Lisa sat on the patio of the hotel watching a bird flit from tree to tree. She had been given a complimentary stay at this motel after her apartment had flooded a week before. Her renter’s insurance took care of most of the logistics and cost. Oddly enough she had not encountered any of her neighbors who had also suffered serious water damage. Opting not to ask too many questions. She had seen little of the staff; the front desk attendant had said little but had welcomed her all the same. Housekeeping came by when she was out for a stroll in the courtyard and the complimentary breakfast was delightful. She was not permitted in the hallway due to renovations, so all her meals had been brought to her.
Someone knocked at the door and she opened it expecting it to be the desk attendant letting her know that the apartment was now safe to move back into. She moved her hand to her pocket making sure a small vial was still there and opened the door. It was a well-dressed stranger.
“Good morning Ms. Mabrey. My name is Quill and I represent Heritage Suites. I’m checking on select guests to conduct a small survey,” he said holding up a clipboard.
“Come in Mr. Quill,” she replied walking back out to the patio. “I just made tea would you care for a cup?”
“Yes, thank you for your hospitality.”
“Thank you, sir, for allowing me to stay at this fine motel. It has been a pleasure,” she said handing him a steaming cup.
They sat apart and each sipped on their cups. He peered at her then put on a pair a reading glasses to read his clipboard.
“During your stay here, have there been any unusual noises worth mentioning?” Quill asked sipping his tea.
“Why no sir, it has been awfully quiet.”
“How has your sleep been? Have you been sleeping through the night?” he continued.
“Sound as a baby,” she responded smiling as she sipped her tea.
He chuckled at the ironic statement and wiped a bead of sweat off his forehead before continuing.
“How about the food? Has our chef earned his pay this week?” he asked setting the clipboard down.
“Why yes the food has been simply divine,” she answered setting her cup down on the table.
He squirmed in his chair, fanning himself with the clipboard.
“Bit hot today isn’t it?” he asked rising from his chair. He retreated inside to the cool air and fell to the floor.
Lisa followed him bringing her teapot inside and setting it on the table. She sat on the foot of the bed watching him squirm on the floor.
“Don’t worry Mr. Quill it’s not going to kill you,” she said. “You see I have heard things in the night. I have heard carts being pushed outside. I’ve heard my door open and medical equipment beeping during the night. I have had dreams of wishes that never came true. I have seen my mother and father alive and well.”
Quill grabbed at her ankles but tumbled back to the floor.
“Compliments of your chef,” she explained. “Hemlock can be great for causing paralysis if delivered quickly to the bloodstream. While I didn’t have time to cook you a full meal, I did have time to line your cup with enough to keep you down for a few hours. Your Chef would do well to wear clothing with smaller pockets.”
Quill vomited and convulsed and thrashed on the floor. “Oh, dear me I must have used a tad too much,” she said, picking up the phone and dialing a number.
“Yes, could you send some officers to Heritage Suites. There seems to be some illegal experiments taking place,” she said and slammed the receiver down.
She walked toward the door and held up a card key so that he could see. “Swiped this too when you weren’t looking,” she explained walking out the door.