13 AccommodationsMature

In the warmth of the afternoon, Pastor Domnick Luzak strolled beside Dave and Karen, away from the Zabelton crossroads, along the gravel road that went through the thickly overgrown woods to the east. Louise's ghost moved beside them. 

They stayed on the road, hearing birds singing around them. The road turned left, went down a hill, then turned right, and continued on for a quarter mile, until they came to a one story, yellow, rectangular building to the left. 

The building had a sign out front that said, "Luzak's Motel". The office was on the building's far left, with a line of eight rooms to its right. Each room had a dark green door, with a large window facing the road. Three hovercars were parked, each in front of a different room. 

Across the road was small stagnant pond, overgrown with old tree stumps sticking out of the water. A handmade wooden sign beside the pond declared, "No Swimming Allowed." 

Domnick said, "A visitor from Scranton drowned here three years ago. His father made that sign with his own hands." 

Louise sensed another ghostly presence like herself, but that presence was no longer here. 

Then they left the road, walked across the hard packed ground of the parking lot, and stepped inside the Motel's office. Louise remained with them. 

She heard Karen make a very soft sigh of relief. 

Karen whispered to Dave, "At last. We're inside." 

A 16 year old girl sat behind the desk, dressed in shorts and a halter, watching a television that was set on a high shelf in a corner of the room. Unlike the mirror thin TV's in the City Building; this one was a rectangular box, with a 19-inch screen. 

Dave recognized the scene from the movie she was watching. The movie was "Soylent Green". 

When they all entered, the woman stood up and smiled. 

"Hi Uncle Domnick." She said, "My father's gonna be in Scranton all day." 

"Good afternoon Charlene." He said, "I have pair of guests for you." 

He, Dave and Karen walked up to the desk. 

Charlene said, "Right. Hi." 

She handed a check-in card to Dave, along with a pen. He picked up the pen, looked at the card and hesitated. 

"I'm sorry," he said, "but there isn't enough room on this card, for both of our addresses." 

"Not enough room?" Charlene asked, "Just what is your address?" 

"Cubicle 18, Apartment Compound 903, West 53rd Street, Level 1378, City of Manhattan Building. Her address is..." 

Charlene said, "City of Manhattan Building?" 

She looked at her Uncle, who nodded. 

His niece was horrified. She glanced at the TV for a moment. 

Then she asked, "They're people from Hell?" 

Domnick told her, "They are people just like you and I. They come from the City of Manhattan Building, where they attend Worship at a Christian Church. 

"Remember what the Lord said, 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'." 

Charlene's voice was shaky. "But they have no baggage. They'll have to pay in advance." 

Dave and Karen looked at each other. 

She whispered to Dave, "Do you have any money?" 

He said, "Yes, but I don't know if it's the right kind." 

He told Domnick, "I don't know if City money will be acceptable out here." 

The Pastor announced, "The Church will pay for their lodging Charlene." 

"But Uncle Domnick, I don't know if my father's gonna like having people from Hell staying in his place." 

"If he has anything to say about it, he can say it to me." 

"Yes Uncle Domnick." 

Charlene handed Dave the key to room 8, the room furthest from the office. Then Dave, Karen and the Pastor stepped back outside, while Charlene returned to the movie. 

"There are small refrigerators in all the rooms." Domnick told them, "They contain pre-packaged dinners that can be cooked in the microwave ovens that are in all the rooms. I'm going to ask around, to see if any members of the Congregation have extra clothing they can give you to wear." 

The Pastor headed back along the gravel road toward the Church, while Dave and Karen left the office, and headed over to Room 8. Dave unlocked the door. Then he and Karen stepped inside, and shut the door behind themselves. 

Louise's ghost had entered the room ahead of them. 

They were in a room with two double beds, a large dresser drawer, roomy closet with many hangers, a writing desk beside the window, and another box television. A knee-high refrigerator was in a corner, along with the microwave oven that the Pastor had mentioned. There was also a bathroom behind a door in another corner. 

"Will you look at this place?" Dave said, "All this for just the two of us. Back in the City Building, only the richest people have this much space." 

Now Karen breathed a sigh of relief. "At last! We're inside. All that open space has been just too much. I'm used to being behind walls and under ceilings, with a lot of people around. Now we're stuck in the middle of all this empty land that they drove us through. There's nothing but farmland and woodland, and we hardly saw anyone at all. It's just too different. It's too much for me to deal with." 

"But you've been in large open spaces before. The Gym is an enormous place. It occupies the space of an entire City block." 

"Yes, but there the walls aren't too far away for me to see them, and neither is the ceiling." 

"And you've been completely alone before." 

"Yeah, when I shut the door, but people were still all around me, on the opposite sides of the walls." 

"Karen." He said, "It's obvious, that this emptiness is just something else that we're gonna have to get used to." 

"Get used to it? Dave, when we came outside the City Building, we thought it was just gonna be for a few hours; but instead we're gonna be living out here for who knows how long? We weren't prepared to deal with this." 

"On the other hand," he told her, "when everyone we meet, calls us 'People from Hell', don't be surprised when your heads come off." 

"That's all going to depend," Karen said, "on how we get along with the people who live around here. The Reverend's an okay guy. He wants to give us a chance. I have no idea if anyone else around here would. We just have to make a good first impression." 

"How do we do that?" Dave asked, "How do I make a good impression, by telling them that I was the combat team's equipment handler, who used to bring out the ropes to hanged our own cheerleaders on?" 

Karen said, "What we did inside the City Building doesn't matter. It's how we're gonna behave out here that does. While we're out here neither of us is gonna be killing and eating people, and I'm not gonna be walking around in public with my boobs naked, while wearing shrunken heads on my belt." 

"Your not? In the City Building, girls dress that way all the time. That's how almost one third of the girls who attended the Homecoming Dance were dressed, including the Homecoming Queen, Alyce Vanderland." 

"Sorry Dave. I know that's part of our culture, but out here I'm not sure whether it is or not. It's better not to take a chance." 

"Right." He said, "But we have to tell them something about life in the City Building. One thing they're gonna want to know, is the reason why we left the City Building in the first place. If we tell them that you heard the voice of God, while you were hanging dead, and then he brought you back twice; the second time after you were killed in a punch fight? I don't think they'll believe us." 

"I find it hard to believe myself." She told him. 

"On the other hand," he said, "if they do believe that, we might be allowed to live." 

"Whether they believe us or not, "she spoke firmly, "they are going to allow us to live, Dave. The Lord is not going to let either of us die, before you've given me children." 

Louise's ghost felt a pain in her heart. 

"Karen we agreed." He said, "You and I are too young to even think about marriage, let alone children. I don't want to sound nasty Karen, but even if we were old enough, I know that I don't want to marry you or have children with you." 

The pain in Louise's heart eased. 

Karen told him, "Forget about Louise Torelli Dave. You can't fight against God." 

He told her, "But I'm not sure that I'm the one who God chose for you Karen. What I do know, is that I'd rather be with Louise." 

"Forget it Dave. God has made his choice. He's put you out here with me, and kept Louise back inside the City Building. We can't avoid it. You're gonna have a long healthy life with me. All Louise is gonna be is a dead Warrior Girl, who you might have some nice memories about." 

"I don't want memories about her. I want her." 

Karen said, "Then it's better if we don't talk about this. I don't want to even think about marriage either." 

"Good. That's something we can both agree upon." 

"Dave." Now Karen stepped up to him and spoke with a gentle tone. "Is the idea really all that awful? I know I treated you wrong, when I decided to become a team girlfriend. Well that's over now. It'll be just you and me from now on," she smiled, "starting tonight." 

He said, "Tonight?" 

"One advantage," she smiled "to having been a team's girlfriend, for the past two months, is that I've learned how to be a terrific lay. Starting tonight, it'll be all yours." 

He now also spoke with a gentler tone. "I'm sorry I've been sounding too harsh. I apologize for that. It's just that we're much too young to think about marriage. On the other hand, if this really is what God has decided, everything between you and me should work out very well; and you're right. Louise is someone who I'll have only nice memories about." 

They put their arms around one another, and they both smiled. 

Dave said, "I don't see why we have to wait 'til tonight." 

They then kissed each other. 

At that moment, Louise's ghost felt a pain in her heart, like she was being stabbed with a sword again. She made an unheard loud cry. Then she was no longer in Zabelton. 

The End

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