Wild Nights at Room 13/10

Illustration by Bren Robinson.

The car rattles and shakes as I lean my arm out the window. The wind breathing in ruffling the pages of the book in my hand. My other hand gently squeezing the palm of the driver, my boyfriend, smiles at me through his vintage John Lennon sunglasses. A beautiful man with a beautiful name, Jacob. I’ve never known what having a partner was before him. Back in the city where we had a whirlwind romance. Before the actual ‘first’ time we ever made love, he was my first for everything before that. My first in seeing me in the corner of the bar laughing hysterically at something stupid with my half drunk girlfriends, probably at my story of the last guy that I tried (and failed) to make something work beyond the one and done pattern that plagued me up until that point. But his fearless self came up to us, bought me a drink. I thought he would be into the other girls, not someone like me. After that first encounter the rest became history till now. 

We drive through the single lane road, the rustling fall trees surrounding us. I take in the fresh air as if its the very last breath I’ll ever take. “Do you see it?” he asks. He pulls in the parking lot where we pass the blinking neon sign by the lot of this run down motel. I stick my head out the window to read the falling sign, ‘Motel’ is all it reads. It was as if the sign has never been changed in decades, centuries it feels like. Same with the entire motel. Like something you would see in a 1960’s Hitchcockian thriller. We park and take out our luggage, we enter the tiny front desk building. It’s empty, cramped, nothing but two chairs, a sad withering potted plant and a rusty concierge service bell. A woman appears from the shadows in the back. Her frizzy gray hair clouding almost half her face. She is a wrinkly old woman, one that you can tell has spent her whole life in this tiny front desk office. “Room for two please,” Jacob says, taking off his John Lennon’s (what he likes to call them now). She takes what looks like the last remaining key on the key rack. 

“Room 13/10 at the very end,” she croaks. It’s as if I hear something stuck in her throat. I take the key, ready to get out of there when Jacob asks 

“Why is the room numbered 13/10?” I love him, but I’d be lying if I don’t get a little irked at his curiosity. “What do you mean?” the lady asks. 

Jacob and I exchange looks, the lady stares at us and can sense our cluelessness. 

“Oh, all the rooms here have the 10 on them. Like room 1/10, 2/10, 3/10, like that. Get it?” 

“Wait is number 10 supposed to be a specific year or something?” I ask now my curiosity getting the best of me. 

“Exactly, we were established since 1910. It was my grandfathers, said it was going to do what no motel could ever accomplish.”

“What would that be?” Jacob asked. 

“He always told me the most special thing about this place was that it brought out… the truth in people.”

Jacob and I looked at each other, dead silence filling up the room. “Anyways, enjoy your stay here,” the lady said abruptly. She walked back into the darkness of the other room and vanishes. We walk past the other rooms to get to ours, every room having the number 10 plastered on it. The motel seems to be completely empty, the breath of the wind being the only sounds that fill the surrounding air. We enter our room, its fairly vintage with classic floral blankets and the wooden walls surrounding us. All that matters is that its good enough for Jacob and I. We throw our bags onto the two beds and begin taking everything out. Chucking our clothes out and flying through the air. Jacob tracked down what was close by, and we run out the room out into the deep forest. We reach the empty beach and stare at the oceanfront. The sun is setting and its just the land with me, myself and I. With Jacob, himself and I. Jacob goes first and strips all the way down. I’m frozen, watching him run through the ocean deeper and deeper and yells that I come in. Spontaneity is why I’m with him. Why I’m on this trip. So I strip down too but paced myself in dipping my body into the water. Jacob pulls me in and not knowing how to swim was panicking. He pulls me up and I splash loads of the freezing water on him. We play fight in the water till he reaches out to me, and we kiss under the golden glow of the sun. 

The night went by like a flash. Like it was the last night we could ever be together. We popped wine bottles and champagne and dipped into the bubble bath in the tiny cramped tub that we barely fit into. The motel luckily had a barbecue where we grilled our assortment of meats, vegetables, tender and juicy just like as how Jacob does best. Back in our room, thinking we were the only ones that occupied this motel, blasted music and had a dance party like we were back in the club again. Back when Jacob and I had our first all-nighter together, staring at each other across the dance floor where I knew he was the only one for me. Cut to an hour later, and we’re sitting on the floor leaning on the footboard of the bed. The music toned down to lo-fi beats as we pass each other the blunt. Smoke filling up the air, blowing smoke into each others mouth as they press together. Jacob lifts me and lays me on the bed. He’s on top, and we make out for what feels like forever but I didn’t want it to end. Whenever we’re like this we morph into someone completely new. Rigorous energy as I grip the hair on the back of his head, and he slowly brings his hand between my legs. The blood is rushing through me, especially down there. Quickly stripping our clothes off and throwing it across the room, Jacob doesn’t hesitate to stroke me, its solid, hard and I cover myself with the pillow with one hand and grip the headboard with the other. Jacob takes the pillow away from me, laughing at why I’m moaning behind a pillow. I say I’m embarrassed. He tells me not to worry and that the only thing that matter right here, right now, is us. It almost makes me cry, the safety and comfort I feel every single time I’m with him. I grab him down there and start spreading my own legs out. I don’t need to tell him what I want because he already knows. We do it and become one. He’s inside me so deep. Its just us, skin to skin, mouth-to-mouth, chest to chest, its rapid and aggressive but passionate. Our bodies exposed without us even using the blanket.  

We lie in bed in silence for a long time, the fan above us on the ceiling spinning around making only the slightest creek of a sound. “Read me one of your poems,” he requests. “From the book? The one I was reading earlier?” I pop my head up from leaning on his chest to staring face to face at him. “Yeah, which one was your favorite?” 

“Wild Nights,” I whisper. He chuckles, “Fitting,” he whispers back. 

“Wild nights. Wild nights! Were I with thee. Wild nights should be… Our luxury!” I whisper as we lay still naked on the bed. Our arms and legs wrapped around each other in a tangle. “I’m happy here, let’s just stay here forever, can we?” I say. “We’re already kind of crazy coming here” says Jacob.

“I didn’t even tell my parents,” I mutter back. Jacob is silent for a bit. “You don’t tell them anything anyways,” he finally says back. I knew this was coming. I lean up on the bed. “What is that supposed to mean?” 

“You know exactly,” he gets up and starts gathering his clothes, dressing up. 

“Why do you need to bring this up again?” I say watching him completely shifting his mood.

“Because they don’t know I exist.”

“We already talked about this-

“Doesn’t mean it still doesn’t bother me.”

“You know I can’t just…” 

“What? Say it. How do you expect this to last if your not being honest.”

I feel tears welling up in my eyes. I get up and grab my clothes and start dressing. 

“Your a fucking hypocrite,” I blurt out facing him. “You were never honest either.”

“Don’t bring her up again.” 

“You mean your girlfriend?”

“Ex-girlfriend, and that was a long time ago.” 

“Your own mother wasn’t too recent,” I cover my mouth. A wave of regret consumes me as I look back at him, not being able to read his face, but he’s frozen. He looks away. 

I touch his shoulder. “I’m sorry I wasn’t,” he shoves my hand away. 

“Don’t apologize for saying something you meant. I wish I could have told her. Every day I wish I had.”

“I know Jacob, don’t be mad at me please. There’s nothing you could have done to save her. That’s why we came here, remember?”

Jacob just looks at me, he’s shaking his head staring down. All I see is his wavy hair fall on his face, creating a shadow around his face. He opens the front door to leave. I immediately run and grab his arm before he walks out that door. “No don’t leave like this please!”

“Get the fuck off of me-

Right before he says my name his body gets thrust outside. A spirit pulls him out and he flies outside. Door slams right in my face when I run to open the door. I’m trying to open the door, using what strength I have to bang, keep banging on the door. My hands gripping on the doorknob so tight my whole body’s stiff. I look out the one window in the room and it’s completely dark. I bang on that too but it seems to be invincible. I lean against the wall as my body slowly slides down till I’m on the ground, panting, sweating, crying and coughing. The room gets uncomfortably stuffy. A mysterious force then grabs my legs and drags my body to the middle of the room. I let out a cry but no one can obviously hear my yelp. I get pulled upside down and my body is straight stiff, my legs, arms, everything in me loses control of itself and I’m stiff up in the air, my head feels heavy as I can sense the blood rushing down. I levitate up higher and higher till my feet touches the ceiling when suddenly I get thrown onto the bed. My legs stretch out, my arms stretch out wide. Still, no control over my body. The blanket below me starts moving on its own and I can feel it ripping in half, then those halves splitting into two as well. Two halves of the blanket slither to my legs, the other towards my arms. It starts wrapping around me and tightens so hard my legs and arms already turn red. My eyes are darting but my mouth is dry and I can’t even scream anymore. The lights start flickering maddeningly around the room. The television switching channels rapidly, the phone rumbling and shaking on the bedside table, the fan spinning so fast electric bolts spurs out. My heart is thumping so hard I think it’s going to burst out of my chest. Then it stops. Its silent again, as if nothing had happened. I’m still a wreck, beads of sweat dripping and the blanket chunks still tightening. 

I hear voices echoing in the bathroom. The door opens and a man and woman come out. They walk up to me on the bed, observing and studying me. Both are in vintage clothing. The man in a Victorian suit and the woman with a big hat with large brims on her head with a tunic over long skirt draped down where you can’t see any but her tiny feet on a high, curved heel. Almost like their straight out of the early 20th century. 

“He looks lost, Charles,” says the woman. 

“Yes indeed, maybe we should help him find his way Charlotte,” says the man supposedly named Charles. 

Charles and Charlotte walk to the opposite sides of the bed and crouch down and reach under the bed. They take out pitchforks. I’m internally screaming but its not coming out of my mouth. They both plunge the pitchforks deep into my skin and push down. The scream comes out so loud the room begins to shake. The both of them digging in so deep my body starts sinking into the bed. I fall deeper into a hole when the wood of the bed morphs into branches. It carries me and lifts me lower until they snap and I fall onto the ground. Right when I stand up I notice the clothes on me have changed, as I wear Oliver Twist like clothing with rugged pants, a tattered vest and a black flat cap. I fervently look around and see that I’m in the middle of a dark forest. I run and try to see if there’s anything other than dark trees and a muddy ground. In the very distance I hear a cry for help. I go closer to the sound and exit the forest to see this log cabin. As I inch closer I realize I know the sound of that voice. Its Jacob. I dash through the door and see a giant man with a giant axe smack the knob of the axe against Jacob’s face, knocking him out. A wave of rage burns through me and I see a lantern nearby on a table by a chair and chuck it at the back of the axe-mans head. He turns and all you can see on his face is a beard with his eyes gaping black holes. 

He swings his axe, almost chopping my head off. I see a metal spear on top of the fireplace and dash to it, the axe man is slow and can’t keep up with my quick, swift feet swerving past him. I grab the spear and as the axe man misses me once again I stick the spear through him. He coughs out blood and for a second I feel a thrill I’ve never felt before. Then his body dissipates into blood and starts flooding the floor. It isn’t just blood, its acid and burns through the wood. I go to Jacob and lift him off the ground, putting his arm around me as I almost drag him out of the cabin. He is still knocked out. We drop to the ground onto the grass. He’s way too heavy for me but at least we made it out. I sit up and watch as the blood burns the whole cabin down. I watch it come crashing down till it decomposes into the ground. Jacob gets up too and wipes his eyes like he’s waking up from a long dream. He’s surprised to see me, “Hey, you found me”, he says and instead of saying anything back I kiss him so hard I knock him back on the ground. We stay in this kiss for so long and I shut my eyes.

When I open them again, I’m back. We’re back, Jacob and I. In the motel room, on the bed back in our regular clothes. I get up off of him, and we both stand looking around, seeing that everything is just the way it was. 

“What the hell just happened?” I’m still reeling from it all. 

“I don’t know… listen I”

“Let’s be honest with each other from now on. No more hiding, no more secrets.” The words just pour out of me. 

Jacob simply smiles with his beautiful teeth lighting up the room. “I agree. I like that.” 

We embrace in a hug, its all we ever needed. The room then lightens us bright with the sun that comes up through the window. We peer outside and its already morning. Jacob and I decide the obvious that we should probably leave. We pack our bags back into the car and walk into the front desk office to return the key. Jacob calls out to the lady, but no response. I ring the bell but there’s no figure that comes out of back room. Its like she was never there in the first place. Jacob just leaves the keys on top of the desk, and we head out. We drive back to where we came from. The morning breeze feeling extra fresh today as I roll down the windows. I crack open my poetry book and Jacob takes my hand. We sit in silence the entire way through, no longer running or hiding from anything. I look out the window turning my neck behind to see the motel fade away, until it disappears into existence. I get chills down my spine, not knowing if the one day we had there ever existed.