Halloween at the Azure Hotel Ray Bradbury 52SS 52W Week12

I hope you’re enjoying reading my results of the writing challenges. 🙂 (Minor edit made, small clarity issue corrected)

The Azure Hotel. We have heard the stories many times. None of the stories we’ve heard were good. Considering how beautiful it is, it’s hard to believe. Neither I nor anyone I know have ever stepped foot inside for a stay. Until now, an unfortunate per chance meeting of it up close and personal one hallows evening after a rather wicked deluge from a thunderstorm. Which trapped my car in the mud as I slid to a stop just outside its wrought-iron gates adorned in gold and azure colored seashells nestled between a stone wall, appearing to stretch for miles around the grounds of the hotel. There is no sight of a sign. It’s even a hotel. I’ve heard whispers that Azure hotel’s still going strong. But I’m finding it hard to believe, since the parking area looks sparsely populated with two or three vehicles. I head to the gate three feet away with my bag and umbrella. The gates come open as I’m approaching, as if someone’s expecting another guest with no one waiting to greet me inside it. I can’t see the building yet being obscured by the gorgeous autumn tree foliage. As I arrive at the door, scents of cigars, cigarettes, various alcoholic drinks, perfume, the air mixing with the wet scents of grass and leaves. It appears dark as I peer inside through the etched glass of the maple door. When it flies open and a male voice invites me in, offering to take my bag, coat and umbrella.

 I cannot see anyone’s face in the lit darkness. Only a white glove hand extending towards my bag as another man’s voice floats in the distance. Please take the gentleman’s things to room five hundred and six while I check him in. Right this way, sir, sign your name here. The other man’s hand was pale but smooth. The voice I’d say was of the age of thirty-eight. I’m not able to see the desk outright, only a dark brown weathered leather sign in a ledger which looks as though it’s seen a better day page wise. The endless pages I flip through after I sign it. Worn and brown discoloration parchment by time. Voices stop speaking now, only pointing me towards a beautiful, darkest mahogany staircase I’ve ever had the pleasure to lay eyes upon up to my room as they lay a key out for me to take. The hallway lights come on as if it’s being controlled by the clap. As I head upstairs, the dust cloths that cover the paintings fall on the ground. A golden key was in my hand as I stopped at the dark door. I took a deep breath and unlocked it, peaked inside, cautious of what I may find or run into. I flick the switch in the room close to the door. On the bench, I find my bag and umbrella. They seem to have an affinity for dark wood. As I’m finding it throughout the furniture in the room and the curtains, a dark sapphire blue with gold cord tying it back.

 As I close them, gaze out at the fog that’s forming just as the voice, which seems to sound like it was within my room, asks me. Is everything satisfactory, sir? As I grip the bedpost so tight it’s causing my knuckles to turn white as internal whimpering screams through my mind. I intentionally keep myself up all night reading through old snippets, diary and other research about Azure hotel. I hadn’t intended to stay here yet here I am stuck in the proverbial mud. Midnight chimes in a timely beat on the old grandfather clock in the hallway as I hear footsteps thumping about the halls as if it’s still bustling with people. That’s when the whispering voices echo outside the door and seemingly inside my room. I settle onto the bed for the evening. I brushed it off, went back to reading the book, jotting down notes of everything that’s ever appeared in everything else I’ve ever read so far. A group of people ghost hunting one evening during the one particular spooky time of the year experienced one of the strangest incidents to happen here in this old hotel. The details that I know in an unfortunate circumstance are that the usual gossip evolved from one grain of truth into grains of make believe and half truths, of course, no one knows what the grain of truth is since it’s seen its unfair share of twists. 

 I doubt we’ll ever really know for certain. Now, I know you’re wondering why I’d bother to come here at all, if we can never learn the truth. Well, let us continue and find out, shall we? A citrusy tea smell seeps through the door and flows into my room underneath the doorway as I hear a food cart roll through the halls getting closer and closer, just going past my room as I hear voices of women laughing and chattering excitedly. Though I can’t make out exactly what is being said as another sound of distant crashing on the other side of the halls startles me. I swing open my door and let it slam against the wall as I lean out while trying to locate which way to head deciding finally to go left and down the halls into a part of the place that reminds me of the entrance down stairs the doors look the same with a balcony and stairs lead down to the patio garden area of hotel Azure. I peer through the door between the flashes of lighting shining through the heavy rain, see withered vegetation and worn, darkening cobblestones underneath rusty black outdoor furniture. Someone’s gentle voice startles me as I stand there looking. I hope your room is of satisfactory nature. The man said. I thought I’m only hearing their voices again as I began turning toward the voice. I’m startled badly when I’m met with icy pale blue eyes and the voice right in front of me now. Gentleman of a height of five-foot-nine stands there expressionless at me.

 I can only nod yes towards the gentleman as I work up the courage for an introduction of names. Hello, I don’t think we’ve properly introduced ourselves. I’m Professor Penfield… Copernicus Penfield. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I said, leaning in for a pointless hand shake only to discover we can actually touch each other. Their hands are cold, as if they were just inside a freezer. Ahh, they now speak with telepathy. They revealed their name to me, though I shall wait to reveal for a short time. Let us continue. A female approaches us as we stand there as her lovely pale lavender parasol twirls as they stroll past us. Her lacy see through white dress reveals an almost transparent dark orchid purple under garment but come to think of it, the young woman’s skin appears to have the same milky white as the gentleman and her eyes are of the same color as theirs. How can this be? I whispered, as my lower lip trembles and my knees shake. Step out onto the balcony again and as I began leaning against it, I had this sudden strange sensation. Decided to step away, trying to shake off that odd feeling. The woman and gentleman invited me for a conversation in the sitting area on the ground floor as the clock chimes four o’clock in the morning. By which I am oddly not tired at all being up this late. 

 I’m sure you have heard many very interesting stories about this old place? He said. Suddenly, the fireplace comes to life as he stares at it. He folded his hands to his vested chest as nestled himself into the chair and appeared as though he might go completely through it as he seemed to sink a little too much into it, disappearing slightly as did she while on the sofa. My strange sensation reappears with more vigor as I take a seat near the fireplace, only to cause me to raise up. What is it, my dear professor? She asks. You seem so uncomfortable right now. Is there something on us, as you Americans say? She said, looking about the room mischievously. Ah, look, I see the deluge has let up. Perhaps now’s the time I should head back. I have had a marvelous time chatting and experiencing the intricacies of this beautiful place. But, I really must go now. Though no conversation’s really happened, I feel a strong sense to leave quickly. I excuse myself, tell the desk manager to make my bill up for this stay as I head back to my room, springing up the steps two at a time quick once arriving inside the room, shutting it quietly as I bolted the lock. Heading to the other side of the room threw everything I have back into the bag haphazardly hurrying. As some of my clothing and papers hang out the top of it. 

As I turn, heading back to the door. I found the gentleman there in my room, right in front of the door. How on earth did you get in here? I said, clutching my bag tight as I eyed my umbrella, ready to grab it as if I’m in the middle of a duel as my eyes never stray from his. Yes, here is the moment you will find out who he is. It isn’t, it’s no coincidence, I realized why I am here. As I realized in the last hour, he was my great- great- grandfather. His name is Penfield- Thomas Copernicious Penfield II. I am Copernicious Peter Penfield. The V. Grandfather Penfield’s daughter is my mother’s parent. The Penfield family was quite the astute bunch of people. You know the one you went to when you’re needing a favor, shall we say? Friends, other acquaintances, and their acquaintances. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. But really, let me just leave it at this caveat that there’ve been many favors, some said to be paid in ways incomprehensible and from what they have just informed me. I shall be here for a long, long stay. Ahh, breakfast hour is just starting for our other guests who have just arrived. We better put on a good show. The investigator tiptoes through the foyer, where I offered to greet him. Hello Mr. Investigator, I’m ready for my closeup!

Hey wait a minute! Your…. you’re… you… yo—

Yes, yes, come on man, spit it out.

I’m dead!


As he runs out the door, I yell, You come back now? We just love visitors! Especially that this time of the year! Yes, I figured it out long before you did. I’m sorry to be so mysteriously cold!

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