[The Echo Resort, 1,491 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Louis had arrived at a hotel in Chang Mai. Chang Mai, Thailand, it was an odd state of affairs to be in. He arrived Sunday and there wasn’t much else that he could do with himself from living on the dole, working a casual job. He was attempting to do the best that he could possibly do. However, his best wasn’t good enough for other people. And that is why he found himself in Thailand. The land of the Thais and the land of smiles. He also loved the people and loved the culture. That is why he chose to work in Thailand.
However when he arrived there were things that he didn’t account for. The one thing that he didn’t account for was the hotel. Like the hotel California where you can never leave. The hotel had an odd presence surrounding it. Wherever he went in the hotel, Louis could feel it. The mist on the walls. The place was haunted. There was something in the air. Something that you could never account for. A deep, foreboding presence. The hotel itself was spiritually haunted, something had happened here. Nobody knew what had happened and Louis did not care to ask.
When he walked down the hallways there was a melody that would ring in his ears. The hotel itself was madness. A two storey villa, with a pool at the bottom of the two storey villa. The floor in the corridors were paved with cement. Everything was frisk and clean. A grand establishment, if ever one could see one.
Perhaps Louis was sensitive to these things or perhaps Louis had a fragile mind. He did not understand it. But everywhere he walked there were many odd things that were occurring for him. He felt that his behaviour had become possessed. Possessed by the hotel in which damned souls chose to live their existence. In quite a contrast to those who found themselves damned. It was not the poor, the impoverished who were damned. The truth was that the damned were financially successful. Or rather, they that threw luxuries upon themselves at no expense of self-control. A man or woman can be rich as long as they maintain themselves and show self-control. The truly damned… Those are men of wealth who do not have the discipline to control themselves. And this hotel… This hotel was a symbol of excess and opulence.
Ghosts walked these halls. Contorting the minds of mankind and making them act in a bizarre fashion.
When Louis began talking to one of the older men he realised what was occurring. The older man met him at the seven-eleven and sat him down.
“Now, you think you know, but you don’t.”
“Excuse me?” Louis was quite taken aback.
“I said you think you know, but you don’t.”
“I don’t know what exactly?”
“You don’t know about it.”
“I don’t know about it?”
“Yes, it. The spirit that haunts this place. I call it my baby’s mumma.”
“Yes, my baby’s mumma. Do you want to know about it?”
“Well, you already do.”
“I already do.”
“Yes, you already do. Let me tell you about it. The hotel is haunted by my baby’s mumma.”
“Your baby’s mumma? Who’s your baby’s mumma?”
“My baby’s mumma is the spirit that haunts the hotel. The hotel is haunted. She whispers in the night and screeches against the wind. She lives in the night and during the day she lives with others. But really it is never there. It is never there! It is never there!!!” The man grabbed Louis by the shirt collar and started to shake him. Shake him for all he was worth.
“You’re talking in riddles mate. I can’t understand you.”
“Yes, nobody understands us. We are just simply living in the night. Living for the heartbeat and breath of human flesh.”
“Human flesh?” Louis choked on his words.
“Yes, human flesh. She likes human flesh. She loves it.”
“Listen, I can’t understand you. What are you trying to say?” Louis asked.
“I am trying to say, I am trying to say…” The man curled up on the floor and started rocking back and forth. “Get out! Get out! Is what I’m trying to say.”
“I can’t understand anything… My mind, my mind is becoming a blank.” And that is when Louis started having convulsions on the floor. The world began to dissipate from around him. The world was drawing a blank. White washed across his mind’s eye and there was a figure there that he didn’t understand. He passed out on the floor. And then he began to dream.
In his dream, a figure, a woman, sat crying in the great fog of white screen that pervaded all. She sat there crying, crying… And then she turned to Louis, “Do you know why this place is the way it is?”
“I have no idea.” Louis made his way through the white screen. But no matter how close he felt in approaching the woman, she never felt that he was drawing closer to her. It was like running a treadmill. No matter how close you got to the figure, the figure always appeared at a distance. You could never get close to it. Never grasp it. It was some sort of spiritual phantasm.
“I hear an echo. I hear an echo.”
“Yeah, I get it. The eco resort right?”
“I hear an echo. I hear an echo.”
“Can you hear me?”
“Just an echo. But yes, I can hear you. This is the madness that exists. Let me tell you a story.”
“Yes, a story.”
“A true story?”
“As true as true can be and true is always a subjective term. I was living in this hotel. I was six months pregnant. I wasn’t expecting the child to arrive. But the child arrived early.”
“Yes, early. Three months and three days early to be precise. Three by three. Three by three. Three by three.”
As the spirit said the words, the words stopped making sense. Louis attempted to count how many times she had said it. He counted out loud, “One, two…” Louis couldn’t remember the number that came after the number two. He couldn’t remember. He just couldn’t remember. What the hell was going on?
The spirit began laughing at him. Wildly laughing at him. “You can’t count can you? You can’t count! This always happens. I wouldn’t worry about it much. When I had the child here, the child was doomed because it was born in a foreign country. And because it was born in a foreign country, I knew it could never return to its homeland. And so my husband and I decided to stay in the country.”
“How long were you planning on staying in the country?” Louis asked.
“Forever!!!” The spirit proclaimed.
Louis took a couple of steps backwards through the white screen that existed. Of course, the white screen only existed in his mind. It was all in his mind… This apparition, this phantasm. Though so often, more often than not, he could not distinguish truth from fiction. “What was the child’s name?”
“The child was cursed. It’s name. It’s name was Weston.”
“Weston? Why did you call it Weston?”
“Sounds like a good name, as good as any I would assume. I used to sing songs to it in its crib. A crib that we fashioned out of palms and straw. We would sing songs to it. Singing to it. ‘I believe in miracles’ is what I used to sing. The tune was written by the father. Who had been driven mad by the situation. I had also been driven mad by the situation.”
“What exactly are you trying to tell me here? What is the point of this exercise?”
“The point is… The point is…” The spirit intoned, “I forget what the point is.” The spirit scratched its head. “Oh, that’s right. Don’t travel while you’re pregnant. How many people forget that?”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“This is not entertainment fool!” Then the spirit began to laugh wildly again. “This is a lesson!”
“A lesson in what exactly?”
“We have no idea… Just a lesson. A lesson to instruct control and promote happiness for those who have little perhaps.”
“What the hell are you talking about!?”
The spirit then started to sing again, ‘I believe in miracles,’ in an eerie voice. Then from that point the spirit snapped from its trance that it had created for itself. “I committed suicide one day. After a long period of time, I could no longer deal with the situation, and then I climbed the highest peak of the hotel, spread my arms and fell to the ground.”
After the spirit had said that. Louis woke up. His eyes awakened. Was it a ghost? Or was Louis haunted by his own life. One could never tell with these things.