Wednesday, September 16, 2015

He Entered The Devil's Den

“Mr. Abbot, you are the new guest, aren’t you?”

Just after she introduced herself, she asked the two men to eat with her. Just like the night before, when dinner came around, the restaurant became crowded. Her table, though, was right in the middle of the room. Evan was drinking his issues away while Victor was surprised by the attention.

“I am, yes” He was evasive. He had no idea how to act around her and most importantly, why everyone was glancing at them from time to time. She didn’t seem to have a problem at all.
She was a perceptive woman and noticed the way he would lean back and shift under the strong gazes.

“Are you uncomfortable, Mr. Abbot?” Victor’s eyes widened a little and he straightened up. She smiled under the glass of wine. Her green eyes were watching him like a fox. Evan rolled his eyes.

“Shouldn’t he be? You got him into the center of attention” Evan’s tone was cold and raspier than before. He wasn’t comfortable either. She didn’t seem to react to his impoliteness. If anything, she looked amused.

“You’re right. I dragged you both at my table. It’s my fault.” Evan narrowed his eyes at her and asked for another drink. Her eyes moved on the victim. “Mr. Abbot, I’m sure you want to know why people are staring at you.” He didn’t nod but didn’t shake his head either. “For women, you represent fresh meat. They can’t wait to meet you and ravish you like animals.” He swore he saw a glint of that exact intent in her eyes. “But men want nothing- No, they want you gone.” That glint disappeared rapidly. She chuckled and took a sip from her wine. “You’re quite the threat but I’m sure you already know that.” Victor raised an eyebrow and placed his hands on the table.

“Do I give you that impression?” He sounded so innocent that it made her laugh. They both knew he was far from anything pure and kind. Victor Abbot was never the prey.

“You give me a lot of impressions.” Evan scoffed. He moved his head in order to take a look around. He saw the woman standing at the table in the corner, right across the window. He saw her turn her head from time to time and looking at them; checking on them.

“Evan told me some things about this hotel.” Victor started. He wanted to change the subject. Her eyes were staring at him with so much intensity that he could feel her get into his soul. Those green orbs had the power to make a man both brave and weak at the same time.  “From what I understand, it is quite the Devil’s den.” She glanced at Evan before she turned back to Victor.

“It is. The guests come for selfish purposes, be them rich or common people. The price for a room lowered considerably. But the hotel doesn’t accept scum.” Evan was eating when he started to choke on the meat. He grabbed a glass of water, brought by a very quick Kain, and calmed down a little.

That only brought more attention on their table. Victor was worried for his friend but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that he was being inspected. He licked his lips and leaned back. Dinner was awfully long that day.

“Mr. McAllister, you should go to your room. You don’t look well.” Maybe Victor couldn’t hear the strictness in her voice or how much it sounded like a command but Evan was aware of it. He nodded and left. He patted Victor’s shoulder on the way out. “So, how do you like it here? Is it up to your necessities?” Her eyes seemed a lot brighter now that Evan was gone. He chuckled and nodded.

“This hotel is a piece of art.” She nodded. “You’re not a guest, are you?” He knew she wasn’t but he couldn’t point out what was her role in the hotel.

“No. I am this hotel and this hotel represents my life.” Victor blinked. “My father was an architect. He designed this hotel based on my mother’s expectations. She died right after she gave me life” His eyes widened. “He built this hotel, which was a home at first. It was the Valenti Mansion. But a lot has happened and we were forced to make a business out of our home. That’s how the Moonflower Hotel was born.” He listened carefully to the way she was speaking. It felt like he was listening to his mother, telling him a story.  “Unfortunately, my father died as well and I had to take care of the rest.”

“Some of the pieces are very old, though.” She nodded. “It must cost a fortune to take care of this building.” She tilted her head to the side and stared at him. “Besides, you don’t have a phone at the reception.”

“That’s right. But don’t people use cell phones these days?” Victor’s eyes widened. That was right.

“So, you are the director.” He stated. She chuckled and nodded. “You are the Mistress?” It finally started to make sense. “You saved me!” She couldn’t help but smirk cockily.

“Yes. I didn’t do much, though. I saw the accident and knew that by the time an ambulance will get there, you would be dead. I took you in and Pauline nursed you back to life.” She noticed the way his eyes were blinking and moving around the table.

She only glanced at Abel from the corner of her eye and he got the hint. Dinner was over and everyone had to either go back to their rooms or leave.

“Mr. Abbot, it was a pleasure to speak with you but I’m afraid I have to leave now. I have a few things to take care of.” Victor nodded. He was flustered. He had a lot of thoughts running through his mind and most of them were efforts to remember the accident.

They departed at the stairs. As she was ascending them, she looked into the mirror. He had his back turned to her. She smirked and glanced at his reflection.

“Victor Abbot, huh?” She chuckled and walked upstairs.

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“Mr. Abbot, there is a woman who would like to speak to you” Victor was surprised. He didn’t expect Guillermo to get up from his precious seat and tap him on the shoulder. That was the reason he took his eyes off the Mistress.

“Guillermo, you know Miss. Valenti, don’t you?” The younger man stared ahead at something behind Victor. “I mean, personally”

“I know Mistress as much as anyone else working here” Victor sighed and put his hands in his pockets.  He was just going to unveil the mystery on his own. He was curious to know everything there was about that hotel; if she was the director, she was included. “Mr. Abbot-“Victor glanced at the Spanish man over his shoulder curiously. “Everyone has a story, even us. If you find out the story, you will see it” Victor frowned and tilted his head to the side.

“See what?” Guillermo’s eyes were locked on the mirror. He saw the reflection of a blue eyed young man, glaring from a hidden place. He looked down to his hands and licked his lips. He already said too much. “Well?”

“Nothing” The conversation was over.

“Weird” The British man mumbled as he walked back into the restaurant.

The lady who wanted to speak to him was none other than Amelia. Victor’s eyes started to shine brightly once he saw her. She was sitting at the bar, with a frown gracing her pretty face.

“I saw you at her table” Well, she went straight to the subject. He sat next to her and crossed his hands on the table. 

“She invited us; Evan was there too” She sighed and fidgeted before she took a deep breath and turned to him. “We talked about this and that; nothing big. She asked me how I like it here”

“And what did you respond?” Victor looked up into her eyes and saw the same dark glint as he saw in Guillermo at some point. Well, it wasn’t exactly dark; it just seemed like emptiness inside their eyes. He noticed her biting her lower lip. He cracked a soft smile. She looked a lot like a squirrel in that moment; a curious, pretty squirrel.

“Well, I do like it here. This hotel has everything a man could possibly want. Besides, I’ve been here for a year already. I will stay a few more days and leave. I want to live these days the best I can” He said that with so much comfort and optimism. Amelia’s expression was hard to read. She was frowning yet it looked like she was glaring at him. He noticed it and leaned towards her. “Are you afraid I will leave and never contact you again?” He chuckled at the end. She wasn’t amused.

“No. I’m not. It’s just-“ It was really hard to express in words how dangerous the hotel was and how his desires will probably stop him from ever leaving. “Do you believe in magic?” Victor stared at her dumbfounded.

“Is that relevant?” He was taking her words as nothing but entertainment. She narrowed her eyes at him and made him take back his words. “Sorry. No. I don’t believe in magic”

“What about fate?” He leaned his head on his left hand and sighed.

“That is a vague subject with vague responses. I may believe in fate, as any other human who believes in a bigger power, but I also believe we make our own destiny” She agreed. But that wasn’t the point. She looked around and made sure no one from the staff was in the room. She licked her lips before she leaned towards him; really close. Her eyes lowered to his lips before they moved up.

“Don’t trust your fate, Victor. You weren’t supposed to be here” He frowned. “You still have time to escape”

“Why would I want that? I can leave anytime I want to” She chuckled.

“No, you can’t” He scanned her comportment. She was acting out of character, from what he had seen.  “No one leaves the Moonflower Hotel” She whispered. “She won’t let you” She continued.

“Who?” Amelia leaned back looked at the entrance. Victor followed her actions. They could see two people in the foyer. One was someone anonymous, who had his back turned to them. Victor was sure he wasn’t the subject; no. The subject was the other person; the woman with incredible green eyes. “She?” He asked uncertain. “She doesn’t seem dangerous” The only thought of Aida being a crazy serial killer and using the hotel as her headquarters was stupid.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Once Victor turned to the bar, Aida’s eyes rose and met Amelia’s. The younger woman bowed her head when she felt the intense gaze of the Mistress. She could still remember how she got there; how she got under her spell.

“Are you sure you want to stay here for the night?” Amelia asked the man she was with. They weren’t in the Victorian era anymore; if anything, it was earlier. “I haven’t seen this hotel before, Domenico”

The man, Domenico, was far older than her. He was in his mid fifties while she was only 19 years old.

“You said you want an adventure, didn’t you?” That was definitely not what she wanted.
Amelia was the oldest of four sisters. Her parents were poor, to the point where they would sell off their children for money. That was exactly what they did to Amelia. She knew that was going to happen at some point but she never expected to marry a man older than her father.

“Hello” The receptionist was a man. He was around Amelia’s father’s age from what she could see. “How can I help you with? A room, maybe?” Domenico nodded and pulled her after him. “For one night?”

“No” His voice was deep and old. His eyes had seen a lot, both good and bad. “For a month” Amelia’s eyes widened. She gulped and squirmed under his grasp. He only tightened his grip. The receptionist noticed everything. He threw a look of pity at her before his attention turned to the old man.

“Very well. My daughter will show you the way” He smiled when he saw her walking down the stairs. He made her a sign to come over. “Be kind and show these couple the way to Room 1313” She raised an eyebrow before she nodded.

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Room 1313 was on the second floor, somewhere very isolated. They walked for a few minutes and the kid wasn’t content with what was going on behind her. She could see it in the mirrors on the wall. The old man was a sly demon who married someone younger than him for his own selfish pleasure. But it wasn’t his fault; no. It was her fault. The woman should have fought back.

The man was pushing her harshly or whispering to her not to embarrass him and his name. She knew him. Domenico Vivace, he was working at the Royale Court of Ludovic VIII. Back in those times, men were using women as they pleased. The little girl hated that.

When they arrived in front of their room, the little girl grabbed Amelia’s hand.

“Do you want to be saved?” Amelia was confused by her questions. “When you believe you had enough and can’t live with yourself anymore, just ask yourself if you want to be saved. Then, everything will fall into a rhythm” The girl smiled and left.

Amelia didn’t have time to register the weird little girl and her words because Domenico pulled her inside the room and slapped her. He grabbed her chin and leaned in for a kiss. Amelia closed her eyes and stayed still. That was her fate. It was either her or the rest of her family. She was doing it for the family.

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“Daddy?” The little girl could be barely seen from his desk. He chuckled when he sat up and bent over the desk in order to see her. Her green eyes were enlightening her face. “The couple from Room 1313, are they really married?” The man nodded. “Why?”

“Responsibilities of the time, Aida” Little Aida pouted.

“But she doesn’t love him and he is really, really old” Her daughter sighed and told her to come around and sit on his lap.

“People don’t marry each other for love. Those cases are rare in these times. The bourgeoisie lives from day to day and it’s getting harder. They need money. The old men from the Court have money but need the reminder of youth. They marry because they look for a thrill and they can only find it in breaking innocence” Aida’s green eyes were staring into her father’s. even as a child, she had a certain glint in her eyes. It wasn’t emptiness; not in her case.

“We should help her” Her father shook his head.

“No” He responded firmly. “That is not our business and we shouldn’t make it our business” She pouted and looked at the L shaped stairs. Back then, they didn’t have a wall sized mirror. That spot was empty.

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Unfortunately, Amelia’s husband was quite the vicious bastard. Aida could hear them from the hall. She could either hear them having rough –and nonconsensual- sex or hear her scream in pain after getting beaten up for not wanting to have sex. That old man was quite perverted.

“You gave them an isolated room because you knew what will happen” She told her father after one week. “The woman doesn’t go out of that room. The man does, and it’s for petty things like food and alcohol. He goes out on Sundays and doesn’t come back until Monday at lunch. Isn’t that weird?”  Her father tried to ignore his smart daughter. That was proving difficult because she was very stubborn.

“Give it up, Aida. We’re not Gods to choose their fate”

That was what her father said but she brushed it off quickly. When Sunday came around, she waited until Domenico left before she sneaked into Room 1313. The door opened with a loud cracking noise. The candles weren’t lit and the curtains were drawn. Aida entered quietly and searched for the woman. She found her on the bed, under the covers. She was asleep, probably. As a little girl, her curiosity got the best of her. She drew the curtains enough to let the sunlight in. Amelia groaned and pulled the covers off her face.

“Oh my God” Amelia heard the little gasp and opened her eyes instantly. She had bruises on her hands and one of her eyes was getting purple. Aida flinched when she noticed the blood on her lip and temple.

“Who are you?” Amelia couldn’t even see right.

“You’re so young and innocent. The innocent die the fastest, don’t you know?” Amelia frowned. She could recognize her from the way she was speaking.

“You’re the little girl. I’m sorry but what are you doing in my room?” Aida tilted her head to the side and scanned the older woman as she got out of bed.

“It’s been two weeks. How long can you survive him for? God knows what he will do to you when you will leave” Amelia shuddered. She didn’t even think of that time.

“Let’s hope he will kill me” She narrowed her eyes and embraced herself out of reflex. “Fast and painless” Aida hummed and skipped towards the older woman. She got on her tiptoes and stared at Amelia with bright green eyes and a little smirk.

“Do you want to be saved?” Amelia remembered that questions. It was the first time someone asked her something like that.  “Think carefully, Miss Amelia. You don’t deserve anything hurtful inflicted on you. He is a monster and will grow into a demon that will torture you for his pleasure”

“But he bought me. He can do whatever he wants with me” Aida’s expression fell. She sighed and reached out to touch her cheek. Amelia flinched out of reflex and slapped her little hand away. Her eyes widened and she started to apologize but Aida wasn’t mad.

“Why didn’t you fight back?” Amelia scoffed. Aida was only a child and couldn’t understand. But then again, Aida wasn’t a normal child.

“I’m doing it for my parents and sisters. If my sisters are alright, then I can take it”

“No, you can’t. You’re killing yourself” Amelia looked down at the little girl. She seemed different than any little girl she had seen before.

“I can’t do anything. I have no place to run” Aida cracked a smile that truthfully, looked pretty much like one of a twisted fairy.

“Then stay” Amelia’s eyes widened. “You can stay here forever”

“What about my husband?” That wasn’t a problem in Aida’s point of view.

“Leave him to us” Her cute smile and entrancing eyes were enough to make Amelia agree.

Two days later, Amelia found out that her husband was killed. It wasn’t on the domain, it was on the way back. The carriage he was in got into an unfortunate accident. The horses became violent suddenly and the carriage got thrown over into the water. Everyone died.

“Are you sure?” Amelia asked Aida’s father.

“Yes. I’m sorry, Miss” Amelia tried to hide the happiness in her heart. She smiled and glanced at Aida. The little girl winked. “You can stay here for as long as you want. Again, I’m sorry” He smiled kindly and left the room.

“See? I told you. You only had to accept the help” Amelia smiled softly and nodded. “Fate has mysterious ways” She continued.

Unfortunately, Amelia wanted to leave shortly after. She wanted to see her family, no matter how bad they were. Aida frowned but agreed with one condition. Her father had to paint a portrait of her. Amelia nodded and did it. It took another two years for that to be completed.

Amelia was still on the domain when a few scarecrows attacked her out of nowhere. It was a bad day, that day. Black clouds spread over the sky and a bright strike of lightning lit up in the darkness. No one heard her cries. No one heard when millions of crows killed her. 

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