if he's alone. But… he knows he isn't alone right now, and that scared him even more.

Complicated young man.   

T.B is in his mid-twenty. He ditches college so that he can go around places and explore new environment. He ended up in this forest when he heard kids talking about the strange things that have been happening. The whole area is called “Vengeance”, particularly because of the tale of a family that was killed in fire. It was the tragedy that ended the bloodline of one of the noble families, and so they named it Hell Fire.

There's a belief that people get punished for what they did wrong when they enter the woods, because the spirits are angry, but with T.B being confident of his innocence, he has no worries. He is also never scared of—what they say—imaginary stuffs; like dragon or ghost, or alien. Just joking. He is one hell of a scaredy cat. Before he left his house a few days before, he squealed like a little girl when he stepped on earthworm ‘with his shoes on’. And there's another time when he ‘accidentally’ broke a window because he thought there was a face looking at him from the outside, when in fact, it was just his own damn reflection. That incident just happened recently. Like, 4 days ago.

At that moment of recalling his idiotic memories, T.B feels another presence behind his back. His hair stands on its end when he feels a hand slowly making its way to his shoulder. He turns, but there's no one there — just him and his own shadow that he's been trying to run away from—as if he could. There are footsteps and noise of dry leaves being stepped on; T.B knows very well that now there really is someone, and that he is not alone in that forest anymore. But instead of asking for help, T.B thinks of running again. Lucky enough, the hand catches him to stop just in time. 

"I have no money on me, I swear. You can't get anything out of me. And I don't have nice skin so my flesh probably won't taste that good either. Also, I have a life goal to complete. You can't kill a man with a life goal; it's too cruel, right?"

There's a complete silence after T.B plead. But the hand's still there, no doubt. He can still feel it even with his eyes closed tight. 

"Young man, I have no idea what you are saying." a voice of an old man says. T.B spins around as soon as he hears. The old man looks at the trembling puppy slash explorer and soon cracks a smile. "Came from a long way, boy?"

"Yes, gramp. And will go a long way too." T.B gains his own self-confident back immediately. The old man gestures him to follow, and so he does. They walk pass the area of the biggest trees of all, and there, where the grandpa stops, lies a small hut that isn't really suitable for human. 

"I live alone." says grandpa as he enters his house. "My wife died last month. It wasn't common to find anyone passing by here."

"I'm sorry for that." T.B says quietly. 

"I just wanted to tell. No need to feel sorry." grandpa pushes T.B into a room where there is a bed. "People always ask why an old man like me lives alone in the middle of nothing but trees and creepy whispers."

"That's- that's rude to ask."

"Curiosity is common in a place like this."

"Still."

"I go gather woods at dusk," grandpa continues his explanation. T.B wants him to stop, but then he decides not to. It's rude either way. "So this house is mostly empty at night. I'm glad to have found you. I don't get to see a person very often." T.B is busy unpacking his backpack that he doesn't hear the last part very clearly. 

"You're using me as a night guard now, aren't you?" he looks at the grandpa playfully. Grandpa smiles,

"Smart."

"And here I thought you're actually generous."

"I am; I'm doing you good deed here."

"You know, I have a thing for mysterious old man talking like he's giving hint to the world's biggest mystery. I like it."

"Glad." grandpa picks up something looking like an axe but not an axe, and heads back outside.

"Wait, where are you going?" T.B runs after him, already swinging his bag onto his shoulder.   

"Gathering woods. I need to make a living too, son."

"But you're going leave me here alone? In this … house?"

"You don't want to stay?"

"No! It's just… it's… alone."

"Need someone to accompany you, huh? You can leave, then. I'm not chaining you up or anything."

"No, I'm not leaving. Where can I find place to sleep in this area? I'm not that stupid."

 

You are stupid for coming here.

 

"There's a hotel just a little further ahead from here." grandpa says as he points to a direction. 

"Hotel? What…"

"Up ahead for about 5 minutes walk, son. A big, tall castle-turned-hotel. That's where I sell my woods to."

T.B decides after 10 seconds that he wants to see the hotel. Heck, he wants to sleep in a place where there are other people. So after saying goodbye to the old man, he goes on to the direction the grandpa pointed out for. After a moment, he really finds the place. A big—no, enormous—castle lies in this middle of just tree and nature. There's a stone walkway built from where T.B stands toward the entrance and goes all the way to the stair. The rusty front gate says Hotel 4001. Nice number, but T.B is too smart to know what it represents.  

There's an S-shape bulky stone staircase that leads to the upstairs, where the main door is. Aside from vines covering the stone rails and as well as the roofs, the whole place looks new and strong. But who could have built this masterpiece in the middle of nowhere like this? What for?

As T.B climbing the stairs, the only thought that pops into his head is that this place would survive the Hell Fire in that kids tale. 

As soon as he gets inside the hotel, the interior design amazes him greatly. The wide lobby has a set of coffee table and sofas placing in circle around it, then there's magazine stand and newspaper at the left corner. T.B grabs one and the newspaper is of today's news. The owner here has kept track on what's happening in the cities as well, he assumes. He goes to the front desk, waiting for someone to come out and check him in but there seems to be no one around. While waiting, he notices the note taped under where he places his arms.

‘Staff shortage, leave anything worthy for a room and stay as long as desired.

p.s. a storm misspelled our 1004’

T.B searches his backpack for something precious enough for a night in this place. But he has nothing worthy that anyone would give value to. Mostly he only brings his clothes with him, and he ran out of money since this morning on the stupid cricket bet at the town. He thinks of putting in his compass, but then he realizes no sane person would want a broken instrument.

Hopeless, he turns to leave. At least he gets to see the inside and he's pretty much satisfied with it. He wants to go back and just crash at the grandpa's place, but when he turns around there's a beautiful lady standing just a few steps away from him, smiling. She wears black office jacket and a really short skirt that showcase her long milky legs very well. Her chest catches T.B's attention first thing as she shows her cleavage and leaves the rest of the image haunting in his young adult wild mind. 

"Hello," she bows slightly. T.B is too stunned that he just stands still, not returning the greeting. The lady looks too good that he thinks she's not real. Looks like angel still exists, his heart celebrates.

"Welcome to Hotel 4001. What room can we prepare for you?"

"Oh, no, I was just l-leaving." T.B stutters a little. The lady, still has that smile on her palm-sized face, tilts her head to the side.

"Leaving? We can't let our customer leave. Not when it's already dark outside."

"Dark? Luckily, I brought a flashlight."

"Stay." she says the word so monotone that it feels almost like a demand. Or a soft spell. T.B thinks for a short while, then says again. 

"But I have nothing to pay for a room."

"There's a promotion," she replies almost immediately. "Everything's free tonight." T.B takes some time to process the information. Then, he gets it.

"Seriously?" asks with wide eyes, he places down his backpack unknowingly. 

"Today's a special anniversary of the owner." she motions to the counter. "Just fill in your name and I'll take you to your room. Remember, everything is free."

"But I—" she didn't let him talk. She hands him a pen and a piece of paper. T.B considers for a moment before he agrees to give her his name. It's not a bad idea to get free service. He loves free stuffs, after all. 

"T.B. What does it stand for?" she frowns slightly. T.B hesitates. 

"It's my name," he says finally. "Short for Storm Bosco. It's... I kinda don't like that name."

"Storm Bosco," she repeats slowly, then looks up to give T.B another smile that now seems rather creepy; her lips look slightly too curve up and her big eyes no longer have the same smiling vibe to it. It's like she simply just presses her lips together in a thin line and stares.

"Y-yes, that's my name." He hates his own name; sometimes it is the only reason why he doesn’t talk to his mom. Out of all the good names in the whole universe, she decided to name her son after a natural disaster. And that’s why, besides calling himself Tom or Boss – the name his friends gave him – Storm decides to go with T.B. Easy and neat, and not to mention the mysterious vibe it gives.

"Room 14." she gives him the shiny cold key. T.B accepts and turns to the direction she points. The girl seems strange; he finally admits. But he doesn't care much to be bothered by it. She can be anything she wants and it's not his business. But doesn't he ask himself why he so easily accepted to stay even when his subconscious was so keen on getting out? It's strange, but he suddenly felt at ease when he stepped into the place. 

T.B opens the door of his room to find a nicely made suite with vast space of the living room, a bed and a bathroom. There's a big closet with a bathrobe inside the bedroom, so as towels and slippers. Further into the living room there's a curve Samsung TV and a complete set of home shelter. Does it make sense to have that in a mere hotel room ‘that provides free service’? The room is also equipped with air conditioner; on the wall decorates with beautiful paintings of places T.B has no idea of.

On the nightstand places a table phone and a list of whoever to call when in need. There's also another list of schedule of what the hotel provides each day. It says that he has to call an hour in advance on what he wants for each meal and they will bring him without needing him to come down. Also, there's a map on where he can go around and have a look. The whole place is big and there are a lot of rooms to see, but one of the places that caught his eyes is the exhibition room.

As he lies on the bed resting, his stomach growls of hunger. He sits up and takes the phone to call the kitchen as it says on the list. He waits for someone to pick up his call, but it just rings till the very end. He tries twice but both all end the same way.

‘Staff shortage’

Remembering the shabby announcement, T.B gives up calling and decides to just sleep off the hunger. He almost drifts off to his dreamland when someone knocks on the door. He opens up to see the lady earlier standing outside, holding a tray full of food and drink.

"Is steak and wine alright?" she asks, but has already pushed pass him into the room. T.B sucks in a deep breath to calm himself before he closes the door. When he's back inside, she's not in the living room. He looks around and finally finds her already sitting on the bed in the bedroom, her short skirt revealing more skin, and the tray is placed next to her side.

"Sit down," her voice sounds very tempting now to T.B—as if it didn't before—and she pats the space beside her. T.B does as told, and this time his attention is more on her posture. She sits laid back and her jacket unbuttoned the first 2. Her skirt is tight like her second skin, and her plum thighs squeeze each other erotically. She has her back facing him, but T.B knows she's doing this on purpose. Whatever this is. And she's blocking his foods so he's not very happy about that.

"The foo—"

"Aren't you hungry?" she asks suddenly. Or well, maybe not that of a sudden. I mean, she brought food so she must already know the answer. "If you're hungry, you don't have to hide it." she lands her palm on T.B's thigh and it makes him stiffen up a lot. But soon, he adapts to the touch and his fists unfold, his heart slows. 

He reaches his arms around her waist and slowly moves closer. The lady smirks to herself as she feels the gap closing in between them. She tilts her head a little to the side, looking him from the corner of her eyes. He doesn't look at her, his eyes are busy focusing on something else. Something more round and juicy and pleasing to his desire. He makes a swift movement and the lady turns around in surprise. She finds him now at the table, chewing and swallowing down the foods she brought. She watches in disbelief as the tray has already been emptied up nice and clean. Nothing left. In just a blink. 

"You don't want to do something?"

"I'm eating," T.B mumbles as the last bite of the bread is doing its magic in his mouth. 

"Nothing else?" she asks but all he answers is a repeated shake of head. "Nothing at all?"

"Nope,"

"But I'm here—"

"God, this tastes so good."

The lady staff leaves after not being paid any attention to by the male guest. When she's out the door, she turns to the far corner of the hallway where light hasn't reached. She nods a little, and someone comes out, nodding back.

At that second, she dissolves into thin air.

Originally posted in asianfanfics.com

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