by Aur Dawn
When all hope is lost, what exit will once ambitious young woman seek?
Lost Souls Motel is a short story cycle revolving around eight people who inhabit a motel in the middle of nowhere at the same night. The one thing they all have in common is the fact that, behind closed door, each one of them is fighting their own battle. In search of answers to questions concerning morals, humanity and internal conflicts, strangers' paths will overlap, and as the night progresses, they will make decisions that could affect not only their, but also the lives of others - for better or for worse.
Throwing a longing glance at the backpack thrown on the bed, she circled the room, her two feet moving in slow pace. There actually wasn’t much space for movement, as half the room was occupied by a French bed, a dressing table and a wooden drawer containing an old, square TV. She had locked the door leading outside twice, then left the key on the drawer.
She took the remote control and turned the TV on, in an attempt to get her mind off the things that weren’t giving her peace. Alas, the picture was black and white, signal so horrible that it only made her more nervous.
She ran her fingers through long hair, the density of which all her friends envied. And when one boy started paying attention to its fascinatingly dark brown shade, she felt grateful to her mother, who never let her bleach and dye it in a lighter colour.
There certainly were things she couldn’t love about herself. Her hips had always seemed asymmetrically wide in comparison to her waist and small chest, her brown skin made her stand out in every crowd, and her nose couldn’t possibly be pug like that of her best friend, instead it was flat with wide nostrils.
For those reasons, she learned early on to be the loudest in the group, to be invited to every birthday party, but also that what she says doesn’t have to be noticed because of the volume, but rather because of her eloquence and sobriety of her statements.
She dreamed of becoming someone important one day; maybe not the first man of the country, but someone whose words would affect millions, and who can practice what they’re preaching. She believed firmly that words have power to change the world. If that wasn’t the case, many madmen would never get to the highest positions and manipulated brain-washed crowds.
Her goal wouldn’t be to manipulate, but to raise awareness. After a visit to psychologist in seventh grade, she was informed that her intelligence quotient is a three-digit number higher that’s fairly higher than that of her peers, as well as that she possesses traits that would make her a great leader. Her lecturers were amazed by the visions she presented in her essays, and often used her as an example, which only further influenced the establishment of her plans.
So, why did her parents - the people she expected to be proud of success and ambitions of their only child - sentence her, at the age of sixteen, to a life of silence, in the place where a woman’s voice was as important as barks of a street dog? It wasn’t about any debts; she was well aware that they lived better than most of their acquaintances. Why didn’t they care to send her off to study medicine or law, knowing how big of a potential lies in her?
Instead of watering a gentle plant of her knowledge and intelligence, they decided to uproot iz and hand over in a pot, in hands of someone she didn’t know, and who lived where they had fled from in search of a better life.
She overheard it was idea of her grandmother, who promised her granddaughter’s hand to a man twice her age when she was a little girl. Arguing with a woman who had maintained the foundations of their family for decades was out of question. She saw her granddaughter’s abilities and future of a leader as a bad omen; God sent women to Earth to be faithful companions to men, nor to quarrel and lead revolutions.
She was left with nothing but tears, which she hid in the quiet of her bedroom, her pillow muffling her sobs night after night. At first, she had come to terms with her destiny, having her parents in mind, but she soon realised nobody ever considered her feelings. Truth be told, they were afraid. Afraid of a woman she could become, afraid of her mind free as a bird in flight, unpredictable as monsoon rains. Ultimately, they were afraid that she might be right. In a few sentences, she would manage to destroy everything her grandmother had convinced them to, and thus bring additional turmoil into their home.
That’s why she decided to embarrass them. And no, it wasn’t enough that they won’t find her in her bed the following morning, with no clue as to where she could’ve gone. She wanted to inflict damage they will never be able to compensate, and that will be talked about for a long, long time.
Her gaze was fixed on door at the other end of the room - the one leading to bathroom. She opened the backpack and took out the instruments. Staring at the bottle of pills, she found herself hesitating again. Was this really appropriate for someone as ambitious as her? What about the future that she planned for so long? She shook her head, as if to evict those thoughts. If she doesn’t do it herself, it’s only the matter of them when they will find her and finish it in her stead.
Twenty minutes later, she was laying in a bathtub, dressed in a thin nightgown. She tied her hair in a bun, ironically thinking how she wouldn’t want it to get wet. She gripped the bottle in her hand, once again thinking about the decisions she’s made so far and how this was probably the craziest and the dumbest one.
She shook her head again. No, this was her exit. She heard, from her other grandma who was a Christian, that Hell holds a special place for those who take their own lives, a forest where they are turned into bleeding trees, because they didn’t cherish life as a gift from God, so they spend eternity suffering. Bitterly, she thought even that was better than the hell that was prepared for her on Earth. If she can’t fight for her dreams, she won’t let them destroy them - she’ll do it herself.
She looked at the metal razor that she laid on the edge of the tub. In case she wakes up, she’s going to finish the job the other way. With more mess, but she’ll finish it.
Opening the bottle with one hand, gripping a water bottle in other, she took a deep breath and threw her head back. A moment later, she felt bitter pills hitting her taste receptors. She took a big chug of water and then, after stretching as far as space allowed her to, started to cry.