The next thing that I become aware of is the somber room that is not so well lit and before long, my memory is devoured with each passing moment. Yet through my composed panic, I do not scream. My eyes begin to chaotically scan the room; searching for something that might jolt my memory. I am frightened to admit that I do not know where I am or for that matter, how I have found myself in this dreary place. I am shocked how my memory bank is riding on empty and I try hard not to thrust my panic into full-throttle. The solitary room begins to suffocate me. I feel it and I want to get out. Something is not right. I feel as though the room is watching me. From the looks of things, I am in a high-end hotel room. I glance towards the only door in the room and fix my eyes on its’ golden knob. I get up and slowly begin to creep in its’ direction. I am quite hesitant but continue to tiptoe forward to the door; pausing for a mere second.
My fingers kiss the cold knob which seems as equally as cold as the room. My heart is racing and I begin to gently twist the knob. For some reason, I do not want to make a sound. Quickly, I release it realizing that the room is locked from the outside. I’m on high alert! In an effort to control my hysteria, I lift my arms and cross them over my chest and begin to pound my body. I’m afraid to scream. What if I make a fool of myself? It’s then that I notice that my fingernails are involuntarily being driven into the skin of my arms. “Crap!” I feel silly as I politely call out; “Hello? Is anybody out there?” but, there is no answer. Perhaps, if it’s not too high up, I can escape through the window. I then walk towards the window; which is covered by very flamboyant damask curtains that stretch from the floor to the ceiling. I fear this place and feel the need to escape. Calmly I rush towards the window as my cowardice continues to swell. My hands touch the soft fabric and I urgently glide it over to the left side of the window. My mind screams hysterically! The room has no windows! “Oh my god!” I’m working myself into a frenzy and I begin to stumble backwards. My stomach is twisting and I want to vomit as I crouch forward in anticipation. My hair is tossed forward hanging over my face and I see only carpet.
I hear something and look up. It’s a tall man standing next to the now opened door. He stood there looking at me; observing me make a fool of myself. I immediately stand up and out of fear begin to back up. I fear that my withdrawal has sounded off a potential chase and I begin to stutter. I’m making no sense. The man interrupts me and says, “You called?” My heart rapidly continues it course. While I stand there unable to move or talk, I take notice of the tall mans’ features. The grooves on his face confess a harsh life. His deep-set eyes are dark, lifeless, and detached. He has an upside-down smile; which matches his lack-luster personality. Salt and pepper hair. He’s holding something behind him. Ever so slightly, I edge my way to the right in an effort to see what it is that he is holding. Fearing a strike, I ready myself to escape past him through the doorway. “What is that behind you?” I ask. He doesn’t answer me at first but lifts his hand and presents a little-black book. The book is being extended towards me. This is weird. It’s a bible. “Um, okay. I’m really confused. What is going on here?” My memory loss, the locked room, the bible, what the heck? “My dear, you came to Le Hotel; because of the season. You must recall registering with your friends, no?” His response resonates and jolts my memory. “Oh my gosh! Of course, now I remember! We were referred to you.”
The plug is now connected to my brain and the light bulb is now on. I then recall a conversation that I had with my friends; Michael and Lynn, while in the city a few weeks back. “Yes, yes. I do recall.” We were discussing the thrill of being scared stiff. Our friendly Halloween tradition is played is such a way that we frequented grave yards and searched for ways to scare each other. Once again, we readied ourselves for the season. During our talk; my friends described their discovery of Le Hotel. They had been told that every year during Halloween the management staff of Le Hotel organized a Scare Fest at the hotel. The hotel is said to be haunted and for a price, a select number of guests could take part in the Scare Fest Tour. Unfounded rumors of the hotel were growing and its’ popularity was increasing.
“Madam, your friends Michael and Lynn are here and are quite eager to accompany you this night.” He hesitated a moment and said, “So you see, I am here to deliver the required content- the little Bible that you are now holding and also to provide verbal instructions.” The instructions were simple and very odd. Participants were to carry the little-black bible at all times and once received, to immediately spray its pages with luminosity; a highlighting fluid. At which time he reached into his pocket and handed me a little spray bottle. He then pointed towards the bible and I immediately sprayed the pages inside the bible. Apparently, the bible had a purpose and given the moment, I would know when to use it. “Oh my gosh! I’m so excited! I ignored the inner warnings that were calling to me. All that I could think of was how amazingly crazy this experience was going to be. Not knowing what exactly to expect; but, knowing that the chilling adventure would go beyond my wildest expectations. He waited silently before me to ensure that I finished spraying the pages; urging me to pay attention to detail by spraying as many pages as possible. “Well done. I will now direct you to your friends.” My minds’ anticipation called out- “This little field trip is going to kick right up there!”
My anticipation grew and I was eager and on edge. I clenched onto the little-black bible like I had so many years before and it seemed to fit perfectly in my hand. The feeling of dread grew inside me as I followed the man from the room. We passed through the dingy hallway. Something was off; but, I continued to follow him. Everything about the hotel disclosed impending doom and yet it had magnetism and I was compelled to remain on course. The evil whispers of temptation continued calling out to me; urging me to come forward and it was then that the war between desire and logic spread within me. Being rebellious is better than following rules and the song said it best, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.” So, I ignored the battle and foolishly continued the course.
As I was contemplating leaving, it was then that my eyes caught sight of Michael. My lips quickly lifted to a smile and I rushed his way. He was a shy modern-day Adonis- so exceptional with olive skin, powder-blue eyes, and wavy-brown hair that always seemed to barely stoke his broad shoulders. His smile could easily thaw anyone’s icy disposition. “Michael! Oh my gosh. Hi!” and he quickly replied, “Hey there!” As I set my focus towards him, my girlfriend, Lynn stood sheepishly next to him clenching onto his jacket. Along with them were three other people, two guys in their mid-twenties and one girl around the same age. We huddled together each holding a bible.
The tall man finally began to speak, “The final hours are upon you and it is at this time that I urge you to reconsider and repent.” A response of giggles ensued and the man reacted with one raised eye-brow. He shouted, “You fools!” The giggles came to a hault as he slowly lifted his bible towards the ceiling. A piece of white paper was taped on top of it with writing that I could not make out. He began to read a verse out loud, “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:3″. Over and over again, he recited the verse as we walked through the hallway of the hotel. Someone muttered jokingly, “I guess that’s Act 1.” This Scare Fest was proving to be not only scary, thrilling, and realistic. The tall man abruptly stopped and turned and pointed at the other group and said, “You three must enter that room. Rely upon the Word for it is your only salvation.” As my eyes followed the tall mans’ finger, my eyes connected with Lynn’s face. Her blonde-bangs slightly covering her face failed to conceal her visible terror. She was pale and the pink in her cheeks had vanished. My eyes shifted back to the reluctant trio as they entered the dark room. Inexplicably the door closed without aid.
We stood in the hallway for a minute or two and then, a loud rumbling came from beyond the walls where the trio had gone. We heard screaming and pounding on the walls. The clamor was intensely intimidating and we huddled and moved backward. The nerve-racking screams brought anguish to my heart. We were too scared to look at each other. “You must continue and not back down.” The tall man exclaimed. Then, after several minutes had passed, the screaming stopped as fast as it started and the wails from within the room were silenced. A hush came upon the building. Seconds later, screams began again and the walls seemed to vibrate until the room fell peaceful. Finally, the girl began to squeal. There was no other noise other than the squeals that bellowed from within her. I clenched onto Michael even tighter. He whispered out, “Don’t worry. They’re acting. Trying to get us all worked up. It’s just a scare tactic.” But the screams and comotion sounded too real. His reassurance wasn’t good enough. The drama finally ended and the tall man then called out, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. Proverbs 14:32” Mortified by his words, I stood paralyzed. My legs were being weighed down by the devil himself.
The tall man called to me saying, “You did not listen to the warnings given by Him. You must continue and not back down.” Michael held onto us and we three continued to walk towards an entirely different wing in the hotel. We were so scared that we didn’t speak. Like before, the tall man paused before a white door. My gut twisted inside and my shoulders became weak. With my right hand against Michaels’ back, I could feel his heart pounding. His left arm was resting over my shoulder. He was being sandwiched between us and Lynn held onto him with much trepidation. Although I could not see her as well, I could feel her trembling.
We huddled and squeezed each other as the door sluggishly opened. The room was darker than the night and like penguins, we wobbled our way into the darkness and it was then that the door closed shut behind us. The silence inside was ghostly and all that I could hear was heavy breathing and Lynn whimpering. I didn’t understand what she was saying. A minute or so passed and nothing was happening and my confidence slightly ascended. Then, a little glow appeared. Its’ brightness became brilliant and it became apparent to me that Michael had opened his bible. The radiance of one verse lit the entire room enabling us all to read from its’ pages; Judges 15:8; “With that he tore into them, ripping them limb from limb–a huge slaughter.” Suddenly, a swift breeze came into the room. The bible was still open and the verse still glowed. Michael sat still with his eyes fixated on the little black bible. Unexpectedly, his body lifted upwards off the flooring; not nearly two feet. His body began to convulse and without warning his left leg was swiftly lobbed from his body and blood splattered onto my face. His screams deafened me. The terror in his eyes and his screams were mind-bending. Then, a short recess was provided and as he fidgeted on the floor, I was too scared and slowly edged my way toward him. It was then that his right leg was brutally ripped from his torso. He collapsed and was not conscious. His disfigured body lay in a pool of blood. He woke and his groan was barely audible. To my amazement, Michael still had possession of the little black bible. I drifted into shock as I stood staring helplessly at my dear friend. As before, a pause proceeded as he lay with no legs. Then, his left arm was brutally stripped from his torso. There was no struggle. My eyes shifted away in vain towards the floor and I could see chunks of bloody flesh. Finally, the bible fell from his right hand and with that, his attached arm was torn from him. Nausea overcame me. Too cowardly to touch his lifeless body, I stood there emotionally numb.
The episode passed quickly and there was not much time to fathom what we had both witnessed. Reality was unreal. It was as though we were in a freezing snow storm and our bodies shivered and quaked out of fear. Lynn’s face, like mine, was covered with Michael’s blood. With each vibration, she uttered, “He said we must continue and not back down.” I could not completely take in what she was implying and I did not respond. To my alarm Lynn opened the bible that now rested on her lap. She began blubbering in terror, “Oh my god, NO!” My eyes quickly shut-tight and as quickly as I shut them, I opened them again. As she held onto her open book, the highlighted message read; “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.” A sudden ease came upon her. She then lifted her hand away from the bible and touched her mouth. Although she trembled hysterically, she said, “Oh my god, that’s not so bad.” But in that moment, just as her hopes began to rise and after her fingers had already lifted from the book, the pages began to turn to another verse, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” and in that moment she immediately stood up uncontrollably. She glanced at me. Her eyes cried out for help. Not knowing what to expect or do, I became uncertain of myself. Then, beads of sweat began to appear on her forehead. Her face became animated with discomfort and if not for the illuminated room, the sweat from her brow would not have been visible. It was a slow process as she silently stood there quaking. A few minutes had passed and she continued to stand there, trembling and then, her skin began to blister. Then, smoke began to fill the room; draping between me as I gazed upon her. Yet, as I crept closer towards her, she began to shake profusely as though someone or something was physically shaking her- followed by an abrupt stillness. A deep groan bellowed from within her and her body became a blaze. The fires from hell devoured her beautiful body and the smell of death filled the illuminated room. The stench was pungent and it filled my nostrils and I forcibly contained myself from throwing-up. I could not escape the sulfurous odor that also accompanied the room. I covered my nose to avoid it and I cried with much regret. I wanted to wake-up from this nightmare but in my soul, I knew that my fate was coming soon. The room was now pitch black and her bible lay closed.
In the dark I sat motionless and numb. I tried to contemplate a strategy; if any. Inside me there was an unexplainable urge that clouded my thoughts. I was being urged to open my bible. The urge was hard to resist; but, I did and I continued to sit in total darkness for what seem like an eternity. And so I gave in and surrendered myself. I continued to sit in the blackness that surrounded me; the bible in my hand and as I swallowed my salted spit and left over courage, I opened it slowly. “Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” Immediately, I could feel my stomach and eyes burn; along with my tongue. Hysterically, I stumbled about the room and fell to my feet. I began to wail; still clenching onto the Good Book. As I fell once more, its’ pages turned to another verse to Deuteronomy; “And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim.” No sooner after I read it, a thin coating covered my eyes. In this moment, I gave into the hell. I surrendered completely; muttering and crying out loud, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Help me! Forgive me!” and all the while I could feel my body deteriorating and the smell of my body was turning rancid with each passing second. And during that wicked moment, I became inspired. It was the Spirit. A random memory filled my head and then before I decided to close the bible that sat firmly in my hand, I uttered forgotten verse that I had previously memorized long ago; “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” And almost instantaneously the violence quickly diminished. Like the room which turned placid and airy, so too did my nerves. Still, my heart raced with a pounding thud as my company. A single memory flickered. It was the single thought of the tall man and it was at that moment that I realized or made sense of what had just occurred. I will survive! I will live! I will live because I surrendered completely and I did what He said to do. The messengers words echoed in my mind, we must repent and without Him; without God, without repentance, salvation will never be ours.