Part Eleven – In the Cave of the Giant.
After the show, Amber and I waited until the entire room was cleared out. Sir Geoffrey was sitting at the table outside the doors and signing posters for each person leaving the room, so our exit was delayed.
“I’ll give him this.” I told Amber, “He puts on one hell of a show.”
Amber did not reply right away. It looked like she was lost in thought again. “You OK?” I finally asked.
“I’m having an internal debate with myself.” She said. “I’m seriously thinking about packing up and leaving right now.”
“What?” I asked.
“Shit’s been abnormal since I got here.” She said, “There’s your whole white poodle incident and now this freak.” She said as she nodded towards the door. “Something is seriously out of order with this man.”
“Well, whatever it is, he puts on a hell of a good show.” I repeated. “I can’t say how he does it, it’s pretty convincing, and I don’t believe any of it.”
“But he knew everyone’s name.” She said.
I told her about him changing the direction of the room and why the place cards were facing him. “Damn it, I should have guessed.” She said. “I’m not usually that dense.”
“Maybe I’m more of a skeptic than you are.” I said. “Since I found out about Amy’s affair, I have been overly suspicious of everyone. I am always questioning the motives behind what people do.”
“Does that go for me too?” She asked
“Kind of.” I stuttered my response, “I mean, it’s, it’s nothing personal. When you think about it we really don’t know each other.”
“I know you’re right.” She said, “Here I am thinking about running off, and asking you to trust me at the same time.”
We were closer to the table where Sir Geoffrey was sitting. Justin was directly in front of us. Sir Geoffrey whispered to him just loud enough for me to here, “You know who the dark soul is, don’t you? He asked.
“I know.” Justin said, “She let me carry this false guilt for twenty-five years. I hate her for that.”
“Just remember, Justin.” Said Sir Geoffrey. “If you can forgive her, you can forgive anyone. Isn’t that what it’s all about?”
“I’ll think about it.” Justin answered, “It’s going to take a lot of soul searching. I can’t thank you enough.”
“Sign my book and leave a nice note, that’s all the thanks I need.” Sir Geoffrey replied.
Justin opened Sir Geoffrey’s book and wrote for several seconds. When he was done, he put down the pen. Sir Geoffrey turned the book around so he could read what Justin had just written. “Thank you for the kind words Justin. It was nice to meet you.” He then moved the red ribbon to the next page and closed the book.
Finally, we were standing directly in front of Sir Geoffrey. “I’m in room 306.” he said, “I need to run an errand and I’ll meet you there in one hour.”
“Sure.” Amber offered, “One hour.”
We walked up the stairs and back to room 202. Amber immediately kicked off her shoes and laid on the end of the bed flat on her back. “Thank God.” She said, “I’m just glad I don’t have to look at Sir Geoffrey for an hour. That man is huge.” She rolled on her side and propped herself up on an elbow.
I sat in one of the arm chairs facing the bed. “I feel like I have to explain.” I told her. “It’s not that I don’t want to trust you. I am scared that I have lost the ability to trust anyone. Hell, I don’t even trust myself.”
“I get it Ken.” She said, “I feel the same way. I guess we all have the ability to hurt the people we care about. It’s all about expectations and if we can live up to those expectations.” She rolled on her back. “I just wish I knew how this is all going to play out.”
“We all do.” I said as I walked to the bathroom sink and turned on the water. “Let’s just agree to enjoy each other’s company as long as we can. Ok?” I splashed cold water on my face. It was eleven thirty already and I was preparing for a long night. “Ok?” I asked again.
Amber did not respond and for a moment I thought I had made her cry again. I walked over to her and noticed that she had fallen asleep. I decided to leave her where she was and sat back in the arm chair to think. I stared at the photographs on the wall. “What made the photo of the two women and the poodle significant?” I asked myself. Then my eyes went to the photo of the train. “That’s right Ken.” I said to myself, “You better get this train back on track.” I only had two more days.
I decided to visit Sir Geoffrey alone. Amber looked so peaceful, I could not bear to wake her. I closed the door as quietly as I could, then started up the stairs to the third floor. On the third floor, which looked exactly like the second floor, I found room 306 and knocked on the door. The giant opened the door and beckoned me into the room.
The room looked comfortable, like someone had lived in the room for a long time. There were books stacked all over the room and two large trunks at the foot of the bed. Sir Geoffrey walked to a unique looking chair. It was wider and sturdier than the rest of the furniture in the room. He sat down in the chair and pointed for me to sit in the arm chair.
“Special chair.” He said, and pointed to the empty arm chair. “I got stuck in one of those once. Yep, stuck on my ass so tight that I had to bust the damn thing to get it off. Ever since then good old Stanley lets me bring my own chair.”
Before I had a chance to ask, “These books.” He said as he waved his huge hand over his head. “Everywhere I go, they go.”
I picked up one of the books from the stack to my right. It looked expensive and had some strange words on the cover. “Latin?” I asked.
“You got that right, Ken.” He said, “Can you read Latin?”
I chuckled at the suggestion, “No, I can’t read Latin, just took a wild guess. Or maybe I sensed it?” I said wiggling my fingers in the air.
“Are you mocking me Ken?” he asked. “I know you are skeptical and I respect that. So, by all rights, you should be respectful of me. Do we agree?”
“Yes.” I answered, “It’s just that it’s been a long three days, Ivan.”
I heard the key unlocking the door from the outside. The door opened and Natasha entered carrying an expensive looking bottle of scotch.
“Bartender’s trying to fuck me.”, she said as she walked to the bathroom. She had lost her Russian accent. She retrieved some glasses from the bathroom and started pouring the scotch.
“You and I both know that’s never going to happen Honey” Said Sir Geoffrey, “Ken, meet miss Mary Jane Fielding. My beautiful daughter.”
She passed the drinks around and with a flair took off her wig and bowed. “At your service, Ken.” She said as she tossed the wig on the bed.
“Good job.” I told her, “You had me completely fooled. You’re from somewhere in the mid-west, I would guess. Right?”
“Good old Detroit Michigan.” She offered sipping her drink and sitting on the corner of the bed.
Ivan was watching silently with a slight grin on his face.
“Ivan, you’ve got a great act. I don’t know how you did most of…what you did. I particularly liked the whole room reversal trick.
“You had the whole room thinking some spirit told you their names. All you had to do is look at the place cards.”
“Good for you Ken.” Said Ivan, “You are pretty observant. Of course, you know my name is not Sir Ivan Geoffrey.” He smiled.
“Sounds good though.” I admitted to him. “Maybe a little pretentious, but hey, in your line of work.” I raised my drink to him and he responded in kind.
“Ken, my name is William Fielding, Bill for short. It’s nice to meet you.”
I walked to Bill and offered my hand. He grabbed my hand with one of his huge mitts and shook it hard. “Nice to meet you Bill.” I said.
Mary Jane retrieved the bottle from the bathroom and poured another shot in each of our glasses. “Get it from the bartender. It’s about five hundred dollars a bottle. He sells it to me at cost.” He continued, “Of course he probably has to cook the books a little. I’d hate for him to get caught. I’m hooked on the damn stuff.”
I sat back down on the edge of the arm chair. “I’m going to my room, Dad.” Mary Jane said. “I’m beat.” She poured a little more scotch in her glass and set the bottle down next to the sink. “Ken.” She said on her way to the door. “It was nice to meet you. Watch out for him.” She pointed at Bill. “He’ll screw with your head if you let him.”
“I’ll see you in the morning, Honey.” Bill said, trying to hurry her out of the room. “Good night.” When the door closed and Mary Jane was gone, he said, “I’m afraid she’s hooked on the scotch too.”
I took a sip of scotch. “I understand.” I said, “It’s very good.”
“Let’s get to it Ken.” Said Bill, ” You let me tell you a few things and then you tell me if I’m right. Ok?”
“Go for it Bill.” I answered.
“You think I can answer some questions for you. You’ve had some unusual experiences in the past few nights, and you think you are seeing things that are not really there.” He said. “You and Amber have really just met, but with you two there’s something more than meets the eye. Am I right so far Ken?” He took a large swallow of his scotch.
“Pretty close.” I said.
“Close my ass.” He replied. “You and I both know that I am exactly right.” He pointed a huge finger at me and smiled. “You think you are dreaming, but you’re not sure. Either way, you are hoping I can tell you what this all means.” He continued, “It’s getting late, so why don’t you tell me your story and we’ll go from there. Ok Ken?”
I told him the whole story. I told him about seeing the white poodle and how there is a photo on my wall of a white poodle. I told him about meeting Amber and about the drive on Trial Ridge Road. Finally, I told him about the attack and how I had no visible marks on my wrist.
“Whew.” He said, when I had finished. “That’s some story.”
I realized I was standing and did not remember getting out of the chair. I sat back down.
“Take it easy, Ken.” He continued, “I’m going to help you. First, I’ll tell you what I know and I’ll tell you how I know it. Then I will do some research and we will meet tomorrow at noon. You can buy me lunch for my trouble.”
“Sounds fair to me.” I said.
“First.” He began, “I know about the white poodle and I know about the attack because the night janitor has been telling everyone in the hotel about the crazy man in room 202. The guests of the hotel love it. It adds to the whole haunted hotel story. At least they have a story to tell, even if it’s not their own. I know about the photographs in your room, because those very same photographs are in every room on the second floor. Did the photo of the white poodle trigger something inside you?” He asked rhetorically, I don’t know the answer to that yet. But Ken, I can give you comfort with this, and I hope you can get over your skepticism enough to believe me. Can you Ken?”
“I’ll try.” I said absently. I was lost in the thought that the whole hotel knew my story.
“I think what you are experiencing is real. I don’t believe for one minute you are dreaming any of this.” He said.
He could sense my relief as I slid back in the chair.
“You and I are going to get some much-needed sleep tonight.” He went on, “I want you to commit at least eight hours to total rest. Part of why you are having problems is because you haven’t slept much in the past few days. Now go back to your room, wake Amber, do what you must do, and go to sleep.”
I was listening to him like I was in a trance. He had a way of talking that made you feel at ease. “Thank you, Bill, I really appreciate it, and I promise you, I will try to get some good sleep tonight.” I stood up to walk to the door.
“I will meet you in the lobby at noon.” Bill said, “I’m hoping to have some more answers for you.”
As I walked out of the room, he said “And Ken, no pills tonight.”
I left still thinking about what he had said. “How could he know about the pills?” I thought.
When I got back to my room, Amber was gone. This time the note was on the bed. The note had a phone number and said for me to text her when I got back to the room.