Art by Justin Forbes

9:00 pm: It was hard to catch the eye of the cranky receptionist behind the hideous 60’s glasses she had on. Maybe she was just holding on to an ounce of her youth. Her hair was a pathetic mess of what should have been a bee hive hairstyle. She doesn’t return the gaze. I figure she isn’t one for small talk, so I pick up the room keys that was placed on the rundown reception desk, careful not to make it rumble to the ground, leaving the cash for the night, behind me.

9:10 pm: The room smells musky but overthrown with a mist of cheap hairspray and damp carpets. The receptionist, with gum visible in her mouth, fights to keep it in while her dentures reluctantly follows. Her attention fixated on an episode of Wheel of Fortune. I scurry away with my luggage up the stairwell to find my room.

9:15pm: The broken numbers, 2-4-3 dangle on the door of the room. I insert the key into the key hole and the door breaks open.

9:30 pm: The cheap cigarette from the vending machine combined with the smell of damp sheets was unpleasant. But I soon grew accustomed. I faced the hole in the middle of the motel filled with dried leaves and twigs. I guess that’s the kind of pool you get around here.

3:00 am: I reach for my earphones. The paper thin walls cannot erase the sounds of the pair next door fornicating. I picture every single thing in my head as she screams it. I called her Gina, the brunette Gina. The music couldn’t drown the image of a brunette Gina morphing into a female praying mantis clad in white shorts and a red tank top, eating the head of her mate while Halls and Oates echoed in the background, “She’s a Maneater”.

6:00 am: The misty mountains gains visibility. I rummage the room for another cigarette. But the silent night called my name so strongly I threw on my jumper instead and headed out for a walk. The road was as lonely as a cemetery. I walked on until the darkness was broken with flashing lights of a police car. 100 meters away. I inch closer. I see a collision. Intoxication, the cop murmured under his breath, paying no attention to me. I danced around them curiously, but not one, batted a lash. So I walked towards the car that seemed to have collided into the divider on the road.

6:15 am: A man lay unconscious a few meters away from the car. He was thrown out of the car. I walked closer, the smell of death reeks, filling the air. I wanted to catch a glimpse of his face, ponder on the life he must have lived. Was he a family man, was he lonely? I stand next to him, his face tilted to the side. I lean closer, turn his face towards me and find myself staring at my reflection.

Here is Laveenia Theertha Pathy’s short bio: ‘I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together’ (I am the Walrus, The Beatles). Read more of Laveenia’s work here! Have a short story or cerpen to share? Email us at! You retain copyright to your work. We just enjoy reading and sharing stories!