Inspiration Monday prompt "Silent Conversation," for the week of March 24th.
Luc is a character from my most recent NaNo novel. (The one I intend to keep working on during Camp NaNoWriMo in April, and possibly again in July.)
This is a little scene from his past. (I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to add it to my official headcanon. Though it would explain his somewhat easy acceptance of the events that unfurl in the novel....)
Room 105 in the Highland Gardens Hotel looks nothing like it did in the 1970s when Janis Joplin took that last fateful hit.
Luc doesn't much care about the decor. Or that a rock star died on the floor of his room 20 odd years ago. (His agent, Calla, seems to get a kick out of booking him in “haunted” hotel rooms.)
It’s after midnight. He’s been on his feet since 3 a.m. yesterday morning, dealing with the ins-and-outs of his exhibit. All he wants is to wallow in sheets that haven't been used since he checked in and sleep until it’s time to catch his plane.
He falls into bed still mostly dressed, murmurs, “Good night, Janis,” shuts his eyes, and lets sleep suck him under.
1 a.m. He wakes to dream scents of cigarette smoke and patchouli. The kitchenette light flickers. He’s sure he turned that off. On the bedside table, the radio alarm switches on, playing the local oldies station.
Luc holds his breath as static rolls into sound. Mama Cass croons through the speakers, beguiling him to dream of her. Letting out a chuckle, he checks the alarm, finds it set for the early hour; a leftover from a previous guest.
A sip of water refreshes him and he switches off the light, pads to the bed as Mama Cass’s voice fades into the darkness. The late night DJ pipes in, obnoxiously cheerful, apologizing for the track mix up.
The opening piano of “Turtle Blues” trickles through the speakers.
The kitchenette light flickers back on.
And the fine hairs on the back of Luc’s neck stand at attention. Calla’s eccentricities finally paid off, he thinks, I’m bunking with a ghost.
Aloud, he says “Okay.”
Rising again, he shoves his feet into his boots, pockets his wallet and leaves the room.
The guy at the liquor store gives Luc an odd look before returning to his sports page. With his sleep-starved eyes, riotous pale hair, pillow-creased face and unlaced boots, Luc’s sure he resembles someone who badly needs a 2 a.m. drink.
He finds what he came for, then snags one of the shot glasses—emblazoned with Hollywood in bright pink script—on display next to the register.
Back in his room, the radio plays, the light flickers.
Luc sits the brown paper sack on the table, pulls out the glass, the small bottle of Southern Comfort Special Reserve. He pours a shot, salutes the air before tossing it back, tasting sweet spice and mint, the burn of bourbon.
“I’m a longtime fan,” he says, downing another shot. He pours a third, leaves it on the table, next to the open bottle. "But I really need some sleep."
He turns off the light and radio, undresses in the dark. In bed again, cradled in the warmth and spice of Southern Comfort, sleep comes easily.
The next time he wakes, it’s nearly noon.
On the table, the shot glass is empty, the bottle next to it drained.
Nikki Young Writes. Click the picture to check out her blog plost and a variety of fiction from others.