01 Feb Worst Hotel: Shift 2
Ok, first of all, I learned that if I leave my laptop sitting out with the file open, that certain room mates who think I have a “limited” vocabulary sneak in little changes while I’m not looking to make me sound more eloquitated. I appreciate the gesture, but it makes me feel like they think I’m simple or something. Just cause I got a little gambling problem don’t mean I’m stupid. So this time I’M gonna use big words without anyone’s help. Not even one of those dinosaurus books.
So after I get the rundown of the weird brass looking bar thing, Lezley escorts me out of my room and back to the elevator. Once we exit on the 8th floor he walks me over to the room marked with a number 1.
“Ok, this is the custodial nexus for this floor.” He explained. “You take your number 1 key like this and unlock the door.”
We then entered the room and I was shown over to another door on the far side that had a large panel of key holes numbered 2-260. Pointing to the panel he spoke again.
“This is your room directory. Put your number 1 key into the key hole of the room you need to go to and then open the door. Remember to take your key in with you otherwise when you leave the room you’ll have to walk all the way back from whatever room you were in at the time. But as long as you have the key, when you open the door it will bring you back to the custodial nexus.” He continued.
He then showed me a large whiteboard covered in names and numbers.
“This is where you’ll find your room assignments once you get them. They change from day to day based on who’s on non-custodial duty at any given time, so be sure to always check it. Room work is pretty standard.” He said, turning me the other direction to face shelves of fresh sheets, towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, carts, and so on.
“Just load up your cart like so, change the sheets, blankets, and pillow cases, give the bathroom a wipe down, vacuum, dust, take care of any other small things you notice, and you’re all set. Then you bring the dirty crap back here and drop it down the laundry shoot. Sound easy enough?” He asked once he finished.
“Um, yeah I guess. That still doesn’t explain why I need this crazy police baton from hell though.” I said, gesturing to the metal bar on my belt.
“Ah yeah yeah, that’s coming up next. Now that you know what to do up here, we go down to Mr. Giggles’ fun time room.” He answered.
“Is that really what it’s called?!” I asked, seeing the name printed over the entrance to the room. “I thought you were screwing with me!”
“Yeah, but that’s just to soften the blow of being one of the worst experiences of your life.” He replied before suddenly shoving me in and slamming the door behind me.
I looked around for a second to take in my new surroundings, Lezley’s words echoing in my brain. The first thing I noticed was how plain the room was. It was very clean, almost im… imaclate… It was spotless, but practically empty. Then I realized the floor was covered in padded gym type mats from one side to the other.
“Welcome friend.” A strange voice snaked across the room from an unseen source.
“Were are you? How are you hiding in here?” I asked the voice.
The voiced answered back, “I was not aware the standing behind someone counts as hiding.”
I spun around on my heel as fast as I could but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw, or… what I didn’t see I guess. I don’t know, it’s still pretty hard to explain. It had the basic from of a human, you might even say a man, but within that outline was just absence. No light, no shapes, no dimension, nothing. You can’t really appreciate it without seeing for yourself. It was difficult to even look at. It wasn’t like empty space but… more like the thing’s appearance was based on information human eyes aren’t able to detect, so my eyes couldn’t see in that specific area. I was basically looking into blindness… in the shape of a man.
My eyes started to hurt so I turned away and sat on the padded floor. “Mr. Giggles I presume.”
“I do ever so hate that. It’s Jhigless, but the staff have given me that awful nickname.” He responded.
“Oh I’m sorry Mr. Jhigless.” I said.
“It’s quite alright young man.” The entity known as Mr. Jhigless replied in his ethereal voice. “Now shall we begin your training? We have a very long way to go. Many months before the door will open again.”
“Yeah I guess… WAIT! WHAT DO YOU MEAN MONTHS?!” I barked as I stood to face him.
“Do not worry. You will have everything you require in here and for those outside it shall only seem to have been but a moment between when you enter and when you exit. And by the time you leave you will be among the ranks of the finest warriors on the face of the earth.” He tried to explain.
So after pitching another legendary shit fit, it was explained to me that the entity I was sequestered(I been to court enough to know that word well) with was responsible for training the hotel staff in the use of this weird weapon stick thing they just called a cudgel. Once you get the hang of it you can pretty much change it into any kind of weapon you need at the time or just prefer. And we were about to spend the better part of a year(or so I was led to believe) giving me the works on how to use as many variations of that thing as possible and even how to fight without it. But even through all that I never got a straight answer as to why…
I lost track of time in that place. No days or nights. Food would just show up and disappear. Every now and then I’d get new clothes after my old ones started to fall apart on my body. There was a shit bucket. I’d rather not talk about the shit bucket.
I did learn that I had a rare talent for splitting the cudgel in half and turning one half into a sword and the other half into a shield. Apparently there’s only one other member in cluster 8 that can even do that. And I always liked that movie Troy and fighting with a short sword and a shield made me feel like Achilles, so I kinda formed a preference for that.
The training was miserable however. My waking hours that weren’t dedicated to drills or repetitive motions or physical fitness were allotted to sparring with Mr. Jhigless that increased in intensity until by the end I felt as though each session was a for real struggle for my life. My countless injuries were treated with strange and potent balms and medicines that healed me in hours. I knew nothing but combat for what quickly became an unnumberable amount of days. I felt my sanity beginning to slip away. Then all at once, without any warning the door suddenly creaked open allowing the hall lights from outside to shine in.
I slowly edged my way out.
“Damn man! Mr. Giggles must have really seen something in you. You were in there for like 3 whole seconds. I’ve never even heard of that! I was only in there for like one. Maybe one and a half! That must have been brutal.” I heard Lezley speak to me.
I turned and had to give my mind time to readjust to seeing actual shapes and colors within a human profile. After that I walked slowly over to him, took both hands and grabbed the collar of his shirt, and pulled his face close to mine as I took a deep breath.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” I screamed into his face at the top of my lungs, the infinite hours of pent up insanity all pouring out at once. “He prefers Mr. Jhigless…” I said softly before pushing him away.
“Boy you really were in there for a while weren’t you? Alright, now that’s out of the way, time to take you to see The Manager.” He said and began leading me down another hall.
A few minutes later we were at the door to the manager’s office. This is the kind of experience you never ever forget, no matter how messed up in the head you are at the time.
“Ok, I’m gonna take off back to the main desk and try to get some work done. So you just knock and enter when you’re told to. And you might want to mind your manners in there.” Lezley cautioned. It didn’t take long to understand why.
As he turned and walked back the way we came I reached out to give a few raps on the door but before I could, “Come in” sounded through the wood. It was a old voice. Like what you’d expect a grandfather who’s also a lumberjack to have. Soft and stern. Aged and wise. I felt a tingle of reverence run down my spine before I ever turned the knob.
As I entered I noticed that this room looked very much like a normal everyday office you’d see at any hotel. Finally some normalcy you might think. But then I notice that I was again seemingly alone. Until the far wall… Well the far wall behind the desk literally molded into a vaguely human shape, taking a seat at the dest as it did.
“Please Travis, come have a seat my boy.” The… wall said, gesturing to the chair on the opposite side of the desk. “Now, I’m sure you have a lot of questions.” The strange entity protruding from the wall spoke.
“Uh yeah, but the wall thing and the room… Was in there so long. Kinda forgot what they were.” I answered quietly as I looked around the room from my seat.
“Oh yes yes. Don’t worry. It takes a few hours but most of the memory of the time spent in there will fade away before long to seem like a mere dream.” The manager explained.
“Oh… Ok.” I mumbled, noticing that I was still tightly grasping the cudgel. I had got used to keeping it ready to fend off Mr. Jhingless’s surprise attacks. I got to where I could take the thing from a solid bar to a sword and shield in about half a second and be ready to fight.
“Come come, no need for that in here.” The Manager said, noticing me fiddling with it in my hand.
“Oh, ok.” I repeated, sliding it back into its pouch for the first time in what felt like ages.
“I suppose you’re probably wondering what all of this is.” He said, gesturing around in a broad motion. “Well to put it as plainly as possible, it’s me. Yes, me. I am the hotel. I am also responsible for the initiation of the various dimensions that this hotel connects.”
“I um, wait. Wouldn’t that make you… God or something?” I asked as a sensation I still can’t adequately describe washed over me.
“Ah, well yes and no. If you mean in the Biblical sense, then very much no. If you mean as the catalyst for the thing you know as the universe, then I am afraid so. But please, try not to think of me that way. There are many different beings native to many of the various dimensions that call themselves gods, yours included. And yes, even the one in the Bible. Though I must admit I’m not overly fond of that one myself. But as it stands, I only have my staff intervene in issues that involve a being from one dimension causing problems in another that they aren’t native to.” He explained.
“So wait… If you’re God, does that make me an angel? AM I DEAD?!” I yelled, leaping up from my chair.
“Oh sit down. You aren’t dead and you’re hardly anything close to an angel.” He said. “Though if you do ever run into one do be a dear and get rid of it for me. Awful, arrogant, meddlesome things they are. That cudgel can kill anything in any dimension. I make the metal myself so you can bet the farm on it. And I believe after spending… Oh my goodness, five years with Mr. Jhingless, oh dear dear dear. You poor boy.” The Manager said standing from his chair and placing a hand on my shoulder causing a mixture of excitement, nausea, and reverence to all wash over me at once. “You go back to your room. He knows better than to keep someone for that long. Get some rest and come back tomorrow and we’ll talk some more, ok?”
“Yeah, yeah. I think I’ll do that.” I replied, stirring back to my feet and making for the door.
As I past by the hall that leads to the front desk on the way back to the common room I could hear a commotion in the distance. It sounded like screams! I took off full speed down the hall to investigate. I slid to a halt as I ran head first into a nightmare. Strange giant insect, spider like creatures were scuttling everywhere. Suddenly I heard a massive WHOOSH and felt a wave of heat from my left.
Lezley was wearing an actual flamethrower and was blasting fire up and down the walls scorching the bug things as he went. Every puff of flames sending more of the monstrosities shrieking and scurrying for dear life in their final moments. In a flash something lunged at me, knocking me down to the floor. As soon as my ass hit the ground one of those things took off full speed straight towards me with a ear splitting cry. I recoiled and covered my face, ready for the sharp, pointy legs to grab hold of me. But before it could I heard a earth shattering SMASH and felt the ground lurch beneath me a little.
I opened my eyes to see that Pete had crushed the bug into a million bloody pieces with a gigantic mallet. Then in one motion he snatched the hammer from the massive crater in the floor and swung for my head. I jumped sideways as the mallet slammed into the wall behind me causing a sharp squeak from the creature it just obliterated.
“Welcome to Thunderdome bitch.” He said with his trademark slimy grin before prying his hammer from the wall and continuing on his bug smashing rampage across the main lobby.
By the time I got back to my room the thoughts in my head had plenty of time to swirl into a hurricane of frustration. I snatched open the door and started to yank and pull at my tattered staff shirt. “FIVE YEARS! FIVE FUCKING YEARS IN THAT ROOM WITH THAT WALKING HEADACHE MONSTER and I couldn’t even kill a BUG!!” I exclaimed, throwing my staff shirt across the room in anger.
“It takes some time.” A voice from behind me said.
“AH JESUS!! Oh… You’re here.” I said to my room mate who had all but faded from my memory over the last five years. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you were in here.”
“It’s ok Travis. It takes time for the memories from the time in the room to fade and the memories from before to take their place. And you were in there for longer than anyone so I have heard. It may take longer for you, but it will happen. We have all gone through this. I promise.” She said.
“Oh boy am I actually glad to see you again.” I said to the porcelain white being I shared a room with. I was beginning to remember our talk. It began to feel more like last night again and less like years ago. “So I just have to wait for all that stuff to kick in?” I asked.
“Yes. Before long everything you learned and practiced in the room will come back to you.” She answered. I sat down on the bed next to her, resting my head in my hands and running my fingers through my hair as I spoke. “Oh boy oh boy. First day on the job and I’m already five years into the job. Ain’t that some shit…” Which caused my room mate to laugh loudly in response.
“Yes, this is a very different place, but I will help you through.” She said, taking my hand in hers.
I didn’t notice at first, but at that moment was when I realized, hey… she’s kinda… pretty. I felt a sharp pain against my temple as the sound of metal clanging on the floor rattled across the small room.
“You left your 1 key in the fun-time room jackass.” Sasha the she-beast barked at me from the door before storming off.
“Fuck you very much!” I replied.
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” She exclaimed, poking her head back around the corner.
“I… uh, said thank you for bringing the key back. Appreciate it.” I stammered.
“Oh leave him alone Sasha. He just spent five years in there.” My room mate scolded.
“Hmmm….” The woman shaped ball of attitude mumbled, squinting her eyes at me before retreating back down the hall.
“I… think I’m going to take a shower. I haven’t had one in forever. I’ve been taking sponge baths for the last… No wait, I had one the other day. Or, hold on…” I trailed off, trying to square away whether my last shower was a few years or a few days ago.
“Ah see? It’s already happening. Your memory is fixing itself.” My room mate said excitedly.
“Yeah… guess so.” I replied. “Maybe the shower will help.”
“Oh yes! What a good idea! I was just planning to take one as well.” She said. “Also my name is Eena.”
“Um right, Travis.” I said smiling. A smile that faded the instant I remembered the the bath house was… coed. A heat wave washed over me that felt like I just stuck my face in an oven.
It took me several minutes to even start to bathe on account of most of my focus being devoted to keeping my eyes aimed at the floor and off of the nudity that presented itself in an abundance of various, strange forms all over the bath house. You don’t even want to know what some of the got. And yeah, for all the nosey little perverts out there, I did sneak a peek at Eena, and I was admittedly somewhat relieved that she’s really similar to your average human female. In general appearance that is. I couldn’t say for sure if the hardware matched up. Keep it in your pants there sickos.
The next morning as I got dressed for my first “day” on the job I hear a knock on the door. I opened it to the sight of Lezley again.
“You’re going to the library today.” He chirped.
“What library?…” I yawned in response.
“Oh you’ll see.” He answered with a smirk. “You’re going to be an escort for one of the travelers. All you gotta do is keep them safe and make sure that not a single book leaves that place. Simple enough right?”
“Um, yeah sure.” I said, stifling another yawn.
I was then led to an elevator door that was situated not too far from The Manager’s office. Waiting in front of the door was a man, based on appearances, but I started getting a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach the second I laid eyes on him. Dressed in all black he wore an old timey flat brim hat and dark glasses with those oldschool round lenses. The hem of his long black coat hovered just over the ground next to his glossy black shoes.
As I got closer I could tell that he was pale as a ghost and slim beneath his clothes. “Hey how you doing?” I said, forcing myself to extend my hand to introduce myself.
“I’m sure the pleasure’s all mine.” The man said sarcastically, refusing my gesture. The man’s acidic voice oozed through the air. I wanted to be mad at the guy but I was too busy being caught up on his voice. It sounded deep and kinda foreign, like if Alan Rickman had a sore throat or something.
“Damn guy, I that’s some voice you got there. Bet you could make a killing on audio books.” I said before thinking, causing Lezley to slap me on the shoulder.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” He snapped.
“Ow shit! My bad…” I replied.
“Either way, you’ll be accompanying our guest while he visits the library.” He added, pointing towards the door the man stood in front of. “Try to behave.”
“You telling me this guy can’t find his way around a damn Books a Million?” I asked, agitation now apparent in my tone.
“This ain’t no book store buddy. And aside from it making the library at Alexandria look like a Scholastic book fair, not a single book is allowed to leave that place, not ever. The guest can take notes or copy information, but not a single book leaves. Aside from keeping an eye on the guest you’re also there to act as a bodyguard in the more isolated regions.” Lezley explained. “No. No more talking, he’s waited on you and your bullshit long enough.” He continued, slapping the only button next to the elevator, which showed a crude image of a book.
The door dinged as it parted and I entered after the strange man. He then reached out and pressed a button identical to the one on the outside, causing the doors to close and the elevator to descend. After about a minute I noticed that the bottom of the elevator began to drop down pass a border of some kind. Turns out the inside doors were glass and once you pass a certain point you can, well… you get to see the library.
And you really need this view to truly appreciate this place. By the time we were able to see through the glass we were what had to be no less than a thousand feet up. The elevator is built into one of the colossal natural stone columns that descended from the ceiling to the ground below. As I looked down on the library I almost fell to my knees. Not from the vertigo like you might expect. No, what almost made me drop was not just the fact that I was looking out into an underground library that seemingly had no end. Not just that, but that I slowly started to notice that the patches of light began to define themselves as we got closer.
They were cities. Small buildings and houses and all kinds of ina… astructure…. Roads and bridges an shit. Entire cities separated from one another by expanses of darkness in a second world of endless night. Pressing my hand against the glass for a better look, I let a single sentence escape my lips.
“Oh my god…” I whispered.
“I remember my first time seeing it.” The man spoke from behind me, damn near causing me to piss myself. I forgot he was in there with me and that Dracula voice didn’t help.
Once we hit the bottom and stepped out the real shocker hit me. Everything was a library. I mean everything. The sides of the buildings and houses were all shelves covered top to bottom in books of every shape, size, and color. The public benches, book shelves. The bases of statues, books shelves. The god damn trees, BOOK SHELVES! The actual tree trunks grew in the shape of book shelves and where all covered in the damn things. And people, well… when I say people I mean all kinds of people. Like the ones back up top in the hotel people. Anyway, people were just walking around like this is normal. Of course some of them looked like they were made of vapor and some were literally glowing, so take the word normal with a grain of salt.
“This is supposedly the only place were people from all the different clusters can coexist in their natural states.” The shady man next to me mentioned. “The rumor even says The Manager had to bind himself to the hotel to make this place. If he ever left I imagine this place would fall into turmoil and chaos almost immediately.” The man spoke again. “Now, no time to waste. Long trip ahead of us.” He added, pulling a map from his coat and beginning to walk.
We stopped by a small shop first and bought packs and a considerable amount of supplies with a some coins in a small bag Lezley handed me, before we headed into the seemingly endless labyrinth of bookshelves. And when I say bookshelves I mean they are similar to the structures in the town, but more crude. Stone shelves rose from the ground stories high along side more of the mysterious book trees. I even spotted old scrolls and tablets from time to time.
The deeper we traveled the fewer and fewer people we crossed paths with. Occasionally I would see a person appear heading the opposite direction back into town pulling an empty wagon, and seeing as when we left we were accompanied for a short time by several others pulling carts of their own full of books, I assumed that they were workers who’s job was to take new additions to the library to their proper place. Once I realized this… the haggard and scarred appearance they all shared brought me no ease at all. Each of them looked more like gladiators than librarians. Some even wearing armor. I even saw one missing a leg that had been replaced with a pro-proseethical? A fake one made of wood carved into the shape of the leg that used to be there.
“Jesus… What the hell goes on in this place?” I asked the man, but got no response.
We walked and walked and walked until we finally settled down and made camp for the… Well not exactly the night because it’s always the same and once you reach a certain point the light of the town fades and you’re left with just the glow of the few, I guess “natural” lights that grow from the tree trunks, and whatever lightsource you brought with you. Luckily our lamps were bright enough to set our half assed camp by.
The first time we stopped I had the thought to read some of the books that surrounded me, but I couldn’t even find one in a language I recognized, never mind one I could read. So that was the only time I attempted that. Turns out the earpiece doesn’t work on text… Bumer.
Things started to get weird the second stop. I know “weird” is very relative and subjective in this case, but you get what I’m saying. After we both laid down to sleep I began to hear things. They sounded like chirps at first, like birds in the distance. But as time went on they got closer… and sounded a lot less like chirping. The sounds began to remind me more of someone screaming into a pillow very loudly and at a very high pitch. Now I started to freak out a bit…
My holy-shit-o-meter maxed out when I began to notice the sounds were encircling us. And I could hear scratching as whatever made them crawled over and around and through the bookshelves and trees and across the ground. I crawled over to the man in a panic.
“Hey, HEY! There’s something around us in the dark!” I whispered sharply, trying to shake him awake.
“Yes I already know.” The man answered, apparently already awake. “Now be still and shut up and they’ll leave you alone, or don’t, and be dragged screaming and dying into the dark. I really, absolutely could not care less either way.” He said, rolling over on his side to face the direction opposite to me.
“Why the fuck would you say that?! You hateful motherf-” I started to say, but one of the muffled shrieks in the distance made me stop. I crawled slowly back to my pallet and wrapped myself in the blanket. I didn’t sleep at all.
Once we packed up and began to walk again, against my better judgment, I started asking more questions. And boy did I get answers. Granted I think he was as bored as I was or he likely would have told me to leave him alone.
My first question was obviously what the hell were those things I heard. Short answer, basically alligator sized giant lizard jackal things that can run down a gazelle and change their skin like an octopus. Also they’re poisonous. Or… not poisonous, the one where they bite you and you die, not you bite them and you die. That one. And are part of the reason Hotel staff are sent to escort visitors. But all things considered this guy seemed more like he’d eat one of them then the other way around.
Second question was how the hell he even knew about this place. I wasn’t really ready for the answer.
“I used to work here. Many, many years ago.” He explained. “I used to make those cudgels you’re carrying on your hip right now.”
“What for real? You’re serious?!” I croaked. “How long ago we talkin? Like what year?”
“Oh who’s to say?” He pondered. “Let’s see… My brother James had just set sail for the states. He was a first mate if I recall. Cornwallace had surrendered not too long before. I remember having to put down my slaves before I left.”
“Oh whoa whoa! Did you just say ‘my slaves’, like you owned people and put them down like animals?!” I barked in disgust.
“Well of course. I worked them pretty hard, and I couldn’t sell them off. Nobody wants to pay good money for a worn out negro.” He said so casually it made me physically ill.
“You’re an appalling son of a bitch aren’t you?” I hissed at his back.
“Now now, let’s not get off topic.” He hummed. “About the time I left I believe the automobile was just coming into fashion. What a delightful uproar they caused. Nobody knew how to drive, no real laws or regulations, people dying in the streets left and right. You should have seen it.” He finished with a chuckle.
“How they hell is that even possible? That was like 500 years ago.” I asked Mr. Grand Wizard.
“Ah well you see, you don’t age while you work at the hotel. One of the perks. You can stay and work there as long as you want and never lose a second of your precious little life.” He answered. “As long as that key is in your hand you don’t have to worry about dying of old age.”
“But that still don’t explain how you’re still here walking around. I mean you look old but you’d basically be a mummy by now.” I stated. Not fully registering that someone just told me I was basically Highlander.
“And normally that would be absolutely correct and possibly the smartest thing you’ve said since we met. However this is not my first pilgrimage through this place.” He said, motioning his hand to our surroundings. “I’ve spent an ample amout of time in this place learning little known secrets of the universe. Longevity being one of many. Anything I can to separate myself as far and completely as possible from the human condition.”
“Jeez guy, most people just get some tattoos and some crazy piercings or something.” I mumbled. “So what’s your shady ass doing down here this time?”
“Minding my own business.” He said in an unnervingly sudden threatening tone.
After several days of mindless wandering with the constant sound of those jackalgator things following us the whole way, we finally came to another village.
“Ahhh, finally.” The man sighed in relief.
“Is this where we’re looking for?” I asked.
“Indeed it is. This particular town is called Collector’s Canyon. Many of the inhabitants here run small shops where they collect very specific, top quality books from around the library and sell the opportunity to read them for a very steep price. Each shop usually deals in books of a specific subject. One shop might offer you a scientific breakthrough that could change the world, or another one might be where you can read the most terrifying horror stories ever written, or perhaps the single greatest mystery novel in hundreds of dimensions.” He explained.
“Why so expensive though? There’s books out the ass in this place.” I asked.
“Yes that’s exactly why the service exists at all. Billions and billions of books and no means of categorization? There’s no way for the average person to find what they’re looking for in several lifetimes. These are professionals with closely guarded trade secrets on how to search for the very best books.” He answered. “Now we are looking for a particular shop, which according to this map is… this way.”
“Hey, why is it called Collector’s Canyon if there’s no-” I began to ask, but I was answered before I could finish. After walking past a few small houses I was now looking out into a massive crack in the earth. I remember going to the Grand Canyon as a kid and let me tell you… You could fit several of them in this thing. And what’s more, from the canyon walls there were what looked like sideways stalactites that jutted out far into the air. The were almost the size of skyscrapers, but even more amazing was they looked like they were hollowed out, little specs of light shinning through what looked like windows.
It took the man bumping into my shoulder as he walked by to bring me back to my senses. Following behind I asked in astonishment, “Yo. YO are you seeing this?!”
“Hm? Oh yes yes, very amazing.” He murmured to himself as he checked the map once again. “We need to make our way to the bottom.” My Bond villain of a ward directed.
After some time we finally reached the bottom and worked our way through to a small corner of the canyon wall. There we found a small shack of a shop situated just benieth the base of where one of those sideways stalactite things met the wall.
I read the shop’s sign…
“Curses: Mythology and Science, Theory and Application”