FREE STORY






How

By J. Travis Grundon

Working for Pileggi Industries meant a lot of traveling and hotels. I liked to keep to myself but the people stacked on and around me piqued my interest. They kept me awake more nights than they lulled me to sleep. It wasn’t uncommon for me to go weeks without a good nights sleep, but I would much rather sacrifice a little sleep than ever call the front desk. The person I’d be snitching on would easily know where to find me. 

I traveled with a baseball bat, but I wasn’t one for confrontation. I would have pissed myself if anyone would have ever wanted to test me. I seriously doubted that anyone would be detoured by anyone who’d just soiled them self, bat or no. 

Then came the Halloween I had to stay at The Regal. I was woken up in the middle of the night by a violent sounding commotion. The chaos sounded like it was coming from the wall behind my headboard. I assumed that it was a couple having wild sex. Then it began to sound like a something was going to come through the wall.

I quickly grabbed my bat and ran to the next room. I knocked hard, hard enough to push open the barely latched door. It swung wide allowing me to see that the room was dark and completely empty. I stepped in just far enough to see that no one was in the bathroom. All the lights were off and the housekeeper's hard work was still intact. 

Hello?”

No answer.

More confused than annoyed, I walked back to my room, locked the door, and crawled back into bed. I thought about calling the front desk, but the rest of the night was peaceful. It was so peaceful that I slept better than I had in decades. 

I was still in a deep sleep when there came a knock on the door. My eyes were glued shut with sleep and my brain was a groggy mess. I was so out of it when I got up to answer the door that I nearly tripped over my bat.

Who is it?”

Police Department, sir. We need you to open the door, please.”

As I unlocked the door, I was greeted by three uniformed police officers. “Are you Jason Edwards?”

Yes, is there a problem officer?”

Sir, you’re under arrest for the murder of Sara and Richard Cohn.” 

WHAT?”

The first cop continued reading me my rights but my attention was drawn to the gurney being carted out of the next room. I began crying when the second cop slammed me against the wall. He wrenched my arms behind my back and secured my wrists in handcuffs. My eyes lowered to the floor to see splotches of blood on the carpet. They lead from the empty room into my room and my bloody bat. 
I’d been informed of my right to be silent, but I waved that right. One word dominated my every thought. 

How?”