Flash Fiction Challenge – No Tell

New challenge, new story. I put the tweet I chose at the bottom, mainly because I wanted to see if anyone could figure out what it was before we got there.

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No Tell

It started small at first. Stolen towels, broken ice machine, keys that didn’t work. It escalated to frogs in the bathroom, centipedes in the bed, torn sheets, and pillowcases full of garbage. The owner of the Nite Owl Motel couldn’t figure it out.

He set up hidden security cameras, only for them to be found clogging toilets. The security tapes revealed nothing. There wasn’t a hint as to who might be doing this. No wayward shadow, no glimpse of a car. For all the world, phantoms were haunting his motel, turning it slowly into a trash pile.

The Nite Owl was not a four star establishment by any means. They were caught in the twilight world between the Motel 6 and any no-tell motel that only had rooms by the hour. It wasn’t the best, but it was far from the worst. So why was his motel being singled out?

By week two, he’d hired a security guard, which seemed ridiculous. How true a statement that was didn’t become clear until the next night, when he found the guard tied to a chair, with a pillowcase over his head like a hood. He claimed to have never seen or heard his assailants, which sounded ridiculous, until he admitted he had “probably” fallen asleep. Great.

While his useless security guard was tied up, carpet was torn up, and mattresses cut open in several of the rooms. Some mirrors and lamps were broken as well, along with cracked windows and kicked down doors.

It made no sense to him, and he could really only do one thing. He closed the motel for repairs, told all employees not to come in, and stayed in his office, waiting in the dark, with his shotgun. He really didn’t want to shoot anyone, and didn’t know if he could, but it would scare them. Or so he hoped.

It was strange how sitting in the dark, at night, made time seem funny. You were here a thousand years – or five minutes. It was hard to say. Time became elastic around you, reality stretched like taffy, and he started to feel like he was in the middle of a long, low level nightmare.

At some point, something changed. He thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye, and when he looked at the dark parking lot, people were suddenly there. A half a dozen, more, some with faces so pale they could have beeb ghosts. Ghosts in dark clothes, some using walking sticks, some holding machetes and other bladed weapons like fashionable canes.

it took him a few moments more to realize all these people were women. He wondered if he should leave his shotgun behind – he couldn’t see himself shooting a woman – but they all had weapons, and he knew he needed to go out with something. So he took a deep breath, and headed into the parking lot.

The women – over a dozen now, all fading into the darkness in their black garb – didn’t react to him at all. It was like they were expecting him. “Why are you doing this?” he asked. He looked between them all, because he couldn’t tell who was the leader.

One stepped forward. but she didn’t seem any different from any of the others. Her machete was currently resting against her shoulder, like a baseball player stepping up the plate. “We know of the curse. We won’t allow you to bring an Old One back to this plane.”

For a moment he just blinked at her, not sure he understood. Was this some kind of joke? She seemed serious, and none of the women around her reacted as if this was an unusuall thing to say. But it had to be. He tried to laugh, but couldn’t quite manage it. “Are you serious?”

“This motel is built in the shape of their altar. Maybe you’re an innocent victim in all of this, I don’t know, but you should step aside and let us burn this place to the ground.”

“Are you some crazy kind of cult?” He’d heard of them. His grandfather even warned him about them. His grandfather who originally designed this motel …

He looked at the building then, trying to determine its shape, when a low hum filled his ears, and started vibrating the ground. He tried to pinpoint the noise, but it seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere. The women backed up, aiming their weapons at him.
He meant to take a step forward, to tell them he wasn’t doing this, when he felt a thump in his chest. He thought it was his heart skipping a beat, until it happened again, and it really felt like something was slapping against his ribcage.

He felt nothing but a sort of cold shock as his chest exploded open, and long green tentacles unfurled, lashing out at the women. They had their machetes ready and slashed back, as the hum got louder, and he saw the asphalt starting to shatter. Behind him was a noise that was more felt than heard. One of destruction and madness, and whatever had infested him and used him as a host.

The women charged with a roar of anger, and the thing responded with its own hellish cry of outrage, as he collapsed on his knees, the tentacles still streaming out of him like a macabre magic trick. There was blood like spilled ink, clumps of meat that were probably his organs, but it all seemed distant from him. Had he ever truly existed? Was he simply a manifestation or a sacrifice for this thing?

The women ignored him, engaging in battle with the thing that had exploded out of his motel, casting a shadow that blocked out the moon. And his last thought was he hoped they won.

**

Original tweet: A secret society of women do battle against a motel.

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