This work of fiction was inspired by the photo above for WATW and #8 — Sealed envelope from the week-long gifts challenge. It was also inspired by a fantastic horror movie (well, up until the twins–after that I think it gets boring). Enjoy!
I read as often as possible and particularly enjoy tales of swashbucklers and island adventures. It provides a much-needed escape from my life as winter caretaker for a summer hotel in the middle of nowhere. The job has its perks, mind you, like no guests or little kids running around, but when it turns into a blizzard outside and I’m the only one around for miles it feels like I’m on a deserted arctic island with no hope of escape. I can see why the previous caretakers all went insane, but not me. It’s basically an introvert’s paradise. The hotel manager worked out a deal with the library in town to stock nearly three hundred books for me to choose from over the winter. It’s only December and I just finished the last one. Now what? I’m bored. For three days I have wandered the halls of the hotel playing ding, dong, ditch to an empty room. It’s okay though. I’m not like the others. I’m just fine. Me, books, lots of time, and all the privacy I could want. Yep, just me and this huge empty hotel.
Yep, still bored.
Good lord, more snow.
Christmas came, and I already knew what was wrapped in foil under the tree I decorated with foil stars yesterday. I know because I’m the one that wrapped them. That one’s a blender and that one over there is a box of foil. Somewhere in this sea of presents is a can of tomato soup. I like tomato soup. Don’t you? Maybe I’ll fix it for our lunch. Don’t wrinkle up your nose at tomato soup! It’s very healthy for you! At least, that’s what my grandma used to say.
Hey, did you give me that one? Which one? Open your eyes, you have ten of them! That one. Over there. The large brown envelope. Did you give it to me? What? No? Then who did? Well I don’t know who did! It’s sealed. Are you playing tricks on me? Alright! Alright! I’ll open it! Hold your horses! Sheesh!
I have no idea who sent it, but this is getting kind of fun. Like a treasure hunt in one of the books they left me. Look! Someone gave me a picture of a beautiful island with a hammock for one. Just what I want right about now. It’s snowing again. Big surprise! Snow, snow, snow. That’s all I see now. I’m not talking to myself. You’re here, aren’t you? Stop laughing at me.
Maybe if I try real hard and wish enough, then I could spend the rest of this miserable winter on this island. Alone. I am tired of all you guys singing, partying, and keeping me up all night. The manager didn’t tell me about the winter parties. It would be nice if you guys would invite me one night. Don’t look at me that way! I am a perfectly normal human being! I am not insane like the other caretakers. I don’t need your parties anyway! I have my books and my own imagination, thank you very much. An imagination that will take me to this island. Just you watch!
Doesn’t it ever stop snowing!
Oh, look at that. It stopped snowing. That can’t be! Rubbing my eyes only makes it get brighter. No! Really! Hey! Everyone! Come look outside! It’s beautiful! Ha, I told you that if I wished hard enough I could be taken to that island. It looks so warm out there. Let’s spend the day on the beach. I’m sure the manager won’t mind. I just need to go find my bikini. Don’t tell me I didn’t bring one! I know the hotel’s pool is empty and closed for the winter. I’m going swimming in the pool, you idiot!
The sun is so warm. It’s been so long! The sand tickles my toes. Doesn’t it tickle yours? Ha ha ha, yeah it does feel like stepping on yeast doughnuts as they rise in between your toes. You’re funny. I’m going to hang in the hammock and sun bathe for a while. Wake me up if I start getting too red, okay? Will you? As, thanks, you’re a life saver. Yeah, this is a perfect summer day, isn’t it?
“Mr. Howard,” the sheriff said, “Perhaps you really should think about just becoming a year-round resort or at least stop hiring winter caretakers, please.”
The sheriff waved for the morgue’s people to come collect Miss Jensen’s body from the arms of the statue in the hotel’s fountain.
“Poor girl. She seemed so stable too. Book lover. Quiet. She said she wanted peace and quiet to write her first children’s book.” Mr. Howard sighed. “Maybe you’re right, Sheriff, maybe you’re right.”