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The Gracious Host

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Estimated reading time — 2 minutes

The man, exhausted from hours of driving, got out of his Oldsmobile, stood upright, and enjoyed the satisfying cracking of his spine. Finally, a town where he can rest and get some sleep.

 

He looked around for a few minutes, but no one was there. Expected, it’s very late, thought the man and got his bag out of the car. The streets were empty and quiet, but across the parking lot where he parked his car, the man noticed a bright red sign that said – Motel & Casino. The man considered his options for a while and then decided. I could play a few games before going to bed. Just like the old days. He then crossed the road and entered the motel.

 

He was gently caressed by the silence and dimmed lights of the lobby. There was no one at the reception, so he did what he always wanted to do – he rang the bell. He tried very hard to hear something, but there was nothing to hear. He left his things at the reception and decided to search the lobby. While he was trying to make out the titles of books he never saw before, a cold voice came from behind him.

 

  • Good evening. How may I be of service?

The man, startled, let out a strange noise and turned around.

  • Jesus Christ! I didn’t see you there.

The pale man at the reception just smiled.

  • My apologies, sir. I was in the back room, taking care of some things. You see, we are a bit understaffed. How may I help you?
  • I would like a room for the night, please.
  • Marvelous. Anything else?

The old man hesitated for a while.

  • Um, is the casino open?
  • Almost exclusively at night, sir. What would you like to play?
  • What do you recommend?

The gracious host smirked at the man and gestured with his wrinkled hand.

  • Step into the casino, sir.

The old man took his bag and the two of them entered the casino. An empty poker table and a few slot machines greeted the old man. It looked like no one stepped foot in this place for a long time.

  • We don’t have many games, I’m afraid. I’m not much of a poker player and the only machine that works is the Immortal Romance slot. Please, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the game, I will be back shortly.

 

The host left the room and the man sat in front of the slot machine with a gentle smile on his face.

 

  • Hello, old friend. Ready to have some fun?

The man didn’t expect to get an answer, but he got one.

  • Yes.

Said the voice from the back of the room. The man looked behind him, startled and silent.

  • I don’t have a lot of fun here, to be honest. I had a lot of fun, you know, back when I started working here, but those days are gone. And now, as I said, I’m understaffed.
  • Where did you go? – asked the man.
  • Oh, I was just in the lobby, locking the front doors. I won’t be expecting anyone else tonight.

 

The gracious host started walking slowly towards the man. Their eyes were locked and then the man noticed. The blood around the host’s pupils and the shiny fangs. His instinct told him to run, but he couldn’t move. He just sat there, waiting, as the pale figure closed in on him.

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