Chapter 1“Is that it?” I asked as my mom pulled up to the large estate sitting proudly at the top of a hill.
“I think so honey. Although, I didn’t realize it would be so large.”
“Are we at the back entrance?”“Yes, they told us to come this way.”
The driveway was gravel which made the short ride up the hill rather bumpy. My mom parked the car on the grass right next to the driveway and she unlocked the car doors. I jumped out, excited to stretch my legs after the 45 minute drive. I opened the trunk and pulled out my zebra striped duffel bag, my pillow, and my lime green backpack stuffed with all my notebooks. I looked up at the building and realized that there were actually two separate buildings. To me it looked a bit like a hotel we had once stayed in when my family took a trip to Nebraska.
“Wow!” I exclaimed, “this is impressive.”
“It sure is dear. Here, why don’t you carry the casserole.”
I was already carrying a lot, but I was in too good a mood to protest, so I didn’t.There we two separate buildings. One was about the size of our house back in the city, but the other building was much larger. It was two stories tall with a porch that wrapped around the entire first floor. There were two sets of stairs that stretched from the porch up to another sort of balcony/porch that was just as large as the lower one and also wrapped around the building. There were too many doors to count on both the upper and lower floors.
We walked up to the smaller of the two buildings, which only had one door in the back, and my mom, who actually had two free hands at the moment, used the bronze knocker on the door. My friend’s mom answered looking tired, but happy.
“Patricia!” she said as she tried to hug me in a failed attempt because I was carrying so much. “O my word, that’s quite a large bag. You do know that you will only be staying here for a week right?”
“Yeah,” I laughed as I handed her the casserole, “this is for you, Mrs. Henderson. My mom made it.”
Mrs. Henderson took it with a smile, “why thank you. This way I don’t have to cook dinner for seven tonight.”
“Seven?” I asked.
Mrs. Henderson nodded and smiled, “that’s right dear.”
My mother inquired, “who are the other two guests? I was under the impression that it would just be you, Patricia, Emily, Darren, and I.”
“Well,” Mrs. Henderson started, “we have two more people joining us for the week. Come this way,” she gestured, “everyone is in the kitchen.” She led us inside and I instantly felt the air get cooler. It was nice to be away from that sticky, hot, June air outside. The kitchen and the living room were all one large room separated by an island in the kitchen part of the room. The living room had a fireplace that looked as if it was never used. There were boxes littered all around and bubble wrap was strewn everywhere. Emily was the first person that caught my eye.
“Hey Patricia!” she screamed as she hugged me and I dropped my bags. “I know it’s only been two weeks, but I feel like I haven't seen you in forever.”
“Me too!” I replied. “It looks as if you just got here, with all the boxes and everything.”
“Yeah,” she agreed, looking around the room, “It has been a very slow process, but we have most of the boxes cleaned up except in this room.”
Mr. Henderson (Darren) walked up and said, “Patricia, how have you been?”
“Good, thank you,” I replied.
“Well it looks like Margret (Mrs. Henderson) will have dinner ready in a half an hour thanks to your mom.” He turned to Emily and said, “why don’t you show Patricia around before it gets dark? Give her the tour.”
“Okay,” said Emily. As she led me over to the living room area I caught a glimpse of someone behind my mother. Someone I was not expecting to see.
“Um,” I started, “is that Mrs. Adams?”
“Yeah...” Emily replied, “unfortunately the Adams will be joining us for the week also.”
“Wait, do you mean..?”
“Yes, her son too.”
Mrs. Adams’s son was our age and had gone to our elementary school with us for five years. Emily and I had gone to a different middle school than him, but since Emily’s mom and Mrs. Adams were good friends, Emily was forced to see him a lot and unfortunately, so was I.
“Well this sorta just ruined my vacation.”
“Patricia please, this was hardly a vacation. You’re just visiting us for a week and this town stinks anyway. I’ve been so bored. There is absolutely nothing to do here. I’m so glad you came because I have pretty much just been watching DVDs for two weeks because we don’t have cable yet.”
“Alright,” I said, “on with the tour.”
“Okay.” Emily switched to her I-know-more-than-you-about-this-so-you-better-listen voice and continued, “So this is our sort of living room/kitchen place and back here,” she pointed down a short hallway, “is my parent’s bedroom and bathroom. Out here,” she said walking through a set of double doors that had been propped open with a cardboard box, “is the sort of main entrance that my parents haven’t really decided what they are going to use it for yet.”
“Wow,” I said, “this room reminds me of a hotel lobby.” It had one long desk/counter on the left side of the room and at the front, there was a set of glass double doors. The rest of the room looked sort of awkward with no furniture and I could not imagine Emily’s furniture filling the space.
“This place actually used to be a motel and this was the lobby,” Emily replied.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah, and back where the kitchen, living room and my parent’s room is was the place where the owners of the hotel, who were also the managers lived.”
“So all the motel rooms are in the other building,” I guessed.
“Where is your room?”
“I’ll show you,” Emily led me through the glass double doors.
The light summer breeze greeted us as it swirled around. There was a gravel path, similar to the driveway, but smaller that led from the “lobby” to the other building. When we reached the other building, we approached one of the two staircases that led to the second floor. As we got closer I saw all the doors had numbers on them.
“How many rooms are there?” I asked.
“About one-hundred,” she answered, “fifty on top and fifty on the bottom.”
We climbed up the wooden stairs and turned to the left. After passing a few rooms Emily stopped. She took out a key, not the sort card shaped room keys that most hotels use now, but and old looking key that reminded me of a skeleton key my uncle once gave me.
Emily read my mind and said, “even when this was a motel, they always used old keys like these. It is a little annoying to have to use a key to get into my room, but my mom always makes me lock the door because it doesn’t lock by itself. There are two keys to every door on this property and they are all in a little closet hanging on numbered hooks in the lobby room.”
“That’s so cool!,” I exclaimed, “Can I see them?”
“Really?,” she asked,” Well if you actually want too, sure. I thought it was kind of stupid.”
She unlocked the room with the number 72 and opened the door and it creaked. I realized that this entire building looked a lot older that the other building. “This was the biggest room, so I asked for it,” Emily said.