The room at the top of the inn had been occupied by the captain for almost thirty years. In the summer the odor of pipe tobacco and herring was inescapable.
The hotel shook as the newly freed creatures tunneled frantically under the facility. Miles of them. Eventually they would reach the cliffs, and the ocean.
The wrong door code, that’s what she gave him. Off by a single number. She imagined his expression as the paralyzing unguent was sprayed from security nozzles.
When they drained the pool they found him sitting there in scuba gear looking very pissed off.
“In the dream,” she said, “the plane was in a cloud. But when we came out of it, we hadn’t gone anywhere, we were still sitting there on the tarmac. And I think we were lizards or something.”
Wallpaper peeling. Water stains. Mummified mice caught in ancient traps. Old sardine tins. It was like Airbnb but promised specializations for the miserable and the gothic.
Crawling back through the bathroom window he caught his belt on the hinge. As he dangled there he considered the death of his father in the war.
When he looked back the pattern of the Hawaiian shirt had completely changed. Instead of waves and pineapples, now there were volcanoes and grenades.
The portraits on the wall were a progression of malcontents, perverts, embezzlers, and one very angry looking scofflaw.
The train pulled away and he suddenly remembered he’d left the valise next to the Frenchman. Going back to the bureau was now impossible.
The hotel was built hundreds of feet down into the earth. The complex navigational system required maps that were impossible to refold once opened.
He was handed a thousand page treatise called “Commentary” referencing a novel he’d never heard of.
When applied in small amounts the effects are reproducible. But in large doses symptoms range from lycanthropy to unpredictable telekinetic outbursts.
Hiding in the crawl space, she heard them dragging something heavy. Soon the Overseer would arrive.
After placing each card down on the table, she genuflected then took a slug from the bottle of wine.