Σάββατο, 15 Ιουνίου 2013

THE FOUR LANTERNS

The jellyfish left him at the side of the street and it slid gracefully in the sewers in order to get to its underground nest. He took a deep breath. Dirty city air without the saltiness that he was inhaling a while ago. Deserted that late, with the few pedestrians wrapped up in their synthetic anoraks. The hotel was located at the edge of the city. It was the first thereby it carried the signs of aging. Some of the neon letters at the sign blinking nervously had been damaged. That was the first difference that struck him apart from a general blur, decline and resignation. All the lonely travelers that stayed out during the inhospitable night spent their time there. Adventurer con-men with dark goals and plans. They always preferred the hotel THE FOUR LANTERNS because no one would ask or look more than he should. He had also chosen that hotel on his first trip. He had stood at the side of the street with his suitcase, lost in his thoughts before he put out his cigarette and get in, just like he did right now.
His eyes got used to the low lighting. Alfred was at the reception as always. Like he remembered him with his characteristic braces with the live octopus tentacles. The mayor or the underground city had given them as a gift for his hospitality some time ago. He never took them off. Everyone connected him with them. The tentacles always wrapped around the body of each one they liked for a while, a small welcoming ritual. He was not an exception when he stood in front of the dusted desk. Alfred was tired and old. He looked at him intensely behind his glasses, like he was waiting for him. He smiled at him while the tentacles hugged his body and wrapped around his neck for a while. It was like they were waiting for him as well. Warm small talk to break the ice. He looked at his suitcase. He asked about Jack, if he was all right, he hadn’t seen him for a long time. He gave him the guestbook to sign. He also gave him the metal key, a bit rusty on the side. He called the groom. A young boy with a scared look. He took the heavy suitcase and escorted him to the staircase. Alfred’s voice came as a wave and found him on the first step. «She’s waiting for you. She’s upstairs. She came for you…». He turned his look without having a thing to say. Alfred had already put him out of the difficult position. He stared at the guestbook with devotion or so he pretended. He was grateful for that moment.
The groom was having a hard time with the suitcase. He carried it with both of his hands, puffing. The room was at the second floor. Number 605, green door. Almost breathless he started to tell him about the broken telephone and the blinds that were stuck and needed gentle handling. He stopped him abruptly. He knew all these. It wasn’t his first time in that room. The blinds had problems ever since. Did he sound rude to the boy? His mind was already gone. It was already in the room, a quarter to eight years ago.
In that single and last night when she had come to find him and knock on this green door. She had come to his door at that time for a night with him. A female water flower with dangerous moods. She had let him embrace her as tight as he could and let him think that he could make her belong to him, but without the sea water she could never bloom in his hands. She didn’t harm him with her lethal scent back then and he didn’t make it to kill her as his mission was. She promised to give him that night on his next trip. He promised to come back only for that moment. As she left she whispered that only with the sea water from the seven seas could he win her. He didn’t make it. He didn’t collect it on time. There was always something missing. Something slipping. Time was running. She was hurt, thought that he had forgotten her. Something that he would like to manage, to get her out of his mind. She was wrong. She knew that she could provoke him.
She started killing again. Her scent was almost toxic and came out only when she wanted to, out of her hair when she had them loose and waving either at the city of the sea or when she was at the surface. She knew that he would understand it and come back again on the mission to take her out of the way. Would he make it to put himself above the duty this time? To keep her promise, she herself collected the sea water from the seven seas and placed it with difficulty in the suitcase. When she made up her mind, she gave it to Jack asking him to give it to him when he would see him again.
The moment had come. Time had run out and started all over again. The stairs in the narrow staircase diminished. And so did his strength. For a moment that seemed at least a lifetime he held his breath and put the key in the lock. The door opened…





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