Hotel Serenity: Prologue
“Hey, hey! Wake up, you lazy piece of garbage! I said, wake up!”
It wasn’t the sound of my exasperating alarm clock that awoke me from my not-so-sound slumber on that cold mid-December morning, but the sound of my own mother. “You are not going to sleep in ‘til three in the afternoon again – not this time. Get up! Now, Kyle!”
My head hit the stiff mattress as Mom yanked the pillow out from under my head, and I begrudgingly rolled around and sat up, stretching my arms with a loud yawn. “Alright, Mom…I hear you. No need to shout.”
My blurred vision came to, and the next thing I felt was a blunt, paper-like object bouncing off my forehead. “Ow!” I yelled, catching the bagged up newspaper in my arms. “Mom, what…a newspaper? Why are you handing me this?”
“You’re going to be looking up phone numbers today, and you’re going to find yourself a job,” Mom said. “You’re not getting to use my car today until you’ve got yourself an interview. Gas went up again, and rent went up again – and you’re doing nothing to help me out with income.”
“Mom, it’s my birthday,” I reminded her. “How about some breakfast, first?”
“That goes and makes it even worse,” Mom said, her baggy green eyes twitching beneath her wrinkly forehead and tousled gray hair. “You’re not just a thirty-five year old living with his mom, you’re a thirty-six year old living with his mom. Time to get out into the real world, Kyle Edgins.”
I guess I should take a moment to properly introduce myself. My name is Kyle Edgins, and yeah, I’m thirty-six, and I live with my mom. But it’s not like I’ve always relied on the old lady to put food on my plate. I moved to Washington when I was twenty-six, getting hitched to the love of my life. I almost even had a kid. I was about to become a family man, and I was loving every bit of it. But the funny thing you and I call life hit me like a speeding train. My wife got breast cancer, and miscarried our baby girl. The miscarriage taking away all the willpower she had to fight her illness, she passed away at the young age of twenty-nine. After her death, I didn’t know what to do with myself. My boss at the office where I worked told me to get out of this lull, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready to.
And so, he fired me. Couldn’t pay the rent anymore, so I had to move back in with my alcoholic mother. Two years later, and you can pretty much see where I’m at, can’t you? No job, no car, no house; just living movie to movie, no future in plain sight.
After Mom stormed out of my bedroom, I shaved and showered, before heading downstairs into the kitchen. I saw Mom sitting at the round center table, a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka pressed to her lips.
"Mom, what the hell are you doing?” I roared, hurrying to the table, grabbing the bottle from her hands. “This early in the morning? Come on!”
Mom jumped up from the table, her wrinkly, pale skin turning a bright pink as her eyes filled with a furious anger in them. “So now you think you can tell me how to live my life?” she said. “What else am I supposed to drink for breakfast? Huh? Tell me that one!”
“How about water,” I said.
“Water…you…you just…you pathetic, mess of a man. I drink because of you. If you had a job, you’d help me pay the electricity bill! Three hundred dollars this month! How much of that are you helping me pay, huh? You and that good for nothing man I used to call a husband. Both of you are lazy, good for nothing pigs!”
“Maybe it’s time you stop blaming Dad, and stop blaming me, and start blaming yourself!” I yelled, throwing the bottle to the ground, glass and alcohol with a thunderous shattering sound that echoed throughout the entire house. “I’m sick of this, Mom! I’ve tried! For two years, I’ve tried to get you to stop drinking! Every day I do this, but it’s like you don’t even care! And I can’t do it anymore. I can't do it anymore, Mom. I can’t go to bed across the hall from you each night, knowing that you’re killing yourself. So…this is it, Mom.”
“What’s it? What is this? What are you doing?”
“I’m leaving,” I said, taking a deep breath, shaking my head. “Goodbye, Mom.”
I packed my things and dialed the number for a cab to take me to the nearby bank, where I had a savings account open with about five hundred dollars tucked away for emergencies. Now, I didn’t have a whole lot of people I could turn to when I was in a huge rut, but there was one woman who was always willing to hear me out if I needed something.
I took in a large helping of cold winter air, popping quarters into a payphone, sticking the end piece up to my ear.
“Grandma? It’s me, Kyle,” I said. “I need a place to stay.”
"Oh, Kyle…happy birthday,” Grandma said on the other line, her voice hoarse and scratchy. “I’m sorry if I sound a bit weak. Just a bit under the weather, is all.”
“Thanks, and I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. “Can you help me out?”
There was a long strand of silence on the other end, before Grandma took a deep breath and spoke. “Kyle, you know you’re getting too old for this,” she said. “I know Amy’s death was hard on you, but you need to get it together on your own. For your sake, and your mother’s. You can’t just abandon her.”
“I’m not abandoning her,” I sternly said. “But I know she needs me. And I know she won’t realize that she needs me until I leave her for a while. It’s the only way to help her.”
“I understand,” Grandma said. “But you can’t stay with me anymore. You know that your aunt is still living with me after her house burnt down years ago. She’s living in the guest room, and your cousins are sleeping on the couches. There’s just no room, I’m afraid.”
“What about the hotel?” I said. “You have any vacancies? Come on, I’m desperate. I have nobody else to go to right now.”
“Ah, yes, I believe your grandfather said there were vacancies,” Grandma said. “But you know how he is. He won’t let you stay there for free.”
“I have some money,” I said. “Can I get him to at least give me a ride?”
Grandma sighed. “I’ll see what I can do. I’m obviously not over there today; he’s running the inn by himself.”
“Actually, wait,” I said. “I can call a cab. Will talk to you later. Love you.”
“Please, Kyle. Just don’t give up on your mother.”
Hotel Serenity was a small inn off the coast of California, owned and operated by my grandparents, Frank and Marilyn Gremera. My grandpa opened it up at the young age of twenty-one, and kept it up and running for fifty four long years before my arrival on that fateful day in mid-December.
But the place had its secrets -- secrets that were like leeches, waiting for a man like me to come along and swallow me whole. Those secrets were going to rip me apart. They wanted me hurt, they wanted me dead. They were more twisted than the world's most severe sociopath, more terrifying than the most terminal of cancer you can imagine. The dark, tragic, terrifying truths that these secrets held were more torturous, more painful than the worst pain you could ever imagine, ten times over. And those secrets were ready for me.
But I wasn’t ready for them. Not by a long shot.
A.N.: Consider this a "pilot" chapter, I'd like to know what you think of the characters and whether or not this is worth continuing ^^