Dan watched as the windshield wipers moved back and forth. It had been raining for the better part of an hour, and there was something hypnotic about the way they moved. His eyes darted back and forth as he focused on the way the wiper blades danced with the droplets of water on his windshield. The sound of the DJ's obnoxious laugh came over the radio, breaking Dan out of his trance. He shook his head. He had spent the last fifteen hours behind the wheel of his car. I should find a place to sleep tonight, he thought. He looked around. Darkness engulfed his car, his headlights barely illuminating the road ahead of him. It had been that way for hours.Shit, I'm in the middle of nowhere. It could be a while before I find a motel. He took a sip of his coffee. It was cold, but it was better than nothing.
As if on cue, the faint glow of a neon vacancy sign showed up ahead. Must be my lucky day. He smiled, looking forward to a warm shower and a comfy bed. He pulled in to the motel and parked by the manager's office. He stepped out of the car and went in to the office. The guy sitting behind the counter was old and balding, but he looked friendly enough. He seemed surprised to see someone coming in to the motel at this hour.
"I was wondering if I could get a room?" Dan asked.
"Certainly...certainly. You'll be in room eight. Best room in this place! And don't worry about paying tonight, just pay me when you check out in the morning," the manager said, handing Dan the key to his room. "Enjoy your stay at the Pleasant River Inn."
Liz sat in the small chair of room number seven. "The best room in the place, my ass." Scoffing she stood up from the small creaky chair with it's worn upholstery from the seventy's. She was half surprised that a cloud of dust did erupt from the bed when she threw her bag on it earlier. Exhaling the last drag of her cigarette she smashed it into the small crystal like ashtray, that was common in most motels, and glared at the small room.
Placing her hands on her hips Liz went over the small string of events that lead to this. First there was Jimmy, the whole reason she ran in the first place. Liz shifted uncomfortably as her hand moved up her rib cage and she winced. She got pulled over for a busted tail light. Spilled coffee all over her clothes and her car started smoking when she pulled in here abut an hour ago. This was the shit horror movies were made of. Shaking her head and grabbing the small ice bucket Liz left her room to go fill it up.
She walked quietly over to it as she saw a man that bore a strange resemblance to Kevin Bacon. Yeah, that's just what she needed tonight. Fucking trolls. Almost snarling she turned and hit inserted her bucket into the slot. She pressed the bucket and nothing. Not even a whir of electrical life. So she did what any normal person would do and kicked, shook and beat the machine to give into her will, to no avail. Being defeated another time for today she took her stupid little bucket and walked back to her room.
Liz's hand shook as though she could bend and break the locked handle. She shook the door again and again. Liz jiggled the handle as though her life depended on it. She threw the bucket at the door with her frustration, but that too flew back at hit her in the head as it bounced it's was to victory in the parking lot. She closed her eyes and put a small amount of pressure on her temples as her headache threatened to turn into something much nastier.
Dan walked out of the manager's office in time to see a gorgeous brunette struggling to open the door to her room. Reaching in to his car, he grabbed his suitcase and started to walk towards his room, which by the look of things was right next to hers. He looked on, amused at how much effort she was putting in to opening that door. Before he knew it she had thrown an ice bucket at the door, only to have it rebound and hit her in the head. He chuckled. He was tired and wanted to sleep, but his manners won out and he decided that he should go help her get back in her room.
"Some times these doors need a little bit of finesse," he said in a suave voice as he tried to open the locked door. It didn't budge.
"Other times you need brute force," he grabbed the door handle with both hands and put all his weight behind it. Still nothing. He tried again, same result. This definitely wasn't going as planned. He turned back towards the girl, gave her a sheepish grin, then turned around and kicked the door. It was no closer to opening than before.
"And some times you need a man to do this for you. Any idea where we can find one?"
Oh god, Kevin was approaching her. What did she do to deserve this?! She gave him a droll stare as she attempted the first time. Then he started acting like a belligerent child as she started adding "brute force" to it. It almost became funny when his plan to flirt with her was falling apart in front of his eyes because of some locked door.
She didn't say anything and kept her face as straight as possible during his futile attempts to punish the naughty door. She covered her mouth with one hand and her ribs with the other as she finally laughed today.
"I will let you know when I find one. However, the creep old one up front should have an extra key. Thank you for teaching that door a lesson for me." She smiled as she held out her hand to him. "I'm Liz."
"I'm Dan, pleasure to meet you," he said as he shook her hand. She probably hadn't been very impressed by his effort at trying to open the door, but at least he had gotten a laugh out of her, which helped his bruised ego. He never really had much luck with women anyways, so he hadn't gone in expecting too much. All the same, she was pretty cute.
"What brings you out here?" Dan asked, looking around at the motel. From what he could see it needed a new coat of paint, as the paint was visibly peeling off of the walls. The rooms probably weren't any better, but at least it was better than sleeping in his car. He took off his coat and offered it to her. "That's to keep you dry on your epic journey to the manager's office."
He mentally facepalmed. That sounded really corny, even to him.
"Just an off event with my trip." She shrugged. "What about you?" She figured that some small talk wouldn't hurt, at this point. Liz figured that there was not much more that could go wrong with her day. She put on his jacket, it was a little too big for her, but she accepted it all the same.
"Thank you." She had said then she looked over at him questioningly over his epic journey comment. She smiled a little when she noticed his look over his own comment? "Are you having an off day.
Liz was very wrong when she thought that her day couldn't get worse as she peered into the office and noticed that all the lights were off. She had thought the sign said it was 24 hours. Maybe she was mistaken. it wouldn't exactly stray from the theme of her day. Liz just shook her head looking defeated.
"How could you tell?" he laughed. He wasn't very good at hiding his embarrassment it seemed. "As for me, I've been on the road all day, trying to get home for my little sister's birthday. I haven't seen her in a while...I'm sort of, not welcome at my parent's house, but my sister insisted I be there."
Dan looked over at the office. That was strange, the lights were out. Why were the lights out? He ran over to the office, and motioned at Liz to come over to him. The manager had had the TV on in the back room when Dan had been in there, and by the smell of it there was a fresh bag of popcorn waiting to be eaten, so the manager obviously wasn't going to go to bed right away.
He pushed open the door to the darkened office, not sure if Liz was following him. The sound of the TV drifted towards him, it sounded like Mystic River. Strange movie taste for a guy living out in the boonies. Dan tried turning the lights on, but nothing happened. He could barely see where he was going from the flickering in the back room, so he made his way over there carefully. Barely audible over the movie was a faint dripping sound. A gruesome scene met him as he tip toed in to the back room. Blood was sprayed on the walls, and the body of the motel manager was strung up to the ceiling, it's head nowhere to be found. Dan stumbled backwards in shock.