The Ruby Cosmos Motel
I pull over. Finally. After a long trek spanning over hours and hours through the dull and void-like jilted fields surrounding the empty desolate roads, these long twisting paths only made slightly more solacing and less abandoned is the blaring tunes of my old (one could say antique) car radio- it plays a chorus I can’t hum along to as I’m unfamiliar.
The station is a local one, playing on a low frequency that only spans a few miles around the area, the station has an odd name. 96.7 FM. It plays old Jazz music, which would be comforting if not the strange feeling I get from listening along. This strange feeling being an odd one as I’ve never been here, or even heard this song before. Déjà vu. This whole situation feels incredibly familiar which as I’ve stated before is incredibly peculiar.
I brush this feeling off and get out of my car, which may as well be falling apart but I hold onto it for memories' sake, I look up at the neon, eye-bleedingly bright sign attached to the fairly small building ‘Ruby Cosmos Motel’. A small huffing noise came from my mouth, “Strange name…”
My mumbling is close to inaudible but it receives a quick and unexpected response.
“It was named after my grandmother. Well, the first part that is, her name was Ruby.”
The voice was female, sounded smooth and pretty. I turned around to find the source, my eyes soon landing on a shorter, platinum blonde lady, with victory red lips, and an unnerving demeanor. The owner and said voice shared ‘pretty’ in common, though another descriptor could be used for this lady. Odd. She’s odd, wearing 1920’s type attire, her hair cut into the era typical bob curly at the ends.
The other anomalous thing’s about this woman was that she was here in the first place, or here so quickly standing right in front of me. I parked my car not too long ago, it would take at least a minute to get from the front (on the seemingly only entrance) to the motel to get to where she’s standing now and as she traveled she’d be in my direct line of sight, the other point is how she actually heard me, my tone was hush and she’d have to be right next to me (Or in her case straight behind) to hear me and she is standing a good meter away from me.
I continue staring my thoughts racing but they’re soon interrupted by the very topic of them, “Anyway the name is despite the point doll. Would you like me to book ya’ a room?” She asks using some slightly curious words.
Answering her question I simply nod before realizing never mind how confusing the situation is I should still remain polite. “Umm… Ah y-yeh.” I smile awkwardly. She hums softly and motions for me to follow her into the motel, in which I do soon entering into a seemingly different world.
The motel is surprisingly lively, for it being around one AM. The bar is bustling with people similarly dressed to the mystery woman that’s leading me to the reception desk, “Hey…um, Miss..?”
“The names Betty, Dame.” There she goes again with what reminds me of being 1920’s type slang. She really is going all-in on this whole make-believe era stuff, isn’t she?
“Ah... Alright, Betty. Um, is there an event going off or something? Like a dress-up party or something…?” I query my voice obviously laced with confusion.
“Well, Ruby, I’m not sure quite what you’re popping off about. I can assure you there isn’t any sort of dress-up gala goin’ on.” She smiles, continuing to usher me to the reception desk as I stare at the bar, or more accurately the dress, in disbelief. Betty hops behind the desk.
“An overnight stay would be good thanks…” I state completely absent-minded.
“Oh, you’ll be staying with us a lot longer than that.”
I turn to her now tilting my head
“Hm? Sorry… I’m just a little confused can you repeat that?” The tone of my voice is embarrassed--I don’t like asking people to repeat themselves it makes me feel impeccably rude.
“Ah. Its alright doll. An overnight room costs ten bucks darlin’.”
I nod in response to the pricing handing over the ten dollars and in turn it’s exchanged with a key. Room 96. It reminds me of the radio station… I guess its just a coincidence. I ignore the returning number and thank Betty for her service and start to head up. I already had my bag with me so there’s no need to make a return trip to my car.
I hum a song from the radio earlier that for some reason had stuck with me. As I arrive at my room I unlock the door with the key and I’m soon greeted with a smell that sends me back through my memories, I remember this smell, this room but I don’t know-how. I’ve never been here. Hell is my first stop at a motel.
“I’ll just go to sleep…God my head hurts…” Groaning this out softly I rub my eyes and venture into the room, I discard my bag on the floor and I close the door wandering over to the bed and falling down onto it, the bed creaking in disapproval.
I lay there staring. Staring at the ugly beige popcorned roof thinking. What the hell is going on? First that strange bloody radio station, a seemingly time-traveling motel, weird inhabitants, and this weird déjà vu I can’t shrug off. There’re so many questions I have. Why is a motel in the middle of goddamn nowhere so busy? Why is everyone dressed so weird for no reason? What’s with the slang? To my annoyance all of these questions are unanswered. I sit in silence in the next few minutes pondering before I’m interrupting by a blaring radio screaming out creepy jazz music.
I groan loudly, “Shut up you stupid god darn box.”
I get up to my feet before dread sets in slightly, dread, and extreme confusion. The radio wasn’t plugged in… I assumed it was an error and the radio has accidentally glitched and turned itself on- happens sometimes. This thought is soon discarded as soon as I realize the old retro radio didn’t have the facilities to turn on in the first place. I stare at the outlet and the plug laying not far across from it. I rub my eyes closing them, soon after opening, and then the music stops. It stops. I glare at the radio.
“Am I that tired…? No I swear it was playing that bloody station…”
I go over to the mirror staring at myself in the reflection- or not me but the heavy bags under my eyes. “Sleep deprivation that has to be it…Some weird hallucination is all…”
I glance over at the radio once more before deciding to ignore the previous events and take my shoes off chucking them near my bag at the door. I climb into bed after flicking the light switch off and simply fall into unconsciousness.