Friday, October 9, 2015

And The Devil Was Going To Eat Him Alive

Aida knew something was going on. She could see it in Amelia’s eyes and in Evan’s behavior. Each of them happened to find the hotel at the opportune moment. Each died on the grounds of the Moonflower Hotel.

“Mistress, the new guest is here.” Her deep green eyes moved on the new acquaintance. It was a man. He was quite young and he didn’t seem to do well. He had a big scar on the side of his face and his lip was swollen. He was a pitiful sight.

“Hello.” His throat was sore and he was still breathing harshly. He’s been running, after all. He ran from his attacker and found the hotel when he last expected it. He stumbled to the front door and found a young boy with cold blue eyes. Outside was really cold but he only felt a chill down his spine when he looked into those eyes.  “I need your help.” She stared at him for a few minutes before the same gallant smile spread on her lips.

“How may I help you?” He gulped and licked his lips nervously. Her eyes were more intense than Abel’s. Her green eyes were sucking him into her spell. It was a feeling he had never experienced before.

“I need to hide from the Italian mafia.” She raised an eyebrow. Her interested quirked in the moment she looked at him. He got beaten up by people twice his size and he had scratches made by gunshots.

She made a sign to Guillermo to approach her. He complied without a word.

“We need a room, Guillermo. Give this man Room 696” Guillermo froze and glanced at Abel. The blue eyed man avoided the eye contact. Guillermo sighed and gave his mistress the keys. She smiled in a way that made her eyes smaller and darker. “You can stay here for as long as you want” The guest tilted his head to the side in confusion.

“What about money?” She chuckled bemusedly.

“You don’t have to worry about money.” He smiled and rubbed his arms together. It was still cold and it only seemed to get colder. She waited for him to reach the stairs when the kindness fell off her face. “Welcome to the Moonflower Hotel, Jonathan Martin.” She mumbled.

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Victor finished his conversation with Amelia quickly. She seemed a little bit annoyed by his commentaries and the way he was being treated by Aida.

“I don’t understand what the big deal is.” He mumbled as he was walking to his room. He sighed and grabbed a hand through his hair. He was thinking about a lot of things yet none were about the outside world. He couldn’t help but come back to Aida and her personality. He met many people in his life and none were as entrancing as her. At the same time, it didn’t seem like others were affected by her.

The same ghostly piano song started as he walked past a certain portrait. He didn’t glance at it and he wasn’t interested who was in it. He wasn’t interested in people, usually. Perfection could only be found in inanimate things. People were alive therefore they were the sole imperfection that could never be changed or improved. It was sad, mostly because he was alive as well. As the song took a sudden turn of pace, he closed his eyes and let the music flow through his being.

With his eyes closed, he could imagine how perfection looked. He could see it. Inside that darkness spread into the world; inside the orchard that God and the Devil were fighting for was an element that made everything fall apart. That was hope. Hope was preventing sin and the sin was preventing perfection. Hope was the one thing everyone had, be them good or bad. They were hoping for better instead of doing better, instead of acting on instinct they were taught how to think and behave. Sometimes, the human had to act as himself; as the animal he was.

He saw mirrors all around him. His reflection was beautiful but not perfect. He was just like any other human. He was alive and imperfect.

He walked closer towards one mirror and touched his reflection. The image changed slowly; it grew older. He frowned. The image was growing older with each passing minute and no matter in which mirror he would look, the image was the same. That meant only one thing. He turned around in fear and panic. Without thinking, he broke the mirror across him. The others cracked as well. He fell down to his knees and looked at the floor.

His thoughts changed when he saw himself on the ground. No, it wasn’t glass. It was-
“Water?” He was standing in the middle of a puddle. He wanted to get up but he couldn’t. Something grabbed his hands and legs. The image disappeared and he heard a loud scream. He looked up and saw-

“Mr. Abbot? Are you alright?” It was her. The mysterious director of the Moonflower Hotel. She raised an eyebrow and walked closer to him. He blinked quickly for a few seconds and realized his eyes were open and he wasn’t wandering his mind anymore.

“I spaced out for a moment.” She chuckled and touched his arm. His eyes widened slightly because he felt a sudden chill run down his spine. Victor sighed and rubbed the back of his head. Something was wrong with him. Maybe it was the accident.

She retracted her arm and smiled. She knew she had to make him drop his guard around her. She knew the perfect place to bond.

“Would you like to accompany me tomorrow?” He looked into her eyes, a little surprised by her question.

“Where?” Her eyes darkened for a second. He didn’t catch the change, though. He was still shaken by his imagination.

“Somewhere close. I assure you, you will have fun.” He couldn’t say no to her. Just looking into her eyes was making him weak. He smiled and nodded.

“I need to lay down now.” He stated as if it wasn’t obvious enough. She nodded and moved aside.

“Oh, by the way, Mr. Abbot!” He was on his way to his room when he stopped and looked at her over his shoulder. “I got you a present!” He was confused but didn’t say anything else. He only nodded and smiled before he continued on his way.

He was a few feet from the piano when he heard it start another song. This one seemed happier than the one before. He could only guess it was Aida playing. He wasn’t surprised. If anything, it actually made sense.

Inside the room, Victor found clothes. He was surprised by the gesture. Those clothes were high quality from renowned designers. He grabbed a shirt from the Armani collection. He knew the brands well since he wasn’t exactly poor before.  However, he couldn’t afford so many at once. Only one shirt had the price of over 300 dollars. She bought him five. Besides, the size was perfect. He chuckled and shook his head bemusedly. He didn’t want to know how she found his size.

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The next morning, Victor woke up with a good feeling. While showering, he remembered he had to meet Aida and spend some time in a mysterious place with a mysterious woman. He couldn’t be happier, truthfully.

He dressed in the clothes she bought him and walked downstairs. She wasn’t there and neither was Guillermo. Surprisingly, he noticed Evan and Amelia talking to each other at the bar. He hid behind the column and watched the interaction between the two. Amelia was angry about something and she was trying to explain something; she was gesturing a lot.

“Mr. Abbot.” Victor’s eyes widened and he jumped around. He calmed down when he saw Kain. The young man was staring curiously at his guest.

“I was-I mean I wasn’t-“He glanced at his friends but none was at the bar. He frowned and tilted his head to the side in confusion. “They were there.” He mumbled. Kain’s gaze intensified.

“Who was there?” Victor turned from him to the bar, still very confused. “Mr. Abbot.” Kain wasn’t stupid. Something really surprised Victor in order to act so suspiciously.

“Nothing. Just, forget about it” He took a deep breath and walked in the foyer. Guillermo magically appeared at his desk and he was completely immersed in his work. “Actually, I’m curious how you and your brother ended up working here.” Guillermo’s eyes looked up from his papers only to throw Kain a stern look. The blue eyed boy looked to the side and sighed before he looked up at Victor. He didn’t seem to understand how meaningful was that question.

“It was a long time ago” His responses weren’t as cold as his brother’s. He was far friendlier than Abel. “She took us in when no one wanted us. She saved me and my brother.” Victor could see the love in his eyes. He was devoted to her and that was a big deal in the world they were living in.

“Mr. Abbot, I see you are excited to leave already.” His attention turned instantly on the charming woman. She was dressed differently; in an old horse riding costume. He smiled and nodded. Kain walked to the reception desk and leaned against it. He sighed as he watched an innocent man go out with his mistress.

“I wonder if he will find his way back.” Guillermo commented. Kain blinked and crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“It doesn’t matter. We know where to find him either way.” Guillermo raised an eyebrow and leaned towards Kain. The blue eyed Italian chuckled darkly. “Dead or alive, he’s trapped in here. She won’t let him leave after she personally brought him here.” Guillermo bit his lip and had a small flashback of the moment Victor was brought in the hotel.

“Pitiful.” Both boys turned towards the restaurant door. Abel was standing there, watching the front door with disgust.  He could still remember the moment he walked that door, looking for the woman with the curse.

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“This is stupid. Why do I have to follow you?” Guillermo whined. His best friend, a young Italian boy, narrowed his eyes at him before he pulled him into the forest.

“I want to see her.” Guillermo raised an eyebrow. He was following his friend down their demise. He could feel it in his bones. That place was only a story.

Ever since his grandfather told them the story of the Valenti Curse, Giovanni became obsessed to find her and find the hotel of death. The Valenti’s bought the domain and built a mansion to live in. They had one daughter who died under mysterious circumstances. Her portrait had been done in order to attract her spirit back and keep it there. It worked. Unfortunately, the domain became cursed.

“They say if you see her, you get entranced by her beauty and die.” He continued with excessive amounts of excitement.

“And you want to see her and die?” Guillermo couldn’t understand his logic. The younger boy shrugged.

“I’m just curious. I’m not going to die. You said it yourself; it’s just an old story.” He added before he started to walk faster, into the depth of a very healthy forest.

“Then why do I feel like it suddenly became real?” He gulped and looked around himself. The sight was terrifying, truthfully. It was dawn and he got emotionally blackmailed into following his best friend and host into the darkness.

Giovanni was faster than his Spanish friend. He was already a few feet in front of Guillermo which was quite a big distance considering how thick was the forest and how small was the path through it.You could easily get lost and never find the way out.

“This is a bad idea. Very bad. We should come by day.” Giovanni chuckled.

“Are you a whiny puss, Guillermo? Is that what you learned in Spain?” The older boy glared at his friend and clicked his tongue.

“No. I didn’t. I learned it here, with you. You’re afraid of a lot of things and whine all day long yet you’re searching for something that doesn’t exist.” The Italian boy snickered and winked at his friend.

“Damn right. You shouldn’t be scared either. We’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, remember?” The Spanish boy closed his eyes and leaned on his knees. He was mentally tired. When he opened his eyes, he was all alone.

It was getting dark and Giovanni realized they were walking in circles.

“Damn, we’re not even in the middle yet. Hey, did you-“Giovanni glanced over his shoulder but didn’t see his friend anymore. “So that’s why it suddenly became so quiet, huh?” He sighed heavily and rubbed his head.

The older boy got held back by fear and lost sight of his friend. Giovanni sighed and leaned against a tree. He looked up at the sky and noticed the amazing view.

“So many stars,” He mumbled.

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That was exactly what Guillermo was thinking. There were a lot of stars on the sky that night. He already gave up on finding the way out and crouched near a tree. He was all alone and had nothing but a flashlight. He didn’t turn it on, though. He was afraid of what the light might show him. The shadows and animals around could make noises and come closer to him. He wanted to keep his surroundings a mystery. What he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him or make him imagine things.

However, an hour later, he couldn’t help but feel paranoid. He was on the ground, swaying back and forth, with his hands wrapped tightly around his knees. He heard a sound coming from the side and his head turned slowly towards it. He narrowed his eyes but couldn’t see anything. Not until he heard another twig being stepped over. His heart was beating really fast and he started to sweat. He wiped his hands on the sides of his pants and jumped on his feet.

“Is-is someone there?” His heart almost jumped out of his chest when a little bird flew off a branch, right past him. It scratched his cheek but not enough to draw blood. He touched the spot and jumped when he heard another bird fly past him.

He touched his chest and tried to calm down. He came to the conclusion that he couldn’t stay there and do nothing. He was on the path. It had to lead somewhere.

He walked for 15 minutes before he finally came to the end of the path. His eyes widened when he saw the mansion.

“The Valenti Mansion,” He mumbled. He was amazed and scared. He didn’t want to walk inside or be anywhere close to it but something was pulling him in; something was pulling him inside.  

He didn’t know what came over him, or what the source of that wizardry was, but he started to walk towards it. He could feel his heart beats getting slower with every step. He didn’t realize it then but it was his conscious, slowly leaving his being. That was the reason he suddenly became so calm when he reached the front door. He was ready to touch the handle when-

“Guillermo!” The older boy turned towards the forest and saw Giovanni running to him. “Thank God you’re not crying!” Guillermo felt the magic leave his being and he wasn’t sure he liked that. He was back to normal; back to his boring self. “Are you alright?” The Spanish boy nodded.

“I got lost.” The Italian boy scoffed and walked past his friend.

“You don’t say.” He mumbled ironically. “Anyway,” He took a deep breath and took a step back in order to look at the mansion. “This is it, isn’t it? The Valenti Mansion,” A wide smile spread on his face.  “It’s amazing.” He was blown away. It was more than he imagined. It was old but beautiful. It looked brand new after so many years.

Guillermo’s eyes traveled over every corner of that building. While Giovanni was jumping around, touching and admiring, Guillermo was standing aside, staring without a reason. He didn’t know why he was there. Besides, he found the mansion when he needed it the most. It was so weird. He noticed a shadow walking in front of the window of the second floor. He gulped down the excess of fear and stared at that window particularly. His mouth opened slightly and he took a sudden breath in when he saw it again. This time, he could see the figure of a woman. She was walking closer. He only saw a hand before Giovanni wrapped his arms around his shoulders and turned him around.

“Hey, let’s go in.” Guillermo’s eyes widened. Giovanni grinned and pulled him in front of the door. He turned the knob and pushed the door open. It didn’t make any sound.

The floor was polished and it smelled of lavender. The reception was right across the door, at the end of the foyer. The Spanish boy didn’t know where his friend went or what he was doing but he knew they were in danger. He heard steps to his right side and glanced over. He couldn’t see anything but the L shaped stairs. He walked towards them in awe. They were beautiful. He touched the railing and felt a chill go down his spine. He shuddered but didn’t turn around and leave.

At the end of the stairs he found a mirror. He walked closer and reached out to it. He was focused on his own image and didn’t see the shadow moving behind him. He felt a hand grasp his shoulder with a mix of comfort and darkness. He looked at it and saw the perfectly manicured nails of a woman. He didn’t have the courage to turn around so he looked at her reflection. He froze. She was beautiful and young. He made the mistake of looking into her eyes. Those green eyes captured his soul and he realized he found her. The cursed woman of the Valenti house was standing right behind him. She leaned in with a smirk gracing her red lips. Her eyes were shining with enthusiasm.

“Welcome to the Moonflower Hotel, Guillermo.” Her voice and the way she said his name was out of that world; out of the living world. He gasped when he felt her breath on his neck.

In that moment, nothing mattered anymore. He didn’t care where the screams were coming from or when they started. He didn’t care whose they were. His conscious left him and he got engulfed by her spell.

When Giovanni heard the screams, he glanced behind, after his friend. He wasn’t in the foyer anymore. The young boy froze for a few seconds. He didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to think anything negative. With slow steps, he ventured up the stairs. His eyes widened and he covered his mouth with his hands. Guillermo’s body was rotten. It smelled and looked like he had been dead for a few weeks and was already half into the putrefaction process. 

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