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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Crime to Remember

Chapter 1- The Breakfast Club

The distant sound of endless chatter grew louder. As he walked into the dining room the smell of eggs freshly scrambled filled his nose, mixed with other fried foods and coffee aroma. 
"…Ole, sir. MISTER OLE!"
He heard a voice calling out behind him and turned around. "Yes?" The boy standing in front of him was average looking. Brown hair and eyes, in his twenties, with a few left overs from a bad case of teenage acne, dressed in a dark red uniform with a silver name tag that read in black letters:
"Mr. Ole, sir, this was handed to me earlier by a gentleman. It's for you, sir. He told me to hand it to you personally. He didn't give a name. He said only that you'd know what it's about."
"Thank you, erm Christopher."
"You're welcome, sir."
Ole searched for an available table and sat on the far corner of the room, on a red velvet chair. A minute passed before he looked at the white envelope that had just been handed to him. It had written on it the name Mr. C. Ole. He started to rip open the envelope but stopped, his heart pounding. Ole put it on the table and checked his watch- 9:30. On the table, were two white plates, bowls and napkins with HOTEL WONDERLAND written in elegant red letters. He looked around, observing the crowded room, trying to calm down. He had not expected to hear from him so soon.
The couple closest to him was discussing some play they had seen the night before, disagreeing over which moment had been the most climatic, the fight or the ending itself. 
A few tables away an old woman poured red tea from a pink thermos into a white porcelain cup and buttered bread with butter from a tiny Flora pack. 
At the table in front of her two men argued about something that he could not make out, although it seemed to keep the old lady interested, as she would now and then stare at them. The man facing the lady had blonde hair, green eyes and freckles on his face, while of the other he could only see his brown hair.
"Excuse me? Do you mind if I take this chair?"
"Hm?"- A little girl, about ten, stood in front of him, long sunshine yellow hair, cute, thin pointy nose, in an orange summer dress imprinted with yellow flowers. "Oh, no, sorry, sweeti-, I mean, I'm waiting for someone."
"Ok, sorry."
"No problem."
Here and there men and women had left their coats, blazers or handbags on chairs before getting up to collect their food. Ole checked for the time- 9:35- before looking towards the buffet. From his seat he could see a woman standing at the buffet whose yellow dress stood out in the dark greens and reds of the room. She was whispering something in the ear of the woman in a business suit next to her whilst pouring herself some coffee. Her companion, who wore strong makeup, smiled as she picked out small pieces of fruit from a fruit salad bowl. He noticed that the teenage boy standing at the edge of the buffet stopped staring at the woman in the yellow dress when the glass of orange juice he was pouring himself overflowed onto his trainers.
He was about to see if the woman had noticed when something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. One of the two men that had been arguing at the table was now standing up. Red freckled face, fists clenched, shouting at his companion.
"You know what you did. You think I don't know? You think she wouldn't tell me?"
"If you know so much then why are we here?"- At this point the brown haired man also stood up. His voice was less deep and threatening than the other's but he sounded nonetheless confident.
"Because of her! She asked me to meet you here, didn't she? You think I'd be here if she hadn't begged."
"Oh she begged now, did she? She probably thought you'd understand, but you're such a closed minded…"- Then he looked around. He had eyebrows the same colour as his hair above his brown eyes, and a long nose. After taking a look around the room he made a head motion to his rival indicating that he wanted to take the argument outside.
Ole's mind drifted back to the envelope. He stared at it, curiosity and fear eating away at his mind. What fresh hell did it contain? What had he found out? A crash of porcelain echoed through his ears, breaking his thoughts. His eyes travelled the room to find the source. The teenage boy was on the floor picking up the broken pieces of a plate, with a red handprint freshly planted on his face. A few feet away were the woman in the yellow dress and her friend, both with a turned up nose.
Once the nervous silence had given way to the previous joyous chatter and clinking of tableware Ole glanced at his watch- 9:44- and then towards the dining room entrance. Where is she? She should have come down by now. It was then he noticed that the old woman had left. Instead on the seat opposite hers now sat a man with dark, deep eyes, bushy eyebrows, a dirty cream tan colour and some wrinkles across his face. His dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. As he examined the man's appearance he caught his eyes. For a few seconds they stared at each other, until Ole felt the hairs at the back of his neck stand up, and he looked down at the white cloth covering his table.
For the fourth time Ole uncovered his wrist- 9:48. He made sure that he could see no one walking in through the main door and got up. He picked up the envelope from the table and, scanning the buffet area one last time, left the room.
Walking past the reception he felt the cold breeze from the main door and turned his face for protection, spotting Christopher behind the counter. "Hey, Christopher, has my wife come down yet?"
"Not that I know of, Mr. Ole. Would you like me to call your room?"
"No, that's alright. I'll head up there now." He gently folded the envelope and inserted it into his jeans’ pocket.

Ole exited the lift and walked down the corridor. A maid was knocking on the door to room Eighty Eight. "Room cleaning. Hello?" The smell of cleaning products emanated from her cart, he remembered the smell from when he had first entered his own hotel room. He stopped in front of room 94 and in taking the key out of his coat pocket, dropped it onto the red coloured carpet. He noticed that a few steps away from him was a patch of darker red. He picked up the key and unlocked the door. The room was dark.
"Vic?" He left the door open behind him so as to let the light from the corridor into the room. It was not enough. He did not want to switch on the light in case a migraine had struck her again, so he stepped further into the room and moved the curtains slightly before he turned to look at the bed. "Vic, are you…Vic? VIC?” No sign of her. He walked towards the bathroom. Nothing. “Vic?” His heart raced now. He walked in large steps to the doorway; he looked out into the corridor, left and right. He stepped out and walked towards the lift and pressed the button.
He turned around. “Someone please!” The screams were coming from room Eighty Eight. He looked at the number above the lift: five. Three floors to go. “Somebody hel-” Other guests from that floor were starting to emerge from their rooms. Some were just spying out into the corridor still somewhat sleepy. A man walked into the room. Ole followed. Looking into the room he saw the cleaning lady lying on the floor, a hotel guest kneeling next to her. “She fainted.” The opened window allowed for a cold breeze to float around the room. He walked further in and saw a foot behind the bed. The foot was in a red stiletto that looked worn out after six years’ constant use. He stubbed his foot on the foot of the bed and fell over. He pulled himself up to his elbows and crawled towards her. “Vic.”

To be continued...