The Sixth Shining

The Sixth Shining

The odor of age wafted through the air, as Cole Sear found himself in an unfamiliar room.  He was not sure how he had arrived here, or even really where here was.  The room was plastered with antiques, dull colored pieces of furniture.  It seemed as if no one had been in this room for decades.

“Where am I?” Cole said.  The last thing he remembered was meeting the enigmatic owner of the Overlook Hotel, Dandy Mott.  He didn’t like him.  Not even a little bit.

A single beam of light crept through the window of the room, keeping the full contents of the area hidden from sight.  The smell, however, was overpowering, practically burning his nose.

As he moved through the room, Cole slipped on something on the hard wood floor.  Difficult to see, Cole reached down with his hand.  The warmth was unexpected, as the crimson liquid dripped from his fingers.  Straining his vision through the dimly lit room, Cole could see the pool spreading on the floor.

“Cole,” a voice said, through the darkness.  Cole stood and turned, seeing Jeremy standing beside the wall.

“Jeremy, what are you doing here?” Cole asked.

“There are forces happening at this hotel that are beyond normal understanding… but you may.  Be aware…no one here knows about your skill… and you can be the one to stop the evil.”

Cole shook his head slightly.  He did not want to hear this.

“Don’t be afraid, Cole,” a second voice said.  It was the other person Cole had been seeing.  Someone named Donnie.  How do I know that? Cole wondered.

Cole turned back to Jeremy.  The blood was completely covering the albino, and the blank stare told the story.  Cole’s eyes bulged, the old air chalked his lungs.  The pounding heart felt like it was trying to jump out of his throat.  The twitching was something that could not be controlled.

Turning back to Donnie, the teen had the same blood soaked death stare.

Cole sat up in bed, the sheets fully drenched, his head pounding like the proverbial drum.  A nightmare?  It had been a while since he had had one this bad.  Breathing deeply, trying to settle himself down, Cole had a terrible feeling.  It couldn’t wait until morning.  He had to know. Was this prophetic or was it just a piece of undigested meat affecting his subconscious?  Cole hopped from the bed and searched for some clothes to throw on.

A few moments later, Cole stood before another door.  He wasn’t sure how he knew where to go.  Had Jeremy told him his room number?  He couldn’t remember.  Cole knocked on the room door, which creaked open without anyone answering.  The ominous sign ate away at Cole’s stomach, but he pushed his way through.  The smell of the room was both uncomfortably familiar and terrifying.   The room was dark, and a single slight beam of light crept into the room through the window, landed upon the slightly open door in the back of the room.  It was the bathroom.  He walked over to the door and pushed it open.  The horror before him was too much, and Cole recoiled into the room, desperately trying to keep the bile inside his stomach.  He gasped at the old air trying to blot the picture from his head.

The picture of Jeremy Reed, in the bathtub, the tub filled with blood.  Cole’s friend had his arm drooped over the side of the tub.  Pools of blood across the bathroom floor.

“No…” Cole said falling on to the bed, tears exploding from his eyes.  What can I do?Psybolt’s Horror Draft Lineup and Fiction

The Sixth Shining

Protagonist:  (a grown up) Cole Sear (The Sixth Sense)

Background:  After the events of The Sixth Sense, Cole had accepted his abilities of speaking with dead people and as he continued to grow, the dead people came less and less.  It became less of an importance in his life.  By the time he was in high school, Cole no longer was ever visited by any spirits.  It was as if he had never had this ability.

Now, Cole is 24 years old and has been studying to be a child psychologist himself.

Location: The Overlook Hotel, The Shining

Speeding his car through the winding roads, the young man seemed to have no concerns.  Cole Sear’s life had really been great.  Studying to become a psychologist focusing on children was, in part, in honor to his past.  It was a past that he rarely thought of any more.  Those days of fear because of the horrors he would see were a distant memory.  Even the aid of the deceased seemed like another lifetime.  He had not seen any ghosts, spectres, dead people for years.  His life took a turn to normalcy.  And he was taking advantage of it.

Cole had won a trip.  It was unexpected, but welcome.  The timing could not be more perfect.  A week at a hotel, a place called The Outlook Hotel.  He would take the week and relax, preparing himself for the final push.

But there was a problem.

Something Cole did not know.

The Outlook Hotel had a history.

And it was a history that threatened to bring the happy life Cole had been having to a screeching halt.  The ghosts of the past were about to come front and center.

Love Interest: Emma Decody (Bates Motel)

Horror: Dandy Mott, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Hook: Donnie Darko was slaughtered at the Overlook Hotel last year.

Tragedy:  Jeremy “Powder” Reed becomes friends with Cole at the Outlook Hotel, but he is killed

The place was cavernous.  Cole was taken aback at the beautiful interior of this hotel.  The Outlook Hotel had a well earned reputation as an exceptionally aesthetic hotel, but, even in Cole’s most fervent imagination, he had not pictured such a pleasing locale.  This is going to be a great trip, he thought, carrying his bags across the marble floors.  The light was dim, and it only enhanced the ambiance.  There was an old world feel and Cole felt like a tourist, wide-eyed, trying to take in every image he could.

“Good evening, and welcome to the Outlook.”

Suddenly, Cole had something different, something more, to be focused on.  She was lovely.  The young lady at the front desk, beaming an effervescent smile toward him.  His breath was gone.  He wanted to speak, but words would not escape his lips.

Emma takes a breath, her oxygen tank providing the extra air that she required.  Cole did not see the limitation.  Instead, it made her special, softer, more lovable.  Like she was an injured dove impossible to ignore.  There was also something sad about her that you couldn’t help but empathize with her.

“Sir?” she asked.

“Um… hi…” Cole said, silently cursing himself.  He was never smooth with the girls.  His history used to prevent such a relationship.  His mother was so overprotective after the ability faded that finding any sort of normal relationship was difficult.  “I’m Cole Sear.”

“Oh, Mr. Sear, welcome.  We have been waiting for you,” she said, filling Cole’s heart with a joy he had not expected.  “Congratulations on the contest.  We are glad you are here.”

Cole embarrassingly smiles.

“Thanks.”

“We have you in …” Emma pauses, looking at the registry and Cole thought he saw a hesitation in her eyes and he did not expect it, “room 237.”

Don’t be paranoid, Cole, he thought.  You’re just imagining things.

“I’ll have a bellhop help you with your bags and show you the way,” Emma said, handing Cole the key.  Not a key card, Cole thought.  This is old school.

“Thanks,” he said, softly brushing against her hand.  Was that a tear on her face? he wondered.  Cole dismissed the thought.  What could she possibly be so sad about that altered her tone since he arrived?  It was all in his mind.

Cole handed his bag over to the kid bellhop and turned away from the lovely young lady that he had been so smitten with.  He saw her reach for a tissue, which only amplified his curiosity.  What was causing her to be sad?  He had to know.  But he could not think about it for long because he was distracted.  There was another person walking through the hallway.  The young man couldn’t have been out of his teens and the longing eyes burned into Cole’s soul.  There was something very familiar about the feeling this brought from Cole.  It was something he hadn’t felt in a long time, but he pushed those feelings down.  He was just too tired from the trip, emotional from the encounter with the beautiful girl.  It couldn’t be what it felt like, right? he thought.  The teen had a light grey hoodie on, covering what looked like a skeleton shirt, and he continued to glare at Cole with an internal anger spoke with his eyes.

“Excuse me?” Cold said, turning to the bellhop.  “Who was that?”

“I’m sorry, sir?” said the bellhop.  “Who was who?”

The teen was gone, and Cole had a sudden sinking feeling that this may not have been the lucky break that he thought it was.

“Never mind,” said Cole.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Cole had packed the evening’s uneasiness away.  He had dismissed the familiar thoughts, but the mysterious call of the hotel was unmistakable.  He did not want to spend his night sequestered away in his room, hiding from what he had seen.  Cole knew that The Gold Room was calling.

The Gold Room had a throwback mystique about it.  A bar like they had in the early days.  And Cole wanted to check it out.  He walked into the room with the same blurry eyed look that he had had before being distracted by the beautiful woman at the front desk.  I wonder what she is doing right now? he thought.  The bartender stood wiping a glass with his rag, the red tuxedo portraying a story of fanciness.  Another man leaned against the bar grasping a drink.  The man had a hat tilted over his face.  Cole moved over beside the man.  The whiteness of the man’s skin was a surprise and returned the questions to the front of his mind.

“What can I get for you?” asked the bartender.

“I’ll have what he’s having,” said Cole, hoping to see if the bartender could see what he was seeing.

“I will need to see an ID for that,” said the bartender.  Cole happily complied.  The white skinned man was not an apparition or an illusion.  The bartender started pouring the drink and Jeremy looked at Cole.

“Hello,” Jeremy Reed, known as ‘Powder’ said.  “You seem a little apprehensive.  Are you alright?”

“Fine,” said Cole.  “It’s been a long day.”

“I understand,” said Jeremy, taking a sip of his drink.  “And you weren’t expecting an albino at the bar.”

“No, I…”

“It’s alright, it is a common response,’ said Jeremy.

“You might be surprised what I was actually thinking,” Cole said.

“Try me,” said Jeremy, and Cole had a sense that this man understood more than he expected.  There was a bond formed immediately that was freeing.  Cole never experienced a connection with another person this quickly in his life.  The pair shared an easy conversation as time flew by.  After an hour, Cole had become relaxed and calm.

Then it happened.

Cole spotted a reflection in the mirror behind the bar. It was the man from earlier.  Cole spun quickly around, looking where the person should be standing.  There was no one there.  Cole’s eyes darted back to the mirror, which was now clear.

“What is it?” asked Jeremy, concerned for his new friend.

“It is nothing…” stuttered Cole.  He was not very convincing.

“Did you see someone?” Jeremy asked.  Cole turned his confused attention to the white skinned man.

“What?  Why would you ask that?” Cole said.  He stood from the bar and backed away, suddenly bewildered by everything that had happened.  In what was once common to Cole Sear had become unnerving and that question from this strange man put Cole on his guard.  “If you’ll excuse me…”

Cole turned, ignoring Jeremy’s plea to stay, and bolted from the Gold Room.  Jeremy stared into the mirror, shaking his head.

“Donnie…” Jeremy said, finishing off his drink.

Cole did not know why, but he was not ready to go back to his room yet.

Sure he had a woozy feeling in his head from too many drinks with Jeremy, and, yes, the second time he had seen the vision of the teen had shaken him, but he just could not barricade himself behind the hotel room door yet.  There was something about that room that made him a tad uneasy as well.  This place had something unexplained about it.  It was an old time hotel, but it had so many shiny and new areas.  It was a contradiction, and Cole could not help but wander the expansive halls.

You could probably ride a bike through these halls, he thought, unaware of what had gone on before.

The metallic thump came from around the corner and before he knew it, Cole was running toward the sound.  It was as if something was pulling him in that direction.  Around the corner, Emma knelt on the floor, struggling to lift the oxygen tank from the ground and back into the rolling case that it had fallen from. She was coughing dramatically.

“Here…let me help you,” Cole said, rushing to her side and picking the tank up.  He placed his hand on her back as she brought whatever she could from her lungs.

“Thank… you…. Mr. Sear,” she said, embarrassed.

“Please, call me Cole,” he said.  The tongue-tied speech from before was gone.  Cole wondered if the alcohol had anything to do with that.  “Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine.  When you have to haul this thing around all of the time, every once in a while, this happens.  Thank you for helping me.”  She said nothing about the coughing spasm that had led to the accident.

“It is my pleasure,” said Cole.  “Are you out at this hour for a reason?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” she laughed.

“Restless.  I’m just not ready to go back to my room,” Cole paused a moment.  He did not want to waste this opportunity.  He found this young lady fascinating… gorgeous… and an old soul.  “I hope I am not being too forward, but… can I ask why it is that you need these?” Cole pointed to the oxygen tank.

“Everyone wonders,” she said, a sad smile cracking her visage.  “I have a genetic disorder called cystic fibrosis.  My lungs do not work right.  But it is nothing that I can’t handle.”

Cole knew the term.  Dealing with diseases such as cystic fibrosis would fall into a child psychologist’s realm.  He also knew that cystic fibrosis usually brought about a fatal ending.  Suddenly, he could understand the aura of sadness that seemed to surround Emma.

“So what brought you to the Outlook Hotel?” he said, trying to find a subject that did not deal with mortality.

“That’s a long story,” she said.

“Maybe you would like to tell it to someone,” Cole said.  “I hope you don’t think this is too forward, but you could come back to my room and tell me about it.”

Who is this guy, Cole thought of his brazen suggestion.  However, the mention of Cole’s room sent a wave of fright across Emma’s face for the slightest moment.  Had Cole just imagined that?  Could he just be misinterpreting the shock of such a forward suggestion?  No, there was something else.  Could she be afraid of my room?

“What is going on?” he said, deciding to press his luck.  “This is the second time that you have had a reaction to my room.  Is there something about room 237 that I should know?”

“Well, well…what have we here?” said a voice from down the hall.  Emma nearly jumped at the sound.  A well dressed man, hair slicked down to his head, strolled forward toward the young pair.  He was physically beautiful, but there was something about this man’s eyes.  There was a darkness inside them, a darkness that put Cole on edge.

“It’s nothing, Mr. Mott,” Emma said quickly.

“Nonsense, Emma, my dear, who is your young friend?  One of our new guests?” he asked.  “Welcome to the Outlook Hotel, son.  My name is Dandy Mott, and I am the principal owner of this establishment.”

“Cole Sear,” Cole said, a jittery sensation overtaking him.

“Mr. Sear…yes, of course.  You were the winner of our contest.  How wonderful.  It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”  The evil in his eyes scared Cole as the man extended his hand in a gesture of warmness that was lacking any warmth at all.  As Cole shook his hand, a cold chill sprinted down his spine.  Turning his attention to the young lady, Mott continued speaking.  “Emma, you should really turn in, sweetheart.  You know we have a big day tomorrow, and I need you to be at your very best.”

He reaches out and tweaks her cheek, just below the tubes providing her with her oxygen.  Cole wondered if that had been as menacing to her as it felt to him.

“Yes, Mr. Mott.  I am going to my room right now.  My oxygen tank had fallen, and Cole…”

“I helped her,” Cole said.

“Oh, I see.  Well, you are certainly a white knight.  Thank you for helping our lovely young lass, Mr. Sear.  She is a treasure here at the Outlook.  Would you like me to escort you back to your rooms?”

“No,” Cole said.  “That is not necessary.  I know the way.”

The grin spread across Dandy Mott’s face like a virus.  “Excellent.  I do hope you enjoy your stay with us, Mr. Sear.  The Outlook is like nowhere else in the world.”

I am learning that, Cole thought.

The odor of age wafted through the air, as Cole Sear found himself in an unfamiliar room.  He was not sure how he had arrived here, or even really where here was.  The room was plastered with antiques, dull colored pieces of furniture.  It seemed as if no one had been in this room for decades.

“Where am I?” Cole said.  The last thing he remembered was meeting the enigmatic owner of the Outlook Hotel, Dandy Mott.  He didn’t like him.  Not even a little bit.

A single beam of light crept through the window of the room, keeping the full contents of the area hidden from sight.  The smell, however, was overpowering, practically burning his nose.

As he moved through the room, Cole slipped on something on the hard wood floor.  Difficult to see, Cole reached down with his hand.  The warmth was unexpected, as the crimson liquid dripped from his fingers.  Straining his vision through the dimly lit room, Cole could see the pool spreading on the floor.

“Cole,” a voice said, through the darkness.  Cole stood and turned, seeing Jeremy standing beside the wall.

“Jeremy, what are you doing here?” Cole asked.

“There are forces happening at this hotel that are beyond normal understanding… but you may.  Be aware…no one here knows about your skill… and you can be the one to stop the evil.”

Cole shook his head slightly.  He did not want to hear this.

“Don’t be afraid, Cole,” a second voice said.  It was the other person Cole had been seeing.  Someone named Donnie.  How do I know that?Cole wondered.

Cole turned back to Jeremy.  The blood was completely covering the albino, and the blank stare told the story.  Cole’s eyes bulged, the old air chalked his lungs.  The pounding heart felt like it was trying to jump out of his throat.  The twitching was something that could not be controlled.

Turning back to Donnie, the teen had the same blood soaked death stare.

Cole sat up in bed, the sheets fully drenched, his head pounding like the proverbial drum.  A nightmare?  It had been a while since he had had one this bad.  Breathing deeply, trying to settle himself down, Cole had a terrible feeling.  It couldn’t wait until morning.  He had to know. Was this prophetic or was it just a piece of undigested meat affecting his subconscious?  Cole hopped from the bed and searched for some clothes to throw on.

A few moments later, Cole stood before another door.  He wasn’t sure how he knew where to go.  Had Jeremy told him his room number?  He couldn’t remember.  Cole knocked on the room door, which creaked open without anyone answering.  The ominous sign ate away at Cole’s stomach, but he pushed his way through.  The smell of the room was both uncomfortably familiar and terrifying.   The room was dark, and a single slight beam of light creeped into the room through the window, landed upon the slightly open door in the back of the room.  It was the bathroom.  He walked over to the door and pushed it open.  The horror before him was too much, and Cole recoiled into the room, desperately trying to keep the bile inside his stomach.  He gasped at the old air trying to blot the picture from his head.

The picture of Jeremy Reed, in the bathtub, the tub filled with blood.  Cole’s friend had his arm drooped over the side of the tub.  Pools of blood across the bathroom floor.

“No…” Cole said falling on to the bed, tears exploding from his eyes.  What can I do?

–The odor of age wafted through the air, as Cole Sear found himself in an unfamiliar room.  He was not sure how he had arrived here, or even really where here was.  The room was plastered with antiques, dull colored pieces of furniture.  It seemed as if no one had been in this room for decades.

“Where am I?” Cole said.  The last thing he remembered was meeting the enigmatic owner of the Overlook Hotel, Dandy Mott.  He didn’t like him.  Not even a little bit.

A single beam of light crept through the window of the room, keeping the full contents of the area hidden from sight.  The smell, however, was overpowering, practically burning his nose.

As he moved through the room, Cole slipped on something on the hard wood floor.  Difficult to see, Cole reached down with his hand.  The warmth was unexpected, as the crimson liquid dripped from his fingers.  Straining his vision through the dimly lit room, Cole could see the pool spreading on the floor.

“Cole,” a voice said, through the darkness.  Cole stood and turned, seeing Jeremy standing beside the wall.

“Jeremy, what are you doing here?” Cole asked.

“There are forces happening at this hotel that are beyond normal understanding… but you may.  Be aware…no one here knows about your skill… and you can be the one to stop the evil.”

Cole shook his head slightly.  He did not want to hear this.

“Don’t be afraid, Cole,” a second voice said.  It was the other person Cole had been seeing.  Someone named Donnie.  How do I know that?Cole wondered.

Cole turned back to Jeremy.  The blood was completely covering the albino, and the blank stare told the story.  Cole’s eyes bulged, the old air chalked his lungs.  The pounding heart felt like it was trying to jump out of his throat.  The twitching was something that could not be controlled.

Turning back to Donnie, the teen had the same blood soaked death stare.

Cole sat up in bed, the sheets fully drenched, his head pounding like the proverbial drum.  A nightmare?  It had been a while since he had had one this bad.  Breathing deeply, trying to settle himself down, Cole had a terrible feeling.  It couldn’t wait until morning.  He had to know. Was this prophetic or was it just a piece of undigested meat affecting his subconscious?  Cole hopped from the bed and searched for some clothes to throw on.

A few moments later, Cole stood before another door.  He wasn’t sure how he knew where to go.  Had Jeremy told him his room number?  He couldn’t remember.  Cole knocked on the room door, which creaked open without anyone answering.  The ominous sign ate away at Cole’s stomach, but he pushed his way through.  The smell of the room was both uncomfortably familiar and terrifying.   The room was dark, and a single slight beam of light crept into the room through the window, landed upon the slightly open door in the back of the room.  It was the bathroom.  He walked over to the door and pushed it open.  The horror before him was too much, and Cole recoiled into the room, desperately trying to keep the bile inside his stomach.  He gasped at the old air trying to blot the picture from his head.

The picture of Jeremy Reed, in the bathtub, the tub filled with blood.  Cole’s friend had his arm drooped over the side of the tub.  Pools of blood across the bathroom floor.

“No…” Cole said falling on to the bed, tears exploding from his eyes.  What can I do?

Extra:  Danny Torrance

Cole stumbled through the doorway of the room into the hall, barely standing on his feet.  The horror within was something that he may have been used to once in his young life, but it had faded into the recesses of his mind.  At least, it had until he found himself at the Overlook Hotel.  He did not understand what had triggered this reemergence of the terrors from his childhood, but he was definitely uncomfortable with it.

“Why, Mr. Cole…it is quite late to be out wandering about.”

Dandy Mott was standing to the side of the hallway, looking at Cole struggle to stand up straight.  Dandy Mott had creeped Cole out earlier in the evening and now his appearance was downright ironic.

“Are you alright, son?  You look like you have seen a ghost,” asked Dandy, the color slowly returning to Cole’s face.  The line almost made Cole laugh.

Pointing his thumb over his shoulder toward Jeremy Reed’s room, Cole sputtered out a soft “Inside.”  Dandy moved past the shaken young man into the room in question.  Cole, leaned back toward the still open door.  Dandy walked into the darkened room, seeing the same light source that had drawn Cole’s attention earlier.  This led him to the bathroom.  Standing in the doorway, Dandy did not appear as shocked as Cole expected.  It was as if this was old hat for him.

“Oh my,” said Dandy.  “Poor Mr. Reed.  Such a horribly gruesome end.  He was such a kind man.”

Dandy turned away from the sight, shading his eyes for but a moment.  There were no tears to be had.

“Did you know that I brought Mr. Reed to the Overlook Hotel.  Yes, I have been allowing him to stay here, rent free, for much of the past year.  I really enjoy helping those that the fates have deemed unlike he rest of us.  Some would call them ‘freaks’ but I believe that term does not apply.  There are several guests and employees of the hotel that are here on my dime.  It may be the charitable and Christian thing to do, but it’s more rewarding to me than you can imagine.”

The smile had returned to his face about midway through his monologue, as if he had completely forgotten about the albino man in the tub full of blood in the bathroom.

“The unfortunate thing about these individuals is that at times they see life as such a burden.  Life is unfair to them, and so many times that, despite what good deeds may be bestowed upon them, all they are looking for is a way out.  It is so sad that they choose suicide,” said Dandy.

Suicide.  The word ringed in Cole Sear’s ears. The words were hollow.  There was a joy in the tone that Cole could not understand.

Looking in Dandy Mott’s direction, the sight was shocking.  The toothy grin crossed his face without even the slightest knowledge of what stood just behind him, staring over his left shoulder.

Jeremy.

The apparition shook its head.  The blood covered the body, looking much the same way he had looked in Cole’s dream that had brought him here to investigate.

“Murder.” said the specter.  Dandy continued to smile, completely oblivious to the mystical visitor behind him.

Extra:  Gloria Mott, American Horror Story

 

The door of room 237 slammed behind Cole as he lumbered through the doorway.  He had excused himself awkwardly after his encounter with Dandy Mott at the “suicide” scene in Jeremy Reed’s room.

“Jeremy,” Cole said, dropping face first onto the bed, gripped the covers to his face.  He would always remember the horror of the blood filled bathtub and the dangling of his new friend’s arm over the side.  But if that had not been bad enough, seeing his friend after his death had been even worse.  The ghost had implied that there was more to the “suicide” than most would see.  He had literally said the word “murder.”  And Cole Sear had implied the meaning.

“Mott.”

The owner of the Overlook Hotel was the most sinister men Cole had ever met, and the smile on his face caused the blood in Cole’s veins to chill.  Dandy Mott had claimed this was a suicide, and, Cole would have to admit, it looked that way.  But Cole knew differently.  He had gotten it from beyond the grave.  This was murder.  How had he gotten himself into this?  He had won this free trip to the Overlook Hotel and it sounded like the perfect escape before the real hard work of his studies as a child psychologist began.  It was a lucky break.  Now, he had wished that he had done practically anything else.

Of course, Dr. Crowe had shown Cole that he had been given this gift for a reason.  That maybe he was able to perceive the things he could because he was meant to help these spirits.  Had fate given him one more chance to help?  If so, why couldn’t he have gotten these images prior to Jeremy’s murder?

“I did,” Cole said, knowing that he had spent most of the evening trying to shove down the instincts that he knew were there.  He knew this feeling, despite it being long gone.  The cliche about the bicycle and remembering how to ride certainly fit, and, with hindsight, Cole could see that he had just closed his eyes.  Guilt is a painful thing, and survivor’s guilt is even worse.  Cole searched his mind, trying to see what he could have done to help his recent friend.

And then the little boy stood before him.  Cole recoiled in shock at seeing the mop-topped, brown haired boy with the ugly Apollo sweater.  Cole quickly regained his composure, seeing as that this child really held no threat to him.

“Hello,” Cole said, using his best clinical voice.  “What is your name?”

The boy said nothing.  He simply pointed to the closet.  Cole leered at the closet door, apprehensive of what could be contained inside.

“What’s in there?” Cole asked, not expecting the boy to answer him.  Getting off the bed, Cole opened the closet door, the creak filling the room like the quiet creak during a horror movie.  On the floor of the closet sat a box.  A box that had not been there earlier when Cole had checked in.  “A surprise, huh?” Cole joked, trying to hide the fear in his voice.  Cole was again alone in the room.  “Alright, then.  What do we have here?”

Cole carefully sat the box on the bed and pulled over a chair.  Lifting the lid from the box, there were several newspaper articles found inside.  The headline of the first article Cole pulled out was dramatic.

Caretaker murders wife, dies at hotel

The article stated that a man named Jack Torrance, the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, had gone crazy one winter about 25 years ago and murdered his wife.  The article said the man froze to death outside inside the hotel’s signature maze during a dramatic blizzard.  The couple was survived by one child, Danny Torrance.  There was a picture of Jack Torrance in the paper, and the resemblance to the boy who had directed Cole to this treasure was obvious.  Cole knew that the boy was Danny.  The boy who had survived his father’s insane spree.

Finding another article inside the box, the headline indicated that socialite Gloria Mott had purchased the Outlook Hotel and was moving herself and her son, Dandy to the hotel.

 

 

The article also stated that Mrs. Mott had taken guardianship over Daniel Torrance, orphaned since the murders at the Overlook Hotel.  The paper had quoted Mrs. Mott saying that they were glad to “add to their happy family, and had plenty of love to spread around.”  The article added that Mrs. Mott was a widow, having her husband hang himself in their family estate’s garden and this was one reason why Mrs. Mott had hoped to start anew.

There was a Kodak picture of Danny and Dandy together, the same warped smile across the young boy’s face that Cole had seen just a few moments before.  Danny looked sad and depressed, a far cry from the happy and well adjusted boy that the newspaper article had made him out to be.  Continuing into the “orgy of evidence”, Cole pulled out what appeared to be a psychological report on “Daniel Torrance” dated a few months after the purchase of the hotel by Mrs. Mott.  Scanning the contents, Cole discovered that Danny had claimed to have a psychic ability he would call “The Shining,” a claim that was apparently causing embarrassment for the aristocratic Gloria Mott.  The report was as much of a report on Gloria Mott as it was on Danny Torrance.  It claimed that Mrs. Mott was more concerned with her reputation than anything connected to Danny, and that she had an unhealthy relationship with the spoiled Dandy Mott.  The report suggested that Danny’s claims of psychic abilities may have just been a cry for attention, a harmless childhood game.  Cole frowned.

“Short sighted bastards,” he said.  He knew there were more to these claims than were investigated.  Cole quietly swore to himself that he would never dismiss a claim just because it feels otherworldly.  If the doctors had taken Danny Torrance’s claim seriously, would things have changed?

The next article pulled revealed that Danny Torrance died at the Overlook Hotel in a terrible accident, falling from over the railing and crashing to the hardwood floor, breaking his neck.  According to the story, the boy was playing with his step-brother….

Cole stopped reading, the realization more than he could stand.  Danny Torrance stood once again in the room with him, the same sad expression from the photo.

“Danny,” said Cole.  “You didn’t just fall, did you?”

Danny shook his head.

“Dandy Mott pushed you, didn’t he?”

Danny nodded once.

Extras:  Tangina Barrons (Poltergeist) and Simon Silver (Red Lights)

What could possess a six year old boy to commit murder? Cole Sear thought, searching his mind for any sort of answer that made sense.  The silent apparition of Danny Torrance stood before him in his room, the same room Danny Torrance stayed in at the Overlook Hotel, room 237.  The answers were just too horrible for Cole to comprehend.

Cole had met the adult Dandy Mott, and he was as menacing as any person he had ever met, and that was saying something, as Cole Sear had spent much of his early childhood meeting dead people.  But he had not met anyone who had exuded such an evil as Dandy Mott.  And now Cole was uncovering just how deep this evilness was going.

He had discovered, with a little help from the spirit guide Danny, a box full of articles and pictures that had been revealing truths.  However, with the last article discussing the supposedly accidental death of the young boy from a fall at the Overlook Hotel, Cole realized something odd.

“I thought this box was something that Cole had been assembling, but with this last one, he couldn’t have been adding to this box after his death,’ said Cole.  “So if this was not Danny’s box of evidence…then whose was it?”

Inspired by the enigmatic question, Cole returned to the box to continue his search for answers.  Inside the box, there were obituaries of two other people, both reputed psychics.

 

Both had been called suicides, and both bodies were found at the Outlook Hotel, approximately a year apart.

“So Danny claimed to have a psychic ability called ‘the shining’ and then two more psychics died in the same location.  Seems like quite the coincidence…”  Cole’s words trailed off.  “Or was there more than two psychics?”

Cole had been struggling to keep the past in the past since he had arrived at the Overlook Hotel that he had missed so many signs.  The connection he felt with Jeremy Reed…was it more than just two men meeting at a bar?  Was there something else?

“Of course…” said Cole.  “Jeremy was more than just an albino.  There was something…special about him.”

Then, Cole thought back to something that Dandy Mott had said to him in Jeremy’s room.

Quote

“Did you know that I brought Mr. Reed to the Overlook Hotel.  Yes, I have been allowing him to stay here, rent free, for much of the past year.  I really enjoy helping those that the fates have deemed unlike he rest of us.  Some would call them ‘freaks’ but I believe that term does not apply.

Cole cursed himself for not seeing what was right before his eyes.  And he knew who he had to see next.  It was the first ‘ghost’ that he had seen at the Overlook, and one who also appeared in the prophetic dream that he had had.

His name was Donnie.

 

 

It was late…or early depending on your point of view, but Cole Sear knew that he could not wait until morning to find the ‘ghost’ he was looking for.  He knew his name, somehow… Donnie Darko.

The last time he had seen the image of the young teen was when he was in the restaurant with…Jeremy.  Just the thought of Jeremy made Cole feel terrible.  He couldn’t get past the idea that had he not been so desperate to push away the second sight, Jeremy may not have been killed.  Cole had no idea why Jeremy had been killed, but he was pretty confident about who the killer was.

Dandy Mott.  The Overlook Hotel owner.  The man who had brought Jeremy to the hotel.  The man, who as a child, had killed his adopted brother, Danny, who had already had several traumatic moments at this hotel.  Dandy Mott, who was as evil of a man that Cole had ever met.  He was seeing clearly now.  There was a reason that these psychics kept coming to the Ouverlook Hotel and were dying.  Cole was determined to find that reason out.  However, he wondered what that meant for himself.  Was he brought here by Dandy Mott as another victim?  If he had deduced things properly, it seemed as if there had been a year between psychic victims, excluding Danny, of course.  If Jeremy was a victim, then the time line was messed up.

Or maybe this was all just his own overactive imagination responding to the stress of seeing dead people again after so many years.

He had to know.  So he sneaked into the restaurant looking to find the mysterious Donnie Darko.  Cole returned to the bar where he had spotted Donnie the second time.  He had seen him in the mirror behind the bar, only to have him disappear when he had turned to see.  Why did it feel like such a big game?  Cole thought.

“Games are fun,” said Donnie, showing up in the mirror.  “Just ask Frank.”

“I don’t know who Frank is, but I am very glad to have met you, Donnie,” said Cole.  “I am sorry that I did not get the chance to talk to you before.”

“S’ok,” said Donnie.  “I don’t blame you.”

“I found your evidence box,” said Cole.

“How did you know that I compiled that evidence?” asked Donnie, clearly uncertain about the logic leap Cole had just made.

“It only made sense,” said Cole.  “It was someone who had come to the Outlook after the deaths of the psychics, someone who had done their research, and someone who had known secrets.  It was found in my room, not in Jeremy’s or I might have considered him, but my guess is that you stayed in room 237 when you were alive.”

“Clever boy,” said Donnie.

“When did you come to the hotel?” asked Cole.

“Last year.  I had known Tangina and after her death, I started looking into the history of this place.  I turned up a lot of strange occurrences and everything pointed to Mott.  But no one was going to believe me.  I had to find proof.  Real proof.  Otherwise, people would think that a boy who talked to a giant rabbit might not be the most stable or reliable of sources.”

“Hold on a minute,” said Cole.  “A giant rabbit?”

“Never mind about that,” Donnie said, breezing through the reveal.  “I got here, but it wasn’t too long after that where I realized that Mott knew who I was.  In fact, I got into his office and there were photos of me everywhere.  There were also photos of Tangina and Simon Silver and the boy, Danny Torrance.  It was clear that Mott had some motive, some plan.  I just wasn’t sure what it was.”

“What about Jeremy? How did he get pulled in to this?” asked Cole.

“Mr. Sear?  Are you talking to someone in here?”  It was Dandy Mott, showing up once again.  Cole was shocked at his arrival.  He was not good at lying.  What could he say?  He had heard talking, but there was no one else here.  What could he say.

“He was talking to me, boss,” said Emma, walking out of the back with two drinks in her hand.  “He came looking for a drink, and I told him I could get him something.”

“Yes…” muttered Cole, trying not to sound shocked by the arrival of the lovely young girl.  “I couldn’t get to sleep after seeing Jeremy..” Cole paused, trying to catch Emma’s eye.  He hoped she would play along.  “After seeing that horribly bloody scene, I needed something to take the edge off.  And Emma offered to help.”

Emma turned away, brushing away a tear from her eye.  She handled herself like a pro.  If she had any questions about what had happened to Jeremy, she did not ask them.

“Ah, of course,” said Dandy, looking somewhat convinced.  “Please do not stay long.  It is very late, The police will be here in just a few hours for statements.  I wish there was a way they could get here faster, but the weather indicates that we are on the outskirts of a dramatic storm.  Mother Nature sounds as if she will be causing quite a fuss very soon now.  Best place to be is in your rooms.”

“Sure,” said Cole.  “It’ll just be a few minutes.”

Dandy left the restaurant, as Cole and Emma sat down at the bar.  Emma was crying fully now.

“Jeremy is dead, isn’t he?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Cole, draping his arm around her shoulder.

“I knew Mott was going to kill him.  I had just hoped that when you arrived, things could change.”

“What?”

“I am the reason that you won this contest to come here.  Mott knows nothing about you.  I rigged the contest to bring you to the Overlook.  I had hoped that you could stop Mott before Jeremy had to die,” she said.

“Why me?”

“Because, I know you can talk to the dead.”

“What?”

“Years ago, when you were younger, you came to the funeral of a friend of mine, Kyra, and you spoke to her and she told you that her mother had poisoned her.  I was there when you brought Mr. Collins that video tape,” she said, crying even more, but taking deep breaths to maintain her composure.  “It was so hard seeing Mrs. Collins doing what she did to Kyra, but you brought a lot of closure to Mr. Collins and you may have saved Kyra’s sister’s life.”  Emma brushed away the tears from her eyes.  “I figured that if anyone could help stop Mott, it was you.”

“That was a long time ago,” Cole said.

“Something like that sticks with a person,” Emma said.

“So, Dandy Mott is killing psychics.  Why is he doing it?” asked Cole.

“Why don’t you just ask me?”  Cole and Emma stood up quickly and there was Mott, the look of insanity pasted in his eyes, turning his head side to side.  “You really should have taken my advice and gone back to your room.”

The shine of the large knife seemed to fill the room.

 

 

Lightning flashed.  The storm had arrived, both outside the Overlook Hotel, and inside.  Dandy Mott rubbed the dull edge of the blade against his face, eyes bulging in delirium.  Cole Sear stood in front of Emma, knowing that running away for her was not possible.  The tanks made that strategy prohibitive.  Fear gripped at the two young people’s chests, tightening and throbbing.  This was the last thing that Cole would have ever believed would be happening when he discovered he had won the free week at the Overlook Hotel.  Little did he know that the contest had been rigged by Emma to bring him here to try and put a stop to this monster.

But Cole had no idea what to do.

“Why?” asked Cole, hoping to get Mott talking.  Maybe he could let something slip.  The police were supposed to be coming in the morning to look into the “suicide” of Jeremy Reed, though that was still hours away.  Desperate times… “You killed Jeremy… Donnie… Simon Silver… Tangina Barrons…”

“Don’t forget my dear adopted brother,” said Dandy.  “Little Danny Torrance.  Such a little brat.  I do not understand why my mother wanted to adopt that little brat.  She saw him as a project… a way to make herself look like she cared about people.  She didn’t, you know.  She only cared about what people thought of her.  She did not have a charitable bone in her body.”

“Like mother like son,” said Cole.  “You told me that you brought Jeremy and Emma here to show off to your friends…about how you can help the…how did you put it…’the freaks?'”

“Hm, you’ve got me there, Mr. Sear.  I do populate this place with freaks to make myself look better.  Maybe I am like dear mother.  But I also enjoy seeing the pain these people have in their lives.  Ms. Decody drops that oxygen tank every day.  It brings a song to my heart every time.”

Cole bit back the bile in his mouth at the evil this man was spouting.  “But that does not explain why you have been murdering these people.”

“My dear little adopted brother… he had the ability.  He said that an old cook had told him the power was called the shining.  He told Danny that the Outlook was a dangerous place for those with the shining.  He was really a prophetic cook,” said Dandy.  “Danny was all messed up.  His own father tried to kill him.  Did kill his mother.  He let him freeze to death outside.  The little monster did not deserve such a power.  Especially when I did not have it.  He was always carrying on conversations with the ghosts of this hotel.  There are tons of them here.”

“Tell me about it.”

“One of the ghosts told Danny that he could lose the shining.  He said that if he was killed, the shining could jump hosts,” said Dandy.  “And I wanted that power.  I deserved that power.  What was Danny going to do with it?  He was doomed.  We all knew it.  He would kill himself before he was out of high school.  Someone with that much tragedy in his background just do not survive.  So … the shining should have been mine.”

“But it didn’t work,” said Cole.

“I was eight years old when I pushed that little brat off the railing and sent him crashing to the floor.  The crack of his bones was like music to my ears.  But nothing happened.  I did not gain the shining.  I just lost an adopted brother.  So it was not a complete loss.”

“Then what?” asked Cole.

“Mother decided to move us back to Florida.  Ugh.  Such a horrible locale.  I entertained myself attending some roadside freak shows, but I knew where I needed to be.  So when mother…died…” the way Dandy emphasized the word ‘died’ made Cole think that there may have been more to her death as well, “I made sure the Outlook Hotel was transferred into my ownership and I returned.  I had prepared…planned.  I found the weird little dwarf woman and the recluse Silver.  I was determined to find someone whose death would present me with the shining.  I deserved it.”

“You’re crazy,” said Emma.

“Crazy is really a subjective term.  I know what I want.  If you count my dear adopted brat, Jeremy Reed was my fifth attempt to gain the power.  I have been spreading out the victims every year… no need to draw attention to what I am trying to do…however, you, sweet Emma, have provided me with another opportunity.  A sixth shining, if you will.  I had no idea that you could talk to the dead, Mr. Sear.  Just like Danny.  So when I kill you, this will be the perfect chance.  This is the one.  I can feel it.  Thank you so much for bringing him here, Emma.  I will make sure that you die quickly.  You have suffered enough.  I have talked too much.  Time to end this once and for all.”

Dandy Mott started to move toward Cole with the bright knife glaring.

Dandy Mott slowly stalked his way toward Cole and Emma, the shiny butcher knife in his hand.  He had every intention to slice Cole and Emma up in the delusional thought that, by doing so, he would gain the shining… a power his adopted brother Danny had, and that he coveted.  That jealousy led to Danny’s death and four other brutal murders.  Who knew how many people he murdered while in Florida.  It is pretty clear that he hadn’t just stopped his murderous ways while he was gone from the Ouverlook Hotel.  How many innocent people died by this maniac’s hand?

Swinging the blade in his direction brought Cole back to the present, a situation he was not used to.  He was not a big man.  He was not athletic.  He had been unhealthy much of his childhood.  And Dandy Mott looked to be a physically superior man in every way.  There was no way Cole would out wrestle him, out fight him for the knife… there was just no way.

Out of the corner of his eye, Cole spotted Danny.  The little boy stood at the restaurant’s entrance, holding his hand in the air.

At that moment, the lightning of the storm that started outside struck again, sending the hotel into darkness.  The electricity had gone out.  Cole quickly grabbed the opportunity by snatching the oxygen tank from beside Emma and swinging into Dandy’s head.  The metal clanged against his skull with a thud, sending the knife across the room and the killer to the ground.  Cole grabbed Emma by the wrist and pulled her away from the tank.  He knew this was a risk, but he hoped that she had enough oxygen in her lungs to find somewhere to hide.

As they rushed out of the restaurant, Jeremy, Donnie, Simon Silver and Tangina Barrons stood waiting.

“We will help her,” said Donnie.  “Trust us.”

“I will,” Cole said, quickly explaining to Emma what was happening.  The four ghosts escorted the young girl out of sight.  Meanwhile, Cole looked to Danny, who was waving at him to follow.  The sound of tables being overturned told Cole that Dandy was going to be hot on their trail in any moment.  So he followed the five year old.

Out the front door of the Overlook Hotel Cole went, the rain now pounding down in sheets.

“Come here, Cole!” screamed Dandy, a blood chilling screech.  “There’s nowhere to go!”

Danny continued leading Cole, as Dandy chased behind.

Into the maze.

The hedges outside the Overlook Hotel were meticulously maintained, even more so than the hotel itself.  The greens stood out even through the darkness and the downpour.  And Danny was heading straight into the maze.  Cole had read how Danny’s father had froze to death inside the maze on that fateful night he tried to kill his son so it seemed like a reasonable place to hide until the police could arrive.  I hope Emma is safe, he thought.  He did not have time for stray thoughts if he hoped to stay ahead of the sharp knife behind him.  Trusting Danny, Cole ran into the hedge maze.

Turns and twists.  Cole could see easily how someone could be lost inside this place.  The rain did not help matters any, and every few minutes, the flash of light from the lightning announced everyone’s presence.  Cole could hear the maniac shouting inside the maze.  Dandy Mott had followed Cole into the maze, but he had lacked the spiritual guide that Cole had.  Danny led Cole deftly through the maze, retracing steps and preventing Dandy from crossing Cole’s path.

Dandy swore loudly, loud enough to be heard over the pounding rain, and the cold began to get to Cole.  This was going to be tough to keep up the pace that Danny had set.  Cole had been through a lot today, and was anything but spry.  The fear kept him going, but the speed had diminished as time passed.  Dandy’s anger only became greater.

Then, Cole took a corner tightly, and smashed right into a large body.  He collapsed to the ground, as he heard the laughing.

“There you are, Mr. Sear.  Congratulations.  You have been the most valiant of adversaries.  But this is now over.”

Suddenly, Danny was standing in front of Dandy.  The psycho paused, knife held above his head.

“Danny?” he said, as Cole realized that he could see the little boy too.  From out of the green maze walls walked Donnie, Jeremy, Simon Silver and Tangina.  The five murdered psychics stood as a barrier between Dandy and Cole.  “What is this?  It can’t be.”

The five of them raised their arms into the air, and a flash of lightning lit up the nighttime sky.  The bolt of lightning struck from the darkness into the heart of the maze, finding the little bit of metal held above Dandy’s head.  The electricity flowed through the knife and into the body of the killer,  Dandy screamed in anguish as the lightning seemed to continue longer than it should have done.  The charcoaled body of Dandy Mott dropped to the ground, smoking.  Cole turned his eyes from what he had seen, and he breathed in the night air.  The rain had begun to slow to a trickle.  When he opened his eyes, all that was there was the fried body of Dandy Mott.  There was no sign of Danny or any of the other ghosts.  Cole looked to the sky and said a silent thank you.

The next morning , the police had arrived and was taking statements from both Cole and Emma about the reasons why the Overlook Hotel’s owner had gone crazy and murdered Jeremy Reed and tried to murder them both.  Cole presented the police with the evidence that Donnie had collected, saying that he discovered this in Jeremy’s room when he found the body.  Cole claimed this was the reason why Dandy had tried to kill him as well.  Neither of them had mentioned the ghostly encounters of the evening.

Who would have believed that?

 

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