First let me say, I am not a writer of books or stories. I enjoy writing of my travels and telling a little of the history of the places I visit.
I enjoyed the short story written by a blogging friend, Samantha James, on a photo I sent her a few weeks ago. On my trip to the Pacific Northwest in April I passed this abandoned motor lodge just off the road in the National Forests of Northern California and Southern Oregon. I thought of her when I saw it and was going to send her the photo to write another story as a challenge. I went to sent it and lo and behold there was no cell service, so getting back in my car I continued north along the highway through the forest. It was a lovely day but a prescribed burn by the Forest Service a few miles up the road put a heavy haze across the landscape.
My mind started thinking of what a nice place that motor lodge would have been back in the day and I started to flow with thoughts. This story came to me and I wrote it down that evening when I reached my destination in Vancouver, WA.
Inspired by Samantha’s story of Mackleberry Bridge. I hope you enjoy this.
It had been a long days drive through the mostly quiet, narrow winding roads in the forest with numerous dirt roads and paths leading off to unknown locations.
Sam and Joann were getting tired and decided to stop at the first motel that looked inviting. They soon happened upon a quaint motor lodge just off the roadway.
The neon sign read “Deer Mt. Lodge” and “Vacancy” in beautiful brightly colored neon. There was only one other vehicle in the nice paved parking lot. The freshly painted and well cared for landscaping that said welcome for the evening to them.
Pulling into the parking lot they got out of the car and stretched their tired muscles. Going into the small office there was an older gentleman reading a book. As soon as they entered he put down the book and warmly welcomed them like family. Sam and Joann asked several questions of the room and decided this was the place to spend the night. The man handed them a key to room #5.
Pulling their car in front of the room they quickly emptied just what they needed for the night and opened the door to a cute, immaculate room. Smaller than a newer motel room it was still quaint and very retro.
Being very tired they quickly got ready for bed and fell fast asleep on the comfy mattress.
Sam was jolted awake in the middle of the night by a dream, NO A NIGHTMARE. There was a man standing over him with a long butchers knife raised high and plunging it towards his chest. Waking, breathing very hard he lurched upright in bed and quickly looked over to see Joann peacefully sleeping next to him. Slowly he regained his composure but had a restless nights sleep until morning.
Waking he asked his wife how she had slept and Joann said very fitfully with numerous dreams throughout the night. She turned to look at Sam although he did not see the young face of his wife but a much older Joann looking back at him. He said to himself that it must have been the restless sleep they both had and got out of bed to start the morning routine to get ready for the final long leg of their journey home.
Gathering all their belongings they walked toward the door although Joann froze in front of the door. Sam reached around her to open the door to a bright sunshine day awaiting then outside. Stepping though the door was like entering a portal through time. They passed from the brightly lit room into a dark cloudy day with heavy rain and lights flashing from half a dozen police cars.
Upon exiting the room they noticed the parking lot was now broken asphalt and mostly dirt, the landscaping was more weeds than plants and the outside of the lodge was in major need of repair with peeling paint. Walking toward their car that was being raised up by a tow truck, they looked at one another puzzled and noticed 4 men carrying 2 body-sized bags from the door they just exited.
Stopping next to 2 of the officers they were going to ask what has happened and heard this conversation…..
“It’s a shame what has happened to this place since the owner died.” remarked the lieutenant.
The second police officer stated, “ Yes, with the owner dying in his office desk reading a book.”
“What in the world made this couple want to stay the night in a run down place such as this?” asked the lieutenant.
“I don’t know” answered the second, “ but isn’t this the fourth homicide here this year?”
“Yes that sounds about right and strangely they have all been in Room #5.” the lieutenant remarked.