A/N: My apologies for the delay between chapters. Life does have this nasty habit of getting in the way of things. If it weren't for the whole horror thing and apparent lack of bathrooms, I can see why a break from reality can be so appealing to some people. Also I have several other projects, writing and otherwise, and some things get more attention than others. But you're not here to read excuses, I think. Anyways, I hope I'm forgiven for my lateness and hope you enjoy this latest chapter. Most of the first half's been sitting around for a while, so it was about time I got it done.
I don't remember my dreams from that first night. Then again, as far as I can remember, only on very rare occasions do I remember my dreams for so long afterward. Only one do I remember, and it inspired a story I once tried to write. However, even it has begun to fade.
But I digress. Given how late I had gone to bed the previous night, it was not surprising that I woke up late in the morning, almost at nine-thirty according to my watch. I had placed it on the small table in my room before I went to bed, alongside my wallet and...
My cell phone was missing.
Gregory really seemed to be pulling out all the stops this time.
However, I decided might as well see if it didn't just fall off the table anyways. Just to be sure.
Since I naturally didn't pack a spare set of clothes in my school backpack, I had slept in the clothes I arrived in, so I didn't have to get out of any jammies once I got myself out of bed. I quickly got down on all fours and looked under the table. Aside from a thin layer of dust under it, I found nothing. I checked under the bed next, with the same results. Next I checked inside the small trash can beside the table, thinking it may have fallen in there; no dice. Finally, even thought it was a bit of a stretch, I looked underneath and inside the wardrobe. Predictably, it wasn't there either.
Just then, I heard a faint noise coming from Neko Zombie's cell beside my room.
It sounded like... munching.
Not even bothering to put my shoes on (who sleeps in their shoes, really?), I ran out of my room and over to the large metal door to room 203. Putting my ear to the door... yes, the munching was definitely coming from there. I peeked through the keyhole and I saw the poor brown-and-white stitched creature, still wearing that red-and-blue striped shirt and dirty tan pants he was in on the DVDs, and he was holding something small and black in his hands and nibbling furiously away at it. Pulling away, I saw the door's meal slot, just tall enough to fit a cell phone through.
"He did..." I muttered to myself, my palm flying to my face.
Apparently the starved cat on the other side heard the resulting slapping sound, because next thing I knew, there was a loud slam from the door like someone had pounced right into it. I yelped, startled, and fell back onto my behind. That sure was happening a lot lately. The sound repeated itself, although not nearly with as much intensity, as Neko Zombie threw himself against the door repeatedly.
I decided to return to my room before Gregory could find me here, and quickly got to my feet and did so, shutting the door firmly but not slamming it behind me.
As I got my shoes on, pocketed my wallet, and snapped on my watch, I heard banging against the metal door and Gregory faintly shouting. "Be quiet! I already fed you, you stupid cat!" After Neko Zombie's cried had muted some, I heard Gregory's footfalls, and they seemed to be getting a little louder.
The door opened a little and Gregory peeked his head in. "Ah, you're up at last, my friend," he said to me. "I was almost afraid you wouldn't. Heh-heh-heh." Oh, that chuckle. "I certainly hope your neighbor didn't wake you up."
"No no, I woke up a little earlier than that," I replied.
"Ah, that's good then," he continued. "Do feel free to call for me if you ever lose yourself." I could hear him chuckle again as he gently closed the door.
That rat is the master of the double entendre, I tell ya.
After I got my shoes on my feet, my watch on my wrist, my wallet (thankfully untouched) in my pocket, and my backpack stashed under the bed (as a precaution), it finally stuck me that I've never seen the world of the hotel during the day except for moments of twilight. I glanced over to the small window on the wall opposite the door, which was currently closed.
What was daylight like around here? I decided to find out. I walked over and reached my hand out to the small handle on the shutter.
That's about when my door exploded behind me.
I was quick to turn around. My room's door was broken into splinters and broken planks scattered about the floor. I thought I could see the 2 of my room number among them. But what drew my attention was the figure that now stood in my doorway. He was fairly short, but his skin was green and he wore a large sombrero and Mexican serape. Oh yeah, and there was also these holsters at his sides that held small handguns, and the sash of long machine gun bullets around his torso.
"'Ey, amigo," he said to me with a Mexican accent. "Long time no see."
"Indeed, Cactus Gunman, indeed," I replied. Another character from the show. Although you might have already known that; he popped up in every season.
"Ho ho ho," he chuckled as he slowly walked into the room. "Let's 'ead over to the bar and catch up on old times over some tequeela."
I can't remember the numbers, but if I recall correctly I was a year or two too young to drink alcohol. "Um, sorry Gunman, but I don't drink."
"Don't dreenk?" he exclaimed. "Ai yi yi! What ees the matter with you? We duel!"
He pulled out one of his guns and tossed it into my hands. I shouldn't have been surprised that I didn't find a safety on it upon a preliminary inspection; this was twofold, since for one, there wasn't one, and two, I wouldn't know where the safety on a gun was in the first place; this was the only time in my life I've ever held a firearm.
"Eet is far too cramped in here," the Gunman proclaimed. "We shall duel en the hallway!"
"Fine by me," I replied.
He was beginning to walk out when Gregory just so happened to be walking by. "Oh my, this situation certainly seems familiar," he commented with a chuckle. "Oh how I envy the carelessness of youth. Gentlemen, it would be an honor to serve as your witness."
Despite the enthusiasm of my opponent, I was starting to get a little bored. Gregory's line almost sounded rehearsed. And why shouldn't it have? This was playing out much like the show; eerily well, in fact.
I know it was after I left my room and before I turned around, though I can't remember the exact point, when the scenery seemed to change around me. The Gunman, Gregory, and I were standing in the middle of an old-timey Western main street. Wooden buildings lined the sides, looking exactly what you'd think a Western town looked like... and exactly how I remember it from the Gunman's episode. The cactus himself stood ready further down the street. He stared me down rather well for being not that much taller than me; I tried my best to return the favor, clutching the pistol in my right hand as I lacked a holster (apparently, he was OK with the handicap). Judging from the shadows, it was high noon. Not that I thought it mattered whose eyes the sun got in.
Gregory stood to the side in a dapper black suit, next to a coffin in front of the undertaker's place, holding a golden coin in his hand. "I'm sure reciting the rules are a formality at this point. You may fire as soon as this coin hits the ground."
I remained silent as I heard the coin begin its flip into the air. If I had any worry in me, I don't remember any of it. Cactus Gunman's whole shtick was his inability to hit the target he was aiming for. At worst, I figured he would get the bullet to just skim me and get me to jump a little; at best, he'd hit Gregory again. I'd probably find the image especially amusing in person. Just a few more seconds for them both to run off, with Gregory likely pursuing the Gunman with that randomly-appearing shotgun, and then I could get a proper start to the day that didn't involve dueling cacti and phone-eating cats.
Then suddenly Gregory spoke something that shook me up. "That smirk on your face, my friend. You believe you know for sure where this path leads? You think you know everything, and yet you know nothing, because since you think you know everything... you don't bother to learn."
The clink of the coin; I raised my arm. A bang. A sudden pain right in the middle of my stomach. Eyes wide and with a gasp, I collapsed in a heap on the floor.
The last thing I remember before blacking out was Cactus Gunman dropping his other pistol and running away hysterically shouting, "Aiaiaiaiai! I'd deedn't think I'd actually heet heem!"