Wrong Room, Pal

“You just walked into the wrong fuckin’ room, pal.”

Eli stopped dead in his tracks and slowly scanned the seedy motel room he had just entered. Half-empty chinese take-out pints littered a kitchenette table with an overturned chair laying next to it. Beyond that was the bed, the sheets crumpled up toward the foot, and a loan sweat stained pillow. Sans case.  A dim red glow of the neon sign out front snuck in past the battered and bent plastic slats of the blinds and illuminated the profile of an overweight man wearing athletic shorts and a white tanktop that was doing its best to compete with the pillow from the bed.

Eli waited for the overweight man to speak again. Or shoot.  He was pretty certain that shooting was just as likely at the Starlight Motel, especially when you were creeping into rooms that most certainly were not yours. The general demeanor he’d picked up from the loan reception attendant had made Eli pretty certain that even the bed bugs at the Starlight had attitude problems.  One breath. Two. Three. Nothing from the man by the window. He took another step further into the room.

“You just walked into the wrong fuckin’ room, pal.”

Raising an eyebrow, Eli paid attention to the man standing by the window. He was fairly certain he wasn’t going to get shot. He was also confident in his ability to outmaneuver the portly bastard in front of him if it came to blows. It was getting unnerving how the man just didn’t move. And answering wasn’t really an option, not with Eli’s mouth sewn shut. The guild couldn’t have him spilling secrets if he were caught after all. He just needed to get the book out of the room and get back to the hideout. He took another step.

“You just walked into the wrong fuckin’ room, pal.”

Motion activated. Of course. The man by the window was either a half-wit enchanted to stay put or a dummy set up to make the room look occupied. Eli moved to the head of the bed and flipped a switch, flooding the room with light from the lamp embed into the wall. A steady chorus of warnings about how he had entered the wrong room punctuating his movements. He was willing to bet that most casual thieves would have apologized and scampered away with their tail between their legs at the initial warning. Luckily for Eli, he had the implied threat from the guild to spur on his courage. He began rummaging amid bedside drawers, looking for the book. No luck.

After a while it was easy to tune out the constant litany of warnings coming from the dummy. He pulled out a small flashlight and lowered himself to the ground beside the bed. Flicking on the flashlight he lifted the bedskirt and peered under, revealing only a couple of overly friendly cockroaches.  He moved his search to the kitchenette opening and shutting it’s limited drawers and cabinets in a fruitless flurry of activity. A search of the loan dresser in the room revealed nothing as well.

He stood and took stock of the room again. If he were a wizard, where would he hid his book. Well, obviously in the thing that nobody would focus on once they started to ignore it. The dummy. He sauntered over to the dummy and began searching for a hinge. As he ran his hands over the oddly warm structure, searching for the hidden compartment he congratulated himself on outwitting an actual wizard.  Not many in the guild would be able to claim that. Mostly because if you couldn’t outwit a wizard, the guild killed you.

It was no use. Eli couldn’t find the hinge. The wizard had hidden it too well. He would just have to bust the dummy open with the kitchen chair. Eli moved to go grab the chair and felt his feet go out from underneath him as his hands remained attached to the dummy while the lower half of his body attempted to move.  He cautiously regained his footing; then he attempted to remove one hand from the dummy by pulling away with it while simultaneously pushing the dummy away with the other.

He began to panic as the hand he was pushing with slowly sank deeper into the dummy; his flesh slowly melding with the strange plastic. He flailed his arms in a desparate attempt to disengage, causing him to lose his balance yet again. This time he fell face first into the dummy. His sewn mouth muffled his screams as he spasmed this way and that trying to extricate himself from the ever encompassing grip of the dummy.  By the time the wizard returned to his room, the only part of Eli still showing was the tip of his boot.


Apropos of: This Prompt

-Crouse

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One thought on “Wrong Room, Pal

  1. This one made me shudder a bit. Body modification in stuff in general gets to me, but especially things involving the face. The faceless Silent Hill nurses, etc. I visualized almost sort of a cyberpunk vibe to this, I think that’s because of the bit about the neon, how advanced the dummy was, and the description of things as run down.

    Like

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