Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 23 - At the Hotel

My "Wednesday Writing" posts were initially created as a writing exercise for me to try and keep myself motivated and on track by making sure that I spend at least 30-60 minutes each week (with the follow-up goal to turn it into a daily writing practice).

Over the past few weeks, I've been continuing the same story with a single post each week. To help you catch up with this serialized story, you can use the following table of contents:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?
  9. At the Tower
  10. Caught
  11. Revelations
  12. Lunchtime
  13. The Watch
  14. Visions
  15. Escape
  16. Evan (part 1)
  17. Evan (part 2)
  18. Evan (part 3)
  19. Formulating a Plan

No real intro/commentary this week. Just jumping in.

Critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.


At the Hotel

On reaching the hotel room, Evan held the door open as if to let Gabby enter first then glanced inside and quickly raced into the room. Gabby stood in the hall, momentarily confused, then pushed the door open and walked in. She stared as Evan frantically grabbed dirty laundry from off the bed and chairs, crumpled up empty fast food bags and hurriedly closed the bathroom door.

"Sorry. I'm not really prepared for any company, let alone for you to come over."

Gabby smiled reassuringly as she noticed a faint blush growing on his slightly stubbled face. His bashful glance seemed so familiar and she once again reflected on just how attractive she found him. She felt like she could stare forever into his soft brown eyes framed perfectly under his black hair and his long face. The absolute comfort she felt around him made her feel that there might be at least some truth to his story. She truly felt a connection to him.

"Let me just tidy up a little bit. Please, make yourself comfortable."

Evan motioned to the chair from which he'd just picked up a crumpled T-shirt and pile of magazines. Gabby sat down and looked around the room. From the disarray, and the tight, stuffy air, it was evident that Evan had been in the room for many days and hadn't taken much advantage of the housekeeping services. The bed was unmade, garbage cans were full and towels sat in heaps on the floor. Notebooks, photos and news clippings spilled off the coffee table by the couch which itself was covered with rumpled clothes.

"How long have you been here?" Evan turned and faced her question, looking around the room as though hoping it would answer for him.

"Um, a while. Sorry."

He grabbed the armful of clothes from the couch and threw them into the closet. Smiling, he picked up the time device Gabby had given him and carried it to the coffee table. Then he reached down on the floor next to the bed and pulled out a second device and set it beside the first. As he was about to sit on the couch, the towels caught his eye and he picked them up and walked to the bathroom door. Opening it, he quickly looked over his shoulder, his face once again flushed with embarrassment.

"Um, one more minute."

He disappeared in the bathroom and Gabby heard the sounds of frantic tidying. After a moment, she moved over to the couch and began looking at the boxes. They seemed so simple on the surface. Each box was about 12 inches square. They were metal with a slight bronze color and perfectly smooth except for some spiral scrollwork on the top and a single button on the front panel, or what she assumed was the front panel as the opposite panel had two small hinges connecting it to the top.

Gabby pressed the button on one of the boxes. With a small click, the top of the box popped up just a portion of an inch. Gabby shuddered with anxiety as she remembered looking into the box at Dalton's home. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, remembering the sensation of falling into a dream and then looking at Julie's grave. And then seeing her own mother again, alive and well. She opened her eyes and pressed open the lid of the box.

The swirling and falling sensation didn't come. Instead, she stared at what appeared to be an almost empty box. The walls of the box were each 2-3 inches leaving a small hollow in the center of the box. Laying flat against the walls were a series of small gears, belts and wires. Wires extended from the corners of the walls and hovered mid-air at the edge of the recess in the middle of the box. She noticed another button inside the box near the front. Pressing it caused the front panel to separate slightly from the wall and fold out to reveal what appeared to be a control panel of sorts. It included a small LED readout, a pair of dials, a small lever, a red button, a green button and a black button. Next to each control was a small metal plate, each with a single symbol that looked familiar but Gabby couldn't place. She rubbed her fingers across the symbols.

"Amazing, isn't it?"

Gabby jumped at Evan's voice. She hadn't heard him come out of the bathroom. Turning, she felt immediately disarmed by his calm, reassuring smile. All anxiety from looking at the device melted away as suddenly as it had come. He stepped around the coffee table and sat on the couch beside her. He smiled at her a moment longer then looked back to the boxes.

"We could have changed the world Gabby. Do you remember….No, of course you don't remember? So many nights we sat up late talking about the possibilities we were creating by building a time machine. At first, you thought I was making fun of your dreams. Then we all thought each of us was crazy. Well, except for Dalton. He never thought anyone was crazy. Probably because he was crazy himself. I guess that should have been a warning to us. His level of investment. His passion. His belief in what seemed insanity.

"But we were all too caught up in the excitement of what we were creating. We were all so thrilled at being part of something so revolutionary. So world changing. We all assumed that everyone was thinking only of the science. Of the potential good this could bring to the world."

Evan breathed deeply and leaned back, shaking his head.

"By the time we saw Dalton for what he really was, it was too late. The damage was done. We had built Pandora's Box and handed it to the devil."

He stared off into space. Gabby wasn't sure what to say or what to think. Finally, after a few minutes, he regained his composure, sat up and looked at her.

"But, that's all over now. We have all the boxes. We have the knowledge and the skill to repair them. Dalton has nothing. He has no choice but to turn to us. His future is stolen from him and he knows that we are the only ones who can return it to him. Such indebtedness must make him writhe with fury. Dalton is not a man who has endured much duress, much necessity in his life. It is that sense of entitlement and power that gives us our power."

Gabby continued to stare at him, still not clear what she could say or even what she should make of all this. His face was stern and serious. It made her a little uneasy. He must have sensed this as he once again gave a soft smile and then patted her knee.

"Now that I have both boxes, I should be able to use one as a blueprint for the other and vice versa. By comparing their inner workings, I should be able to repair them both. Once they're up and running, we'll be ready to strike at Dalton and free Julie."

Walking across the room he carried his backpack over to the table. Unzipping the front pocket revealed a small set of tools.

"I don't know how long this will take, but if you'd like to take a nap or a shower or anything, I can wake you when I'm finished. You're more than welcome to watch, but I remember you always got bored with the intricate mechanical workings."

With another smile, Evan slowly moved his face towards Gabby's. Hovering softly in front of her face, he gradually moved forward and kissed her on the cheek. The warmth from his lips slid onto her skin like warm sunlight. She closed her eyes and felt her body rise as she inhaled sharply and held her breath. He left his lips against her cheeks. She felt them press softly on her, his own warm breath gently passing over the skin. Then he pulled away just as slowly as he had come in. Gabby involuntarily felt her head fall slightly towards him as if his lips had been supporting her.

She opened her eyes and found herself staring into Evan's deep brown eyes. She felt the warmth, depth, passion and concern of his eyes. It was as if they were piercing into her soul. As if he was opening her up, finding her true self, and pulling her into a full, comforting embrace. She felt her skin warm and start to tingle. Her lips parted with a soft breath of desire.

Staring in his eyes, she felt as though she truly knew him longer than she knew was possible. As though they truly had a wonderful relationship, had dated intensely. As though they were happily married and living happily ever after. Evan's face softened as they stared at each other. He placed a hand on her shoulder and started leaning forward again.

The thought suddenly came to her that if she would kiss him. Really kiss him. That it would all be true. That all of the memories he had told her, all the wonderful times she'd hoped for, would come flooding into her mind. That she would be married to this wonderful, beautiful man and that all of her dreams would be made reality.

Just one, perfect kiss and everything would be perfect.



And then, as she thought of perfection, the visions from Dalton's box stabbed through her like a knife. She saw her mother waiting for her. She saw Julie's funeral. With a jolt as though she had really been stabbed, Gabby jumped to her feet and backwards across the room. Evan teetered slightly on the couch but regained his balance and then looked up, confused.

"Sorry. You're right. I think I will take a shower."

Without looking Evan in the eyes, Gabby turned and raced into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She leaned both hands on the sink and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her face grew hot and she felt burning tears working up into her eyes. Her breath started coming in irregular heaving motions. Turning on the shower to cover the sounds of her sobs, Gabby slid to the floor, buried her face in her arms. And cried.


logankstewart said...

Another phenomenal addition. I find myself caring about these characters and their fate. Great work!

Oh, and I really liked the line "Well, except for Dalton. He never thought anyone was crazy. Probably because he was crazy himself." Perfect.

Brian Miller said...

nice really are bringing hte characters to life and letting us see more of who they are and twisting us around in our allegiances as well...smiles.

Phoenix said...


What a great chapter. I'm really loving how much work you are putting into the chemistry between Gabby and Evan - it does a great job of making us root for them that much more!

Very nicely done. Can't wait to read the next installment!

Okie said...

Thanks for the feedback...

It's always interesting to me how sometimes the characters take over the writing as they grow and develop. I had a few distinct ideas of what I wanted them to do...but as I started writing some of these recent segments, it felt like they (especially Gabby) are fighting against my writing and telling me to take them in a slightly different direction. :)