I opened my eyes and regretted it immediately; I was still in the hotel. I had hoped that I would be home, in my own bed and that Neko Zombie, Gregory and Mummy Papa had all been a dream, but it seemed I was wrong.
The wax from the candle on the table had melted all over the surface when I was sleeping, and now only a tiny flame was left lighting the room. I forced myself into sitting position, and looked around the small space feeling dizzy. My stomach growled suddenly and I placed a hand to it, feeling embarrassed despite the fact there was no one around to hear it.
My head was spinning and I briefly wondered if I was hung over after drinking too much. Then I remembered that I had stopped drinking a few months ago and groaned.
I staggered up, my legs wobbling a little bit. Goosebumps appeared on my skin and I shivered a little bit with the sudden chill that was in the room. A scratchy voice from just outside my door caught my attention.
"I need to wake her up, it's time for lunch! It's bad enough that she missed breakfast..." Gregory was saying. The voice which replied almost made my heart stop.
"Maybe give her a few more minutes; something tells me the kid had a late night." The odd, feminine purr told me instantly that Catherine was just outside as well. Why did that thought fill me with such fear? After all she had seemed fairly pleasant last night, although she did say that was because she didn't have any good needles...
"What on earth are you talking about? I saw her go into her room and she remained in there long after I went to bed!" I smirked as I imagined the old mouse waving his arms around and hopping from foot to foot in disbelief, then I frowned. I shouldn't know he would be doing that, I never even knew him, no matter how familiar he- and this whole place in fact- seemed.
"Just trust me Greg, that kid is different from the others. I can't figure out why though..." They seemed to let their sentences trail off a lot, I wondered if that was something common here. Footsteps sounded, and I knew they belonged to Catherine because they were not Gregory's slow steady footfalls. A gentle knock made me jump, despite the fact I had been expecting it.
"My dear, it is quite late in the day, perhaps you should be getting up now if you don't mind me saying!"
"Thank you Gregory I'll be out in a minute!" I got the impression that he would stay out there until I came out, and I didn't want him watching my door all day. Moving made my entire body ache but I refused to allow myself to sit back down on the bed. A sigh escaped my lips and I pulled open the door before I could change my mind.
The old mouse looked a little bit startled at my appearance but quickly recovered himself.
"Good afternoon my dear, you're up late..." There was a question hiding behind his statement and he was eyed me suspiciously. I panicked and said the first excuse which came to mind.
"Yes, well I usually have trouble sleeping so I wake up very early, but that was the best night's sleep I've had in years!" I smiled widely at him, praying to whatever higher power there was that he didn't realize I was lying through my teeth.
"Well the chef has been waiting for some time for you to taste the dish he has prepared especially for you. Come, come."
He led me down the hall, and dread sat like a heavy stone in the pit of my stomach. For some reason I didn't think I wanted to eat anything that had been made in this place. It seemed...dangerous.
"If you don't mind, I'd like to step out for a little bit of fresh air first, is that alright?" The aged mouse nodded and went behind the front desk; I waited until he was sorting through papers before I moved towards the large double doors.
The handles were large brass rings and I wrapped my hands tightly around them. Once they were open I could run back through the forest and find the train station, then I could be home and everything could go back to normal.
"WHERE IS THE NEW GUEST?!"
I jumped ten feet into the air and fell backwards and landed on my rear. A deep, booming voice had sounded from the dining room, and the owner of the voice did not sound pleased.
"She's in here Chef, just one moment!" Gregory called back. I stood up groggily, watching the doors to the dining room, waiting for something terrible to jump out and devour me.
"I'm sorry my dear but it seems fresh air shall have to wait. The Chef has been preparing this meal for some time and it would be unwise to keep him waiting for much longer."
My body felt numb as I nodded at him. I crept towards the dining room, not really afraid, more anxious.
Each step it took felt heavier and my breathing became ragged and I was sure that the other guests could hear me upstairs. The door opened with a creak and I held my breath, waiting.
"YOU TOOK YOUR TIME!" Someone screamed at me, and I instinctively put my arms around my head in hopes of keeping my brain intact.
"I'VE PREPARED A SPECIAL MEAL FOR YOU!"
In front of me stood, what I have to say, the strangest sight I've seen since coming to this hotel. It was a...candle, wearing a chef's outfit with a bright red apron. Two bright red orbs watched me from darkness underneath blond hair.
"That sounds...nice," I commented lamely. I was dragged over to a table were a bowl was waiting. It was filled with a thick, swampy green coloured liquid. I briefly thought of soup, and then changed my mind; this was closer to sewer water.
"I ADDED MY SECRET INGREDIENT ESPECIALLY FOR YOU!" As I lifted to spoon I wondered how long it would take before my eardrums burst with this guy's constant shouting. As I placed the utensil into the sludge, there was on odd sucking noise, as though the 'food' was trying to devour the spoon. I gave the chef a nervous glance, and desperately thought of a way to stall.
"I make it a point to at least know the name of someone who cooked me a meal..." I said to the candle, avoiding looking into his fiery red eyes.
"YOU MAY CALL ME HELL'S CHEF!" I smiled at him, but my insides were slowly turning into mush.
"My name is Kat, it's nice to meet you."
"ENOUGH SMALL TALK! EAT YOUR LUNCH!"
He raised I giant knife which seemed to have appeared from nowhere. It was bigger than either of us, and I was sure he had the strength to cut me clean in half with it. Without hesitating I lifted a spoonful of goo into my mouth. I balked. It was as though I was eating brains that had been put through a meat grinder. Somehow I swallowed it down.
Hell's Chef seemed satisfied with this for he left and went back into the kitchen.
The room was spinning and I couldn't focus on anything, although I did hear voices, all mixing together horribly.
"Does it hurt?"
"I miss my mommy."
"Do we have to get rid of him?"
The voices were that of children-one child actually. And I knew that it was my own voice from when I was younger. Then, one final sentence rang in my ears as I collapsed to the floor. It was my own voice, like I was talking to myself.
"Please don't leave me all alone."
Well I was hoping to make this chapter longer than the last one but this is all I could come up with sadly. But I promise the next chapter will be better than this one.
Hope you enjoyed this installment! ^.^