HOTEL OF INJURY
In a twilight land, there’s a hotel where broken children are sent.
One day, the boy who was nothing more than a head came searching for his sweetheart, manoeuvring around in an adapted shopping-trolley, orally steered. He was on the mezzanine, overlooking reception, with the boy who turned to stone when anxious. They both had a crush on the receptionist, but neither knew of their unstated rivalry. Normally, she’d sit behind the desk, filing her nails, making calls, receiving broken children from parents, guardians, teachers and priests. But this afternoon, she was nowhere to be seen, and the boy who was just a head felt he’d wasted his effort, coming all the way down in the lift, along the corridor, to the brink of the mezzanine, to miss out on her willowy, feline outline. Stoneboy, too, was disappointed, sensing fingers and toes threatening to petrify.
Kat, the object of their love, was in the kitchen, helping prepare the evening meal (although even lunch was an evening meal in this dim domain). She was cherry-pretty, but had a condition whereby tears would forge gorges in her cheeks, to the point that she’d still be called gorgeous, but for all the wrong reasons. She managed her moods accordingly, never allowing herself to love, in case it didn’t last, and brine came flowing disastrously down those rose-white cheeks.
Prawns cocktailed, melons balled, and dinner ready, she reappeared at reception with lithe efficiency. Trolleyboy spied her first, through the bars of his vehicle, and ventured a shy hello. She looked up with catlike neutrality, but Stoneboy thought she was looking at him, got tongue-tied and flustered, and felt his limbs seizing up. Trolleyboy could contain himself no longer, but his desire was deadly and, with overeager mouth, he steered himself to mezzanine’s edge, and over, clattering and cartwheeling down the stairs into the foyer, until, wheels still spinning, his pasty cheek was pierced by mangled metal.
Kat hurtled to his side, stooping down, revealing knee. 'Oh, what's become of him?' she wailed, calling up to Stoneboy for succour, but though he wanted to at least feign help, and win her that way, he found he was almost rigid, a granite child, statuesque in trauma, moving like one wading through setting concrete, until, two steps down, he froze entirely. Kat, bewildered, and desperate to see such destruction, bit her lip, began to whimper, tried to rein things in, but her will was wilting, and sour droplets came rolling down from glacé eyes, trickling like acid with ravaging intent. Within moments, her face was a mass of gashes, visible veins, and torn, sore tissue.
Gazing up, by way of a mute farewell, Trolleyboy mused, ‘Well, at least she chose me.’
A porter cleared up, although Stoneboy was left on his step, as a warning to future guests not to stray too far into love’s fatal minefield.
Dinner was quiet that night, and, out of respect, many guests forwent dessert.
Well, there we are, a story about a hotel in a twilight realm. Maybe tomorrow? Oh, and as ever, here is one of my songs: Over You
For your ears only...