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The Hotel

The hotel


Estimated reading time — 18 minutes

The Broughton Palace was perhaps the nicest hotel I had ever stayed at; dozens of floors, casinos, buffets, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and it even had a massive arcade.

Just one of the many perks of this sweet-ass job. I thought to myself.

I was hired by this marketing firm, Loomis Co., due to my past work as a war photojournalist. It wasn’t a career shift I necessarily expected, but the morbid affairs of war and American politics took their toll on my psyche, and my shrink recommended something tamer to offset the years of depravity I saw firsthand.

To my surprise, it didn’t take long to find this new job; in fact, it found me. The people who hired me were chomping at the bit to get me into their ranks, saying that they specialized in “scouting popular locations with hidden morbid histories” or something like that. Apparently, there was a huge ghost-hunting craze happening on cable T.V. and Loomis Co. was responsible for finding the few locations left that hadn’t been visited to death by paranormal investigators.

Personally, I found the paranormal to be bullshit; I had full confidence that the true Hell was on Earth, but it was a surprisingly well-paying job that had the full support from my therapist, so I accepted it almost immediately.

Plus, with benefits like traveling and staying in four-star hotels like the Broughton Palace?

Can’t beat that.

I walked through one of the many automatic glass doors, having already given my very sparse luggage to the bellhop to take to my room. Even the lobby was magnificent, with multiple cafes and lounges and a clear view of one of the casinos. I approached one of the women behind the check-in desk, the lines non-existent as it was the middle of the week during the off-season.

“Yes, I have a room reserved through Loomis Co., the name should be under Joseph Harvey,” I informed the well-dressed lady as I rummaged through my wallet for the necessary credentials.

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She held up her hand and smiled brightly. “Oh no need, Mr. Harvey. We’ve been expecting you.” She replied in an ominous tone.

I froze, my blood running cold. “Excuse me?”

The woman laughed. “Ah, didn’t mean to put you on edge, Mr. Harvey. The whole staff knows why you’re here, to help us establish Broughton Palace as a haunted hotspot for T.V., right?”

I laughed in return. “Yeah, of course. Sorry, I wasn’t expecting everyone to know why I’m here.”

“Oh, we’re all very excited, to be honest. This place is filled with all sorts of ghost stories that the staff is dying to share with you. But rest assured, we’ll let you settle in and enjoy the non-ghostly commodities the Broughton Palace has to offer. The night staff especially will give you the best experience.” The woman chuckled, and with that, she gave me a selection of different cards that allowed me to gamble at the casino with money provided by the hotel, a buffet card to get food, and of course my room card. I was on the eighteenth floor, in room 1883.

By no means was it a penthouse, in fact, I was a bit disappointed that the room was more reminiscent of a standard hotel room; two beds, a T.V., microwave, the basics. I quickly got over my disappointment, however, as the commodities certainly made up for the lackluster room. It also had a gorgeous view of the coast that was less than a mile away from the hotel.

Since I had arrived only a few hours after noon, I had plenty of daylight to burn, so I went to use my new cards extensively. The casino treated me well at first, with a few machines allowing me to win big before taking it all away, which was par for the course in my prior gambling experiences. This led me to the arcade where I found my casino card also worked and spent a ridiculous amount of time playing crane games and shooters. My growling stomach then directed me to the massive buffet, where I tried all sorts of different meats from the separated “regional dishes” sections, with their angel hair pasta being especially exquisite, finishing just in time for night to begin to fall and drowsiness to creep into my skull.

Noticing the amount I ate and the slight layer of fat beginning to form at my stomach, I opted to take the stairs for some exercise before I took a short nap. As I entered the bottom of the stairwell, I noticed how empty and well, haunting, it was. I pulled out one of the cameras that I had brought with me and snapped a few pictures. I had taken a few earlier but there honestly wasn’t much to document other than some sad old people losing their money in the casino, so I mainly just grabbed some location shots earlier.

The stairwell was giving me a completely different vibe, however. For the first time since arriving, I felt a little creeped out, and this aura of sadness filled the air. I snapped a bunch of pictures of each new floor, mostly as an excuse to give myself a breather, and when I reached floor eighteen, I took a few more.

I turned quickly to go through the door and get back to my room, and more importantly, my bed for a nap when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I twisted back around, with the astounding sight of nothing causing me to chuckle to myself.

“All this damn haunted shit making me see things.” I thought aloud, shaking my head. I could have sworn I saw a figure crouching at the top of the stairwell, but it was only for a split second that it couldn’t have possibly been anything but the trick of the brain. I walked through the door out of the stairwell, ignoring the quick, odd sucking sound that reminded me of sobbing as just the creaking of the door.

Before I could make it to my room, however, I spotted a maid exiting from my door. She was fairly short and young, maybe a year or two younger than me, with bright blue eyes and brown hair. Normally I would have been a bit irritated as I didn’t request housecleaning nor had I been in my room long enough to cause a mess, but her cute appearance distracted me from that fact.

“Oh, Mr. Harvey! My apologies, we just wanted to make sure your room was in tip-top condition for the duration of your stay here. I’ll get out of your hair!” She squeaked in an almost timid manner.

Does everyone here know my damn name? I thought but put a kind smile on my face.
“Don’t worry, I understand. I’m just gonna take a nap for a bit before I do my interviews for the night.” I reassured her, walking past her to my door. “Do you have any stories you’d like to share later tonight?” I asked as I swiped my card and placed my hand on the handle.

Her eyes lit up. “Oh yes! I’ve had some creepy experiences here. I’ll be working on a problem in 1693 if you need to find me later tonight. Besides, it’s better that way anyways, there’s still daylight left. Stories like that are best experienced at night. My name is Liz, by the way.” She replied giddily.

I smirked at her in turn. “I’ll be looking for you first then, Liz.”

The maid giggled some more as she winked and waved bye at me as I closed my door.
Ah, my bed at last. I thought as I face-planted into the mattress, looking up only to set my alarm on my phone for two hours, and almost immediately drifted away into sleep.

Nightmares typically don’t follow you into the real world, so after I awoke from a troubled sleep I naturally felt my ordeal was over. I didn’t normally suffer from night terrors but I had seen some horrific shit documenting war so it was only natural that I had them on occasion.
My mouth was dry as shit and tasted about the same, so I groggily emerged from my warm bed and headed towards the bathroom. During the process of relieving myself, I yawned, trying to understand why the feeling of dread still had yet to leave my body.

A rustle from behind the shower curtain drew my attention, but after quickly yanking it back revealed nothing I chuckled to myself, turning to face the mirror right as it exploded.
It happened so swiftly I could hardly process, save for shielding my face with my arms. I slumped back, groaning in pain, but thankfully most of what hit me were embedded in my forearms.

However, the horror that stepped through the broken remains of the mirror almost made me wish that the glass had blinded me. He was me, or some sort of demented version of me, emaciated with gore caked around the numerous mouths that peppered his body. I would’ve thought them to be tattooed if not for their incessant gnawing at the air. The false me leered from behind his wall of thick black hair, the only non-horrific difference between us.

Besides the gnashing of teeth, the false me made no noise, even when his bare feet walked across the broken glass. The closer he crept the stronger the fear that gripped my body in place held, until he was right in my face, the numerous mouths on his upper body and head licking their lips. Two of his macabre hands wrapped around my neck, and only then did the pain of the jaws in his palms chewing on my throat shock me into action, grabbing a large glass shard and jamming it into his stomach and twisting.

The false me immediately let go, and his dozens of mouths screamed in anguish.
“HURT ME! HURT ME”

I didn’t bother to wait for his retaliation; I kicked the false me in the stomach, simultaneously driving the glass deeper into his stomach while also knocking him back, freeing me. I rushed out of the bathroom, ignoring the small glass fragments now embedded in my soles. With my eyes still locked on the bathroom entrance, I thrust my hand into my camera bag. It turned out to be a wise decision to keep watch of the bathroom; the false me crawled out, his bones snapping into place as he stood up, his numerous mouths back to their fervent gnashing. He launched himself at me, hands opened to take another bite out of my neck.

BANG!

The shot rang out, and the bullet knocked the false me off course, causing him to crash into the spare bed. Before he could recuperate again, I forced my gun into the main mouth on his head and blew his head off.

I waited for a moment, holding the gun to the center of his chest in case he resuscitated once more, but none of his mouths were moving, and after I was satisfied he was dead, I fell back onto the floor, horrified.

“What the fuck?!? WHAT THE FUCK?!?” I cried to myself, unable to process the situation. I felt like I was thrust back into the middle of some sort of battle, but instead of the sidelines, I was the combatant this time. However, I forced myself to regain as much composure as I could. I quickly changed into fresh clothes, and pulled the glass from my feet and arms, treating them quickly and likely poorly, but I felt my room was no longer safe to dwell in.
However, after attempting and failing to call anyone on the phone, I had a growing fear that this may be true for everywhere in the hotel.

With fresh clothes and bandages wrapped around my arms and feet, I slung my pack over my shoulder and counted my bullets. The Glock 17 was true to its namesake, and since I kept it fully loaded I still had fifteen to spare.

I sucked in a deep breath, and slowly opened my door, my gun at the ready.

My assumption was correct, as a simple look into the hallway confirmed that whatever was happening wasn’t contained to just my room; entrails and other assorted gore covered the walls, and the hallway looked far more decrepit than it had before. I nearly retched at the steaming piles of apparently fresh innards that surrounded me, pulling my shirt over my nose in an attempt to block out the smell.

Suddenly, a blindingly fast figure pushed past me, nearly knocking me on my ass. I quickly regained my composure, nearly fully stepping out to see what the hell just ran past me, but there was no need.

It came back to me.

Every ounce of my being was needed not to make a sound as a being with the appearance of an impossibly tall man crouched down by my door, sniffing the entrance. He was obviously blind, as he didn’t have the upper part of his head. It was as if it was a clean cut right above the nose, and strangely enough, a large plumage of brightly colored feathers replaced the top of his head. I slowly raised my gun but hesitated to pull the trigger. This thing was thin and gangly and was obviously attracted to sound, so the gun would either work really well or backfire completely, which was not a risk I was about to take.

The feather man kept sniffing, the feathers on his flat top head rustling occasionally when his face came close to my body.

“Gloria? Gloria, dear, where are you?” A shaky voice called out, snapping the feather man’s attention down the hall, as well as mine. One of the old folks I had seen earlier in the casino had wandered out of his room, a feeble old man using a walker to move around.

The feather man at first didn’t leave his spot at my door, leaving me helpless in turn to warn the old man and prevent him from making any more noise.

“Gloria? I don’t like these decorations, they scare me. Gloria?” He kept calling. The feather man tilted its head, a grin forming on its pale face.

I watched as nothing more than a useless bystander as the old man shakily pulled out his glasses from his nightgown, a look of pure horror spreading across his face as his gaze fell upon the decapitated head of an older woman, who I could only deduce as Gloria.

“Lord in Heaven above, no, Gloria!”

And with that final utterance of his love’s name, the feather man was upon him. It was a terrifying sight, as even despite being severely hunched over the feather man was easily faster than any Olympic sprinter.

With one blink the monster was in front of me; the next he was lifting the screaming old man. I went to aim my gun but when I noticed the other side of the hallway, the one which turned a corner and led to the stairwell, was free of any danger, I knew what was the smart choice. However, I couldn’t look away from the sight that was unfolding before me
The feather man wasted no time with the old man.

“Please God, Jesus our Lord and Savior-” The old man prayed as the feather man wrapped his massive hands around the geezer’s head, its smirk growing ever wider.

The old man continued praying as the feather man’s throat began to bulge, and then his mouth widened as a horrendous-looking peafowl creature emerged from its unhinged maw. It was only the head and neck of the bird monster, and it looked to be some unholy combination of a vulture and peacock. The bird twitched its head, and then the hands of the feather man pried open the jaws of the crying old man, and with one more twitch, the peafowl slammed its beak down the old man’s throat and ripped out his tongue and vocal cords. The feather man let the corpse fall to the ground before kneeling beside it, allowing the bird to feast on the body further.

As the monster gorged itself, I slowly started towards the corner, away from the gruesome sight. A sigh nearly escaped my mouth as I turned the corner, but I was thankfully able to quiet myself. The door to the stairwell was completely unimpeded, so I carelessly went to grab the door handle to push it open, slipping on an intestine that was strewn across the carpet, and my finger instinctively squeezed the trigger of my gun.

My brain was able to operate quickly enough after the explosion of sound, twisting my body around to fire off one, two, three, four rounds at the body of the feather man, who had already cleared the corner and was mere feet away. I was about to unload the rest of my bullets into the monster when I noticed he had stopped, sniffing the doorway again, feathers ruffling in agitation. That’s when I put two and two together; it didn’t seem to be able to leave the hallways. I wasn’t too keen on testing that hypothesis but circumstance forced my hand. Quietly, I shut the stairwell door, and surprisingly, the feather man didn’t react. A massive wave of guilt washed over me when my assumption was proven correct; I could have saved that old man. Through the vertical rectangular window, I watched the feather man leave the door and wander back up the hallway, and I slammed my arm against the wall,

“Fucking coward,” I growled at myself through gritted teeth, wiping away my tears. The whole situation had been fucked, and that monster wasn’t even dead. I may have been firing blindly, but I did manage to hit it three times, as I saw the impact marks on its body, but that abomination didn’t even care and must’ve only barely noticed.

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The horrors continued as I made my way down the stairs, as a chubby young black man lay sobbing against the wall, but when I went to help him, he turned to face me, displaying his slit open wrists with his veins still pumping blood.

“Why? Why did she leave me? Was I not good enough?” He wailed, but I pushed him off me, and hurriedly made my way down to the ground floor. Just as I was about to enter the main lobby, the wails of the sobbing man quickly filled my ears again, as well as a sickening splat. The splash of a warm substance on my back confirmed my suspicions so I did not turn around.

I rushed through the lobby, everything a twisted version of what I had seen earlier in the day. The reception lady I spoke to when I had arrived was no longer alone; her head was affixed to a stake, as well as numerous other female attendants, and they were being operated like puppets by some grotesque beast that appeared to be made up entirely of snake tails, with no head or body in sight.

“Enjoying your stay, Mr. Harvey? Would you like to check out? You have all you need in your hand there.” The head of the receptionist laughed, the mass of snake tails jostling her bloodied head in order to mime her mouth moving.

I looked down at my hand at my gun and realized what the head was implying. Instead of complying I flipped her off and debated shooting at the disturbing sight but decided to save the bullets. However, my original plan of walking out the front doors were immediately dashed as I peered through the glass doors and massive windows of the lobby. I couldn’t see anything of the outside world; what appeared to be dirt and rock blocked all ground-level exits.

“No, no, no, no, NO!” I screamed, slamming a chair against the glass. It busted as expected, but my hopes of the buried state of the ground floor being an illusion were crushed. It felt real, and there was no way I could dig my way out. The row of heads behind the reception counter did nothing but laugh at my vain attempts, and in frustration, I ran to one of the closest casinos.

This proved to be a poor decision, as the casinos were not spared the hotel’s hellish makeover. The machines were still brightly colored, but wires and tubes sprouted from them and had plunged themselves deep into their patron’s skin and orifices. As I spun around in horror I realized this was not to kill the people they had captured, but rather to sustain them as they were forced to continue playing their games. The players would cry and struggle as their blood and organs were taken as payment for a game, and the slot machines would pump them full of some strange blue liquid that appeared to sustain their captives. The slot machines were also scuttling around like massive insects, and three began approaching me with their tubes and wires whipping around like tendrils. I fired off three shots into the machines as I darted away, and two of them powered down as the bullets pierced their screens.

I sprinted down another hallway and stumbled into the dining area, where the macabre sight of human gore, fingernails, severed animal heads, and squirming maggots filled the buffet area, along with other foul things that made me vomit.

A waiter with the lower half of a millipede was scuttling around, fixing himself a plate of horrific obscenities when he noticed me and smiled brightly, his mandibles spilling out of his mouth.

“Ah, Mr. Harvey! Here for seconds? I could tell you really like that “Angel Hair” pasta!” He laughed, pulling a human scalp with blonde hair from a pile of scalps at the buffet. I retched again, only this time I felt something odd in my throat, and pulled a long mass of blonde hair out of my throat, a small chunk of meat still attached at the bottom.

The millipede waiter laughed some more as I violently threw up any remnants of what was left in my stomach, but his laughter was cut short when I put a bullet through his head, causing his body to lurch over, sending his face into a pile of maggots.

I quickly exited the buffet, trying and failing to return to any sort of composure. I had no fucking clue on what to do when a realization hit me.

The roof.

I recalled glancing out my window when the false me had attacked, and the view was the same as before, meaning there was a chance only the ground floor was buried. If I could make it to the top and gauge how deep the lower floors are buried, I just might have a chance of getting out of this hotel.

I opted for the elevators this time, as I wasn’t keen on seeing the aftermath of the stairwell man’s jump, and surprisingly they seemed normal.

That is until I stepped into one and the walls, floor, and ceiling began throbbing, and large, white teeth emerged at the doors.

I had walked into a mouth.

Before I could act, I was thrust upwards into a fleshy throat and blacked out.

I awoke sometime later to pleasant humming, and as my eyes fluttered open I gazed upon yet another horrific sight.

The room must have originally been just another standard hotel room, but it had been cleared out for numerous small and few large torture devices. The main attraction was a massive torture rack, simple in its design but effective in its purpose, as I watched the current occupant’s right arm slowly get ripped off as he screamed for mercy.

His torturer was unsurprisingly another horrid being, but a familiar one. Wearing a very revealing dominatrix getup, and walking on nothing more than unnaturally long and exposed broken leg bones, was Liz, the maid I had run into earlier.

Hearing me stir, she turned in my direction and smiled, kicking a lever on the rack behind her and releasing the tortured corpse to fall to the ground.

“Mr. Harvey! Or should I say, Joseph? After all, we are about to get to know each other on a far more personal and intimate level.” She purred, moving closer to me with more elegance than one could assume possible on shattered broken bone. It was like she was weightless, and the two bones protruding out of the ragged flesh of her exposed legs never seemed to be a hindrance.

“How did I get here?” I asked, straining against my restraints. I was tied down to a bed with string, and she tapped her fingers along my chest, her nails long and caked with blood. I also noticed the string was weak.

“You made a promise to me, Joseph, to interview me, and the hotel held you true to that. It deposited you here, right outside this room while I was cleaning up for another guest of ours. He was quite messy, so I needed to speak with him personally.” She explained, nodding to the naked corpse on the floor by the rack. That’s when I noticed my gun and bag on the floor near the bathroom, and a plan formed in my head. I decided to keep Liz talking.
“What happened to you? To this place?” I asked, squirming slightly as she leaned on the bed with a smirk, basically laying her head on my stomach.

“Joseph, you already know the answer. It’s the whole reason you came. The Broughton Palace is haunted, so obviously you want the best-haunted experience you can get, right?” She giggled, just barely digging her nails into my gut.

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“But this is real, why is it real?”

“Because authenticity is the best, and the Broughton Palace provides. Now, let’s get started, we’ve wasted most of the night already-”

Before she could finish I launched my knee up, crashing it straight into the side of her head. With all the strength I could muster I yanked both hands-free, tearing through my skin but ultimately freeing myself. I grabbed Liz by the head and kneed her again, this time in the face, and shoved her into the side of the wall as I hopped off the bed and grabbed my bag and gun, checking to make sure my ammo was still there.

I turned to face the now bloodied and very pissed Liz, who noticed the gun in my hand.

“You don’t have enough bullets.” She snarled and launched herself over the bed to pounce at me. Two bullets went into her before I dashed out into the hallway, and when I slammed the door behind me I saw her getting back up.

Strangely enough, however, when I made it back to a stairwell entrance, she wasn’t following me. I then noticed the floor number I was on, sixteen, and my mind refocused on my original goal, the roof. So I sprinted and ran as hard as I could up flight after flight of stairs. I saw the chubby black man a few more times, but he seemed harmless, only wanting to beg for answers as to “why” and take a dive to the ground floor, only to show back up again a few floors up. I even caught a glimpse at other monsters that looked like the feather man through those small stairwell door windows, sniffing about for their next victim.

Eventually, I made it up to the top of the hotel, and after crashing through the door, I was greeted with a typical coastal city night sky. The town below was still glowing with lights from numerous bars and other stores still open. Cars moved up and down the streets occasionally. The bottom of the Broughton Palace even looked normal, with the lobby entrance definitely above ground.

“No, what the fuck? What the fuck?” I stammered, staggering back as I ran towards the stairwell door. I darted inside and looked down the immense flight of stairs, and sure enough, the chubby black man was only a few flights down. He looked up at me, blood gushing from his arms.

“Why?” He called up.

“FUCK.” I shouted as I stormed back out onto the roof and lifted my gun into the air, firing all but one round into the night sky. Leaning against the side of the building I started sobbing. Those bullets were my penultimate solution, a desperate attempt at maybe attracting the local authorities to my location and saving me from this hell, but I should’ve known it wouldn’t be that easy.

Glancing out into the dwindling night sky over the coast, I noticed something, or rather, three somethings. At first, it was only slight ripples in the water, but as daylight began to creep over the horizon, so too did three massive, solid back obelisks. Each one was identical, and each one had about one hundred feet between them.

I did not know what they were, nor their purpose, but the mere sight alone of them filled me with more dread than anything that had occurred during the night as if they were composed of pure terror and fear and seeped that energy to any who dared look upon them. I weakly lifted my gun and fired the last bullet in their direction, and when nothing happened, I crawled up onto the edge of the hotel roof.

The sun had almost fully risen, and the obelisks were almost at the beach.

I did not want to see what horrors they would bring upon the world, so I took one look back at the hotel before sauntering off the edge, plunging thirty-four stories to the ground below.

Screams and shouting filled my ears almost as much as the incessant ringing, as well as some unfamiliar voices.

“Jesus Christ, someone call an ambulance!”

“Did he jump?”

Yeah, right off the fucking roof; he should be dead!”

“Jesus Christ.”

A familiar voice appeared. “Everyone, please back away, medical officials will be here shortly to move him to a hospital.” It was the receptionist; she should have been dead.

That’s when my eyes finally opened and I saw what was left of my mangled body; my legs were practically a red paste, one arm had practically broken off due to the impact and the other one was somewhere twisted under me.

“Iugh emeugh.” I tried to speak but only broken teeth, blood, and a piece of my tongue came out.

The receptionist looked down at me worriedly, shooing the small crowd away as an ambulance pulled in.

She crouched down beside me, smiling as the EMTs hurried in our direction.

In an almost inaudible whisper, she leaned in and said,
“I hope you enjoyed your stay at the Broughton Palace.”

Credit: Jpwilliams

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