The sun dipped below the horizon as I approached the hotel. I felt so far removed from the world out here, like the rest of humanity had vanished. All I could see for miles were the barren, dead trees and the odd flock of crows that circled above them. The gnarly branches seemed to scrape at the darkening sky, clawing for life in an eternal dance of death. The air here seemed to dull the colors — even the orange and purple tones of the sunset were muted, replaced by the monochrome melancholy akin to old newspapers.
My footsteps echoed on the cracked asphalt as I neared the entrance. The hotel looked more like an ancient castle than a place for weary travelers to rest their heads. Its walls were adorned with gargoyles and other grotesque creatures, their leathery wings spread wide as if poised to take flight. The windows were large and beautiful — at least they must have been when they were intact. Years of decay had left them shattered and covered in dust and grime. Only a few shards of stained glass clung stubbornly to their frames.
I had come here seeking answers. My brother had gone missing weeks ago near this place, and no one in town could tell me anything about it. They only muttered dark words about legends and hauntings, of lives lost in those cursed halls. If there was even the slightest chance that I could find my brother alive in there, I had to take it.
In one hand I held a flashlight, ready to pierce the darkness that awaited me inside. In the other, my trusty revolver — a comforting weight cradled against my palm. I knew how to use it; I had learned the hard way in a world where danger was always at your doorstep.
The hotel’s front door creaked open before me, revealing a grand lobby coated in dust and shadows. As I stepped inside, the air seemed to thicken, leaving a foul taste in my mouth as if I were swallowing cobwebs. Every instinct told me to turn back, but my desperation to find my brother forged me onward.
Venturing deeper into the hotel, I encountered its macabre history first-hand. There were rooms filled with strange contraptions and shackles fastened to walls, their purpose both terrifying and intriguing. There were whispers in the silence — echoes of a past filled with pain and suffering. And in one room, a nightmarish painting that seemed to watch my every move with wide, bloodshot eyes.
It became clear that this place had once been a haven for madness and sadistic experiments, secrets buried beneath layers of dust and broken dreams. And now it seemed that the hotel was reluctant to let those secrets stay buried.
The deeper I went, the stronger the darkness grew. It clung to the walls like a living thing, snuffing out my flashlight in a suffocating embrace. And then came the voices — haunting, mournful wails that seemed to emanate from the bowels of the earth. I fought against the fear, steadying my grip on my revolver and pushing forward.
It wasn’t long before I found what I was looking for — or rather, it found me. In a room filled with shattered mirrors and rotten furniture, I caught a glimpse of my brother’s face — paler than death and gaunt with terror. He stared at me in wide-eyed shock and screamed for me to run but it was too late.
The thing that had taken him emerged from the shadows, a creature born of nightmares and darkness. It towered over me, its body a twisted abomination of muscle and bone. Its fingers were long and wickedly sharp, and in its bloodshot eyes, there was nothing but hunger.
The revolver sang in my hands as I fired, again and again, the echoes of the gunshots drowning out my brother’s screams. The creature shrieked and flailed in pain, but in the end, it was my resolve that faltered first. I couldn’t tell if I had killed the beast or simply driven it back into the shadows, but it was enough for me to reach my brother and pull him to his feet.
Together, we stumbled through the darkness, our breaths ragged and our hearts pounding in our chests. The hotel seemed to fight us every step of the way, shadows reaching out to ensnare us and doors slamming shut just as we neared them.
But we made it out alive.
As I collapsed on the ground outside, I looked back at the hotel one last time. The place was a nightmare, but it had brought me back my brother — something I never thought I would see again.
It also showed me that even in a world of darkness and fear, hope could still survive. And sometimes, even the most horrifying tales can have a happy ending.