01 Feb Worst Hotel: Shift 3
So me and this guy are standing outside this shop, “Curses: Mythology and Science, Theory and Application” the sign says. He goes to walk in and I start to follow him.
“Oh no, you stay out here.” He said, putting his hand on my chest to stop me.
“What? Why?” I asked, knocking his hand off me.
He didn’t respond. He just turned and kept walking into the shop.
“I guess I’ll go fuck myself then!” I yelled after him.
“An excellent suggestion!” The man called back, walking through the door.
So I just strolled around in front of the shop for a while until my feet got tired and I found a bench to sit on. I plopped down, tossing my bag to the side and sat back to watch all the strange creatures walk by and go about their business. I took a little time to appreciate the situation by looking up from the bottom of the canyon at the crisscrossing building sized stone structures sticking out from the canyon walls, the lights flickering as occupants walked by the windows. I really had to make it a point to come back and see what it was like inside one. This place was amazing.
About half way through staring at this weird person thing with flashing lights all over its body, someone who had sat down next to me without me noticing decided to speak to me. “HEY! HOTEL STAFF!” The voice erupted in my ear.
“Holy fuck guy! What the hell?!” I yelled, jumping out of my skin. “Where the hell’d you come from?!”
“Same place as you, more or less.” The being next to me said, gesturing to their black clothes that matched mine. They had a deep, almost booming voice and muscles under and over other muscles. This guy had what I can only describe as Snookie orange skin that looked like you could have used it to sand paint of your car. His hair was long and a deep crimson red and looked like each strand was as thick as twine, causing it to almost stand up on its own.
“Escort duty?!” The orange man mountain thundered.
“Um yeah, you too?” I answered, flinching from the volume.
“HAHA! NO!” The golem replied, slamming his fist into his chest, causing an unbelievably deep thud that shook the ground hard enough to unsettle dust and small rocks and actually made me feel a little sick for a second or two. How did this monster sneak up on me? How was this bench even holding him up? “I come here on vacation from the Hotel! My family works and lives here!” He boomed with a smile, puffing his chest out proudly. “I was just on my way back when I saw you.” He said a bit softer this time. “You must be the new 137. The one who can break his cudgel. I have heard about you and wanted to meet you.” He added.
“Oh, yeah. That’s me. How do you already know me all the way down here?” I asked. I just started a couple days ago and I was in that crazy room for one of them.”
“Word travels faster than feet in this place my friend. And someone who can break a cudgel is big news.” He explained. “Especially anyone who Mr. Giggles kept for so long.”
“He prefers Mr. Jhigless.” I said before thinking of what might come from correcting what just had to be an actual titan sitting next to me. “Uh I uh, is it really that big of a deal?” I added in an attempt at diversion.
“Oh yes my friend! It is very exciting news!” He bellowed again. [Ok, I started using a thesaurus. Sue me.] “You must be very talented! I came to test you for myself before I leave!”
“Oh that’s very flattering for you to s-WHOA WHAT WAIT WHAT?!” I shouted in the purest terror of what he might have just suggested. “Test me HOW?!”
“I challenge you to spar with me!” He said proudly, slamming his fist into his chest again even harder, the resulting boom caused a ring of dust to race across the ground in all directions and my vision to blur for a second. This guy is making me physically ill just by pounding his chest and he wants me to try and fight him? Good god… What fresh hell is this?
“Thanks for the offer Mr. uhhh…” I said. “What did you say your name was?”
“Eayoninnvort Dorkestadim Corthakawl!” He proclaimed, following with his hardest chest pound yet. I think that one might have rattled something loose in my brain because if you had asked me my name right then, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you what letter it starts with.
Once I recovered I gave talking another try. “Th-thanks for the offer Mr… Guy. But I like being alive and you’d crush me like an empty peanut shell.”
“Nonsense!” He shouted. “Come! We fight!” He said, grabbing one of my arms in what he might have considered a delicate grip, and drug me away from the bench like a wet towel, the tips of my boots dragging across the ground behind me leaving two sad little parallel trails along the way. [Hey, this thesaurus thing is pretty handy.]
“Remember to make your cudgel weapons dull for sparing.” He reminded me, as if anything I could produce could penetrate whatever supernatural Rino Lining his body was wrapped in under any amount of force I could generate.
“Ready… Set… GOOOO!” He rumbled, raising his own cudgel level with me. And before I knew what happened I was sliding across the ground, a loud metallic ringing sounding in my ears.
I opened my eyes, looking up into the dark cavernous void of the library sky. I was holding something… somethings. In both hands. A shield. A sword. I didn’t even remember doing that. I mean if I didn’t I probably would have been a red stain on a wall across the canyon at that moment, but I still didn’t remember doing it. I didn’t have time to. It all happened so fast.
“Mr. Giggles taught you well! You have good intuition!” The orange monster thundered as he stood next to a massive club like weapon that was almost as big as my entire body. How the hell was he supposed to make that dull for sparing? It was like dropping a bronze statue on someone, dull or not.
“Alright fucker…” I said under my breath as I stood and came to my senses.
“WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON?!” A voice called out from behind the giant. “Can you not behave for 5 minutes?!” A bluish skinned woman with gray hair and hotel staff clothing yelled, walking up to the scene. She looked mean but might put and end to all this for me… What luck.
“This is the new 137! I was having a sparing match with him!” The man exclaimed happily. This changed the new woman’s attitude immediately.
“Oh really? I got next.” She said and then moved back out of the way. My savior had abandoned me…
A loud grunt came from my side. Without looking I rolled out of the way just in time to see the human sized maul stick decimate the ground where I was standing a split second before. I was almost a peanut shell… But I was still 2 for 2 in the not dying department, so I took some initiative. I got to my feet and took off circling to his right.
He did exactly what I thought he would. Taking a wild swing to try and stop me from moving, I was able to duck under it and get an opening. I swung my sword down against his open back… which bounced off with an obnoxious clang. “Maybe it itched a little”, I hoped to myself. I wasn’t gonna be able to do shit against that truck bed lining skin of his, sharp weapons or not. So I thought quick and hatched a plan in desperation.
While the orange hulk was getting ready to swing that giant club of his, I noticed he hadn’t change the shape since we started. Maybe he either really liked that one or just wasn’t good at switching from one to the other. It was big and heavy and easy to get behind. My idea was born.
I snapped the sword and shield halves back together, aiming the bar at his face. As he reared back I changed the bar to a spear. I learned with Mr. Jhigless that you can use the spear as an arrow like thing from a certain distance as it transforms. The head shot forward like a bullet, ricocheting off the center of his forehead causing his head to snap back, stunning him for just a second as bright sparks flew off his surprised face in all directions.
I sprinted forward as I brought the spear back to me and swapped it back for my sword and shield once again. In response he swung the massive weapon like a golf club, launching huge chunks of earth and rock at me. I managed to block a lot of it with my shield but a hunk of something hard caught my shin, knocking my left leg out from under me. But I didn’t stop. As my leg gave out I leapt forward with the other and rolled under the giant’s follow up attack.
I was close and almost underneath him. I put the two halves back together as fast as I could, aimed one end towards the ground and the other at his stomach, and expanded it in both directions as far as it would go. Lezley was right, they do come out fast.
The force launched the beast at least 30 feet into the air and back down to the ground in a loud crash. But he was back on his feet in a second like he just tripped and fell. I readied myself again as he reached down and plucked the huge club out of its… crater… where it fell, like it was a toy and rested it on his shoulder.
“Nicely done. You are a clever fighter. You think fast and use you weapon in unique ways.” He praised me with a chuckle.
“Me next.” The blue woman said, stepping between us.
“Here we go. At least maybe she won’t try to mash me like a bug.” I thought to myself as I split my cudgel in two again in preparation this time, and raised the shield.
In the blink of an eye she drew her cudgel from its holster and leveled it at me. This time I had enough time to angle my shield as the head of a spear rocketed toward me. I felt the impact and heard the clang as it deflected off to my left, almost knocking be off balance. I began to notice that the transformation speed of the cudgel seem to be a popular way to launch a preemptive attack and close the distance among the other Hotel staff as well. I took my chance without thinking. I bolted straight down the center line at her, keeping my shield against her spear.
When I finally reached her I dropped to one knee. By now she had managed to retract the spear and change it to a small ax, which she swung down at me, but my shield was already waiting in anticipation over my head. The ax clashed against it as I swung my sword at her leg. She was able to step back and avoid it but I used that momentum to spin and bring my sword up to my shield, swapping the shield side for the sword and the sword for the shield in an instant to use my left hand to swing my sword towards her leg once more as she tried to advance. Switching hands again I threw a thrust straight for her as I rose to my feet causing her to abandon her offensive weapon for a single shield of her own.
I had her on the fence. She was good, but she wasn’t Mr. Jhigless. Or so I thought. In the second we were locked up I caught a glimpse of her face… and the wide ass grin on it. “Balls…” I whimpered softly to myself. Suddenly her head ducked down out of sight and what I assume was the heel of her foot made contact with my temple…
I woke up some not entirely known to me amount of time later, being drug by the collar of my shirt out of the canyon. Taking a moment to pay attention to something other than the headache thumping in my skull, I looked back over my shoulder to see the creepy guy I came with.
He felt me moving around and dropped me. “Thanks.” I said, “How long was I out?”
“Didn’t do it for you.” The man said. “If I show up without you they might think I had something to do with it or that I ran off unsupervised. Otherwise I would have left you to rot and went back alone.”
“My fucking hero…” I said to his back as I got to my feet, trying to remember how I got there.
“HE’S AWAKE!!” A familiar explosion of a voice detonated from behind me, damn near giving me a stroke. “You took a very hard hit my friend!”
Oh dear god… They had followed us out of the canyon. The orange man and the blue woman. I staggered to my feet and collected my bag from the orange giant, who explained that they decided to travel back with us, since they were leaving about the same time we were. I don’t think my companion was too happy about it, but having these two around would be helpful if we ended up running into those jackalgator things.
Mostly they just kept to themselves for the majority of the trip and did their own thing. But we did talk enough for me to find out that they were room mates. And that room mates basically equates to like partners. Like cop partners, not like under the sheets partners. But it was pretty common for room mates to be a pairing of male and female, usually of pretty different personalities. The supposed idea being that it made the two more open minded and that having two different minds meant that one might notice things or think of solutions the other didn’t. And if you live together with your partner you become really familiar with how they think and act. Lets you work together a lot better under stressful conditions. So they explained.
This made me even more excited to get back to Eena and tell her about everything. Maybe underplay the whole getting a mud hole stomped in my ass by a blue chick half my size though. I took one last look out over the endless expanse of the library as the elevator raised us back into the hotel. This place is insane, don’t get me wrong… but it’s kinda fucking awesome too when you think about it. “Maybe working here won’t be so bad after all.” I thought to myself as the library vanished from view.
“EENA YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS SHIT!!” I said slamming the door to my room open causing my terrified room mate to quickly fumble something in her hands before stuffing it under her pillow as her hair did that weird thing where it turned into a helmet/mask looking thing.
“Oh dear Travis! You scared me so bad.” She complained, looking up at me as her hair softened and fell back down over her shoulders.
“Does it do that by itself when you get scared?” I asked pointing at her gorgeous pearl white hair. “And what are you hiding? You looking at some of that interdimensional porn Shasha was talking about.”
“WHAT?! NO!” She said throwing her blanket over her pillow to further hide whatever was under it. And for the first time I saw color appear on her porcelain skin. She blushed. I didn’t even know she could.
Not knowing what to do about a blushing ghost white alien room mate woman, I just said, “I need a shower cause I’m like two weeks worth of gross. I’ll tell ya all about the trip to the library when I get back.” To which she nodded, her hands still tightly covering her pillow. “And I wanna see some of that interdimensional porn when I get back back! BAHA!” I teased, pointing at her pillow.
“TRAVIS! EWW!” She shrieked, throwing one of her hotel staff boots at me as I ducked for cover behind the closing door.
About the time I heard the sound of the boot thump against the other side of the door, I heard another sound from behind me. I heard the creak of door hinges which made me turn to see some shit I didn’t want to believe. Two heads, one on top of the other, peaking out through the opening at me, wide smiles plastered across their faces.
The top one was large with a familiar Snookie orange skin and thick red hair. The one on bottom had blue skin and shiny gray hair. And for the first time I realized who my new neighbors were.
“Aw fucking hell… Please tell me you’re screwing with me…” I moaned. Both of them cracking an even wider wide grin as they shook their heads.
“Sorry chum.” The blue broad said mockingly. “We were here first you know. Looks like you’re stuck with us. How’s the dome?”
“I can still feel my god damn heart beat in my skull, thanks.” I snapped at her, the lady who had already kicked the shit out of me once. Not my brightest idea since I got here I’ll admit.
On that she started to open the door the rest of the way which inspired me to move my ass and hustle down the hallway towards the showers. I peeled off my clothes(they were pretty stank at this point) in the locker kind of area and slipped into the bathing area only to run into the mean Sasha chick, butt ass naked. I slipped on the wet floor and barely managed to catch myself.
“Ah shit! Sorry!” I yelled covering my eyes.
“Yeah you need to get over that. Naked’s naked around here. Guy or girl or whatever.” She said, moving forward a few steps so I could shimmy past her.
“Um yeah, right. I’m just not quite used to this whole setup yet.” I said, scooting by, making sure to stay ass to ass the whole time. I defaulted to urinal etiquette and picked a faucet a few away. I guess she caught me rubbing my head because as I started to turn the water on, she spoke.
“You should get in the hot spring over there. It’s special water. It won’t grow your arm back or anything, but it’s kinda like bathing in aspirin.” She told me.
“Oh… Cool. Thanks.” I replied, twisting the knob back and wandering over to the spring. It really was a hot spring. I sighed in relief as I lowered myself into the hot water. “Hey you were right Sasha! This is really nice. Thanks!” Is exactly what I would have said, if it wasn’t for half way through my sentence a massive reptile skinned monster jumping out from under the water’s surface and roaring in my face!
It went from a relaxing moment to a chaotic nightmare of water and white foam and screams and kicking feet and flailing arms… and probably a little piss if I’m being completely honest. In a panic I spilled backwards out of the spring, rolling onto the tile floor of the shower area and landing on my back.
I looked up at the thing that just burst out of the water at me. It was gasping for air and holding its sides between attempts at laughter, which matched Sasha’s from behind me.
“Bwah, huha… I was under there… for like three minutes. I think…. I almost drowned.” The creature said. “Worth it…”
Sasha still cackling behind me, I used my feet to slide myself backwards across the tiles back up to the shower head. Once my head bumped against the wall I reached up and turned the nozzle, allowing the water to fall over my body as I laid underneath. As I felt the cold water slowly start to warm I mumbled to myself, “Nevermind, I hate this fuckin’ place…”
I slung the door to my room open and drug my feet as I walked in, slamming the door behind me and stomping to my bed. I passed Eena who’s hair was unfolding from the helmet/mask shape back up into the deer horn looking shape. I had a passing thought that moment that maybe helmet meant scared or surprised, hair meant relaxed, and horns meant curious or something like that. I dropped my black and gold W.H. bag and dove into my bed head first and screamed into my pillow.
“Oh goodness. Travis, what’s the matter?” I heard Eena ask as she stood up and walked over to me.
“The other kids were mean to me.” I said, my voice still muffled by the pillow.
“That’s not nice!” She said sternly. “Do you want me to talk to them? I can make them stop.” She offered.
“No…” I answered into the pillow. “Partly because that would be the end of my street cred with those people, but also because I could only imagine how bad it could go if she tried to mix it up with that big lizard thing that was in the showers. It looked like the creature from the black lagoon’s roided out cousin. And Eena looked liked she’d get knocked off balance by a strong breeze. I’d rather just take the hit to my pride.
“Then tell me about your time in the library!” She said, pushing my shoulder. “You were very excited about it earlier. Now you can tell me.”
“Ughhhh… Mehhhhh…” I groaned, rolling over in the bed, almost pushing her of the edge where she had been sitting. “You probably don’t want to hear all that.” I added.
“I do too!” She exclaimed. Then she bounded across the room and pulled her own small bed next to mine before hopping up on it and laying down on her side to face me. “Now tell!” She demanded.
So I did. We talked forever about the library and everything that happened and how amazing it was and the strange guy I was with and the fight and everything. We talked until we both passed out apparently. I woke up the next morning laying across from her as she slept. I didn’t realize her eyes actually closed until that moment. Then she opened them.
But they weren’t the black, icy voids I had seen before. They were like rainbows or one of those pictures of a galaxy out in space, just with a pupil in the middle. “Wowww….” I said without realizing it.
“Hm? What is it?” Shes asked, raising her head slightly off her pillow.
“Oh, I… Your wows are eyes pretty.” I said like a true jackass. “I mean… Your eyes. They aren’t, you know, black anymore.”
“Oh, yes. They are like shells that protect our eyes from damage. I forget sometimes.” She said as the deep black lenses lowering over her galactic eyes.
“You got built in Oakleys. Sweet.” I joked, not knowing what else to say.
And then we both got ready and headed to the custodial nexus to check our rosters, as I had been instructed but never got a chance to actually put into practice until now. But that day ended up panning out to seem pretty close to a regular job for a regular schmuck like me. And it stayed pretty regular like that for a couple of weeks. That is… until I checked the roster and saw “Travis/Eena: Delivery.”
“What the hell does delivery mean?” I asked, turning to look at her.
The explanation on the way to the front desk somehow managed to do something that was getting increasingly harder and harder. It blew my mind wide open again. We had to deliver small pieces of the metal our cudgels were made off to a very special craftsman to… Now get this… Make god damn vampire killing weapons with. Yeah. Vampires are real so I’m expected to believe now, and this place helps kill them on account of that they’re supposedly rotten things that have something to do with drugs and farming homeless people or something. Thought I wasn’t told what the interdimensonal aspect of that situation was at the time.
Anyway, the hotel has this dummy organization with this stupid name nobody can ever remember and they basically use it to hand out these vampire killing weapons to control the issue. We aren’t allowed to directly intervene in most instances, on account of they are still technically a native to the dimension problem. But that’s the long and short of it.
We get to the front desk where there’s a box waiting for us in front of Pete and Lezley. I hadn’t even made it up to them yet and I already had enough of them. As we approached Pete opened his mouth to talk.
“Still scared of the water there bud-” He tried to say but I snatched the bell off the counter and slung it at his head. He ducked just in time for it to clang loudly off the cork board behind him.
“Not today you slimy prick!” I exclaimed, pointing at him in warning. His face drew up into the look of someone who just smelled their own shit for the first time and wasn’t happy with the aroma. “You, nerdy one.” I said, turning to Lezley and picking up the small wooden box. “What do we do now?”
“You take them out the front. There’s a van waiting for you with the location you’re going to be making the delivery to.” He explained.
“Wait, so I get to leave?” I asked in mild shock.
“Yeah but if you start fucking off or you aren’t back within a certain time, that key on your hand’s gonna start dragging you back whether you come willingly with it or not. So don’t.” He warned. “You’re still on Hotel time.”
So me and Eena made our way out the front door. “Are you r-WHOA WHAT THE HELL?!!” I yelled when I turned to see that she looked like, well, not a regular person, but much more human than a few seconds ago. Her eyes were a little smaller to match a human’s and her hair… made more sense… I guess. Her skin was still super white but she could pass for like an albino or something like she was.
“WHAT?! What just happened?!” I asked louder than I meant to.
“The hotel does it when we leave. It helps to blend in.” She answered as calmly as possible. “If you go to a different dimension this would happen to you.”
“Ah, well I guess that does make sense.” I said, looking around to notice that this wasn’t New York… I had just walked out the same door I used to walk in, But I didn’t walk out to the same place I walked in from. Not the craziest thing to happen up to then, but I wasn’t expecting it either.
We both climbed into the van, me in the driver’s seat and Eena as the passenger. I hit the GPS on the dash and the screen lit up. According to it we were in Birmingham Alabama. “Definitely not New York…” I said under my breath. Then slid the key into the ignition and started following the directions.
It only took about 20 minutes of driving before we were closing in on our destination. We pulled up to a pretty respectable house on a back road with just a few houses here and there. I parked the van and took the box up to the front door. Just like delivering a pizza, I thought. Once I got to the door I knocked a few times and waited.
Knocked a few more times.
Not a damn thing.
Basically tried to break the door down.
“Yo they told me I’m not supposed to leave this shit sitting out!” I yelled at the house. “If I don’t get back in time I’m in real deep shit man come and get this stuff!”
My patience running thin, I twisted the knob. The door opened without a sound. Smooth as silk. Like the perfect knob and hinges or something. I stepped in real slow, looking around for anyone to take this junk off me. But I couldn’t find a single solitary person.
I tiptoed into the next room. It had a bunch of antique weapons like swords and axes and stuff all over the walls. I slowly inched my way up to this one really curved sword sitting away from all the rest on a self all its own. I don’t know too much about this stuff, but the pawn shop taught me how to tell when something was serious business and this was indeed some serious, sell it and buy a yacht business by the looks of it.
I leaned in closer when I noticed this beautiful rippling pattern on the blade, squinting my eyes as I examined it. “What are you doing in my home?” The voice I wanted to hear least in the entire world spoke the worst sentence it could possibly say from behind me, which made me jerk straight and drop the box on to the floor.
I wheeled around to see the sketchy old guy from the library. “OH MY GOD DO THEY HATE ME OR SOMETHING?!” I screamed.
“Not… as much… as I do…” The man said with his unnaturally smooth and sinister voice in rhythm to his steps and he walked toward me, ignoring the box and its spilled contents on the floor. “That’s the last true wootz steel blade ever made.”
“What?!” I asked sharply.
“The sword you were looking at. It’s made of wootz steel. And that was the very last one that was ever made.” He said, pointing at the weapon I had been examining before he scared the life out of me.
“Oh… and what makes you say it was the last one?” I asked against my better judgment.
“Because… I made sure of it.” He said with a smirk that almost made me shiver.
“Ok, I’m gonna get the hell outta here you creepy bastard.” I said, making my way back out the front door in a hurry. I had about all of being in that guy’s house to last me the rest of my life.
“What’s the matter?” Eena asked when I basically jumped through the driver’s side window getting into the van.
“Explain later, leave now!” I barked, slamming on the gas and tearing out of the driveway back onto the road.