The Grand Hell Hotel
by Rook Daily
(Atlanta, GA, USA)
"So, you're telling me I'm in Hell?"
The concierge stares blankly off into the distance behind me, as I stand at the check-in counter. The longer he ogles the women, the bigger his pupils become, eventually dilating to the entire width of his eye. I stare back in amazement - or maybe even disgust.
I turn my head and look out into the hotel lobby. Its eerie resemblance to a 1920's inn sends shivers down my spine. People walk to and from, their clothes not fit for this century. There are men in tailcoats and women in corsets and ladies on foot in Burlesque costumes serving Hors d'oeuvres. Everyone - the women, the children, the dancers - have the same black eyes as the concierge. The air about this place smells vaguely like cigars and old perfume, no doubt wafting off of the others.
I observe it all until I can't take it anymore and I spin around to the man at the desk.
"Um, excuse me," I snap while slamming my hand down on the little bell that says, "Do not ring." This brings him out of his reverie, but does not fix his eyes, which repulses me entirely. His smile grows and radiates on his face, but his eyes just stay dead as they gaze at me.
"Can I help you?" he asks for the fifth time. I exhale and pinch the bridge of my nose, trying to regulate my temper. I stay this way for a few moments until I think I can handle the aggravation this man brings me (is he even human?) When I finally look up, he was still standing, deadly still, in the same position he was before and his smile doesn't budge.
"Five minutes ago," I begin, "you told me I was in Hell. But, three hours ago, I was in the Marriot. Do you have any idea how I could have gotten here?"
"Oh, that's simple," he says, but doesn't finish as if I'm supposed to know why.
"How so?" I raise my eyebrows in anticipation, waiting for his answer. He seems to move a little slowly, whether to torture me or a genuine lack of response, I don't know.
"You've died. You're in Hell, now."
"Excuse me?" I scoff at his statement. "I'm not dead! You're crazy!"
"Well, how else do you figure that you're here?"
"Ok, I don't think you understand. I'm not dead. I'm in New York City and I've got a very important meeting in the morning, so do you think you could show me the way out of here?"
"Of course," he says so very politely. I breathe out a thank you, but my relief is short-lived because he begins again, "I'll show you to the manager."
"What?" I yell, drawing attention from the people around me (were they even human?)
"Mister Deviele. He's the Head Manager of this lovely hotel. I think you'll be getting to know quite a bit of him."
And soon after that, the concierge's horns begin to show and a man I assume is Mister Devile emerges from the shadows, holding a red pitchfork. The ladies and gentlemen take on the shape of bats and fly throughout the room. The walls become a golden hue so bright, they blind me and I fall into nothingness.
The next and only thing I remember is the flashing sign, "The Grand Hell Hotel".