Greetings friends and horror aficionados. Thank you for joining me for the second story from the terror-filled annals of the Hotel Morte. I imagine you have questions following the first instalment, in which I described the premature demise of Mr Hillman in all its gory details. Hopefully I will be able to provide answers in the tales to come, but for now I ask for your patience.
Today I shall tell you the story of a very unusual convention which ended quite abruptly in the most spectular fashion. But before I begin that account, I would like to tell you a little more about the history of our most unique establishment.
As I previously stated, the Morte first opened its doors during the 1920s, meaning we’ve recently celebrated our one hundredth anniversary (although if I’m honest, these celebrations were rather muted). Our lack of paying guests means I have plenty of spare time on my hands, and I’ve used some of that time to research the establishment which has come to dominate my life so completely.
Despite my best efforts I’ve discovered little about the location which could explain the hotel’s descent into the paranormal realm. It is not the site of an ancient Indian burial ground and no massacre ever took place here as far as I can tell. By all accounts, the land the hotel was built upon was simply an empty lot, swallowed up by urban expansion during the boom years of the 20s.
The first owner was an eccentric millionaire named Thomas Raine. Mr Raine may have been able to provide some of the answers I seek…but alas, he died under mysterious circumstances only weeks after the Morte’s grand opening. A maid discovered his mangled body inside of the penthouse suite, the door locked from the inside. It’s said that his restless spirit still occupies the suite which – like most of our rooms – has long since been sealed up and declared off-limited to the living.
There is little recorded about Mr Raine and his life. His financial affairs are something of a mystery although it seems he had links to organised crime and at least some of his fortune came from bootlegging and illegal gambling. The construction of the Morte appears to have been a vanity project for Raine as he sank almost all of his fortune into it, leaving a string of debts behind him after his untimely death.
There were also rumours about the mysterious Mr Raine and his extra-curricular activities – talk of dark secrets and an unhealthy interest in the occult. One theory is that Raine performed some kind of dark ritual inside the Morte soon after its construction and that he inadvertently opened up a portal to the underworld, allowing malevolent entities to pass through into our world.
The story goes that Raine bit off more than he could chew and thus fell victim to one of the monsters he set loose. I don’t know whether any of this is true, but it’s interesting to note that the attendees at our convention did believe (but more on that later). In any event, Mr Raine’s violent demise was the first of many deaths to occur at the Morte during its long and bloody history.
By my reckoning, one hundred and thirty individuals have lost their lives at the hotel over the last one hundred years. This figure was accurate at the time of writing but will undoubtedly increase in the future. My research indicates that at least two dozen of these deaths were murders, with about twice that number being suicides. The remainder are officially classified as unexplained deaths or accidents, both of which are all too common at the Morte.
There is so much tragedy here, so much grief and pain trapped in our old walls…a terrible dark energy that can drive you insane if you stay here too long.
You’re probably wondering about the entities which occupy our eighty unusable rooms, those frightening but unseen beings which bang and scratch at the doors in an attempt to escape. The truth is, I don’t know exactly what they are, as these rooms were sealed off long before I started working here. My best guess is that they are the spirits of the Morte’s victims, some of those who have died violently on the premises over the years and for some reason haven’t been able to move onto the next world.
If this is the case, it would surely be reasonable to feel sympathy for these trapped souls. There are occasions when I’m tempted to set them free, but Mr Black has warned me in no uncertain terms that this can never happen, as the consequences would be dire for all involved. Nevertheless, we do get a degree of co-operation from the spirits as was proven by the Mr Hillman incident. They are part of our very unconventional community…and besides, in a sense we are all prisoners of the Morte.
And then there’s Mr Black himself, the hotel’s current owner and my employer. Mr Black acquired ownership of the Morte in 1983, shortly after a number of highly publicised deaths which permanently destroyed the hotel’s reputation. He bought it cheap but acquired a money pit – an unprofitable business in a crumbling building with a history of unexplained paranormal events and violent deaths.
I’ve no idea why he took on such an obviously doomed venture which has done nothing but lose money for the past 40 years. Certainly, he’s made no attempt to turn Morte into a profitable concern, as every year the building slowly crumbles due to continuing neglect. I can only guess that – like me – Mr Black has some kind of personal connection to the hotel, which is why he keeps it open.
Nevertheless, the Morte’s elderly owner very rarely visits the premises, which is why I was so surprised when he attended to help in the preparations for the convention.
My employer arrived at 9am on the dot, greeting me at the front desk with a curt nod and emotionless expression. It was the first time I’d seen the man in several years and I was shocked by how much his physical condition had deteriorated. Old age had caught up with Mr Black and now he was undoubtedly an elderly man, stooped over and walking with the aid of a stick, his skin wrinkled and eyes lacking their former spark.
I’ll admit to feeling concern as I shook his frail, shaking hand. Not for the first time, I wondered what would become of the Morte and its residents once Mr Black finally passed away. But this was a problem for another day.
There was time to kill before our mysterious guests arrived, and so I provided my employer with an update on the business, such as it was. We looked over the books, confirming the grave and ongoing financial issues faced by our failing hotel. Surprisingly, Mr Black appeared totally unconcerned by our grim set of accounts.
Afterwards, my employer requested a tour of the premises. I reluctantly agreed, knowing that the corridors and hallways should be relatively quiet during these daylight hours. We slowly walked through the lobby, bar lounge, and restaurant/conference room before ascending to the higher floors on the elevator.
As we progressed I explained the issues and faults, informing the hotel’s owner of the repairs we’d need to make to keep the establishment running in the long term. He nodded his head as I spoke but I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t really listening to me. I did notice how uncharacteristically emotional he became as we walked the corridors, a terrible sadness coming over him as he struggled to hold back the tears.
He became particularly upset once we reached the fifth floor and I noticed how he paused outside of Room 52, sighing deeply as he held his hand up against the door and staged a silent vigil for a prolonged moment. I didn’t ask him what he was doing, merely standing by patiently and waiting for him to finish.
It was only after we’d returned to the front reception that I dared ask him about our mysterious guests.
“Who are these people? Why do they want to come here?” I asked sheepishly.
There was a lengthy pause before Mr Black responded, and I guessed he needed to regain his composure after the trauma of his visit to the fifth floor.
“Hmm…well sir, I suppose you could describe them as a religious organisation…of sorts. They are certainly fascinated in the spiritual world, which explains their interest in our establishment and its unique features. Their leader is a man called Kane – an intelligent but rather intense individual, prone to flights of fancy. I suspect our guests will be challenging to attend to, but I’m confident that our team can deliver a satisfactory service for our client.”
I nodded my head, not really any the wiser, but realising I was unlikely to get anything further from my ever-elusive employer. Still, his explanation concerned me, as I instantly had images of some kind of freakish cult. As it turned out, my fears were well founded.
Hours passed, as Mr Black met with our other staff – Mary and Owen – briefing them on the upcoming event. Kane and his entourage didn’t arrive until close to midnight, sauntering in as if they owned the place. I imagined they would all be clad in dark robes, wearing hoods and necklaces with bizarre and unnerving emblems. But this wasn’t the initial impression.
The thirteen who arrived in our lobby looked surprisingly normal, on the surface at least.
They were a diverse enough lot – young and old, male and female, and of various different races. Their clothing was conventional – jeans and shirts, skirts and blouses…nothing on the surface that would raise concerns. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve learnt from bitter experience to recognise the troublemakers. I don’t remember each and every member of the group. They tend to blend into one in my memory, as I recall predatory glares and sadistic grins.
Their leader was called Kane – a bald headed and bearded man with a fiery intensity behind his eyes and a dark aura surrounding him. I noticed how the others were all totally subordinate to Kane and followed his orders without question. Their submissive body language indicated a dangerous mix of devotion and fear.
Kane was an intimidating character, that much was obvious. The only one of their number who seemed to command Kane’s respect was Lilith, a red-haired young woman with piercing green eyes and a seductive look which would be difficult for any man to resist. Judging by their interactions I guessed she was Kane’s lover, and she also seemed to hold the position of his second-in-command within the small group.
It was Kane who spoke with us however, confirming the details of their reservation in a puzzling conversation with Mr Black.
“Ah, Mr Kane, it is our pleasure to welcome you to the Hotel Morte.” my boss began, “I hope you and your party will enjoy your stay.”
Kane smiled slyly, exerting a snake-like charm as he shook our hands. When I felt his cold palm against mine, I experienced an icy chill, and when I looked into his eyes I saw nothing but darkness.
“Thank you gentlemen,” Kane spoke, his voice deep and raspy. “We are grateful for your hospitality. As you know Mr Black, this event is of great importance to my organisation, and it is essential that all goes smoothly during tomorrow’s ceremony.”
“And indeed it shall, Mr Kane. Our dedicated staff will stop at nothing to ensure our client’s satisfaction. Now, I’m sure your party are tired after your long journey. May we escort you to your bedrooms?”
Kane smirked before replying. “Thank you gentlemen, we shall leave our luggage in the rooms, but my associates and I are night owls. We would like to unwind by enjoying some drinks in your bar.”
I shook my head in the negative. “Regrettably sir, our bar closes at midnight…”
“Not tonight,” Mr Black interjected, “I have spoken with Owen and instructed him that the bar will remain open, for the benefit of our new guests.”
I shot my employer an angry look, wondering why he had blindsided me on this, but he ignored my glare and motioned for me to assist the cultists with their luggage. With no other options open to me, I did as I was told, shifting heavy bags to the waiting elevator.
I noticed how two members of the group carried a substantial animal carrier, a cage containing a subdued creature I could not see. They insisted on carrying the box themselves, indicating that the animal inside was of great importance to their organisation and whatever they had planned. I guessed the poor creature was sedated as it made barely a sound as they carried the box to the waiting lift.
I glanced across at Mr Black, expressing my disapproval, but he merely shook his head, warning me not to protest. And so I continued as normal, braving the corridors as I escorted our guests to their bedrooms before I descended back downstairs and awaited their arrival in our bar lounge.
That night, our dilapidated little barroom was about as busy as I’d ever seen it, with all thirteen of our new guests in attendance along with our three long-term residents. Given the increased demand for drinks, I joined our chef Owen behind the bar. I had hoped Mr Black would remain to keep an eye on things…but alas, he’d elected to retire to bed, leaving me to take care of the rabble.
The tension inside of the small bar was palpable, as the customers split into two groups. Our regulars – the major, the widow, and the senorita – were sat at the far end of the bar, glaring suspiciously at the newcomers who they surely considered as invaders of their home turf. The thirteen cultists were at the other end, congregated around their leader and hanging on his every word.
They were fairly civilised at first, but after a few drinks the newcomers descended into increasingly vile and offensive conversation. Their talk began with jokes made in poor taste and soon moved on to crude descriptions of past sexual encounters. But that was just for starters. Belong long Kane’s followers began boasting of despicable acts of violence, of savage beatings, murders, and massacres they’d committed.
These people clearly took a perverse pleasure in recounting these vile assaults, savouring every little detail – the fear, the blood, and the gore. It was sickening to hear, but I felt powerless to intervene, remembering that Mr Black had instructed me to do everything in my power to accommodate our new guests.
Kane was holding court, reciting his own gory tales whilst also vocalising his crude and nihilistic philosophy.
“We alone understand the simple truth – the universe is not governed by justice and harmony, but rather by chaos and violence. In the inferno to come, only the strong will survive.”
My reaction to Kane’s hate-filled words was stunned silence, but the senorita surprised us all by laughing aloud in open mockery, fearlessly provoking the cult leader’s anger. I listened on in dismay as Kane snarled his angry words through clenched teeth.
“You have something to say, young lady?”
The senorita certainly did. Her forthrightness was one of the things I most admired about the young lady, but once again I was worried she was putting herself in danger.
“People like you are always the same! Full of world-weary cynicism and self-loathing, thinking you know some great secret that the rest of humanity has missed. You dismiss everything in human nature that doesn’t fit into your twisted view of the world – compassion, love, loyalty, selflessness. The truth is, you can’t feel these emotions because you’re weak…You’ve given into the worst impulses of your blackened hearts!”
For a moment, the whole barroom was stunned into silence, and a tension-filled moment followed as all awaited the response. Lilith – Kane’s lover and number two – broke the silence, screaming in fury as she screwed up her face and clenched her fists.
“How dare you speak to our leader this way! I ought to tear your tongue out!”
There was a terrible dark energy in the air as all prepared for violence. The thirteen formed up like a pack of jackals, ready to pounce on their prey. Meanwhile, the major jumped up from his bar stool and reached into his jacket pocket, while I saw Owen go for the meat cleaver he kept under the bar.
In a panic I glanced across at the senorita, noting with some pride that she stood her ground. Nevertheless, I felt sure that bloody violence would ensue, with the odds heavily stacked against our side. Therefore, I was astonished when Kane himself acted as peacemaker.
“Friends,” he exclaimed, “There is no need for unpleasantness. This young lady is entitled to her opinion. She is completely wrong of course, but I forgive her for her naivety and loose tongue.”
The senorita scoffed in disgust but made no further comment. The next to speak was the widow, who sat in her usual corner, sipping on her sherry and observing the tense confrontation from afar.
“And so, what is it that you awful people want? Why have you darkened the doors of our hotel and home?”
“A very good question.” Kane answered, as a snide grin appeared on his lips. “We have come here to fulfil our destiny. This hotel – as you describe it – is hardly deserving of the title. Nevertheless, this location holds a special importance to our organisation. You see, this crumbling structure which you inhabit is a portal – an entryway to another dimension. And on the other side dwells our master…the Prince of Darkness and Lord of Chaos. Tomorrow we shall perform a sacred ceremony to summon our master to this realm. We will pledge our eternal fealty and be rewarded with immortal life and unlimited power.”
The widow shook her head, not in dismay but rather in sad resignation.
“You must be insane if you think such an outcome is possible.” she proclaimed.
“We shall find out soon enough.” Kane sneered, “I gladly invite you all to attend our ceremony tomorrow and see for yourselves. In the meantime, why not join us for a drink, so we may settle our differences?”
Kane’s offer seemed genuine, but I noted the devilish look in his eye and guessed he held malicious intent. The major surely recognised the deceitfulness and spoke to the cult leader in a tone which should have left no doubt.
“I think it is time for your party to call it a night.” he stated firmly.
“I think not.” Kane replied, not missing a beat. “We are paying customers and intend to finish our drinks. If you are so offended by our presence, I suggest you leave.”
Another tense moment followed as two killers attempted to stare each other down. We’d worked together to bring down Mr Hillman not so long ago, but he was just one man…and ultimately he turned out to be a coward. Kane was a much tougher foe however, and he was backed up by a dozen bloodthirsty fanatics who stood ready to attack on command.
The major broke eye content with Kane as he spoke to the widow and senorita.
“Come on ladies, let’s leave these people to their libations.”
And with that, our three regulars left the barroom, still retaining their dignity even as Kane’s vile followers sneered and whistled after them in cruel mockery.
I watched with sadness as the trio exited the lounge and disappeared into the shadows. Meanwhile, the hateful Mr Kane toasted his petty little victory and ordered another round of drinks for his twisted subordinates.
Thankfully, Kane’s party left the lounge soon after, although they ordered more booze to bring up to their rooms. I was relieved to be able to escape from the tense situation and make it up to my bedroom before the hotel descended into its usual cycle of nightly chaos. I secretly hoped that one or more of our guests would fall victim to the malicious entities which stalked the corridors and staircases, but I doubted we would be so lucky.
Once I reached the relative safety of my room, I lay on my mattress and tried in vain to sleep. The unpleasant encounter down in the bar kept running through my head. I had seen much worse over the years of course, but what Kane had planned had the potential to be catastrophic. I would need to speak with Mr Black in the morning, as he would surely know what to do.
But despite my apprehension, I also felt just a glimmer of hope. The senorita’s words had moved me. She’d been brave to stand up to Kane, although perhaps also foolhardy. Still, there was a time when the young lady would have shared much of Kane’s deep cynicism and his black world view…But now she spoke of love, compassion and loyalty. I felt a renewed hope and started to believe she could be saved.
But whatever positivity I felt that night disappeared once we reached the witching hour, and the corridors outside of my room descended into hell.
The anarchy commenced at 3am on the dot. Kane had chosen Room 66, recently vacated by the late Mr Hillman. Perhaps the cult leader had sensed the dark energy attached to that room, or more likely he’d seen the fresh blood stains on the carpet. In any case, the murder scene no doubt appealed to his dark and twisted perversions.
The first sounds I heard through the thin walls were those of amorous activities. I thought I recognised the voices of Kane and his mistress Lilith, and soon several other members of the cult joined in. It started with low moans but soon escalated to screams. I couldn’t tell whether they were crying out in ecstasy or agony. Perhaps it was a perverse combination of the two.
The loud sex noises made me feel very uncomfortable, but the scary part was still to come. At 3:33am Kane and his party opened the bedroom door and walked out into the corridor. I immediately sat up on my bed, both shocked and terrified by this unexpected development.
The witching hour is the most dangerous time to navigate the corridors, as this is when the spirits are at their strongest. I knew there would be a reaction to their intrusion, and so there was.
The ominous banging came first, as the trapped souls slammed their fists against the inside of the doors. And then came the banshee-like wails, the horrific din which I’d heard so many times before but still dreaded. I was worried because I knew there were other entities out there, ones that weren’t confined to boarded up bedrooms. The most dangerous beings could roam freely during the witching hour, and they were more than capable of causing physical harm to the living.
Kane and his people were surely taking their lives into their hands by leaving the sanctuary of their rooms, and I feared a bloody massacre would follow. But the cultists showed no signs of fear, instead laughing and cheering in unison with the restless spirits, apparently finding an affinity with the ghouls and spirits.
I listened as they tore down the hallway, crying out in ecstasy as they soaked up the dark energy and anarchy of the Morte. This chaotic din went on for some time before finally the cultists returned to their rooms. I was astonished they’d survived when so many others had perished over the years, and I began to think that Kane’s boasts of God-like powers may hold some water after all.
Once the ruckus had died down, I put my ear against the door, hearing a soft whispering from the hallway outside. I don’t know what came over me, but against all my instincts I opened my bedroom door, keeping it on the latch as I peeked out into the darkness.
I saw Kane there, his back turned to me as he spoke softly in a language I did not recognise. I wondered who he was talking with, but my heart froze as I saw the dark figure hiding in the shadows – a faceless entity that unfortunately I had encountered before. This dark being was undoubtedly one of the most dangerous to stalk the halls of the Morte, and whenever it appeared, death and tragedy would inevitably follow.
I stood behind the door, frozen in fear as I peeked through the gap and observed. I could not hear the words Kane spoke, but it was clear he had a relationship with the dark spirit, and this was certainly a disturbing development.
I’d been spying on the unholy meeting for a couple of minutes before Kane suddenly turned around, looking me straight in the eye as he spoke in a threatening tone.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to spy on your guests?” he growled.
I gasped in shock, my courage disappearing as I slammed my door shut and locked it tight. Somewhat ashamed, I heard Kane laughing in open mockery at my cowardice. He made a point of shouting out as he passed my bedroom door, surely knowing I could hear him through the thin wood.
“Until tomorrow my friend! It’s going to be quite the show!”
His ominous warning brought a cold chill down my spine, as I lay on my hard bed and waited for daybreak.
It was almost twelve noon when I escorted our maid Mary as she walked from floor to floor to inspect the disgusting mess the cultists had created the night before.
“Barbarians!” she exclaimed angrily, “Uncultured and uncouth vermin! I’m sorry sir, but there’s no other way to describe such people. The mess they’ve made of their rooms –spilt alcohol, blood and bodily fluids all over the place…Mattresses and furniture torn up and smashed to pieces. There are even animal faeces on the carpet in Room 33! Room 66 is the worst of course…Honestly sir, it will take me all day to clean up this bloody mess!”
Her guilt trip worked on me, as it always did. “We’ll help you, won’t we Owen?”
I glanced over my shoulder to our chef-slash-barman who strolled behind us, causally observing the carnage with a giddy smile on his face.
“No can do sir” he answered with a smirk, “I’ve got instructions from Mr Black himself. Our guests missed breakfast, but they’re expecting a banquet as a late lunch, a good feed before they start their silly little ceremony.”
I was aghast and almost lost for words.
“You’re preparing lunch for thirteen guests?” I asked in astonishment, “Are you sure you can handle it?”
Owen looked rather hurt by my question. For all his faults, I sometimes forgot how sensitive he could be.
“Of course I can sir!” I spotted a sly glint in his eye as he added, “In fact, I’ve got a special dish for this group. I think they’re really going to enjoy it!”
I didn’t like the sound of this. Frankly, I knew the man too well and feared what unpleasant surprise he had in store. But whatever he had planned, that was Mr Black’s problem. I heard Mary clearing her throat and turned around to see her glaring at me, a look of reproach set across her stern face.
“Well?” she asked impatiently.
I sighed aloud and rolled my eyes. “Okay then, let’s get to work. Owen, you get down to the kitchen. I’ll help Mary with the rooms.”
And so we continued to pander to our vile guests, ignoring the fact that – if Kane had his wicked way – we would probably all be annihilated by the day’s end.
It was mid-afternoon before I had finished helping Mary with her cleaning, after which I went back downstairs and straight to the conference room. The thirteen were all there of course, seemingly recovered from their late-night celebrations and ready for their big day.
They were dressed more traditionally for a gang of rabid cultists, all wearing dark robes and hoods. The group congregated around their beloved leader Kane, as they were apparently determined to follow him down this crazy path, no matter what the cost.
I noticed how Owen had set up buffet tables in the centre of the room, with plates stacked high with cooked meat – chops, joints, kidney and liver – a literal carnivore’s feast, all piled on the table…steaming hot, the smell wafting through the room. Kane’s disciples waited for permission from their master before descending upon the food-filled table like a pack of hungry dogs, greedily devouring slabs of meat with their bare hands.
I was disgusted by the gluttonous display, but not surprised. Mr Black and Owen were stood at the rear of the conference room, quietly observing the feeding frenzy from a safe distance. I quietly walked over to them, wishing to speak with the two in private.
“Where did you get all that meat?” I asked Owen, “Our catering budget is wafer thin.”
Owen shrugged his shoulders and answered with an alarming honesty. “Well boss, you said I could do whatever I wanted…with Mr Hillman’s body.”
My jaw dropped and stomach turned. I looked to Owen, hoping he was joking, but his expression told me he was deadly serious.
“Jesus!” I swore, “What if they find out?”
I expected Mr Black to be equally disgusted by Owen’s revelation and so was astonished to hear him snigger ever so softly.
“Frankly, I doubt they would care.” he whispered, “Cannibalism is the least of their sins.”
I shook my head, hardly believing what I was hearing.
“Do you know what they have planned?” I asked in desperation, “We can’t let this lunatic go through with it. If he opens that gateway…”
“Shh! Keep your voice down.” my employer replied sharply, “Don’t worry about it. The situation is under control.”
I opened my mouth to speak again but was interrupted by a voice from across the room.
“You there! My people are thirsty. Fetch us some drinks to wash down our meal.”
It was Kane of course, shooting me a look of utter contempt as he took pleasure in ordering me around. My face turned red with anger as I bit my tongue. I looked across to Mr Black, hoping for some support, but he merely nodded his head, indicating that I should do as I was told. Soon Kane and his people were downing alcohol, whipping themselves up into a wild frenzy as they prepared for their unholy ceremony.
They waited until after dusk to begin, having made meticulous preparations in advance. After the buffet tables and drinks trolley had been removed, a member of the cult painstakingly drew a pentagram-style symbol on the hard wood floor using white chalk, a perfect circle ten feet in diameter. I frowned whilst observing the worrying artwork and wanted to put a stop to it, but once again Mr Black held me back, shaking his head in the negative. I really hoped my boss knew what he was doing.
The preparations continued as several cultists carefully placed wax candles around the circumference of the pentagram, lighting them one-by-one to complete the circle.
I reached my limit when they brought the animal into the conference room – a horned goat, still dazed from whatever sedatives they’d fed it. They led it across the floor on a lead, and I watched in horror as the group’s sadistic excitement reached fever pitch, and Kane removed a shining dagger from underneath his cloak, grabbing the goat by its horns and holding the knife to its throat.
The animal bleated in fear, its eyes widening as it recognised the deadly threat. I cried out without thinking, shouting – “Really sir, this will not do! Killing livestock on the premises is not permitted. You risk losing your security deposit.”
Kane glared across at me with rage in his eyes, almost spitting out his rebuttal through clenched teeth.
“You object to our ritual?” he snarled, “Our ceremony requires the spilling of blood. If not the beast’s blood, then yours will do just fine!”
I saw the killer glint in his eyes and knew he wasn’t joking. This psychopath would murder me without a moment’s hesitation. Luckily, my employer came to my rescue, albeit by submitting to the vile cultist’s wishes once again.
“My apologies Mr Kane, my manager spoke out of turn. Of course you may carry out your ritual without interference. Please proceed.”
Kane grinned sadistically, wasting no time before cutting the poor creature’s throat. The goat kicked and struggled as its blood spilt and its life slowly drained away. Kane continued to hold on tightly to the dying beast as Lilith walked over with a gold-plated goblet, catching the animal’s blood within it.
Once the goblet was filled, Lilith passed it along the line, and all thirteen cult members drank from it in turn as they formed a human circle around the candle-lit pentagram, linking arms as they began a chilling chant in a language I could not comprehend.
As his minions performed their parts, Kane stepped forward, the goblet in hand as he walked into the very centre of the circle, carefully and meticulously pouring blood downwards in a steady stream as he spoke in a booming voice, reciting a prayer-like stanza in English.
“Glory to the Prince of Darkness. My Lord, we offer this sacrifice in humility and fear. We are your loyal servants, dedicated to the righteous cause of chaos and violence. Come to us, oh great master. Show us the true path. Use us as your sword in your war of purification.”
He finished the ritual, the goblet now empty. We all waited with bated breath for whatever would occur. I found myself frozen in terror, but when I looked to my employer, I saw no fear or emotion in his eyes.
For a moment nothing transpired, and I wondered whether Kane’s ritual would turn out to be a humiliating failure, but then everything happened at once. The first event I observed was the blood inside of the pentagram starting to boil, as if the floor itself was burning up. Clearly Kane had expected this, as he stepped back to the edge of the circle, his face lighting up with a perverse satisfaction as he watched the horror he’d summoned come to life.
What happened next is hard to explain and shouldn’t have been physically possible, and yet I swear my account is truthful. In an instant, the floor inside the circle disappeared, inexplicably transforming into a pitch-black opening. It wasn’t a hole in the ground exactly. A more accurate description would be a whirlpool-like portal, a dark gateway to a hellish dimension.
A biting cold suddenly came over me, as an icy wind tore through the conference room. Suddenly, a deep, booming, and demonic voice called out from inside the gateway, addressing Kane and his cultists in a furious address.
“Who dares to interrupt my slumber! What mortal filth believes they have the right to address me!”
Kane seemed taken aback by the terrifying rebuke. Clearly, this wasn’t part of his plan, and in that moment I saw genuine terror in his dark eyes.
“My Prince,” he stuttered, “It is I, your loyal servant. I have followed the instructions in the unholy scriptures. We mean no disrespect…we merely wish to offer our devoted service to your cause.”
The demon’s response was to laugh, emitting a horrifying and sadistic cackle which was probably the most horrifying sound I’d ever heard.
“You foolish and weak mortals!” it boomed, “I have no need of your services. I have only one desire…possession of your immortal souls!”
What I saw next almost defied belief, as suddenly a huge claw-like hand emerged from inside the portal, rising up and opening its enormous palm. Kane screamed and tried to run, but the demon had him, grabbing hold of his body and crushing his bones in a sickening display. A moment later and the still screaming Kane was pulled down into the portal, his soul surely condemned to a torturous eternity in Hell.
After that, the hall descended into pandemonium. Lilith and the other cultists lost their minds and attempted to flee in every direction, but suddenly a napalm-like stream of fire ascended from the portal, engulfing each and every one of the cultists in a horrific inferno. They all screamed in agony as their flesh burned, and an appalling stench filled the room.
In a matter of seconds, all twelve were reduced to charred corpses, but the demon wasn’t done with them yet. The remains of the twelve were pulled towards the gaping hole like iron filings attracted to a magnet, all sucked into the pitch-black void. And then, to my immense relief, the hell mouth closed, leaving nothing behind but the chalk circle and a sickening smell of burnt flesh.
I felt faint, hardly believing the horrific event I’d just witnessed and somehow knowing this atrocity would haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. But to my astonishment, I saw Mr Black, still standing beside me with a look of satisfaction in his eyes and a thin smile on his lips.
“Very good.” he said softly, “I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
I gasped and shook my head in disbelief, unable to find the words to respond. As usual, it was our chef Owen who broke the tense silence, approaching us from behind and saying – “Well friends, I think we could all use a stiff drink!”
Ten minutes later and we were all sitting in the lounge, Owen cheerfully pouring drinks as Mr Black and I sat in quiet contemplation. Our three long-term residents stood at the far end of the bar, toasting the demise of the vile cultists who’d invaded their home so aggressively. I hadn’t seen the major, widow or senorita in our conference room but somehow they knew what had happened. I wasn’t surprised, as nothing took place in the Morte that these three weren’t aware of.
My hand was still shaking as I lifted my glass and poured the hard liquor down my throat, savouring the rough taste as it went down. I looked to my employer, flabbergasted to see him calmly sipping on his scotch, seemingly without a care in the world.
“How can you be so calm after what just happened?” I exclaimed.
He looked me in the eye before replying in his typically soft voice. “My good man, you really should learn to listen! As I said, the event went exactly to plan. Our client will be most pleased.”
My jaw dropped in disbelief. “Our client?” I repeated, “Our client was literally dragged into the depths of hell!”
Mr Black laughed whilst shaking his head. “That foolish Mr Kane was not our client. He and his moronic followers were always going to meet an unpleasant end…No my old friend, the entity we serve is far more powerful, and the price he demands is a heavy one. But today we delivered, and now the future of our hotel is secure.”
A cold chill ran down my spine as I realised the terrifying implications of what my employer was telling me.
“I won’t be around forever,” Mr Black continued, “and the time will come when I hand over the reins to you. The Morte is my legacy, and I know I’m leaving the old place in good hands.”
My mind was racing by this point. After so many years of silence, my employer was hitting me with so much information all at once, and I was finding it difficult to cope.
“You want me to take over the Morte? Why on earth would I want to do such a thing?” I asked.
Mr Black smiled ever so slightly, and a terrible sadness came over him as he broke eye contact.
“I know you will stay,” he finally replied, “because like me, you have an unbreakable bond with this old place.”
I instinctively glanced across the bar to the senorita. She met my eye for the briefest of moments before turning away.
“You know, it’s been four decades since my beloved perished in that damned room,” said Mr Black, his eyes now welling up with tears, “Forty years, but it never gets any easier. I can feel her presence every time I walk the halls, but she never makes herself known to me. I suspect she still blames me for what happened, and perhaps she’s right to do so.”
My employer was sharing with me for the first time in our long professional history and I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for him. No wonder he so rarely visited the hotel. Clearly his memories were too painful. But Mr Black’s rare show of emotion didn’t last long, as he quickly finished his drink and composed himself before getting up from his chair and patting me gently on the shoulder.
“Well, in any case, my work here is done. I expect it will be some time before we see each other again. My lawyer will be in contact regarding the legacy matters. In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing old friend. It is essential that we keep the Morte’s doors open, no matter what the cost.”
With that, he held out his hand in friendship. We shared a hardy handshake before my elderly employer offered his parting words – “Good luck sir.”
I watched him leave the lounge and wondered whether I’d ever see him again. And as it transpired, Mr Black was right – the Morte’s doors will stay open, and I shall stay here until the very end.
And so, that is the story of our hellish convention, one which the staff and residents of the Morte will never forget. Kane and his rabble were gone, and the mess they’d left behind them was soon cleared away – for the most part at least.
But sadly, the vile Mr Kane did leave a lasting legacy for us to deal with. The shadowy entity which Kane had conversed with, the night before his death. This malevolent spirit was already known to us, and its last visit to the Morte had resulted in tragic consequences.
This entity had been absent from our hotel for many years but had apparently taken advantage of the chaos caused by Kane’s botched ritual to slip back into our mortal realm. I knew we would need to work together to fight this demon…otherwise, suffering and loss would surely follow.
So my good readers, if you choose to join me for a third instalment, I shall tell you the story of our battle against the embodiment of death itself. Until next time, my friends.
Credit: Hell Tourist
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