Hotel California: 2
It was John’s idea for them to leave the neighborhood. ‘To go on holiday’, somewhere nice; somewhere far. He had a suspicion that the idea may have been planted by someone else. Maybe it would have suggested that it would do the Winchesters good to be far away from ‘the Johnsons’. Your normal everyday neighbors from down the street.
Maybe his dad really believed that the distance would do him good. And maybe it would. But then Sam couldn’t stop thinking of the two demons living in their neighborhood. Acting as if it was the most normal thing.
‘What was going on here?’ he wondered.
’How could demons live in the same neighborhood as them and yet not be considered a threat?’
As he stared out of his mother’s Dodge Caravan, watching the world go past, he almost felt like a normal kid. But then he had no real experience of normal. Nor was he actually watching the world go by. The feeling though struck him for some reason. But only for a short while, before his mind once again drifted back to the thoughts that had consumed him before.
He saw nothing of the beauty that lay beyond. He barely noticed the green meadows or the distant grey mountains that went past his eyes.
“Sam, we’re here?” Jess said, breaking his thoughts and bringing him crashing back.
They were the first words she had spoken to him since morning. They had sat together through the whole ride and yet they didn’t even look at each other, let alone speak. But then, no one had. Or at least, he had not heard any chatter through the entire journey.
As he stepped down from the Dodge he looked around him. Trying to figure out where they were. He hadn’t paid much attention to where they were going. But he did see enough to know they were still within the city, or wherever it was that they were in. He hadn’t seen any boards or signs to say that they had crossed city limits; which made him wonder just how large this city was.
“Good Morning!” said a very cheery voice, emphasizing each word spoken. Greeting them barely a couple of minutes after they had set foot on to the pebbled path.
Sam turned his attention away from the heavy iron gateway they had come through. He had been trying to get a good glimpse of the top of the towering white stone walls that stretched out from either side of the gate. Half expecting, or even hoping, to see metal spikes. But the sun got in his way.
The grounds that expanded from beyond the pebbled pathway seemed endless. Just like the white stone wall.
“Welcome to Elysium Falls Hotel” the young girl continued in her musical voice.
More than her blue eyes, which seemed almost to glow like blue sapphires as she spoke, he was captivated by the wide smile that was on her face. It gave her whole fair skin almost an ethereal glow. She reminded him of Becky Rosen. Though the girl had a more commercial beauty and her locks more alike actual spun gold. Still, maybe her smile was the reason for the sense of déjà vu he felt.
When the girl spoke it was captivating and she seems to almost sing every word she said. He found himself fascinated by the marble angel that stood at the centre of the fountain, and the small green hill with its ring of coloured flowers that it stood upon. He was enthralled by its history for some reason.
After she was done showing them the fountain, which he had somehow missed on the way in, two more beautiful girls came, with the same bright blue eyes and glowing skin, and handed them warm towels and drinks.
Dean was enjoying the moment until he received a slap from Lisa, which made Sam smile. And as he smiled, he thought he saw Jess looking at him for the first time. So he tried to keep that same smile on his face. She looked confused. She was struggling with something, he could tell.
The bellhops that followed the girls took their luggage and their hostess led them into the hotel.
As she led them into the hotel, she described every inch of it, its design and its history. And Sam found himself listening and watching with equal awe as the rest of them.
The hotel, he recognized for the first time, was shaped like a tower that seemed to stretch forever, like a finger pointed heavenwards. Or more accurately an uncurled ribbon lying on itself.
She described the marble walkway that led towards the heavy oak doorway, which, like the rest of the hotel was larger than was necessary. She described the lobby beyond the doorway, pointed out the intricate carvings of angels on the walls, the flowers and laurels that flowed out from their trumpets forming borders. She even described the tall arched windows through which the sunlight fell and filled the lobby with a heavenly brightness. She described the furnishings and fittings as if she was a realtor trying to close a deal.
Sam should have found all this strange, if not for the fact that he was too busy following her images.
This was definitely not one of the many motels that they were used to staying in.
The girls seemed to enjoy the sights before them, even Ben was all smiles. For a moment even Sam found himself taken by the hotel.
He turned to Dean, who himself had a smile on his face. But when he saw Sam looking at him that smile faded and a gloom crossed his face. Dean quickly turned away and grabbed Lisa’s hand, as their hostess continued to lead them further into the hotel.
The elevator took them to the fifteenth floor of the hotel and to suite #1536.
She had already described the suite even before the elevator doors opened and they got a glimpse of it.
The suite itself didn’t disappoint. Just like the hotel, there was nothing small or simple about it.
She pointed out the living area that was visible the minute they stepped out. She went into minute details about everything; the living area at the very centre of the suite, with its plush couches and sofas. The entertainment area, the dining table and everything more. It seemed she had not missed anything that could possibly be there.
And as Sam made towards the huge pane windows on the other side of the suite, she described the view beyond. Sam found himself captivated by the sight of Elysium falls and the beautiful scenic wonder of the surrounding grounds. But more importantly, Sam was taken by the sheer magnitude of the area beyond those windows:
The hotel grounds seemed to go on forever.
‘How is this place possible?’
“Well, I hope you enjoy your suite. You will find your individual rooms on either ends and a few private rooms in case you want to do something more private” their hostess said and had a few laughs to herself. She then described every room, again in minute details, and then finally left them to their selves. Leaving the card keys for their suite on the coffee table at the centre of the suite.
Nobody gave each other even a casual glance, as they were too busy taking in the suite itself.
Then they scattered around exploring.
Eventually, Sam followed Jess into their room, while the others went to their own. Their bedroom itself was as opulent as the rest of the hotel.
“Want to forget our home and just live here?” asked Sam as he dropped down on to the bed.
Jess looked at him for a few seconds but didn’t say anything. She then turned away and started exploring their room.
“I don’t mean the hotel, or even the suite, I mean this room,” Sam said as Jess continued to ignore him.
His eyes followed her as she went from cupboard to desk, to TV stand, to the pantry and the rest. She never once turned in his general direction.
“I mean this place has practically everything we would ever need. We could just spend the rest of our lives here without ever leaving. I am pretty sure there is a grocery store somewhere inside here.”
“No,” she said, as she opened the walk-in cupboard, already stacked with their clothes. From where Sam rested he could see the inside of the thing and it seemed to him that it had just about enough room for everything they brought and more.
Jess closed the cupboard doors and turned towards him finally. She then raised a pamphlet to him.
“They have a grocery store downstairs that delivers,” she said and smiled. Sam smiled back and the both of them had a good laugh.
Jess then walked over towards the bed and dropped down next to him.
“Are you done Sam?” she asked cuddling up to him. “Because I am. I’m done hoping you would come back. You don’t know how much we went through waiting for you to come back to us, or how much it hurt to see you act the way you do. I want to understand what you’re going through Sam. I want to believe that all this is because you’re still trying to cope with the changes. I mean I can comprehend how much of a task it is to believe that all this is real. Especially after everything you two went through. But Sam, I don’t think I can watch you break like this.”
Sam held her close but didn’t turn towards her. Instead, he stared up towards the exquisitely crafted ceiling high above them.
“I’m done, Jess, I really am,” he said but he couldn’t bring himself to turn towards Jess as he said it.
Sam didn’t even realize that he had fallen asleep with Jess in his arms. But for the first time in a long time, he woke up feeling relaxed.
He looked around the room, but in its vast space, he found no trace of her.
He got up and walked out of the room and into the living room. His eyes scanned every corner of it until the sound of the television brought his gaze towards Dean, seated on the plush blue sofa facing the plasma screen.
Sam could only see the back of his head, but he immediately pictured his brother seated there with a bottle of beer in his hand. And when he got close enough he saw he was right. Dean had made himself comfortable; his feet stretched out on the coffee table, next to several beer bottles.
“Hey, Sammy!” Dean said as soon as he was close enough. “You should check out the mini bar” he continued pointing to one of the many doors on the tv stand. Sam gave it only a complimentary glance before his eyes returned back to Dean and then to the soap that was playing on TV.
“Are you watching a soap?”
“Dr Sexy M.D,” he said with a smile “You remember?”
“Only too well” he replied and Dean smiled again.
“So where is everyone?” Sam asked as he took a seat next to Dean
“Out having fun”
“So why aren’t you with them?”
“Babysitting as usual?”
“You don’t need to babysit me anymore. I am not a child?”
“Are you sure?” Dean asked turning towards him. Any trace of the smile was gone. “Because, these past days you sure as hell haven’t done anything to prove otherwise!”
Sam didn’t reply he just turned his attention towards the television. He wasn’t watching the show he just needed the distraction.
“Dean I need to talk to you?” he finally found himself saying.
“No,” Dean said without turning away from the tv.
“No! You don’t even know what I’m going to say”
“Good point,” he said, “but still I’m going to go ahead with ‘no’”
“Come on man, this is important,” said Sam as Dean kept silent.
“Oh Ok, in that case, ‘no’” said Dean turning towards him.
“Dean, come on”
“No, Sam, I’m not going to talk with you and that’s final.”
“Dean, there’s something strange here”
“Yeah, you can say that again. Everybody is happy and nice. Really weird!”
“Dean, there is no ‘everybody’. Since we gotten here, since we came to this place, how many people did you talk to or even met?” asked Sam but Dean didn’t reply. “Don’t you find that strange that no one here seemed to care to associate with anyone?”
“Or how about the fact that every place we have been seemed to have everything we would need without having to go anywhere else. The supermarket stocks exactly everything we would want to buy, from every type of product. This hotel suite is a city on itself. We could stay here forever without ever having to step out.”
“And for a small little suburb, this place seemed to be endless. Does any of this seem even the least bit strange?”
“No, Sam it doesn’t. Our family is finally back together and happy. Well, almost everybody is happy” Said Dean.
“Dean, all this is an illusion. This place, if it’s not an illusion of its own, is a prison meant to keep us in.”
“No, Sam, this is not a prison for us it’s an oasis. An oasis from all the shit that we had to go through out there in your real world; a safe haven for our family, and for us. Or have you forgotten what is waiting out there.”
“Dean this place is not right”
“No, Sam, you’re not right! For the first time, we are at peace and you want to ruin it all, for what?”
“Dean there are demons here. I found them and I tracked them to a house in our neighbourhood. But that is not it, they are living here as if they are one of us. I think they are planning something.”
“So did you kill them?”
“They sure didn’t kill you, or are you a demon?”
“No, Dean, you’re missing the point!”
“No, Sammy, you’re missing the point. You chased after two demons without the colt or the knife. What were you planning on doing when you got there?”
“OK, so maybe I should have planned it out well before I acted but I was taken by surprise and just acted on instincts”
“Oh, I don’t doubt you acted out of instinct. My problem is the instinct that you acted on.”
“What are you implying?”
“You know exactly what I am implying.”
“I’m done with that, Dean, I swear”
“Are you, Sam”
“Yes, I’m Dean. You have to trust me”
“You’re acting like an addict starved of his drugs, Sam. So you tell me, why I should believe you?”
“This has nothing to do with that” Sam said a little too harshly.
“Sam” he heard before he had time to say anything more.
Both Sam and Dean turned just in time to see everyone standing at the door staring at them. Their faces told everything they needed to know. Both Dean and Sam fell silent, but neither looked at each other.