The crunch of gravel under her tires signaled her arrival at the Snooze Motel. She parked in front of the office, and sat for a few minutes. She elected to leave the pistol and file in the car.
The motel office was separate building from the rest of the motel. She walked in, and glanced around. No one was at the counter, and she saw an opening right behind it covered in beads. There were a few things sitting on the counter, one of them being a toy monkey. She remembered one of her friends had one when she was a kid. It was animated and would bang it's cymbals together, and shriek. Even as an adult the thing sort of gave her the creeps.
As she took another step closer the monkey started up, banging and shrieking. It startled her, and then she realized it must be a modern version that was motion activated. She then heard a voice that came from behind the beads...
"Be right there in a few minutes..."
Looking around, her natural and reporter driven curiosity took over, and she walked into the small lobby area. It had a shabby looking couch and one of those big wooden spools as a table. On the spool was a bushel basket filled with snack cakes. It had a sign taped to it that read, Continental Breakfast.
Above the couch was a velvet painting. Looking closer, it looked like some kind of warrior fighting zombies. Then she noticed the warrior had a distinct resemblance to Elvis. To her left there was a paper poster tacked to the dingy wall. It showed a kitten hanging by it's claws from a tree limb, and the phrase. 'Hang In There, Baby.' was underneath it.
On the wall opposite the dangling kitty poster were, after closer inspection, what looked like pages straight out of daVinci's notebook. These were also pinned to the wall. She ran her fingers gently across the paper's surface? Parchment? It felt old.
She heard someone walk through the beads, and turned around. The monkey was still banging it's cymbals and shrieking, and the man tossed it under the counter.
"So miss, how can I help you?"
The man was wearing denim overalls, and a t-shirt. She took the six steps back to the counter, and noticed the cork bulletin board covered in Polaroids right by the opening. One was a photo of a triceratops with a very large man riding it. Another was a group of zombies?
"Miss?" She turned her head back toward the man. "I need a room for the night, and I need to know where I am..."
"Well... might be better if you kept on till you get to Kinship. It's not much further..."
She shook her head. "No, I'm exhausted..." She steadied herself on the counter feeling faint.
'Well I guess you'll be safe for one night." He pulled a key out of a drawer. "Here yah go miss. Room four. Once it gets dark, bolt the door, and don't open it till daylight. The phone don't work, and even if it does ring don't answer it. There's no television in the room. If you got a gun keep it close..."
"Wait... what? Don't answer the phone that doesn't work?"
The man shrugged. "The more I talk the more questions you'll have. I wish you would just drive on... just be sure you don't take the exit to Shadowvale... that would be bad."
It was too much. She took the key from the man. "How much for the night?"
"Uuuummm... I don't suppose you have a bottle of Jack, or mebbe..." The man scratched the stubble on his chin. She heard the monkey still banging and shrieking under the counter.
"No in fact I need some food myself. Anywhere I can eat?"
"Not anywhere close. Well, in Kinship... okay it'll be twenty five for the room. There are vending machines beside the ice machine between rooms three and four."
She looked at the photos again, and pointed at them. "What about those? Those from a movie set or something?" Despite being exhausted, her reporter's curiosity was in overdrive. She had to know.
The man chuckled. "Or something..." He pulled one down, and handed it to her. She looked at it, and then at the velvet painting, and then back at the Polaroid. It was a photo of Elvis in the same outfit, some kind of armor, and carrying a sword. But he was in front of a building, and there were other people beside him. One of the other people only had one large eye. At the bottom was a signature. Elvis. "This can't be real? No way..."
The man looked hurt. He took back the photo, and sniffed, and shrugged. "Believe what you want... you'll find out soon enough. Remember what I said... I probably won't be around in the morning. So just head on out." Then he walked back through the beads. She hadn't even gotten his name.
As she left the office the monkey was still banging and shrieking...