#9 Anticipation

by Thomas Lera

Harry pushed through the creaking, rusty gate and stood still gazing around for several minutes before he made his way into the hotel. He felt profoundly sad having just walked beneath the skeletal branches of winter-weary trees, their bark peeling from gray-brown trunks like dead skin.

The old stone church crouched on the hill behind him, its steeple, a dim gray beacon, acting as guardian over the small cobblestoned village. The timbered, slate-roofed houses trailed thin wisps of smoke from their chimneys, their white paint, once so pristine and majestic, now faded, chipped and peeling. Many windowpanes were broken out, and those remaining were opaque with dirt.

Turning away from the view he stepped into the hotel lobby. Immediately his stomach clutched with a queasy, uncomfortable feeling and a vague sense of foreboding tugged at his sub-conscience. It was then he saw her halfway down the hall, standing still, wrapped loosely in a voluminous shawl.

As his eyes met hers, long-ignored desires came flooding back to him and his heart took up a staccato rhythm. Harry breathed deeply to still its beating as he looked upon a face, neck and décolletage with skin as smooth and white as the finest Italian marble. A languorous, sensual smile spread slowly across her face, revealing razor-sharp canines.

He heard a voice, whether in his head or from her he knew not, whispering, “A new union will take place this night.”

Silently, she took his hand and led him up the stairs.


Anonymous said...

Eerily disconcerting...great job!

John Rowlands said...

This is a beautiful short story. The setup and imagery of the small town, the hotel lobby, and the unknown woman. Nice twist at the end.

Jonathan Riley said...

I really enjoyed how you worked the prompt into this one. I also liked the build up of tension and the payoff at the end.

Deb said...

Great descriptions. Enjoyed this. But don't go upstairs, Harry!

Amy Wallflower said...

Watch out HP Lovecraft, Tom will give you a run for your money! Skillfully condensed, makes me wish it were longer!