The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Tiffany Michelle Brown
When Justine glided into Room 304B, the relief she felt at being far, far removed from her everyday life was immediate and absolute.
After depositing her suitcase on the bed, she removed her white lace gloves and strolled leisurely along the perimeter of the room. Justine’s fingertips traced the Gothic pattern on the wallpaper, delighting in its texture and warmth. She smiled at the immaculate furniture that looked as if it had been plucked from an old English estate and bent to smell the sweet perfume of a vase of exquisite, blood-red roses.
She hadn’t visited in over a year, but the suite was exactly as Justine remembered it. And if her memory continued to serve her correctly, she’d feel rejuvenated, restored, and nourished—body, mind, and soul—by the end of her stay.
Here at Les Coeurs des Tous, there was no internet connection. No work emails could reach her, no matter how urgent. The rotary-style phone within Justine’s room would only connect her with the front desk. It would not accept outside phone calls. Neither her husband nor her children could call her—though, they thought she was on a girls’ camping trip with friends, so they wouldn’t try to contact her anyway.
The only interactions Justine would have over the next three days would be with the exceptional staff at Les Coeurs. And they were there to cater to her every whim. For a brief time, no one would require anything of Justine; however, she could require everything of others. The thought sent a delicious thrill down her spine.
Justine closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of the room—the earthy aroma of antique furniture, the sterile scents of bleach and cleaning solution, and there, beneath it all, an odor only identifiable to those of Justine’s ilk—the subtle tang of copper. She smiled.
A loud crash sounded from the suite next door. Justine pressed her ear against the lush wallpaper and listened for a while, her heart racing, her mind reeling.
When she could take it no longer, Justine strode calmly but purposefully to the other side of the suite and dialed the front desk.
“Miss Monroe, my name is Carson. What can I do for you this afternoon?”
“Hello, Carson. I’m calling about my neighbors, the ones in 305B?”
“Yes, ma’am. Lovely couple. They checked in to their suite just this morning.”
“They seem to be having…quite a good time. I’m assuming the staff provided them with their afternoon entertainment?”
“Excuse me for being so forward, but is there any chance I could have what they’re having?” Justine heard the sound of paper ruffling over the line. She held her breath, hoping for good news.
“You’re in luck, Miss Monroe. We have another. Would you like us to charge the entertainment to your room?”
“Yes, please. Cost is a non-issue.”
“And shall you be dining afterward?”
“Yes. I believe you have my preparation preferences on file?”
“Of course, ma’am. We have on file that you prefer your red meat cooked medium rare. Is that still your preference?”
“Very good…Will you be requiring any weapons this evening?”
“No, thank you. I’ve brought my own.”
“Very good, ma’am. I have the utmost respect for well-prepared women.”
Justine blushed at the compliment. This Carson fellow would be receiving a great tip.
Carson continued. “As always, necessary supplies can be found in your closet. We appreciate you abiding by the hotel’s rules and regulations to keep your room as clean as possible.”
“Of course,” Justine said.
“Very good. When would you like the entertainment delivered to your room?”
“Is an hour too soon?”
“Not at all. We’re happy to oblige…Oh, I have a fine suggestion, ma’am.”
“Just this morning, we received a case of truly superb Australian Malbec. It pairs most excellently with red meat. Would you like us to bring you a bottle with your meal?”
Justine’s mouth watered. “That sounds divine.”
“Wonderful. I’ll add it to your bill.”
Justine heard the distinct clack-clack-clack of a typewriter, then Carson’s voice warmed the line. “I’ll ring you when our afternoon handler, Brandon, is on his way up with your victim. Would you like any details about your prey, Miss Monroe?”
“No, thank you. I do love a surprise.”
Carson chuckled. “I knew I liked you, ma’am. Is there anything else you require at this time?”
“I think that’ll do it. Thank you so much for your help, Carson. I truly appreciate it.”
Justine hung up the receiver of the old-timey phone and smoothed her silk skirt. She had an hour to herself, the perfect amount of time to ready both the room and her nerves. She was exhilarated, yes, but also a little anxious. It had been a while since her last kill. What with the responsibilities of being a wife, a mother, and a business professional, she simply hadn’t had the time to satisfy her innermost desires with any sort of regularity.
Justine hoped she still remembered how to do this. Like muscle memory, but instead…murder memory. She let out a carefree, high-pitched giggle at her pun.
Justine unzipped her suitcase and extracted her collection of knives. As Carson had promised, plastic sheeting, rolls of duct tape, and gloves lined the walk-in closet, beautifully organized and of the highest quality, because, of course, that was the way at Les Coeurs.
Whistling a jaunty tune, she set to work preparing 304B, her body humming in anticipation.
Fiction © Copyright Tiffany Michelle Brown
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com