Empty tables stand
under glowing orange globes.
Wine glasses glisten.
Doors open, letting
cold air blow in, shivering
people order, then
leave when food is done.
Kitchen returns to quiet,
prepping for the rush
that may never come.
Waiters waiting wistfully,
seats remain empty,
the whole building waiting to
be filled with diners to fill.
Category: Stories and Poems Page 2 of 4
Empty tables stand
Part 9: Meetings
Smith’s office was larger than Janet remembered it. It was the same room — there was the mahogany desk, with the scented candles and the dim lamps, and the carpet was the same shade of blood red. Instead of being a small close space, though, it was now large enough to fit everyone here. That included every staff member Janet had seen, bar Felicia, who had stayed at the receptionist desk fielding questions. Magic again. If she focused, she thought she could see the threads of magic that had changed the room’s dimensions. They gleamed silver-red. Was that what Paxton had meant when he said she’d be able to see the colours, or was it simply that they were reflecting the colour in the room?
This is a Rimas Dissolutas — a poem where the rhymes are not in the stanzas, but across the stanza (i.e. line 1 of the first stanza rhymes with line 1 of the second, and so on). This one kind of got away from me. I started with the image of flying and did not expect to be writing about regrets. But that was the way the words fit together. I guess that’s the fun of poetry. Anyway, here goes:
Part 8: Reaching Out
In the days that followed, Janet did her best to concentrate on seeing the magic of Hotel Fulcrum, but it was difficult. There wasn’t really any time to focus. While she worked, Hela would take calls, or quiz her on various locations in the hotel. Taking the time to focus her mind at home didn’t help either. Requests for quiet resulted in laughter and half-hearted attempts to lower voices before things started up again. She told them she was trying to pick up meditation, a revelation which was mostly greeted with scorn.
Part 7: Threads
It was over a week before Janet got the chance — and the courage — to visit the basement level on her own.
Smith must have talked to Hela, because the next shift began with a long lecture on exactly what she was and was not allowed to do, and how those rules shouldn’t have been broken for the sake of a phone.
Part 6: Telar
Janet came in to her next shift half expecting Smith standing in the lobby, ready to confront her over her crimes the night before. However, there was nobody waiting for her. She made her way to the front desk, where the receptionist, Felicia, was arguing with a tall man cloaked in white.
This is something I wrote in the quest to become more of a morning person. I’m not one, at all, but I’ve found that if I’m not at least a little productive in the morning the day tends to be less productive overall. Apparently snoozing is bad, but my bed is too comfortable for not snoozing to be easy. So this is something I’ve stuck next to my bed. The idea is that when my alarm rings, I recite this poem and then get out of bed immediately after the last line:
Part 5: Rebels
This was a terrible idea. As Janet went down the stairs, she began listing in her mind the number of things that could go wrong. She could get lost, just by forgetting her way. She could get lost because the hotel’s architecture could change. She could fall through the floor. Someone could see her, question her, and then probably fire her. She could end up in another world full of unfriendly people.
Part 4: Basement
Family breakfast at the Ling household was an awkward affair. The kitchen wasn’t really made for seven adults, and everyone insisted on helping with the eggs. Janet decided to sidestep the entire affair by getting cereal. She was finished by the time the third egg hit the floor. After that chaos, it was almost a relief to get to the hotel.
Part 3: Anchor
Janet slumped against the wall, eyes fixed on the gaping hole that had replaced most of the lobby floor. She was vaguely aware of people crammed against the other walls, but she could not look away from the bottomless depth at her feet. “What the hell is going on?”