Adventure Horror Thriller

The key rattled in the lock. The room hadn’t been opened in years. The key didn’t go through in the first try and had to be pushed in. The key was turned and the door shuddered open. The door creaked louder than the holiday crowd that was gathered at CressCount Hotel. 

When Lance entered the room, he felt a sudden warm air and the entire room was stinking of dead animals. “Are you certain you want this room, sir?” The manager did not believe that someone would have the balls to stay in this room. This room had its history and it was better when it was locked away. When the crowd started overflowing, the manager had nothing but to open the door which was locked away for years. 

“This is fine.” Lance smelled the air around the room and his nose crinkled. Something was definitely dead there. 

“We’ll get it cleaned up for you. We’ll fix that air conditioning system now. If you’d like, you can wait in the lobby till then. It won’t take longer than thirty minutes.” Lance thought about the crowd and how irritated he got by standing at the main desk for ten minutes for someone to show up and attend him. He didn’t like the idea of stepping a foot in the lobby again.  

“I’ll wait out here.” He looked to the far end of the corridor and found two chairs, facing the window, a little coffee table in between and started to walk towards it. 

“In the corridor?” The manager raised his eyebrow. Lance nodded as he walked away. 

When he finally got to step into the room, he noticed all the things that were changed. It smelled of fresh linens and lavender. It had taken longer than half an hour to clean up and they did find a dead rat hidden under the floorboards. The room was at a cooler temperature now. It wasn’t as cold as the corridor that was freezing in the winter. Lance took off his jacket as he closed the door. His suitcase was already in the room, placed neatly in a corner. The white roses on every table in the room had a feminine beauty. He did not like it. He had half a mind to throw it away. It was late. It was almost eleven o’clock. He could still hear the kids outside. 

It was very late for Lance who slept dead by nine. He changed into his nightclothes and got into the soft sheets. He checked his phone for messages from his firm. Nothing. He finally drifted off to sleep. 


Lance woke up to the loudness of the morning outside. He struggled to get up. It was much later than he normally stays in bed. He was tired and just wanted to stay in bed for the rest of the day. It was almost six according to the watch on the bedside table. It was lighter than he thought it would be. The Sun was already out. The winter mornings were usually quiet. Lance loved winters. There were fewer people on the road. He could drive faster than the speed limit. He didn’t have to wait in line for his coffee and didn’t have to make small talk. 

He had forgotten to close the drapes and he grunted. He got out of bed to clean himself up. He wanted to shower but the water was ice cold. He’d take a bath later. The newspaper was slid from underneath his door before he had even woken up. He liked this hotel. It was on ‘his’ time. He needed some coffee. He picked up the phone and ordered his regular black coffee. He waited till it was delivered to him to his room. He opened the door to an oddly dressed man but he didn’t bother about it. He sat on the chair next to the window and he read his newspaper. 

That’s weird, he thought. He was having a deja vu. He’s read this paper before. He thought he was given an old paper. He looked for the date on the front page but that was not what caught his eye. The headline mentioned something worse. He rushed to the corridor. He leaned his head out and saw the wallpapers were different, almost new. Most of the antiques were gone and at the far end of the corridor, lay a sign that said “GRAND OPENING THIS HALLOWEEN! WELCOME FIRST CUSTOMERS”

He closed the door and went to the balcony and leaned out. There was a girl dressed in white who walked down the street and fell. A gentleman came to help her up, picked her bag and ran away. He knew that was going to happen.  She doesn’t even run behind him. She takes her cell phone and dials. It’s probably the police. How did he know what was going to happen? He picked up the newspaper again and checked for the date. It read, “October 31st, 1992”. 

Was he reading this right? He checked his phone for the date but his phone refused to switch on. He had forgotten his charger back home and now completely regretted not checking up before leaving. He grunted in frustration. He looked down on the street again. The fashion trend was different. All the graffiti on the walls in the alleys were gone, as if they had never been spray painted on. The shop across the hotel was different. There was a coffee shop, well lit and filled with joy. It was the opposite of the pub Lance always hated because it smelled of puke every time he passed by it. He missed having coffee from there. When he was younger and had just landed a job in the best firm in town, he thought it was luck. He continued to drink coffee from the same place every day, thinking it was a lucky drink. It had landed him his job. When the cafe announced that they were shutting down, he was annoyed and irritated and had been ever since. He looked back at the cafe. It revoked his memories and he smiled, for the first time in ages. It suddenly hit him again. The date, the shop and the grand opening. He was in the year 1992. 

In no time Lance had checked all the doors, the windows and shut them multiple times to see if he could reverse it. Nothing worked. He was sure that he was stuck here. He got dressed and stepped out of the hotel. He looked at the cafe in front of him. It reminded him of the last time he had stood here, like this. He was twenty two when he had nervously stepped into the cafe and ordered his coffee. The cashier was friendly. She was only a couple of years older than him. She comforted him before he left for his interview. He never went to work without his coffee after that. 

He couldn’t decide if he should go in or stay out. He went in. The place was empty, like it had always been. He recognised the girl at the counter. She gave her usual greeting to welcome guests and took his order. He gave his generic smile to her. 

“Do I know you? I feel like I’ve seen you before. It’s funny actually. I think I took an order from someone who looks exactly like you. Maybe be a little younger.” She smiled so as to not insult him. 

“This is my first time here.” He walked away. He sat at the far end of the cafe to avoid her gaze. She was still looking at him, eying him quietly. He picked out a book from the bookshelf to hide behind it. He didn’t know why he was here. Now that his phone was dead, he couldn’t even try to understand it. 

By the time he took his last sip, his coffee had turned ice cold in the winter air. Usually in the movies, when something like this happens, they usually have to save the day. He had no clue what he was supposed to do. The only thing that was the same was his room and everything in it. Maybe, there was a clue there. 

He thanked her and went back to his room. The manager greeted him as he ran upstairs. He sat on the chair (beds made me slouch so he avoided sitting on them) and tried to remember what had actually happened on this day. Did he want to change anything? Should he? He wasn’t sure if it was even safe to change things in the past. That would affect his present. That would affect his presence. 

This is it. This was his moment. It was a second chance life had given him. Since the closing of the club, ‘bad’ things had happened to him. He had lost his job and lost his mother to a heart attack. Everything in his life had fallen apart. He had to relocate to a different city just so he could pay his rent. Maybe he could turn his luck around. All he had to do was prevent the cafe from closing up. He didn’t know how much time he had here but he was going to take his chances. He wasn’t going to let this go. 


When Lance got out of the cold shower, he was smiling. He thought big changes would happen when he would go back to his present. He got into bed, ready for the plan for the next day. He was going to put things in action tomorrow. He changed into his pajamas and slipped into the cozy blankets. He slept sound. 

He woke up to the drilling sound from the street. He sprung up to consciousness and ran towards the window. He could see the cafe but it looked like it had aged. Was he back? He ran to the door and peaked his head in the corridor. The hotel looked older than he had ever seen it. He walked out in his pajamas into the corridor and to the elevator. He couldn’t see anyone. A flash of light blinked between his vision and was gone within a couple of seconds. He shook his head and kept walking. He got to the lobby. It was deserted. The cinder has covered all the top sides of the furniture. Another flash of light, this time longer, stood steady in his vision. He could see the hotel, perfectly lit, just as he had when he first stepped foot in it. It was gone, again. It was dark outside. It looked like it was about to rain. He walked outside and looked up at the building. He could see his room but nothing above it. Half the building was missing. It looked demolished. The building gave an eerie feel to it. 

Some of the windows were broken. Suddenly, sunlight hit the tall building. He could see a taller building now. Then gone again. The building was glitching. He felt sick. The sudden light was giving him a headache. He was in a different reality. He tried to wake every memory he had of this hotel. He couldn’t recall anything which looked remotely like this. I must have travelled ahead in time. This is the future. 

He wasn’t sure if he was time travelling. He assumed that this was the future. He wasn’t liking it. He could feel something in his throat like he was about to throw up. He tried to suppress it. He went into the cafe. The girl was gone. Instead, there was a man waiting for someone to show up. He lifted his head up and looked at his first customer. His face lit up when Lance walked in. He looked at Lance and tried not to laugh. He’d never seen customers come in striped pajamas before. 

“May I take your order, sir?” He gave his best smile. 

“What year is it?” 


“What year?” The cashier wasn’t sure if he should kick him out. 

“It’s the year 2016, sir.” The look on Lance’s face changed. He was still in the past. This wasn’t how he remembered. He placed an order for coffee and sat back in a chair. His body slumped, making the chair wobble.

 He had travelled to a parallel world. He had no idea how to get back to reality, his reality. He walked to his room and decided to sleep on it. It had changed reality before, it should again. Eventually, he would reach his own and then run away from this room, this hotel. He’d never step foot in this hotel. He was getting restless waiting for the day to end so he could put this behind him. He tried to waste time reading the newspaper and cleaning up. 

By the time night fell, Lance was already in bed. He closed his eyes, hoping for the better. He finally drifted off to sleep. 

When he woke up the next morning, he jumped out of bed and looked out of the window. He could see the cafe. He went out into the corridor. The wallpaper was peeling. The building looked dead and exactly like it did the day before. He changed his clothes and carried out the same routine he did yesterday. When he went to the cafe, the same guy greeted him. 

“Welcome back, sir. May I take you order?” Lance ran out, leaving the cashier in confusion. 

This isn’t happening. No, it can’t be. I should be in another reality. He started to panic. He didn’t shift realities. He couldn’t do anything about it . He had to wait for the day to get over. 

For days, Lance slept and got up eagerly. He would run out of the door in the morning to see which reality he was in. It never changed. The world had stopped glitching. Something had fixed. He thought back to the first time it glitched him into his past. If he was in alternate realities, that wasn’t his past. It was a different one. He needed it to glitch again. He wasn’t sure how to make it happen. 

Now, he’s stuck in a reality that not even his. He doesn’t know what he was going to do now. He’s stuck here. He went back to his room and packed his stuff. He didn’t want to stay in an abandoned hotel anymore. He looked at the room one last time before he closed the door behind him. 

Lance made a plan to go to his house. He couldn’t look at the hotel anymore. He thought, it wasn’t that bad. He didn’t have much left in his life anyway. He hated it. Maybe, he could make the best of this. He could live here. His house was four hours away. He had to change two trains. The only motivation he gave himself was that he could make the best out of this. He had to. 


When he reached his house at the end of the day, he first decided to take a look around. He walked to the back of the house. He could hear voices coming from inside the house. He went to the side and saw that there were children, a boy and a girl. A Labrador had curled up beside the girl and she was petting him as he slept. The boy was sitting on his back. A tall woman emerged into the room and picked the boy up. The Christmas tree was decorated neatly, the way he would’ve. 

He was looking at something he always wanted so badly. He wanted a family. He had imagined having a life like this. He could hear footsteps from wooden stairs. The woman looked up and smiled. He saw himself leaning in to kiss the woman. This alternate reality was reflecting what he wanted most. He hated that. He regretted everything he did. He wanted this. He needed this. It riled him up. 

His attention diverged when he started feeling immense pain shooting through his left hand. He lifted his hand to his face. His hand was glitching. His hand took different shapes and colours. He stepped back and tried to shake it off. When he stepped away, it stopped. The world wasn’t allowing two versions of him to live in the same reality. He was glitching when he was closer to his other self. He couldn’t bear the thought that he wasn’t the one who got to live life like this. 

He looked back through the window at the happy family cuddling up. He wanted that. This could’ve been him. He thought of a plan. A smile creeped on his face when he thought of how he could achieve it. He walked inside through the kitchen. He picked up the knife and started for the living room. 


March 12, 2021 17:08

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