This is Episode Thirteen in the ‘FEAR’ series
The previous episode is HERE
John was pleased to get out of the cold and into the warm of the hotel lobby. He had a certain affection for the Admiral Hotel. It had been a central figure in many of the celebrations throughout his life. Tonight he was especially grateful to walk through the revolving doors, but was disappointed to see that the lobby was full to bursting with people milling around. He kicked himself for not having called ahead and booking a room in advance. He hadn’t wanted to use his phone just in case the people who were holding Karen had managed to put some kind of trace on it, or to bug it. They had managed to track his car and get into his house without breaking in. He had no idea how far their skills extended. The last thing he needed now was for them to track him to the hotel. He seriously needed some downtime. He was running on empty and didn’t know how much longer his body would be able to cope with the strain of constant adrenaline hits.
At first John hoped that the lobby of the hotel looked busy due to the mirrors that were on many of the walls which doubled, tripled and even quadrupled the number of people visible to the eye. Looking round he soon realised that the mirrors were not responsible for making the room look busy this time. The lobby simply was busy, full of people who appeared to be doing similar to him; looking for shelter from the cold night.
He made his way through to the reception desk and attempted to catch the eye of one of the receptionist although the lobby was so busy she didn’t seem to have a care in the world. She looked like she was in her own world staring off into space or at someone else in the lobby, whilst twirling a strand of her hair through her fingers vacantly.
“Miss?” John called to grab her attention. He realised he had almost shouted at her and wondered if that was because the room was so busy and noisy or because of his frayed nerves.
The receptionist whose name-badge told John that her name was Carly, was startled out of her reverie. She moved towards John and putting on a big smile asked if she could help.
John decided to play a bluff. “Yes, I’ve a room booked for tonight. I’m sorry I arrived later than I thought.”
“Your name, please?” Carly moved towards one of the computer terminals hidden away behind the desk.
John gave her his name and she proceeded to check something on her screen, after having tapped his name into the system.
“I made the booking this afternoon by phone,” John lied convincingly.
“Just a moment please,” Carly said to him as she disappeared through a door marked ‘private’. John assumed she as going to consult with her manager or supervisor. Behind the desk there was another of the lobby’s large mirrors. John thought that this one was most probably a two-way mirror and that Carly and her manager might be watching now as they discussed his alleged booking. He made a point of checking his watch and his mobile trying to look harried.
A few moments later Carly reappeared behind her computer desk. “We can’t find any record of your booking, Mr Savage,” she finally said making eye contact with John. “It’s awfully busy here tonight, as you can see. We’ve got a conference taking place in two of our banqueting suites. Most of these people are waiting for taxis, but there’s been an accident… it never rains but it pours doesn’t it?”
“What..?” John began to say. He felt the possibility of getting a room slipping away.
“But don’t worry. We have a room for you. We have in fact got a suite for you. My Manager knows exactly who you are and has offered the Windsor suite for the night, at no extra charge. I am sorry if you have been inconvenienced at all.”
John had heard Carly’s response and had stuck on ‘knows exactly who you are’. He wondered what on earth that could mean. Before he had a chance to say anything Carly handed him a registration card and asked him to sign it.
“My manager is a big fan of yours,” She said. “He was wondering if as well as signing the registration form if you’d mind signing a copy of your book for him too?”
John felt his heart-rate slow a little once the situation had been clarified. “Of course.” he smiled back at Carly.
“I’ll just pop back and tell him. I am sure he will show you to your room,” Carly explained as she went back through the private door.
John smiled benignly into what he was now sure must be a two-way mirror. As he stared at the mirror his smile suddenly faltered. For just a moment he was sure he had seen one of the gunman from earlier standing behind him in the lobby. Not only that he was sure that the gunman was talking to a woman he recognised. He was sure the woman the gunman was talking to was one of Karen’s best friends.
John spun round quickly to see if he could see the couple he had seen in the mirror directly. Unfortunately he was slightly disoriented by the mirrors and the way on which his head was running through possibilities and couldn’t see them at first. Then he was sure that he saw them moving furtively toward one of the side exits. ‘What were they doing together’ he wondered as he tried to decide whether to give chase.