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The Face of the Hotel

Young and uneducated, finding a job was difficult Sammy. Yet, the hotel owner wasn’t looking for a college grad or even a high school grad, when he was filling his open doorman position. He needed someone who could simply open a door with a smile. But Sammy provided more than a smile.

Sammy came with those eyes. Those kind eyes.

Little did the owner know those eyes would become the face of his hotel. Travelers, patrons, and tenured guests all knew the establishment by the friendly boy welcoming them at the front door. The boy with the kind eyes.

The owner was a good business man and knew how to utilize his newly found commodity. Sammy’s face was soon plastered on billboards and posters to advertise the business. This way, everyone could see the boy’s features.

Those eyes, and his half-cocked smile. Both were synonymous. The corner of Sammy’s mouth arched to one side as if trying to convey a superiority. But no one paid attention to that feature. And how could they when the devilish grin was overshadowed by those eyes.

If you were to ask the guests or anyone else who had the privilege of ogling Sammy’s best asset, you’d get various responses.

It’s the twinkle in them.

It’s their color.

Perhaps some would say it’s what lay behind them, a potentially gentle soul whose only purpose was to cast comfort and support to those who only stopped to look.

Years past and the owner thought it wise to use the face of his hotel in a new manner. He promoted Sammy to bellhop. This way, Sammy could use his prime years to haul guest’s luggage to their rooms and perhaps score extra cash in tips.

Sammy didn’t mind. He welcomed the move in fact. This way he could spend more time getting to know each guest. And the guests didn’t seem to mind either. Though Sammy wasn’t there to welcome them at the door, he was awaiting them within. After all, this way they got more time to linger at those eyes.

Before long, Sammy was designated as the lead bellhop of the more “well-to-do” side of the hotel. A promotion which overjoyed the higher class, but left the middle class wanting.

Having people upset with him wasn’t something Sammy enjoyed. So, to please the masses, he worked both sections and helped where he could. The days were long, but he didn’t mind. As long as he was able to meet new people and share his greatest feature.

Now in his sixties, Sammy is still at it.

“Good evening, Miss Margarete.” Sammy tipped his head to the hotel lifer a she entered the revolving door.

Her frame brittle and hunched, it took every effort for Miss Margarete to lift her head and gaze upon Sammy. Her eyes dilated as if gazing upon an old friend. She smiled, bearing her false teeth. “Always good to see you, Sammy,” the eighty-year-old slurred.

“Allow me to get those for you.” Sammy offered his debonair grin as he picked up Miss Margarete’s bags; a large purse and a brown shopping bag. “I’m guessing you had an eventful day, huh Miss?”

“You know I love my clothes.” She nodded. Miss Margarete was draped with her typical evening dress. Tonight, it was black along with flats to go with it. She sparkled with matching gold jewelry from her earrings, necklace, and to her bracelets.

“And your frosting,” Sammy added.

She chose to jingle her bracelets instead of a cordial response.

“You’ve been on your feet all day, let me get you a chair and I’ll wheel you up to your room, Miss Margarete.”

With her head back down, her feet scuttled across the carpet. “How about I race you to the elevator instead?”

Sammy could only smile as he followed his patron across the lobby and to the elevators. For an old woman, she still had a lot of spunk.

Entering the lift, the two road the elevator to Miss Margarete’s suite. She had been living there since the day Sammy first started. He remembered the first time she saw him at the front door. Once a cold woman, she took one look at him and couldn’t help but smile. It was if they connected at first sight, not in love, but in friendship.

It was her shih tzu that didn’t take to Sammy. Every time she’d come and go, it’d bark and growl at him. When the day finally came many years later, Sammy delighted in the dog’s passing. Unfortunately, it occurred on the same day Winston, Margarete’s husband, passed as well. Both pronounced as natural causes, though Winston was only in his fifties at the time.

Now it was just her, a tiny old woman living in a massive luxury suite. Room 201.

A vast living room awaited them as they entered. The decor was fit for a queen from the overstuffed couch, accent chairs, and bright curtain hanging from the long windows. Everything was prim and proper as it always had been.

Sammy carefully placed the bags on the couch. “Will that be all, Miss Margarete?” Sammy asked.

The old lady turned and smiled. “I hope they don’t work you too hard, darling.”

“No, ma’am,” he smiled. “They work me just fine.”

Margarete pulled a wad of cash from her purse and greased it into his hands. “It’s nearly supper time. Get you something nice from the restaurant tonight.” She met his eyes and lingered for a moment. She couldn’t help but smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow, dear.” She ended the stare and patted his cheek.

“Until then, Miss Margarete.” Sammy tipped his head and closed the door.

Exiting the elevator into the lobby, a gurgle came from Sammy. He winced at the dull pain. Just then, the bell rang. His services were need at the front desk. With a deep breath and furrow of the brows, Sammy stood erect and marched on.

Rounding to the front, he noticed a man tapping his foot. The soul of his dress shoe echoed against the tiled floor. The erratic movement shook his slacks. His arms crossed in front of his buttoned shirt. His features were unrecognizable considering they were meshed together in some sort of scowl. Sammy still considered him on the younger side noting his thick black hair.

“I don’t have all day,” the man barked. “Let’s go, room 202.” The man pushed past Sammy, leaving him with his suitcase.

The gurgle came again as Sammy picked up the bag. He nearly crashed over the suitcase before he caught himself. With another long breath, he followed the man to the lift.

“If I known you were going to 202, I would have gotten you earlier. You’re right next to one of our residents here. She a lovely lady.”

“Does it look like I care?” the man snapped. His foot continued its indecent tapping. “I’ve been traveling all day. All I want to do is lay down.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” Sammy lowered his head. The gurgle turned to a moan, sending Sammy hunched over.

“Come on,” the man pressed himself again the elevators side. “You’re not going to throw up, are you?”

Sammy waved his hand, shifting himself upright. “No, sir.”

The compartment doors opened and the two approached the suite. Sammy keyed him into room 202 and followed after. Placing the suitcase on a nearby couch, Sammy waited for the man to inspect his quarters.

“I suppose you expect a tip?” The man grunted. “Here’s a tip, don’t keep a customer waiting.”

A thunder came from inside Sammy, sending him to the floor. He began to shake and hold his stomach tight as if experiencing a hunger pain unwonted to any man.

“What the,” the man stepped back. “What’s wrong with you?”

Sammy placed his weight on his left foot. It wobbled beneath him but became firm enough for him to raise himself up. “I’m hungry.”

The man locked eyes with Sammy. Yet they weren’t kind for him. The vivid color in Sammy’s eyes had disappeared, leaving only gray.

The man wanted to say something but couldn’t. He was transfixed on Sammy. His eyes. There was still something about them. Something…haunting.

Sammy grabbed the man by the arms and drew him in. Sammy’s eyes dilated and seemed to pulsate.

The man hissed as if something sharp had poked him. The man tried to speak again but couldn’t.

Smoke seeped from the man. The vapors twirled and spun in the air in some sort of ritualistic dance. The fumes started slowly before beginning to rapidly transfer from the man to Sammy’s eyes. His eyes drank in the drank in the vapors as if sucking through a straw.

The man could only groan at the event. But, Sammy? Sammy could feel himself growing strong, fuller, happier.

When it was over, the man fell to the floor, his eyes wide and lifeless.

With gasping breathes, Sammy looked over his victim. Could he help it? After all these years, he didn’t know. All he knew was he had a hunger that needed quenched and it seemed it had.

Or had it?

The dull pain hit him again. Sammy felt confused. He had only felt this way one other time after this had happened. But that would mean…Sammy quickly turned to the room’s entrance. Staring back at him was a familiar face tough it was now pale and shuddering.

Miss Margarete. Had she heard the commotion?

“It was you,” she trembled, staring at the body on the floor. His eyes wide and lifeless just the way Winston had stretched out on the floor decades prior. “You killed my Winston.”

“Please, Miss Margarete. Don’t.” Sammy put his hands up as if to surrender. His breathes belayed with each word.

“You killed them both?” Margarete stuttered. A chill ran over her as the words poured out. “How could you?”

Sammy’s stomach gurgled.

“Your dog hated me. You know that.” Sammy stepped closer as his guest backed away. He tried to flash his eyes. “I was drawn to her. Like a…like a…hunger.”

“And Winston?” she shook.

The gurgle turned to a roar, nearly sending Sammy to the ground like before.

“Winston wasn’t supposed to be home, but he walked in as I…” A tear fell down his cheek. “Miss Margarete, I didn’t want to. But he attacked me. I had to. I craved it. I craved it as I do now. Please Miss. Please don’t hate me. It’s what make me do it.”

Margarete’s back bumped against the wall in the hallway. There was nowhere else she could go. She shivered as goosebumps covered her arms and down her neck. Miss Margarete wanted to call for help but couldn’t. Instead, she gazed into Sammy’s eyes. His kind eyes. Yet, they didn’t look kind to her…not anymore.

To read more short stories within the WFGC Hotel Anthology, please visit:

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