Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Lost in the Storm

For audio click here
The map on my phone was blank except for the narrow lane the driver was Schumachering along. No side roads, no villages and no sign of the hotel that would be my salvation. I could see our dot moving closer and closer towards the middle of nowhere. The rain lashed like a frenzied madam punishing her slave. Whips of wind crashing into the windscreen. I'd never given much thought to hell before, but this was the very embodiment of it. My phone screamed that the battery was reaching its own last breaths. Then with a peaceful dimming of the lights, it passed away leaving me mourning its loss in the darkness and feeling very, very alone. 
The hotel appeared suddenly, like an oasis in the desert. Bright lights illuminating a plastic swan on top of a modern building. I suppose I'd been expecting the clichéd old mansion with creaky doors, squeaky floors, and equally decrepit staff, so this generic, soulless, edifice was a blessing in disguise. 
I stood at reception looking like I'd swum there; the rain making the journey from cab to door like running through a waterfall. Water dripped off my nose as I checked in and was shown to my room. Finally, after two flights, one long cab journey, and only three hours later than I should have been there, I could relax.
I must admit I didn't much like the ground floor room that they'd given me. I am sure the huge patio door and veranda would have been perfect in the height of summer, but on a storm-lashed night they made me feel vulnerable. I drew the curtains, ignoring the shapes and faces leering at me from outside, stripped out of my wet clothes and plugged my phone in. A shower, read my book, then sleep was the order of the day. 
I'd just soaped my privates when the light flickered for the first time, rinsed them when the light flickered again and then was shampooing my hair when they gave up the ghost; the darkness in the windowless bathroom was complete. I rinsed my hair then fumbled around for the taps, screwing them off. I stood in the silence of the storm listening for clues, there were none.  I opened the shower door and reached blindly for my towel, stubbing my toes as I stepped out of the cubicle. 
The bedroom was slightly brighter with some weak light coming in from outside. I closed my eyes and edged across the room, tiny, tiny baby steps.
Ouch! My toe on the other foot hit my suitcase. Fuck! My knee hit the side of the bed. I fell onto it and lay still, scared, in pain, listening for noise. I looked at my phone, no signal, no Wi-Fi and barely any charge. I thought about getting my book out before remembering there was no light to read by so I closed my eyes. If it this was how it was, I may as well sleep. 
The rain continued to pound the veranda outside my window, and someone or something was knocking the window. 
Tap, tap, tap, then nothing, tap, tap, tap. It's just a tree I told myself, just a tree.
Tap, tap, tap. Just a tree, but why so regular? A tree in the wind would be tappety tap, tap, tap, not tap, tap, tap.  Should I open the curtain? No chance. I pulled the duvet around me for protection. 
Something, someone screamed. An owl? A wolf?  A person? The windows are closed the door is locked. I told myself and pulled the duvet even tighter around me. 
Tap, tap, tap, the knocking continued. Whatever, whoever it was, was desperate to get my attention, to get into this room. Thunder crashed overhead sending me up towards the ceiling. The darkness seemed to be closing in on me. How would I ever get to sleep? 
Tap, tap, tap, I told myself to ignore it. Told myself to relax. I was tired, so tired. I could feel myself winning the battle, falling to sleep, drifting off into the land of no...
I was bathed in light, the TV shouted at me, my phone bleeped. I sat up straight. My heart beat in my chest, in my temple, in my fingers. Who was it? Who was in my room? Who had turned my lights on? There was someone in my room.
It took me a few seconds to realise it was me that had turned the lights on and now the power cut was over. 


  1. Is that a week of references to famous writers? At first I couldn't decide whether the atmosphere you created resembles this of Poe's Raven or maybe that of Bronte's Wuthering Heights with Cathy knocking on Heathcliff's window... but then I decided you refer more to your own stories starting with "madam punishing her slave" like in Apocalypse now,through driving in the eye of the storm like in The Eye, then arriving to a hotel, which is one of your favourite places to set a story, great descriptions of rain and storms, ending with feeling the presence of someone who does not really exist like in The Ghost Passenger story. So I decided that after the four years your blog has become a kind of metablog, which is interesting and fun to people who know your stories.
    P.S. A similar story happened to me a long time ago. Not in a hotel but at home.

    1. Thanks for your comments. You probably know I am not a great reader so any references are purely coincidental. And as for my own stories well I can't remember what I wrote last week :-) Stories like this often happen when I don't have a clear story to tell, been a bit low on inspiration this week so I've just started by describing a place or a journey and seeing where it takes me. So no great scheme I am afraid. Interestingly tomorrow's story is called lost at home, I wonder if it will be similar to your story. :-)

    2. so looking forward to tomorrow's. I often feel like I am lost at my own home.

  2. I´ve always thought that just women get scared in such scenes, with the difference: the/we would never fall asleep:-)

    1. the character only fell asleep because i needed to wake him up :-)