A hotel where the living can visit with the dead. But there's a catch....
A crowd milled about in the lobby of an extravagant hotel. A dark blue rug, almost black, with yellow and red threads weaved into it covered the floor. If you looked it from the top of the stairs, you could see the threads formed a picture of a river and boat. Crystal chandeliers adorned the ceiling. Through the bay windows you could a vast cemetery.
This hotel was on the edge of the largest cemetery in the country. During the week of Halloween, the living could visit with the dead. But not all living could visit the deceased…..
A long line of people waited at the desk to get checked in. Three clerks in purple uniforms pulled asked who the person was visiting, looked the deceased up in the computer and then drew blood from the living and ran it through a machine. The clerks gave slips of paper to everyone and then every one went to the left or the right. Those on the right mingled near the staircase, those on the left sat on green furniture awaiting further instructions.
A clerk approached a group of women sitting on the couch from the desk. The name tag pinned to her jacket identified her as Sue. “Ladies, I understand you are all here to visit Maria Desmond, is that correct?”
“Yes,” replied the blond woman, Laila.
“And why do you want to see her?” the clerk questioned.
“To pay our respects. To tell her we are sorry about what happened to her,” answered the redheaded woman, Nica.
“What was your relationship with Ms. Desmond?”
“She worked with us,” the bespectacled woman, Lea, said.
“And you had nothing to do with her ending up out there?” the clerk asked, waving at the cemetery.
“Of course not,” supplied the brunette, Kyla.
The clerk rewarded them with a sarcastic smile. “You four, my dear ladies, are lying to me. I tested your blood and it turned blue. Do you know what that means?”
“No,” said Nica with a sinking heart. She had been afraid of something like this.
“It means you are not pure of soul. That you had something to do with the death of the deceased.”
Nica gasped. Lea and Laila rolled their eyes. Kyla kept a stony face.
“Do you think we are going to let trash like you disturb the spirits of the dead?” the clerk roared. Her face lost all color and became translucent. “Do you think Maria wants to see any of you again?”
“She made the choice she did,” Laila answered snidely.
“You made her life a living hell,” Sue stated. “You didn’t listen to anything she said, you bullied her and harassed her and now you feel guilty and want to make amends. Well, my friends, the afterlife doesn’t work that way. I will not subject that girl to you in this world or the next.”
The four women looked at each other and tried to get up to leave. Sue waved her hand and they all were pulled back down, rather forcefully.
“Oh, no. You are not off the hook. When you come here with ulterior motives, you then work to pay off your debt to the person you have hurt.”
She glared at Kyla and Laila. “You two, who treated such good people so terribly, are now going to supervise the cleaning staff. You are responsible for the cleanliness of this whole place and whatever the cleaners miss, you take care of. Including the bathrooms. Your staff over there,” Sue pointed to a group of teenagers with spiky hair of various colors. They didn’t look like a group of cleaners to interested in cleanliness. “Now you will learn what bad employees really look like.”
“And you,” Sue said to Lea, “who constantly bullied her and overstepped your bounds even when told to stop. You will work in the garden keeping the plants from overgrowing their boundaries. Only these plants never stop growing. You will run for a hundred years trying to keep them in check.”
“You,” she glowered at Nica, “are the worst of all. You could have stopped all of it, but chose not to out of cowardice. Ever hear that quote ‘the deepest pits of hell are reserved for those who maintain neutrality in times of moral crisis’?. You will soon learn the worst job in this whole place is washing dishes. You will wash them alone, you will dry them and put them away. The cook has no patience for incompetence, so get ready to work harder than you have ever put them away. I am guessing you have no idea how many dishes, glasses, and silverware this hotel uses at mealtimes. And don’t think you all will only be working during the week we are open for the living to visit with the dead. People come here all year long to visit the cemetery and for funerals. Spirits come and go constantly, although the living can’t always see them. They love to get revenge on those who have caused others to be here before their time. You will never have a moment’s peace again.”
Sue glowered at the four despicable women and stalked off. At last justice had been done for her daughter, the girl she had loved and nurtured but ultimately could not save. The women who had driven the poor girl into madness and eventually in front of a train would pay for eternity.