Thursday, April 11, 2013

Charlotte's Inheritance

                   Charlotte parked her car and stared in wonder at her inheritance. The old hotel was magnificent, even its disrepair. Mother Nature had so overtaken the building that it looked as if it had grown out of the mountainside like all the other flora. The low hanging clouds surrounded it like ghosts.
                   The attorney had given her a key. She was surprised how easily the door opened. She expected to struggle because of swollen wood or rusted hinges. But the door swung freely as if some unseen caretaker had oiled the door in anticipation of her arrival.
photo from
                   The carpets were discolored and mildewed, but the crystal chandelier still glittered and the marble columns still stood strong. There was no visible decay inside, only dust and neglect. Charlotte laid a hand on the banister of the grand staircase, remembering the story the lawyer had told her.
                   “The hotel had been an escape from the city for the young and prosperous after the Great War. The best jazz musicians played and the gin and whiskey flowed, even in the years of prohibition. Your great, great, aunt was a renowned hostess. The beautiful and wild of society flocked here. One evening, a newlywed bride drunk on good wishes and bathtub gin tripped on the hem of her dress. Her young husband tried to catch her, but they fell together, tangled in each others arms. The hotel was never the same after that. There were those who said it was haunted.”
                   “Is it?” Charlotte had asked.
                   “My dear,” the lawyer said after looking at her for a moment. “I don't hold with such nonsense. But who wants to dance and drink away their weekend in a place where such promise came to such a nasty ending.”
                   But Charlotte did hold with such nonsense. Indeed, she often relied on the unseen to guide her. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She caught the faint whiff of lilies and gin, but it lasted only a moment.
                   “The hotel is yours Charlotte. We could find no other heirs,” The attorney said. “To keep or sell. There are other resorts in the area that would be interested in buying it. But I'd take a look if I were you. It is a very interesting old place.”
                   “Why didn't my great-aunt sell? Surely there have been offers over the years.”
                   “I couldn't say, my dear. Sometimes people have difficulty letting go of their past. Maybe that was the case with your aunt. Perhaps the answer lies in the hotel.”
                   Charlotte gazed up the cursed staircase wondering if she'd find any answers. A few faint notes of tenor saxophone floated on the draft that ruffled her hair.
                   “So it's like that, is it?” She said, proceeding up the stairs looking for answers. 

 This week Cam at Write on Edge gave us two beautiful photos of beautiful abandoned places to inspire our writing.