Monday, July 25, 2011

The Golden Hotel, part 2

At the end of the block the city ended and the sea began. The sun had dropped now below the horizon, leaving the sea only slightly ruffled, rolling silver blue. A wide road half overgrown by weeds and grass ran along the cement sea wall in both directions. To the left were industrial buildings crouched on the shore with remains of piers sticking here and there from the water. To the right was the golden hotel, glowing on the open shore like an object from space just now dropped to earth. Four tall pine trees grew at the front door, obscuring it from view. Bloem guess they had once been ornamental bushes. The hotel was three stories tall, built from some kind of smooth pale stone that might have been golden in the proper sunlight, but was now fading. The ghosts of past visitors strolled in full view on the narrow beach between the hotel and the sea, speaking among themselves.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Golden Hotel, part 1

The pioneers trudged through wide, empty streets and the ghosts peered down on them knowingly from the glittering windows, where the last of the sun was captured. What did they know? You were once me, walking from here to there, looking forward, dreading the next step, uncertain. Bloem was first in line behind their drunken captain. His broad shoulders rolled from side to side like waves, his stride described an old river's winding course, but Bloem walked the tightrope. The buildings were an odd assortment of bright red brick and dusty concrete gray. If anyone lived in them, they were keeping to themselves. The captain spit on the broken pavement. "Not far," he muttered. But he kept on walking, farther than they had already come, before finally turning to the left down a narrow alley cut in a block of old houses with broken gargoyles peering down from the broad window sills. Down the alley Bloem saw the sea, framed like the concrete between the end of the road and the pink and blue horizon.