A/N: This story was inspired by the song "Hotel California" by The Eagles. If you listen to the song you may catch some of the references I make to it as the story progresses, including some of the chapter titles.
A/N 2: This is my first SPN fanfic with a true horror element to it, so let me know how I did. If I did good, it should be at least somewhat creepy. I wanted it to feel like an actual Supernatural episode. Hopefully, that's how it turns out.
Prologue: "The Woman In The Red Dress"
Lucas Reed had never intended to make any stops on his long trip back home, but his heavy eyes forced him to search for a hotel along the long desert highway as the sun dipped below the horizon.
The first hotel he saw was the first he turned towards, slowing his small navy blue car as it rolled down the dirt road leading to the front of the building and a large sign with the name "Desert Highway Hotel" craved into it.
The sign looked cleaner then the exterior of the two-story hotel, that had to have been built over several decades ago, but Lucas wasn't fussy. A bed was a bed at this point.
As his car moved closer and closer to the hotel, a glimmer out of the corner of his eye caught Lucas's attention.
His tired eyes widened when he realized he was looking at a woman on the doorstep of the hotel, and she was starring back at him.
Lucas caught his breath. The woman on the doorstep was downright stunning. At five feet six, not including the two-inch high heels she was wearing, the woman might have as well come right out of his dreams.
In the last light of day, Lucas could see her with a surprising amount of clarity. The woman wore a blood red dress that sparkled when it moved, because of the flecks of gold on its mesh. Her dark brown hair curled loosely over her shoulders, and fell to her middle back, where she curved inward, towards her center. It was a beautiful contrast to her attire and her pale, but not too pale, face.
She held a lit candlestick with both her hands and the yellow-orange flame swayed with the little breeze there was. As the flame moved, it licked at the woman's delicate fingers. They were dangerously close to getting singed.
As Lucas neared the hotel entrance, his car's headlights flashed the woman and he caught a glimpse of the golden nameplate attached to her shirt. On it, the name Evelyn was written in black.
"Evelyn," Lucas whispered.
The woman smiled, as if she had heard him say her name. She waved as he passed in his car and he waved back before parking in the closest space possible.
As Lucas strolled towards the hotel doors, he expected the woman to be waiting to lead him through, as she was obviously an employee of the hotel, but she wasn't there.
Lucas glanced at his surroundings, wondering where she could have gone, before shrugging his shoulders and stepping into the hotel lobby.
He walked up to the front desk, where a woman in a black skirt greeted him. "Welcome to the Desert Highway Hotel. May I help you?"
Her name was Gwen. She was a blonde and her face was a stark contrast to Evelyn's. She was pretty, but Lucas's mind was still lingering on his mental image of Evelyn on the porch, on her perfection.
"Sir," Gwen called out, waking Lucas from his thoughts.
He shook his head. "I just want a single," he told her.
Gwen nodded and tapped on the keyboard connected to the computer beside her.
As she did, Lucas scanned the lobby, seeing several old-fashioned chairs and couches, but there was no sign of the woman in the red dress.
"I'm just curious," Lucas began as he turned back to face Gwen.
She glanced up at him. "What?"
"Who was the woman in the red dress I saw when I drove up?"
Gwen frowned. "I don't know who you're talking about. It's going to be seventy-five for the room."
"You must," Lucas insisted as he handed her the money. "She was wearing a nameplate; it said Evelyn on it."
Gwen shook her head. "I'm sorry. There is no one employed here with the name Evelyn. In fact, I'm the only female employee that works here besides the maid, who only comes here in the morning, and her name isn't Evelyn either."
She grabbed a key off the wall and gave it to Lucas. "Room 203. It's just up the stairs. Have a nice day."
"Thanks," Lucas mumbled.
He hesitated for a moment, then headed for the red carpet covered stairway.
After he had found his room and put the backpack he'd carried on his shoulder from the car onto the floor, Lucas wandered downstairs. He wasn't quite ready to settle down into bed. Not after seeing Evelyn.
He found a room similar in appearance to the lobby except for the addition of a bar at the back center of the room.
Lucas approached the bar and sat down on one of its six dark wooden stools and the old man with white hair behind the bar gave him a friendly smile. "What will it be?"
Lucas silently debated for a few seconds. "Just a beer," he decided.
The old man nodded and passed him a mug of beer. "That's eight."
Lucas gave him eight dollars from his wallet and gulped down a quarter of the liquor before lowering the mug onto the bar.
"Rough night?" the old man guessed.
"Nah," Lucas said. "Just a weird one, and I'm over tired."
"Long drive?" the old man asked.
"Yeah," Lucas answered.
The old man kept his eyes on him. "There's something bothering you."
Lucas laughed. "I don't need bartender therapy."
"What do you need?" the old man inquired.
Lucas shrugged. "Nothing, just some rest..."
The old man waited to hear the ending.
"Do you know who Evelyn is?" Lucas quizzed.
The old man's expression turned grim.
"I saw her at the door; she was wearing a red dress," Lucas continued.
The old man said nothing.
"What is it?" Lucas asked.
"Evelyn is one of the ghosts that haunt this place," the old man told him. "I haven't seen her in ages."
He looked sad.
Lucas gawked at him. "You can't be serious."
"Believe it whether you want to or not," the old man sighed, pouring himself a shot and drinking up.
"Whatever old man," Lucas muttered.
He took a few more long gulps of his beer and slid it away from him before leaving the room.
"What a wacko," Lucas mumbled as he climbed the stairs.
In the bar room, the old man shook his head. "Evelyn, please don't help him."
Later that night Lucas was sleeping in his room when a thud from the roof startled him awake.
He lowered his head back down to his pillow and craned his neck to see the alarm clock on the stand next to him. It shined red numbers at him.
It was just after one in the morning. Way too early to get up and hit the road. Especially since he was still sleepy.
Lucas rolled over in bed and sighed.
His eyes were drooping again when a high-pitched scream from down the hall made him sit up straight in bed.
Lucas listened for any other sounds but there was none. He wondered if the scream was in his head. Why else would everything be quiet after a scream like that? Wouldn't other people be running outside, wondering what had just happened?
Just in case he wasn't imagining things, Lucas swung his legs over the bed, and was about to stand when he heard someone running down the hall. Thump, thump, thump. Quick, but rhythmic.
Lucas narrowed his eyes and approached the door to peek out of his room.
It was dim in the hallway, the lights were out, and nobody was in sight.
Strange, Lucas thought.
Then there was a giggle from behind him. Lucas spun around and cold hit his body like a wall. He shivered and breathed out warm air.
"Anyone out here?" Lucas called out, turning to put the stairway behind his back.
He gapped as a shadow took a few steps towards him.
As soon as he could, Lucas moved his feet and bolted in the direction of the stairs, and made his way down it.
Once on the first floor he raced for the front entrance, but the door was locked.
Lucas glanced over his shoulder. He couldn't see the shadow anymore, but the lamp that was knocked over was the only sign he needed of its prescience.
Lucas turned to tug on the doorknob in vain, and as he shook it, out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of red in the moonlight that shined into the area near the front desk.
Lucas spun to face Evelyn. "Help me!" he shouted at her. "Please!"
Evelyn's gaze switched back and forth between him and the invisible monster approaching.
"It's okay." She smiled reassuringly. "It won't hurt...much. And then you can stay with us forever."
Lucas's heart thudded in his chest even faster as the shock of her words mixed with his already present terror.
He craned his neck, then froze in place, unable to move, as the shadow appeared once more, this time just inches away from him.
It was tall, over eight feet. Lucas felt eyes on him, but couldn't see them in the nothingness of it.
When the shadow fully stretched out, it bore down on him, and Lucas screamed as his world turned completely black.