Day Seven - Mafia Hit - Room Service
You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember where it was.
Has this dream stopped?
-Celebration of the Lizard, Jim Morrison
I'm not the one who's so far away
When I feel the snake bite enter my veins
Never did I wanna be here again
And I don't remember why I came
Sleeping in an actual bed had a way of clearing a personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thoughts, or at least it did in the case of one survivor-turned-murderer. The party had found a reasonable place to stay, a cheap motel in Faust, Utah, that was mostly abandoned. No corpses to deal with, at least on their floor, and no one had spotted any vermin yet. Funny, the things that became a way of life Ã¢â‚¬â€œ most survivors had never seen a dead body before the flu, and a week ago hauling corpses out of the way would have been unthinkable. Now, thoughÃ¢â‚¬Â¦everything was different.
They should have stuck to camp grounds, the killer thought. Being here in a comfortable bed (sans mint on the pillow, but maybe this hotel didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that anyway) surrounded by four walls, would just remind people of their old lives. It would remind them how to be civilized. They would remember that human beings didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t kill each other in their sleep in the service of a monster.
As though to punctuate that thought, the phone on the bedside table rang, and the killer froze in heart stopping terror. How was that possible? The phone should not be ringing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the lines were down. There was only one explanation.
Could Flagg read the thoughts in their minds, or was the timing of his call coincidence? The killer prayed for the latter but somehow knew the former was possible. With a shiver in spite of the heat, the killer rolled over and stared at the ringing phone for another ring before slowly, reluctantly, picking it up.
The receiver was like ice in her hands.
All that escaped was a fearful whimper, but Flagg went on as though the person on the other end had given the expected polite response, describing in good natured tones what he wanted done to these survivors, and when. One by one, Flagg had said.
One by one.
Nickie stirred fretfully in her sleep, though she did not quite come awake even at the slight disturbance in her room or the light tugs to the covers at the foot of her bed. She was dreaming peacefully of Mother Abigale, of sitting at the old womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feet and listening to her strum the guitar. She gave a contented sigh, smiling and looking to her with pure admiration and hope.
She was swaying slightly to the music when she noticed Mother AbigaleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s singing trail off. The old woman seemed to be concentrating on something far away. Her already wrinkled brow crinkled even more, and then, suddenly, she twisted her head to look directly at Nickie.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wake up, Child! WAKE UP!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Gasping, Nickie opened her eyes, sitting bolt upright in her bed. Her mind tried desperately to keep up, to understand the dream and the waking and oh, why her legs were burningÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
All of that processing was swiped aside, though, when she saw there was something moving under the thin hotel blanket.
Trembling in both fear and revulsion, she shoved the covers aside, revealing her swollen, bloated legs and feet. She hardly noticed that, though Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she was too focused on the scorpions, scrambling in their awkward little run to avoid sliding off the bed.
The former waitress let out a blood curdling, hysterical scream with the last of her breath.