“HOT….L”Vacancy the sign flashed. The red neon gave Posey a candent red eyed appearance, pupils dilate and undialate, scarlet like the eyes of a dog in a photograph.
He dozed in a nightmare restlessness, sleep without rest. The sound of his sighs, his exhalations in smoke scented perfumes and moldy carpeting, in cockroach heaven, tinctured the electric buzz of the neon sign with a breath of life; he was lonesome in beggar realms of dirt, stone and humid tears of sweat.
The air conditioning was just beneath the far side of the sill, the foot of the bed, close to the door. The far corner of the blinds bled dirty droplets of dust down onto the cold metal of the conditioner in spattered dew drops.
Clairvoyant, he was clairvoyant. He knew someone had died in the room, he could see the man laying in the floor near the bathroom. He wasn’t there he knew that, nevertheless he still saw and in seeing he suffered the misery of the clairvoyant.
Blood, puddles of blood , the green nap of the carpeting was stained a dark brown, almost black. They hadn’t bothered to replace the carpeting. The man lay in a nimbus of mist, scarlet, frozen in time; hanging above his head was a fine spray of blood, still, glistening, suspended in an instant.
Posey turned from the ugly taboo and grabbed the pack of smokes he had placed on the edge of the window sill. Voodoo amusements he thought as he lit the cigarette, voodoo amusements my man. He inhaled deeply savoring the taste . He needed a coffee, black and strong. Posey stood and grabbed for the ancient coffee cup. There were bits of green and blue mold floating on the surface of the half empty cup. “Yuuuuuucccckkkk!” he groaned.
Crossing the room, past the mans body, the blood and the sightless eyes, he found the dark silhouette of the radio; he turned the knob and the radio blared to life. There were three or four stations playing simultaneously, a Mexican man talking in wavery exclamations , drifting in and out , wavering in ripples of sound. Beneath the Spanish broadcast a Pink Floyd song , he couldn’t remember the name of it; there was the faint sound of a minister in a preachy voice, “Re……ent, ……….pent sinners!” he exclaimed over the Floyd song and the Spanish dialogue. He listened for a moment and decided the radio was haunted.
As he was about to turn it off, he paused; from the bottom of a long dark hole, a tube, gravely, liquid, dark and in ethereal command , a voice sounding like bubbles and static, deep. The voice reminded Posey of an old episode of The Outer Limits, an alien voice, definitely not human. He clicked the radio off and an image clouded his mind for a moment, babies crying in a long tiled room, a woman in the throes of passion, and the alien.
The alien, the monster was a black silhouette in shadow, gurgling, flemy and in vigilant dimensions of madness. The shadow tilted at a crazy oblique angle near the corner of the room. Posey jumped as the radio blared back to life. “……iners repent, ye sinners!” he heard in infinite echoing static. Posey trembled uncontrollably for an instant as the monster melded into the corner of the wall. Posey paused for a breath and a hazy moment of contemplation.
There was a tiny sink and mirror on the opposite side of the room. “Coffee.” he whispered to himself as he imagined the bitter taste of caffeine. As he crossed the room he grabbed the cup from the bedside stand: the logo on the side of the mug read,
“Wild Coyote Inn.”With a picture of an amber colored coyote on the front. He dumped the ancient brew into the drain. Bits of fury green mold clung to the basin. Posey ran the hot water and using his hand he pushed the chunks of mold into the swirling rush of water. Taking a bar of soap wrapped in paper, he washed the mug and mixed a cup of coffee with the white labeled generic brand he had bought earlier that day.
As he drank the coffee became viscous, it tasted like blood, the lifeblood of a dream, a nightmare in pass. Posey wiped his mouth on the starched white cotton of one of the motel hand cloths, it smelled of bleach. The towel came away stained scarlet in smears of blood.
He exhaled loudly as he clicked the radio back off, dumping the mugs contents into the sink. “Just coffee.” he said aloud as he looked at the brown liquid staining the sink.
Posey grabbed a t-shirt from his battered suitcase and slipped it over his head. He found his tennis shoes and slipped them onto his sock less feet. His mother had told him, “Always wear socks with your shoes Posey, otherwise your feet will stink!” He felt a brief moment of guilt as he saw his mothers look of admonishment peering through a veil of years.
Posey walked out onto the front stoop closing the door to the room behind him. The sidewalk was washed in the flickering neon light of the hotel sign. A pile of dead flies lay scattered across the sidewalk beneath the sign.
Posey crossed the street and began walking south on Mawson Lane. As he approached the corner of Mawson and Rhy he spotted the prostitute on the corner. She walked toward him as he approached. A cool sashay, lipstick and curly blonde hair. She wore a lace halter done in white, sweet songs done in dry deserts he thought. She massaged her hip with long rose colored fingernails. The scarlet colored miniskirt inched up just far enough for him to catch a glimpse of her panties.
“ Watchya doin honey?” she said. Posey paused in mid stride, she was covered in blood and long gashes, knife wounds covered her arms and throat. Several of her fingers were missing as if she had tried to fight off an attacker. She seemed oblivious.
He had discovered his Psychic self when he was eight years old, or rather it had discovered him.
He had been by himself at Aziza Memoriam park; there were swings and slides and spinning wheels for the children. The barbecue pit was near the center of a group of picnic tables and the public restrooms. He had been on the spinner by himself; he pushed ran and jumped on the spinning wheel. Around and around, the wind, tall pines and picnic area became a blur. Jumping back off, his head swam for a moment and he staggered to the picnic tables. The smell of burning charcoal and hamburger grease filled his nostrils. He felt sick as the park wavered and tilted in front of him.
He saw three or four men around the barbecue pit, only thing wuz that they were ghosts he thought, he could see right through them. He was frozen in place as the scene unfolded before his eyes.
The men were laughing and yelling, “Burn baby burn!!” one of the men shouted in a whooping rage.
“Got dat beech but good man!” a scraggly man in a green t-shirt exclaimed.
“That’ll teach that miserable witch!” the third man said to the green shirt.
He watched as a plume of smoke drifted in thick oily streams from the cement pit. The cloying odor of charred meat hung in the air and Posey gagged back the contents of his stomach. He went over and looked in to the cement and mortar barbecue pit, Ash, gray ash and ghosts in blood and bones, “Blood and Bones.” he whispered aloud as the prostitute waved him closer. High-down in his memories, he took a few steps closer to the bleeding woman. Her mouth moved but the words didn’t match, a mans deep tenor. “Beware the wrath of the jade willows breath and the blood of the myrter!” She said as she looked at the bleeding nubs of her missing fingers.
Posey took in a deep breath, clean and tinged by the scent of lilacs, perfumed incense. The prostitute turned away from Posey for a moment and said, “ I love the scents of summer honey. Can you smell that, it reminds me of my grandmothers perfume. She always wore it before she went to the store or bingo. Grandpa said she was a rare beauty and she baffled the sky. Do I baffle the sky Posey? Do I make your heart race like a wild Raven Posey?” she asked in an easy rhythm of seductive coquette. “Do I baffle the sky Posey?” Posey stared at her as she tried to apply her lipstick. “Cherry blossom hun.” It was blood red and in commune with her bleeding face. She kept dropping the damn lipstick, her damaged hands weren’t working. “Gosh darn it Posey, I can’t get this right.” Posey thought for a moment and offered,
“You definitely baffle the sky miss.” She grinned in open eyed glee as she put her lipstick away.
“Thanks honey…..hey…..” she gave him a sly smile, “I might be sweet on you Posey, how about a freebee babe?” Posey shook his head in horror at the thought and said, “ No thanks…..ahhhhhhaaaaa?” he questioned.
“ You can call me Daisy.” she offered in return.
“No thanks Daisy.” he said apologetically.
“Suit yourself hon.” she said as she crossed the street in directions of unknown haunt.
Posey looked at the spot on the corner where Daisy had been. The was a spreading puddle of scarlet and several bloody footprints pointing further down the street. Only thing was the footprints weren’t hers, they were large, a mans footprints, tennis shoe tracks, clearly heading toward the Neon Electric.
The city offered a few rarities, good bear, a good burger, museums for the eclectic minded, he hated modern art, and the Neon Electric.
Posey lit a cigarette and too a breath of smokey relief as he followed the bloody shoe tracks. He ended up standing near the bright neon glare of the Neon Electric. The footprints led inside. He looked at the ticket booth for a moment then the sign. Two stories high the sign flashed green and indigo light, spilling out onto the concrete in black light illumination, the bloody tracks glowed in the signs wash.
“NEON ELECTRIC.”It sang in a staticy hum.
The ticket booth to the black light museum was empty and the front entrance beckoned him with its unbidden secret. Posey went inside.
His eyes took a moment to adjust to the black lighting. The first thing he saw was the jade willow, six foot tall it took up an entire corner of the front room. The jade sparkled in the shadow light like a great ghost. He could hear the wind blowing through its jeweled branches. Near the base of the willow lay the body of the ticket taker, crumpled in the final throes of death.
The hall leading to the back of the museum was lined with shelves and colored neon lights. A giant mural of a seductive ornate design covered the opposite side of the hall. The mural showed a woman kissing a man in a fireman’s uniform, she wore nothing and her eyes seemed to loll with the black lighting in the hall. The shelves were lined with glowing curios, glitter covered, painted bright and obvious.
Posey moved into the hall. There were smears of blood covering the floor and tennis shoe tracks. Posey had a brief flash, a vision overwhelm his senses with the sight and smells of a nightmare drama.
The end of the hall seemed to waver in the dark lighting, swaying at a crazy angle, and the smell of blood fresh, coppery. Posey tried to fix a glance at the shadow he saw crouching there, or was it laying there, he couldn’t tell, his psychic senses were in full swing. Dressed in black he saw a skull faced reaper with a blood spattered scythe. Black and white bone, sinew rending unto the blade. The figure screamed, “ Drink the wine! Drink the wine Posey!” Posey shook for a moment as if jolted then he paused the red neon glowing in his wide eyes. He looked at the pathetic creature crouched beneath a display of stained glass crucifixes. “ Drink the wine!” the man whispered in a throaty exclamation.
Posey stared at the shadowy shape of the killer, he was still, quiet in solstice with the screaming ghost, “ Drink the wine!” The mans head had nearly been blown in half and a sodden mess of brains lay next to his motionless figure. Blood, great puddles of congealed crimson liquid pooled beneath his body. He had just missed the action. The killers escape, his way out by self destruction.
The man whispered, “ Drink the wine Posey!” he held out a bottle of grape MD 20/20 toward Posey, “ Have a sip my man, have a sip!”
Posey turned and walked out of the Neon Electric to the waiting street with its freaks, ghosts, burnouts, hookers and dirty dreams of poverty. He made his way back to the motel and bolted the door behind him.
“HOT….L” the sign flashed as Posey layed down in a haunted portion of respite.