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Fiction Relay – Part 12

22 November, 2012

WOW. How am I supposed to follow Hasty’s last chapter? Tying up and explaining so much that had gone before whilst opening up so many possibilities and questions of what is to come. Was that the best chapter yet? I think it could be… To read Hasty’s chaper, and the whole of FR to date, click on the homepage here. And now, on with…

 

Part 12

“Twenty dollars a night lady,” said the man behind the counter, “or five bucks an hour. TV is extra” Melissa reached into the side pocket of her suitcase, into the envelope resting inside, and drew out a single hundred dollar bill. “Two nights,” she said, offering the money. The man reached out a large, liver-spotted hand, but Melissa withdrew the bill before he could take it. “No one knows I’m here,” she ordered him, “no one knows my name, not even you.”

“Whatever you say,” he nodded, and this time Melissa allowed him to take the Benjamin. He tilted it in the light, checked for the change of ink colour before folding it into the pocket of his cigarette-burned shirt, and taking a key from the board behind him. “Room one twenty four,” he said, “third floor, turn left.” Melissa took the key without further conversation, without further eye contact.

With a persuasive kick, she opened the door to her room. It was sparse – a bed, a single wooden chair and an off-kilter dressing table – but it was sufficient for her current needs. She only needed a room, an anonymous room, a place to make arrangements. She locked the door, placed the suitcase in a corner and sat on the bed. Closing her eyes, she pictured Raj, focussed on his face, looked behind his eyes, searched for him. His mind appeared to her, open to receive her thoughts. “Gino is dead as you requested,” she told him, “I will wait here.”

 

The tap at the door woke Melissa from her sleep, and she sat up quickly. The tapping continued, more insistent now, and she stepped quietly to the door. She peered through the peephole to see Raj, staring back. “Open the door,” his voice said, directly to her, and she obeyed. He walked in, surveyed the room with a distasteful look and pulled his white handkerchief from his jacket pocket. The chair, even after he had brushed at it with his handkerchief, did not meet his standards and he sat instead on the bed.

“You did an efficient job with the cook,” Raj said evenly, “you are learning. Dying and allowing yourself to be found dead was a particularly… dramatic detail.” Melissa smiled to herself, dropped her gaze modestly. “But where you showed yourself up to be an amateur,” Raj continued, “was being found by Daniel.” The name tasted sour on his tongue, and he fought the will to spit it onto the uneven wooden floorboards.

Melissa looked up and met his eyes. His face appeared calm, almost friendly, but she knew him well enough to read the anger behind his serenity. “I’m sorry Raj…” she began, but stopped as he stood and paced quickly across the room. He stood before her, bent his neck until their faces were level, centimetres apart. She could smell the sweet chicken of his lunch on his breath as he stared at her, into her. “You will call me Khalid,” he said with a menacing whisper, “you will not use my past names.”

“Yes Khalid,” she replied telepathically.

“Good.” His point made, his threat understood, Raj returned to the bed, smoothing the blanket with a hand before sitting. “So,” he continued, “I was pointing out where you failed.” He picked a speck of imaginary lint from his trouser leg, flicking it onto the floor. “But of course where you really failed was in allowing that boy to befriend Meagan. We can only imagine what influence he will have over her, what he is telling her about Tampa, about the accident, what false memories he is planting.”

He stood again, approached the door where Melissa was still standing. “So now,” he said quietly, a sinister smile on his lips, “you know what to do. You have two days.” He opened the door, walked through, and turned to face her again.

“ Do not fail,” he warned her, and left.

 

Your turn CC

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14 Comments
  1. AMAZING! LOVE!

  2. Ooh! So now Sam/Daniel is planting false memories in Suzi/Meagan’s head? (Or is that just what Raj/Khalid is telling Melissa?) Nice dramatic tension! 🙂

  3. Wow, written like a pro. This may be the best writing yet… now Chantel has her work cut out for her.

  4. TheOthers1 permalink

    Nice job building up Melissa’s part. I wouldn’t have thought to do that. Now I need to figure out what the heck I’m going to do. So much pressure.

  5. Delilah permalink

    This is my new favorite addiction. Love this story! Great job TRG, I love being able to clearly see Raj/Khalid now.

  6. This is really really great writing. I just read it to my husband and he isn’t easily impressed. His exact words were “wow he made you look bad hahahahaha!” Well I am feeling lucky to be surrounded by amazing writers.

  7. Had to re-read before diving into CC’s installment, and wanted to tell you again how well written this piece is. I’m very impressed. One slight detail… If Melissa’s room is on the third floor, I think it would be room 324. Nice descriptions.

    p.s. we may need to remind Hasty’s husband what happened to Gino…

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