The tapping on my window has kept me up past midnight. Of course, it’s probably just a tree swaying with the wind. But a fearful voice in my head is screaming at me to stay awake, begging me to. The dust-covered lamp beside me seems to be daring me to turn it off, to leave myself in utter darkness. The dirty Sienna hotel floor seems to be pressuring me into getting up, leaving my feet vulnerable to what I fear may be under the bed. Worst of all, the old grandma curtains keep moving slightly, threatening to show me what’s behind the window. The only thing keeping me from crying is writing in this journal. All the while, one thought creeping through my mind: why did I run away from home?! A fight with my mom is such a small thing now that I’m stuck in this old hotel, with no other building in sight, while my car is broken down outside.
Voices. I mean I hear voices. It’s probably just the wind though. Just the wind… right? Or maybe it’s from the people in the room beside me. Yes, it’s the people beside me, that would make more sense. Or maybe not, the hotel seemed vacated except for me and a few workers… that’s it! It’s the workers!
There was a knock at my door. A lady told me to let her in, and that she was room service. I didn’t know what to do, so I stayed there, shaking. She kept knocking and knocking for at least ten minutes, and then she just… stopped. The absence of knocking sent a chill down my back, making me think I’d be punished for not letting her in. But nothing happened. Now I’m back to listening to the repetitive tap on my window.
The hotel phone is ringing. I want to answer, it’s like the phone is calling out to me. Like I lived sixteen years for this moment, the moment when I get to answer this call. The phone is so pretty, so magical… I’m going to answer.
I need to leave this hotel, I need to leave now. Something came over me when the phone started ringing, and I almost answered it. But then it stopped ringing just in time. I can’t begin to imagine what would’ve happened if I answered. Or if anything would’ve happened at all, maybe I’m just going crazy. But why?
I can’t get out. The door is locked from the outside. I yelled for help, but no one came. I’m not completely sure there even is anyone here, I think I might’ve imagined the workers and the lady at my door. I don’t know, I can’t think straight. This is no hotel, this is a nightmare, I must get out. The only other way is the window, but I’m scared. The tapping hasn’t stopped.
As soon as I touched the curtain, the tapping stopped. I almost didn’t do it, but I knew it was the only way. When I opened the curtain, I was surprised to find it wasn’t a tree or person at my window. There was nothing, actually. Nothing but a paper taped to the window. With instructions.
How to Leave
- Knock on your door seven times.
- Find answer to riddle at your doorstep.
- Say the answer out loud.
- The door to outside of hotel will unlock. Leave immediately.
- Must finish before dawn. Good luck. :)
It was so easy, I couldn’t believe my eyes. All I have to do is answer a riddle?! I’ll be out of here in no time. But the part about finding the answer before dawn makes me a little uneasy.
Unscramble Sienna, this is what you’ll be
If you don’t leave this place immediately
It doesn’t seem too hard. All I have to do is unscramble Sienna. Annies? Nenisa? Sienan? Inanes? Insena? Insaen- no. No. The word… the word is insane.
I can’t say it. I don’t know why. I feel so cold and helpless, and I can’t say the word. It won’t come out. This is it, I’m not going to get out because I’m already going insane. I can’t even get up. I’m just laying on the floor. This is the fate that everyone who stays at this hotel faces. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. Will I die at dawn? The instructions make it seem like it. All I can do is lay on the floor writing. Hoping. But I’m starting to lose all hope and warmth. I’m as good as gone.
I fell out of consciousness and now it’ll be dawn in thirty minutes. I still can’t get up, and I feel worse than before. I’m seeing things. There’s a lady in front of me, the same one from before, I think. She’s wearing a Sienna Hotel uniform. She’s telling me that I will join them soon enough, and there are people around her. They are all smiling.
Sienna Hotel is my new home. I can’t wait to join my friends, they are all so nice. I still can’t get up, but it will be dawn soon enough. I’m starting to find hope! I’m no longer cold, and I realize that I don’t need my old home anymore.
It is time! The lady’s name is Ms. Hibbley, she says that we must have a ceremony before I can join their community. I’m a bit nervous, but everyone is so nice, I’m sure it’ll be great! The ceremony is starting right now, all I have to do is agree to the rules:
- Never leave this hotel.
- Always have a good attitude.
I’m done! The rules are quite easy to follow, who wouldn’t have a good attitude and smile here? And who in their right mind would want to leave?!
Sienna Hotel is forever my home, I will never want to leave.
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I loved this story! I love the riddle, and how it showcases your main character. Amazing job!
Beautifully written, I hope you continue to write! Love the suspense, I was literally on the edge of my seat.
I loved this story! Great job!
I think you did a good job with the suspense and build-up. You should add simple sentences to increase the pace. That’ll create more tension in your work. I like your character too.
Good story that was nicely engrossing.
A very good story