Flash Fiction – “Moira’s Bathroom”

Posted on March 13, 2011 by

10


Gathering Storm Above The Hotel Of Horrors. Photograph by Chuck Wendig. Used with permission.

Gathering Storm Above The Hotel Of Horrors. Photograph by Chuck Wendig.
Used with permission.

I went into the lobby bathroom and there was this girl sitting under the sink.

I said, “Hey, are you okay?”

She nodded, so I went into a stall and sat down. But after I’d locked the door: “Hey, uh…do you think you could wait to take a shit until I’m gone?”

“Lady,” I said, “I have my pants around my ankles. Bad timing, dontcha think?” I peed, zipped up, and came out. Luckily for Moira — which was her name, she told me straight away — I only used the stall because I didn’t want her to see my junk. Otherwise I might have been a little pissed.

“Sorry. You can come up to my room and use the bathroom there, but you might not want to, because it’s haunted.”

“Huh,” I said. “You don’t say.”

“Yeah, I’m not crazy. I know you’re thinking I’m crazy. You know, fair enough. I’m Moira.” See, straight away.

“I don’t think you’re crazy.”

“You just don’t want to risk having a crazy woman scratch out your eyes.”

I didn’t have anything to do — I was free until my flight the next day. So I said, “Why don’t you show me?”

“Can’t right now.” She kept flicking her fingernail against the sink’s drainage pipe. “Come up in an hour.”

I reached for the faucet. “Don’t!” said Moira. “Don’t wash your hands.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Wash your hands with bottled water.”

“Sure,” I said. “See you later, Moira.”

It took an hour to eat and change. Moira answered the door barefoot. She was actually kind of pretty, but when she pulled up her sleeves to put her hair in a ponytail I saw white self-harm scars like whip marks on her forearms. Didn’t wanna go there.

“So if your room is haunted, why don’t you change rooms?”

“It’s my sink. The bed’s fine.”

I looked over her shoulder into the bathroom. And I don’t know, maybe it was the way she said it, but it gave me the creeps. The light was sickly white — hospital white, like the color under a dying person’s skin — and it buzzed a little.

We sat on the floor to talk. Both of us kept glancing into the bathroom.

“Want a minibar soda?” she said.

“I’m good.”

She got up and poured herself a whiskey and cola in one of the plastic coffee cups that had been sanitized for her protection. “Going all out tonight,” she said.

She blew on her drink like it was hot coffee. “Got to go to sleep, and it’s hard with the ghosts in here, keeping me up.”

“What do they do?”

She looked at a spot right over my hair and said, “What’s your name?”

“Daniel.” I turned around, but there was nothing behind me — she was just staring at the wallpaper.

“They have dead voices, Daniel,” she said. “Like they’re talking through a mouthful of silt.”

“What do they say?”

“They say they’re going to kill me. Standard ghost stuff,” she said. “They keep telling me that I’m no good, that I deserve to die anyway.” She put her chin in her hands. “I keep finding weird things in my room.”

“What kind of things?”

“Ah, just stuff.” She put her cup down. “Hey, it was really nice and all, but I have to meet a friend soon.” She stood up.

“Sure,” I said. “My room number’s 219 if you need me.”

“Okay, Danny,” she said. “Thanks.”

I took the stairs to my room, because I don’t like small spaces. It was a while before I slept. When I did, I dreamed of finding dirt inside a bottle of airplane water. The stewardess told me to drink it, that it was good for me, and when I couldn’t finish the bottle because it tasted like rotten mud, she shouted. I slept pretty well after that, though.

About 2 pm, Moira called. I was watching old episodes of Star Trek, so I went up. She sounded horrible on the phone, like she was really sick or something.

When I got there, she had red eyes. She said, “It’s better to have someone around when I get rid of this.”

“Do what?” I said.

“Look over there.” She pointed.

In her suitcase, curled up inside a pair of white underwear, eyes fogged up with eggshell blue, was a dead rat. Its fur was sodden — around it her panties were stained a grimy brown. Its mouth was slack; I could see its teeth. There were long, human hairs coming out of its throat.

“It must have crawled in there while I was asleep,” she said. “It came out of the drain.”

“What?” I said.

“It pulled out a ball of hair the size of a quarter,” she said. “On the rim of the sink.”

“They need an exterminator,” I said. “That’s just gross.”

“It bit me,” she said. She pulled up her sleeve; there was a fresh bandage on the underside of her forearm, where the flesh was soft and easily scarred.

“I have to go,” I said.

“Danny,” she said, “please don’t. I’m scared. I think they’re really going to kill me.”

“Change rooms,” I said. I walked towards the door.

“I can’t change rooms. That would be silly.”

“Uh, it was nice to meet you, Moira,” I said.

Danny!” she said. “Please don’t go!” She held her own arms tightly in a hug, I guess to comfort herself. “They’ll follow me, they said they will, you saw the rat, it was dead before it crawled out, please…”

I stepped into the hallway.

“Danny,” she said.

I turned to her and waved a little. “Bye, Moira. Good luck.”

She shut the door in my face.

From a prompt by Chuck Wendig at TerribleMinds.

Posted in: Books & Writing