Friday, July 31, 2015

He Entered a Place No One Could Leave From

The next day, Victor woke up early in the morning. He found Pauline in front of his room, with his clothes. That was helping much since he wore a suit on the night of the accident. He decided to wear it, though.

He had enough time to wander around. No one woke up yet and no one was at the reception either. He walked inside the restaurant and met Abel. He glared at him before he walked in the kitchen. Victor couldn't understand why Abel was so annoyed all the time. He didn't do anything. Was it because they took care of him for a year? But he didn't ask them to do it.

He sat at a nearer table with less chairs. Evan was the next person to enter. He noticed Victor and sat with him.

"How was your night, Victor?" The younger man chuckled.

"Not as eventful as yours." Evan laughed loudly.

"Let's do something today. Let's go to the lake." Victor leaned over the table with a glint of excitement in his eyes.

"There is a lake nearby?" He asked, just like a child. Evan chuckled.

"After lunch. We can skip dinner since the twilight at the lake is something you have to see." Victor nodded eagerly.

"Deal." Evan smiled.

"Now, where is that famous coffee of Abel?" Right when he addressed, Abel walked out of the kitchen with a trail of fresh fruits, tea and coffee. "Ah, I love this hotel." Victor stared down at his napkin. That hotel was indeed special.

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Throughout the period of time he spent with Evan at breakfast, Victor learned a few important details about that hotel. Only special people were guests because it was pretty expensive. It was a hotel that had everything for everyone. Not many children entered it because it was seen as a place to escape the tumultuous family or business life. It was a place to escape reality.

He learned that some women would come for affairs. It was a place that didn't grab attention and it was placed on a hill. The domain was large and it was covered with mist on winter.

He learned that the only staff he ever saw was the brothers, Pauline and the receptionist, Guillermo. The manager of the hotel was a young woman who inherited it from her father.

"I don't know what her name is. I only saw her once. She's always busy doing whatever she does. But I heard she is a true beauty and she manages the hotel very well. Everyone calls her Mistress." Victor’s curiosity increased. That woman saved him. He wanted to meet her.

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After breakfast, he went to look around. He started with the first floor. When he passed the big mirror in front of the L shaped stairs, he couldn't help but take a glance at it. His reflection was the same yet different. He couldn't quite point out why he was getting that feeling.

Once he got on the first floor, he couldn't help but go for the grand piano. It was an amazing piece and someone sung at it the night before. The carpet was different but not by much. The walls near the stairs were empty but as he was getting deeper down the corridor, he could remark more and more paintings; portraits to be exact. They were all drawn in a way that would make the viewer feel watched.

Once he got in the center that was separating three halls, he smiled at the sight of the piano. No one was there but he did notice a lamp on it. He looked above when he heard music. It was coming from the second floor.

On the way back to the stairs, Victor passed an important portrait. He didn't even glance at it. He didn't notice the resemblance to someone he knew.

As he was getting closer to the second floor, the music became louder. He smiled and ventured down the hall. Unlike the first floor, the second had sculptures as well. They were created by someone very good at it. He saw miniature versions of some great pieces from all over the world. They were made carefully, to the smallest detail.

He was ready to enter the living area when someone collided into him. It was Kain. He bowed his head as apology and ran away. Victor got dizzy from that friction. Kain wasn't a big guy but he was a man nonetheless. The collision wasn't exactly light. Anyway, Victor had a mission. He only got the chance to take a step forward when someone else interrupted.

"Hey, Victor! Let's go see the lake!" Victor frowned. The music stopped and he was forced to abort his mission.

When he got down, he couldn’t help but give Evan the mean eye. The man chuckled while he was putting on the coat.

“Did I interrupt something?” Victor’s gaze only intensified. “Ok, so I did. Was it something interesting?”

“Yes. It was.” Evan shrugged and waited for his new friend to get a coat.

Much like before, the receptionist told Victor to take one from the back room. Victor smiled at Guillermo and thanked him before he hurried after Evan.

“He has no idea.” Guillermo heard Abel comment from the side. The young receptionist blinked and turned back to his business.

“No one does, until she shows up.” Abel nodded and walked back into the restaurant.

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“That’s amazing!”

They weren’t even close to the lake when Victor said that. He could finally see how the hotel looked like and what was so special about that domain.

“It’s so large and beautiful!” He said again. Evan chuckled and put his hands in his pockets.

“And it’s in the middle of nowhere.” He added. Victor brushed that comment aside.

“I can’t believe I never noticed it. I did research on almost every hotel in Rome and around it.” Evan stopped and watched him. Victor was just like a child. He was going everywhere he could see, to take either every detail in or simply gasp.

“No one does. You pass it without a thought and when you finally see it, you know.” Victor walked closer to his new friend and shuddered. It was really cold.

“What do you know?” Evan’s expression changed. It wasn’t very obvious –or maybe Victor was dense- but his whole figure became ghostly.

“It attracts you slowly with the biggest temptations. There’s nothing this hotel can’t get for you and the comfort is high quality. You return once, twice and at some point, you find it difficult to leave it. In no time, you find yourself engulfed in the magic of it.” Victor listened Evan closely but he only extracted the things he liked. He didn’t read between the lines.

Evan raised his head and stared at the hotel. It looked brand new, like it didn’t even have a few decades behind. He noticed a woman watching them from the window. She was behind the curtain but he could see her eyes; those hauntingly green eyes.

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They walked through the forest, on a fresh path. At some point, it forked in four more paths. However, Evan seemed to know the way very well.

“You come here often, don’t you?” Evan chuckled.

“I don’t have a choice. This place holds my soul.” Victor nodded and patted his friend. He walked a little bit faster and left Evan a few feet behind. The Irish man wasn’t joking when he said that. It was the truth; it wasn’t only him, either. That was the reality he was living in.

The forest was old and it was mainly formed of old trees. It looked really calming and nice by day. He was sure it was the opposite at night. I anything, it looked like one of the oldest forests in ancient books. He couldn’t help but remember his mother’s fairy tales.

“My mother used to tell me stories when I was young.”  Evan raised an eyebrow and walked next to his friend. “She used to tell me about Greek gods and their adventures and wars.” He continued. Evan was curious where that was going. “He told me one the story of Pan.”

“Pan?” Evan asked uncertain. Victor nodded.

“Pan was the god of the wild, hunting and companion of the nymphs. He was depicted as being half human, while having the legs and horns of a goat, just like a faun.” He continued. Victor could still hear his mother’s voice if he closed his eyes.

“Tonight, I will tell you about Pan.” Little Victor stared at his mother in confusion.

“Peter Pan?” The older woman chuckled and shook her head.

“No. This is another Pan. One who loved nature; whose home was a forest.” Little Victor frowned.

“Isn’t that unhygienic?” The woman raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“Where did you learn such a big word?” He only blinked innocently. “Did you enter my library again?” He bit his lips and kept the puppy eyes. The woman smirked and narrowed her eyes at him playfully.

“According to a myth, one day he came across a beautiful nymph called Syrinx. He tried to seduce her, but she managed to run away. Followed by the god, she sought refuge among her sisters, who transformed her into a reed. When the wind started blowing, a melody was produced. Pan, not knowing which reed Syrinx was transformed into, took seven or nine of them and joined them side by side in decreasing length, thus creating his musical instrument that bore the name of the nymph.”  She changed the subject. She told him the story instead of making him feel guilty. That was probably what made her such an amazing mother. She was using stories not punishments.

“So he didn’t end up with the girl?” The woman stared incredibly at her son.

“Who knows?” Little Victor got on his feet on the bed and bloated with pride.

“I will find my girl, mom. And I will fight for her. I will get her in the end!” He said proudly. The woman watched her son with love and amusement.

“I’m sure you will.”

Evan stared at his friend as he smiled to himself. He was remembering something from his childhood, something that made him happy. He wanted that too. He’s been in the hotel for so long that he couldn’t even remember how his mother looked. He missed her, though. He really missed having a life.

While Victor was still reminiscing old times, Evan heard a branch crack. He narrowed his eyes warily and scanned the surroundings. He heard another branch crack and a few crows. He fell eyes watching him but didn’t feel anything dangerous. He glanced behind at a certain tree. In that white cover of snow, he saw two blue eyes. They were being watched by one of her slaves.

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When they finally got to the lake, Victor couldn’t help but gasp again. Evan laughed at his childish reaction. Besides, the lake was frozen. What was indeed beautiful was the landscape. Victor swore he saw it before.

“It’s a little bit early. It gives us enough time to bond, don’t you think?” Evan’s easy going tone and attitude was making Victor feel like he a teenager all over again.

“Manly bonding, eh?” Evan winked and leaned against a tree. He lit up a cigarette and looked in the distance.

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“What are they doing?” Kain and Abel glanced at each other before they turned to the chair. It was one of those high back chairs made from expensive red tapestry. The woman was hiding behind it. They could only see her hand, swaying with the music.

“Nothing. They’re going to the lake.” They heard her hum along the music.

“Did Evan say something unnecessary?” Abel looked at his brother and urged him to tell her something so they could leave.

“No. He didn’t say anything. They’re talking about some stupid stories about Greek gods.” She chuckled and put her hand down. She got up and stopped the gramophone. She turned towards them with those big green eyes of hers. They froze as soon as they looked into them.

“Good. Keep an eye on our special guest and don’t let him walk away.” They bowed and walked to their duties. She sighed and sat in silence. “No one walks away from the Moonflower Hotel.” 

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