I held a burning candle. Hot wax pooled at the wick, and then spilled over the side and stuck to my hands. A stiff night wind suddenly kicked, snuffing out my light. Wisps of smoke floated up my nose, into my eyes, and then were gone.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I rang the small metal bell on the counter three times in quick succession, but no one came. I picked up the receiver, but the line was dead.
On the back wall behind the counter, the small brass keys for each motel room hung on short, rusted nails, except for room 206. I grabbed the key for room 205 and hurried up the unlit stairs, clutching the wooden handrail, and then down the dark, second floor hallway.
Brass numbers on the doors had been removed years ago, but their faded outlines remained. I unlocked room 205 and went inside. The smell of pungent decay were pervasive and stung my nose.
I sat on the bed, which was still made but spotted with green and black mold. Then I heard it: A soft, rhythmic knocking coming from the walls, from room 206. I rose, leaned over a splintered and worn dresser, and put my ear against the wall.
I knocked back.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
A woman stepped slowly out of a room, eyes locked somewhere far ahead, on a place she'd never reach. I could have been a decoration, unseen and dismissed. Her hair was done up in a bun, but the pins that held it in place had come loose, and long, silken strands ran down her leathery and pale face and neck. Her floral print nightgown was stained brown on the chest from old coffee.
The door behind had locked when it closed, to prevent people leaving. I banged on it, but no one came. A golden plaque with silver letters to my right read "Memory Lane." White and baby blue walls had been painted recently, and the acrid smell lingered.
I walked deeper into the facility looking for an escape. I found a social room, bare except for the small plastic trees and ferns that dotted the room's perimeter. Five men and women on plush couches and chairs watched a flickering TV playing I Love Lucy. Each wore a faded and stained nightgown like the first woman, and each was stone silent as a black-and-white Desi Arnaz crooned through.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
He ran a ways through the tall grass, which clung to his wet skin as he slid past. Above, the sky ran until the far away hills, where it grabbed hold of Mount Shasta as it shot up, a few high clouds wrapping around the peak and bleeding gray into pale blue.
The field ended abruptly at a road. It was more rock than hard-pack dirt, and he sat and grabbed handfulls of red rock. Whenever a truck rumbled by, pebbles shot out and landed at his feet. They were hot to the touch, and he pocketed them.
Later he would go down to the reservoir and throw the rocks after the fish as they jumped, watching the sun dip behind Shasta and waiting for his girl, and they would build a fire and drink and count as many stars as they could.