Part 1

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***Content warning***
The story you are about to read contains very detailed gore. It may not be appropriate for all audiences. Please read at your own discretion.

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"This weather is just terrible! I don't think it's safe to keep driving, hun," Lucy exclaimed as she tried to peer into the dark through the rain-coated windshield. The wipers were barely able to provide a clear view, even at maximum speed.

Her husband Matt sat next to her, his eyes fixated on the road and his face stern from concentration. "I can't say I disagree with you," he spoke slowly. "But we're almost there..."

Lucy sighed deeply as she kept staring out into the blackness of night, a flash of lightning illuminating the sky every few minutes. After half an hour the headlights hit a road-sign indicating the presence of a motel just off the next exit. "Is that the place?" Lucy asked.

Matt nodded. "It must be. It's the first motel I've seen for miles, and it's supposed to be around here..." The car slowed down as the exit came into view; the large amount of water made the road treacherous and the bend forced Matt to a pedestrian's pace.

Lucy peered out the window at the motel lights; it was right next to the highway. "It looks rather..." She searched for the more political correct term, but Matt beat her to it.

"It looks like a place for hookers, drug-dealers, and serial killers."

She gave him an angry glare. Sure, the only neon-letters still glowing were the "o", "e", and "l", giving it a rather shabby appearance. "It looked alright when I looked it up online. Besides, it's just for the night..."

"How early did they serve breakfast again? We need to depart before nine if we want to be in time for the wedding," Matt said as he turned the car into the motel's parking lot.

"The lady on the phone told me we could eat at seven, so no worries there. We can leave at eight so we have some time to socialise with your friends before the ceremony." She smiled at her husband.

The car came to a halt and Matt killed the engine. He turned to his wife and placed his hand on her leg, gently squeezing it. Returning her smile, he said, "Thanks honey. I'm very happy you planned this all out. I still can't believe Joe is getting married..." He shook his head.

"I still can't believe Patricia was the one to ask him." Lucy giggled. "Then again, she always was the rebel." She turned to look at the motel entrance and the smile faded from her face. The rain didn't seem to lessen any time soon and another thunderbolt rolled through the sky. "How about we get inside?"

Matt grinned coyly. "Do we have a choice?" He opened the door and quickly jumped out. Lucy grabbed her bag and ran after him, the sound of the car locking behind her barely audible due to the heavy rain.

Giggling and soaking wet from the short distance the couple stood at the reception. They rang the bell and not much later a door creaked in the distance. A brown haired middle-aged woman walked up to them. She beamed at the couple, though the smile faded when she came close enough to see that they were soaking wet.

"Oh my! Are you the Clements?"

The couple nodded as they leaned on the counter.

"Well, let's get you two a room then so you can take off those wet clothes!" She smiled sweetly as she grabbed a key from the board behind her. "If I recall correctly you wanted one night and breakfast?"

        

They paid for the room and arranged for breakfast at seven. The lady—whose nametag identified her as Beth—escorted the couple to their room on the second floor. She kept talking about everything and nothing on the way there. Lucy had already stopped trying to converse with her and simply stuck to nodding and saying "aha".

When the Clements finally managed to close the door their clothes had already started to dry. Lucy rested her back against the wood and mouthed "oh my God" to her husband, afraid that if she spoke out loud the woman might still hear her.

Matt giggled as silently as he could and walked into the small room, Lucy in his wake. To their relief it wasn't too bad. The room was in decent condition and it smelled fresh and clean. "I guess you can't judge a book by its cover," Matt stated as he sat down on one of the single beds. "From what I saw outside I expected mouldy ceilings, loose wallpaper, and damp linens."

"Well, unless you get your soaked ass off that bed, they will be damp!" Lucy toyed.

With a deep sigh Matt got up and took off his shirt. "I'll be in the shower then," he stated as he grinned slyly at his wife.

"Oh you!" Lucy tried to sound angry, but failed miserably. "I'll push the beds together while you're in there."

             

Two hours had passed and the thunderstorm was now right above them. The television flickered with every flash of lightning, but being half-asleep in each other's arms the two didn't seem to mind. A particularly loud thunderclap resounded through the building and the television died.

Matt lazily opened his eyes, noted the power outage and closed them again, hugging his wife tighter against his frame.

Suddenly a loud scream echoed through the halls and they both shot up—wide awake. "What was that?" Lucy whispered.

Before Matt could comfort her another scream pierced the silence. He closed his open mouth, as what he wanted to say was no longer suitable. Two more screams followed and Matt got out of bed to check the lock on the door.

"It sounds like someone is getting killed out there," Lucy hissed, her body rigid from fright.

A couple of agonising wails rang in the distance and Matt's face contorted. "I think that if someone was getting killed we would be hearing a whole different level of screaming..." He tried to sound reassuring, but inside he was pondering if he should call the cops or not.

Several minutes of silence passed and a rapid knocking on the door made Lucy jump from the bed.

"Mister and missus Clement?" It was Beth.

The couple looked at each other, as far as the darkness would allow. Matt made his way to the door and unlocked it. Beth stood in the hallway holding a flashlight.

"May I come in?" she asked, her face hidden in eerie shadows cast by the flashlight.

Matt stepped aside and the woman strode in and sat down on the bed. "I came to apologise for what you just heard. I already apologised to the two other guests currently staying, as the third is an elderly man who was still snoring when I stood before his door. He's as good as deaf and must have turned off his hearing aid—"

"What happened?" Lucy interrupted the rambling woman.

She sighed deeply. "It's my boy, Vincent... He returned home from the institution little over a month ago—" She saw the couple's worried faces in the light of the torch and quickly added, "Oh, no need to worry. He did his time and he still goes to therapy. Thing is, he's afraid of the dark... Also, the television keeps him calm at night when he suffers from insom—"

Another scream ripped through the building and Beth shot up.

"I'm sorry, I'll be right back."

"Oh no, it's okay! You don't have—" Lucy started, but Beth had already left the room. Lucy grabbed her husband's arm. "What do you think she meant with 'he did his time'?"

"I don't think I want to know... I didn't like her to begin with, and now it turns out she has some weird screaming son? I just want to sleep and get out of here first thing in the morning."

"I think she's okay, she just talks too—" Suddenly the television flickered on again and Lucy immediately turned to flick on the lamp next to the bed. The screen remained snowy and she grabbed the remote to change the channel, but static was all she could find. "Crap, I have a feeling that—"

As if on cue another scream bolted through the night.

"Let's just try and get some sleep, okay honey? Let the woman deal with her crazy kid," Matt said as he turned off the television. He crawled back into bed with Lucy.

Though a bit reluctant, she rested her head on his chest. "I don't think I'm going to sleep well though, that kid's screaming is going to give me nightmares."

       

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