Well, I was planning to finish this on Halloween, but it's obvious that's not going to happen...so sorry. I really really want to write and have some sort of je ne sais quoi feeling about creativity and writing, but I just can't as easily anymore. I don't even know.
Anywho, at least I got around to doing one more chapter before halloween. It's better than nohting, right?
Thank you to all who have reviewed especially, but also to anyone who is even keeping up with this story. I know it may be confusing now, but it will be clear soon!
Oh, and just a quick warning, this chapter does have some...ahem...inappropiateness and innuendo. BE WARNED!
Carlos heard twelve gongs once again, signaling that it was midnight. Strangely enough, the gongs seemed to be getting louder each night...
Coming to his senses, Carlos made his way to the exit of the room to make peace with James. Nothing really made snese now, but he couldn't aford to piss his friends off.
He grabbed the handle to the door and opened it, expecting an empty hallway.
Instead, though, he found everyone standing out in the well-lit hallway, all facing the wall at the end.
"When did you guys all get here?" Carlos asked.
"What do you mean?" Kendall asked. "You watched us go up here."
"I did?" Carlos said, confused.
"Yeah." James replied, looking at Carlos like he was crazy.
"Remember the loud bang?" Logan explained. "And we all came up here to investigate?"
Carlos thought for a minute, then remembered the activities ending the day prior. "Oh yeah." he remarked. "And we're here because of our car dying, right?"
"Uh-huh." James said slowly.
"And you're not mad at me, James?"
"Why would I be?"
"So what was the source of the noise?" Carlos asked, trying to get the attention off of him.
"That." Kendall said, pointing to the wall everyone was looking at.
Carlos turned around and gasped. At the end of the hall, from the ceiling to the floor,were three large gashes in the wall. At first, CArlos couldn't decide what they were, but it slowly began to sink in as he looked at it more. The brown valve to the water pipe in the basement flashed through his mind and he could hear the girl's screams as if they were happening right now.
The gashes formed a claw mark.
And something had to have been monumentally big to have clawas like that.
"Oh...my...God." Carlos mumbled.
"I know, right?" Kendall said.
"Isn't it awesome!?" James exclaimed.
"No, of course not, James." Kendall snapped. "Do you guys think this hotel could be...haunted?"
Logan chuckled, arugably nervously, then answered, "Silly, silly Kendall. There's no such things as ghosts!"
"Yeah, there is!" James said.
"It's impossible. There's probably a very logical explanation for this." Logan inducted.
"Yeah, and that answer is ghosts." James said.
"Ghosts aren't real!"
"Maybe so." Kendall interjected. "But demons are."
Logan rolled his eyes but Carlos jerked around to look at Kendall. "What?"
"You know, demons. They're real." Kendall repeated.
Number Nine began to repeat, in John Lennon's voice, over and over in Carlos's head. All of a sudden everything from the past four days flashed through his head. He saw the car exploding and the soft glow of the hotel's name; the little girl and the painting over the mantle in the lobby; the golden tomb and the manager and the unspeakable terror he witnessed in the basement; all of it. It flew through his head in an instant and yet it felt like an eternity, and soon the world before him began to blur considerably. He felt like he was spinning and flying and like he couldn't breathe. His eyes began to roll back in his head and at that moment he felt as if he had a thousand-pound weight on top of him, crushing him. He collapsed to the floor and gasped for breath as everyone gathered around him in a panic. It seemed like everything was wrong, like he would face his death in this hotel, like the fear of the claw marks and the little girl and the unspeakable creature were just to large to handle.
Carlos screamed out in terror, his shrieks bouncing off the halls of the dimming hallway. It felt like his breath was slowly being pulled out of him, like he couldn't go on.
Everything went black. There he saw a face. The face from earlier that night, or day, in the hotel room. The eery white smile, and now deep red eyes, sat and looked at him in the pure darkness.
And then his eyes opened and breath and life refilled his body. His senses flared back to life and he was once again living; he could keep going, he could manage it all.
Cold sweat was dripping down his paled cheeks. Around him were all his friends, staring at him with such concern, that he couldn't stand them. How dare they be so pitiful, how dare they treat him like some monster.
"What?" he snapped.
His anger retreated though, and he immediately wanted to take it back. It was too late, though, as everyone, and especially Kendall, looked hurt by his aggression.
"What's wrong, 'litos?"
"What was that?"
"Are you okay?" They all asked at once.
"I-I'm fine." Carlos stammered. He was shaking.
"That didn't seem like fine to me." James stated.
"J-Just a bit light-headed, that's all." he said, trying to force a grin.
"Are you sure, bud?" Kendall asked. "You know you can tell us if something's the matter, right?"
"Yeah." Carlos lied. Kendall was wrong; if he told them everything, they wouldn't believe a word of it, just like they hadn't about the basement.
Carlos then remembered his mission from two days previous: he had to investigate that basement.
And he had to do it while no one was around.
"Oh yeah, I just remembered, I forgot something in the lobby." Carlos lied lamely.
"What?" James prodded.
"Oh, just my...um...coat!" he said.
"Okay then." Logan said, obviously in disbelief. "You want me to come with you?"
"No, I'll be fine, I swear." Carlos said. "Besides, it's been a long day. You all should probably go to bed."
"I don't know how much I'll be able to sleep with that on my mind," James joked, referring to the large claw mark behind him.
Carlos gave a small, nervous, chuckle, then before anyone else could try to stop him, he turned around and headed for the lobby.
Luckily, the male manager was back behind the counter, sorting through various papers that CArlos couldn't think of a reason for him to have; they were the only ones staying at the hotel, after all.
As Carlos walked up to the front desk, the young man looked up and gave a small grin. "Have a nice day?" he asked.
At first, the statement seemed hackneyed, but soon Carlos realized that, at least in this "world", he had just seen the manager not an hour ago.
Unless he knew about the other reality...
Carlos shrugged it off and responded, "Good. You?"
"What?" Carlos asked.
"I said, 'Same.'" the manager replied.
"Oh, right." Carlos said, forcing a smile. He got a good look at the manager again and the feelings from before washed over him. He had short, brown hair and deep, dark brown eyes, and the slightest bit of unshaved stubble. Awed, fascinated, lured, Carlos felt, just looking at this man.
"So can I help you with something?" the manager asked.
"Huh?" Carlos said, snapping out of his daze. His voice seemed so smooth and warm, like thick chocolate syrup slowly being drizzled into his ears. "Yeah, actually, I was just wondering about the basement."
"Well, it's here somewhere." the manager laughed. Carlos laughed too.
"Really?" he mumbled.
Carlos started to walk around the desk. "So, you been working here long?" he asked flirtatiously.
"For a pretty long time now, yes." the manager answered with a small smile.
"Is it hard? Your job, I mean?"
"It can get pretty hard sometimes, sure, but I love it, so it's definitely worth it."
By now Carlos was behind the desk. "Is it a lot of work?"
"It's a pretty big load, sure, but I manage."
"Well you are certainly good at your job." Carlos murmured, patting the taller man's shoulder.
"Thank you." the manager said, his smile growing. "Oh, hey, look down." he said.
Carlos looked down and blushed as he saw what the man had been talking about. When had that happened? Looking back up, he was about to say something, when he couldn't help it anymore. He leaned up and grabbed the amn's head, forcefully kissing him. Fire spread throughout his body and he couldn't take it longer.
Somehwere in the back of his head, he was screaming that he wasn't like this, that he liked girls.
But right there, and right then, in that moment, he couldn't care less.
A breeze blew past Carlos, his eyes on the ceiling. To his left he could hear the faint rumble of snoring, and from somewhere in the room there was a faint hum, probably from a light.
He felt naked. Probably because he was, or at least he nearly was. But more than just on the surface, he felt naked on the inside too. Exposed, really.
So was he a man now? Had he finally lost, or shed, his boyhood?
He didn't want to think of that. He couldn't.
Gathering all of his strength and feeling like he had run a marathon, he slowly stood. He ingored the pain; panting, he pulled on his clothes.
He walked to the door to the small bedroom, but he didn't open it, not at first. For a moment he stared at his reflection in the golden door handle, shocked at what he saw. His brown hair was ruffled and his cheeks were bright red. His eyes were darker, though. They had bags under them.
Finally, he grabbed the freezinghandle and sung open the door, happy to escape the evil little room.
Quietly, he shut the door and breathed a sigh of half relief that he was in the hall. He couldn't forget the thing she had just done, but for now he could run away from them.
Carlos sauntered towards the lobby, ready to go to bed for the first time in what seemed like forever. On his way. though, as he looked at the walls, the large industrial door of the basement flashed through his mind. He then realized that this was where the basement door had been.
He approached the wall and ran his hand over the smoothly-painted surface. If he hadn't seen this spot before, it would have seemed like just an ordinaary wall.
But beneath it Carlos could feel cold. Only slightly, yet still he could feel something...sinister beneath the surface.
With a loosely bundled fist, he gave on eshort knock on the wall, and from behind he could hear a metallic ring.
Frowning, Carlos raised his hand to knock again.
"Hey Carlos, want some cookies?"
"Heck yeah, man!" Carlos said. He raced out to the kitchen of Kendall's house, where his voice was coming from. The smell of cookies wafted into his noice and made his mouth salivate.
"They smell freaking delicious, dude." Carlos said as he walked into the kitchen. Once inside, though he found no one. In fact, the lighs were off, and he could no longer smell cookies.
"Kendall?" he asked. No one responded.
"Hey Carlitos, go see if your daddy's home yet!" his mother said.
Carlos turned around, and there she was, smiling. He was now in his living room, and much shorter. His mom stood there with a frozen smile.
"Okay mommy!" Carlos giggled, shocked bye his little voice.
He ran to the window, almost as if he were wathing himself rather than actually performing the action. Once he got to the window, he looked out, but didn't see a single car.
"Nope." he pouted. The streetlight flickered on. Suddenly he was looking down, as if he moved up a floor without realizin.
Sitting down by the streetlamp was a person, or at least a shadow. Upon further inspection, he saw that it was a boy. His heaad stayed down, but Carlos could definitely tell it was a boy now. He just sat, staring at his lap. Small weeping noises filled the air slowly, reverberating around Carlos. Slowly they grew louder until all he could hear were the high-pitched screams of the little boy. The soft illumination of the streetlamp slowly faded out, as did the screams. Before darkness consumed him, the boy looked up and smiled at Carlos.
"Mommy?" Carlos asked.
"Yes, honey?" her voice asked, somewhere off in the distance.
"What's happening?" he said, scared.
"You've been bad."
"Wha'd'you mean, mommy?"
"You've been bad."
"Mommy!" Carlos whined, tears forming in his eyes.
"You've been bad."
Carlos was slowly enveloped by the earth.
As he awakened, Carlos could still hear his mom's twisted voice ringing through his head. He shuddered.
He shifted to his side, but his head screamed out in pain as he adjusted his pillow. He grimaced and hesitatnly felt the area that was burning, only to cause himself more pain. It felt like he had been attacked by a crowbar. What had happened to him?
The last thing Carlos remembered was seeing a claw mark on the wall.
With a grunt of pain, he slowly rolled over in his bed. After resting for a moment to wait for the pain to stop, he wloly pushed himslef up and out of the bed. Once up, staggered out into the hall of the creepy hotel room into the entrance.
Once there, however he saw that the door was open. "James?" he asked.
There was no response.
Limping over to the door, Carlos pered out into the hallway; there wasn't anyone there.
At least that he could see; it almost felt like he was being watched...
Quickly Carlos shut the door, his heart racing. Suddenly overwhelmed, he made his way over to a chair in the room and slowly lowered himself. A clock on the wall read three o' clock.
Carlos closed his eyes to try and calm his nerves, and they did start to ease. Once he felt normal again, he opened his eyes.
The door to the room was open again.
Gulping, Carlos once again called James's name out, and once again there was no response. Deciding he couldn't be alone right now, Carlos went into the hallway, closed the door, and walked as quickly as he couldto the lobby. His heart thumped louder and louder, the tension growing, until finally he was in the soft light of the lobby.
Everyone looked up as he walked down the stairs, trying to hide his limp.
"Look who's finally up!" Gustavo exclaimed.
"We were worried for a minute there you were dead." Logan chuckled.
"Nope," Carlos said. "Just tired. This has all been a very stressful experience. Any word on how we're getting out of this place?"
"Kelly's looking into it right now." Kendall said, pointing towards Kelly, who was pacing around the other side of the room with her cell phone.
"Good." Carlos said. He sat down. "Hey, have any of you guys been to my room recently?"
Everyone shook their heads no. Carlos's heart thumped in his head.
"Why?" Logan asked.
"No reason." Carlos said hastily.
"Uh Carlos, can I talk to you for a minute?" Kendall asked.
Gulping, Carlos nodded his head. What could he possibly want to talk about?"
Kendall lead him back upstairs, Carlos growing nervous again. Once in the hallway there, he began, "So, did you get your jacket in the lobby last night?"
Carlos thought back, not sure what Kendall was talking about. "Oh, yeah." he lied.
"Good, good." Kendall said. "Did anything...uh...interesting happen there?"
Carlos thought back as hard as he could, but he just couldn't remember. "I don't think so...why?"
"No reason. Just know that if there's anything you need to tell me, buddy, I'm here for you. And I won't turn my back on you either; I'll always support you."
"Um, okay...?" Carlos mumbled. He looked down, trying to think about what had happened before. They both stopped, having reached the end of the hall.
Carlos looked up and gasped. On the wall in front of them, there was a large, dripping, red, m=number nine. Whether it was paint or...something else, Carlos didn't want to know.
The pain in his head began to sharpen, and soon he swore it felt like his head was on fire
The walls screamed; the nine screamed; his head screamed; the lights screamed; his vision blurred.
Four days left.
A/N: Thank you for reading! Hopefully this was scary, and not horrible, but I can't know unless you review! Please do! What do you think is going on? All will be revealed soon, kids.
Sorry again for not finishing by Halloween...This story is halfway over though, so it should be finished by December.
Happy Halloween by the way! Be safe ;).
Twelve more words...I mean, um, corndogs. Yeah. Corndogs corndogs corndogs corndogs.