“Where am I?”

Ellen woke up with a severe headache in a seemingly tidy hotel room. She found herself lying on the grand bed wearing a long black gown.

She was bewildered, too dizzy to even start thinking of putting up everything together.

She had no memory of anything prior to this.

“What is the smell?” She said in an annoyed voice. She looked around to look for the source of the stench, and while doing so, tried to figure out her whereabouts.

 

Ellen Carter is a 35-year-old primary teacher. She has been working as the primary teacher in a local school for last 9 years. She had worked as a child actress in her teen days, but she realized the world of glamour is not meant for her.

Ellen did some noteworthy roles in some sitcoms of late ’90s.

She had connections and even support of her parents. But she decided to quit it, glamour was not her thing.

She could see beauty in simple things, something that most of us fail to do. She loved the company of her friends, family and her endless collection of fantasy novels.

To be honest, Ellen was not such a good actress, but that was not the reason behind her successful journey as an actress. She genuinely cares for the people around her, and her childish aura could elevate anyone’s spirit. It was clear to her co-stars, and people watching her shows.

That is probably the reason why she chose to be a primary school teacher. It was the only place where she could meet human beings who share the same aura.

Here no one was trying to tarnish her innocence.

 

“What am I doing here?”

Ellen looked through the window, she could barely see the people from such a height.

It was probably 20th floor of the building.

She could see the ocean and a highway next to it. The hotel was right next to the highway, but due to the height, she couldn’t have asked or even yelled for help.

The highway was seemingly not so busy, but it was not a deserted location for sure.

She was actually surprised, a part of her was happy to be waking up in such a lavish hotel room. Judging by the grand bed, location, and size of the room, it is probably one of those luxurious suites.

Being a primary school teacher, you don’t get to enjoy too many luxuries.

‘What could possibly be more joyful than teaching the future generation of our planet?’ Apparently, despite the notion is quite noble, but it is not enough to pay the bills.

She has a young daughter, Tally.

Ellen met Harvard, her future husband and Tally’s father on a school trip to the city museum who was working as the director.

Harvard is generally calm and composed, and just like Ellen, he could see beauty in everything, especially art and sculptures.

It was love at the first sight. They just knew they are meant for one another.

Their first date was horrible.

They had nothing in common, although, they shared the common outlook on life. They eventually continued seeing each other. They couldn’t appreciate each other, they fought on the silliest thing possible, but they reconciled every time.

In a way, they completed each other.

They admired each other’s company.

You can call it cheesy or true love, they knew they won’t find anyone else who shares the same outlook on life.

 

Ellen stood in front of the mirror, amused and puzzled.

The long black gown was as beautiful as the one she saw at the market recently. She badly wanted to own it, but it was too expensive. She convinced herself that she won’t look good in that, but she still started saving money.

Her gown was made of some kind of expensive silk. She felt like she was covered in clouds, soft and delicate ones.

She used to pass from the store daily, hoping it to be still there. It used to help her to stay motivated.

“Something is not right.”

Ellen was examining herself, checking out herself in front of the mirror.

She was looking as pretty as a princess, but she had no bruises or marks to indicate forced abduction.

Surprisingly, not only there were no marks, even her blond hair was properly combed. Her face was looking radiant and her blue eyes were as deep as ever.

If it would have been a case of kidnapping, the kidnappers wouldn’t have bothered to put her in such a luxurious state.

“I can’t figure it. Something is out of place.” Ellen was staring at her own reflection, she noticed something that was not supposed to be there, but she couldn’t point it out.

She looked for a mean to communicate outside, the hotel phone was dead, the main door was locked and the foul stench was not disappearing.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien held a very respectable place in her world.

Ellen was overwhelmed when she heard Lord of the Rings is finally getting a movie adaption. She even auditioned for it. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get the part, she was actually hoping for at least a minor supporting role.

When the movie came out in 2001, she was so upset that she didn’t even bother to see the films.

Here it gets interesting; Harvard is a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. He is not much of a reader, but he loved the movies.

Harvard is a mess. He is obsessed with putting everything in order, but he never stays the same way. If paradox could receive a human personification, then it might have looked just like Harvard. He has an average height and not so well built a physique.

He has a soft corner for deep fried snacks.

He is not much of a social being, he had only one or two friends back in his college.

Harvard encouraged Ellen to start acting again, her mother pulled some strings and she was able to get her some minor roles in major movies, but she was adamant on her decision.

Ellen is sweet and caring, but she is also stubborn and rebellious.

 

“Is Harvard making a prank?”

 

Her mother, Martha started out as a theater actress and soon rose to popularity. She did move to films as an actress, but she enjoyed being a producer.

She even took vital roles in some of her produced films. She always managed to stand out, even if she had a screen time of less than 10 minutes.

She simply stated that she has passed the age of being active on the screen, and thus wanted her daughter to have everything right from a young age.

Her daughter, Ellen was voted as one of the most promising stars of the future. Her innocent and pure performances were not critically acclaimed but had the heart of the audience.

Martha continuously asks Ellen to let Tally follow the dream she couldn’t live, but Ellen wants Tally to decide her own future.

 

As the time passed, Ellen started looking for the source of the stench. She couldn’t recall anything, but there was something that was bothering her.

She believed the source of the stench might lead to something, but there was something she saw in the mirror, something that was not making sense.

After checking all the rooms, she was left with the bathroom.

She did realize the source is in the bathroom, but she was avoiding it.

Sometimes we avoid the truth because we fear it. The inevitable is scary because it is inevitable, you can’t avoid it. You have to accept it with open arms, and most of the times we fear we might not be prepared.

Truth hurts, that is why we lie. We believe everything wrapped around a sweet lie.

Truth is absolute, it leaves no room for imagination or possibilities. It is the end of everything, and thus people fear it. Once the truth has been told, there is nothing you can do.

As she turned the knob, she remembered something

“I had black eyes!” There was an expression of horror on her face.

How can she have black eyes?

Do humans change the color of their eyes over time?

Is it the truth or a version of the truth?

Are these memories not real?

She was terrorized as she continued to remember things.

“My name…my name is Olivia.”

The door opened with a crackling sound.

 

“What is that?”

There was a decaying naked body lying in the bathtub, probably a woman. It must have been there for a week now. The whole room was trashed and a bulb was flickering.

The dead body was poorly stitched, shaved head, had its tongue sticking out and eyes were completely damaged. The body had 4 additional arms stitched on its back. It had turned greenish and slimy.

The worst of all, there was a smile on its face.

The room could make for a nice set for a horror movie. The whole room was covered in spider webs and rusted pipes. There were cockroaches and rats moving around.

Olivia was standing in utter shock, she was too scared to even make a move, more puzzled than before.

 

A moth silently observes the whole turmoil.