A.J. Walker


December 2021

An Unfamilar Place

Mid Week Flash #229 - 08.12.21

An Unfamiliar Place

Simon woke up feeling pretty rested after a good sleep. He grabbed at the sheets with both his hands feeling the clean linen. He nuzzled into a deep pillow feeling the freshness cold against his skin and smelling the floral aroma. He almost purred like a contented cat.

Until he tried to remember when he’d last changed the sheets. Or indeed whenever his laundry had smelled so nice. He’d had a long few days in work and yesterday had been Wednesday. He only ever changed the linen at the weekend. His face contorted in the early morning effort of thought. Either it was the weekend and he’d somehow forgotten a couple of days or else something had occurred that had made him change the sheets.

Perhaps he’d he pulled. That could have made him put the effort in. Then again there was no prospect of a woman coming around to the house - he hadn’t had a date since Samantha years ago.

He pulled his left hand out from beneath the sheet and blinked as he focussed on his watch: 7:40. The time he usually woke up whether he was working or not. His internal alarm clock was pretty good. He let his hand drop and felt the cover under it. It felt like a thin blanket. He didn’t own a single blanket.

His eyes went up the ceiling, there was an unfamiliar light fitting. He surveyed the room finding it to be a simple square one. A medium sized TV on the opposite wall, a nice deep chair, a wardrobe, a small side table and some curtains. It looked like a hotel room.

He’d been in the office from 9 til 7 the day the previous three days; the only people who could do decent hours were the pointless bosses. C’est la vie. He’d no reason to be in a hotel room. He punched the side of his head hoping to jump start some memory. Nothing.

He jumped out of bed and found he was just wearing his boxer shorts. So far, so normal. All his clothes were folded neatly on the chair, with his usual work shoes beneath. He went over to the curtains and pulled them back to find the window opened to the outside; to a brick wall three metres away. Nothing to indicate where he was.

He pulled at the drawer in the bedside table and found a Gideon Bible but no merchandise. He suddenly wondered where was his phone was, and his jacket. He was never without either other than when he was having a shower. A shower?

There were two doors. One of which looked internal and one that would go to a corridor. He went for the bathroom one first. It was indeed. There was a small sink and two towels and one tiny bar of soap. None marked with a place name.

He pulled back at the shower door above the bath and there was his jacket. He picked it up and urgently went through the pockets and was relieved to find his phone. At least Google Maps could tell him where he was; and maybe some tell tale WhatsApp messages or texts.

The phone was dead. He swore. His only option was to get dressed and leave. He’d probably remember when he looked outside his room. Something would fill in the blanks.

He opened the other door and looked out into an endless empty corridor. It told him nothing. He walked down six floors of stairs. At the ground floor he found a nondescript reception which could be any hotel in the world. If push came to shove he wasn’t entirely sure he was still in the UK.

‘Good evening, sir.’ Said the receptionist.

The clock matched his watch: 8:15. It was evidently p.m.

‘Hi.’ Simon said.

‘Don’t worry about your late check-out. Your boss has paid it. He said it was worth it for all the laughs.’


‘But he says you’ll have to pay for the damage to the chandelier and table, which I dare say is fair enough.’ the receptionist continued.

‘Yes, yes.’ Simon said, completely at a loss.

‘He said you don’t normally go to the company Christmas party - and he now understands why after yesterday’s shenanigans, sir.’

‘A Christmas party!? Was there tequila?’

‘There may have been. Do you want me to check?’

Simon didn’t answer and walked out of the hotel without looking back.

‘I fucking hate Christmas parties.’ They both said.