Everything was squeaky clean, and it made no sense. This was just a random motel at the side of a highway. As I walked into the room I was staying for the night, not one sound could be heard. Not even the crickets! The breeze was cool, but I could hear no wind or leaves dancing with it. All of the doors in the open hallway were the same. A balcony to my right, looking towards the small pool, every 2 meters a silver, metal door on my left, letting no light inside the rooms or letting any clue if there was someone in there or not to the outside world. I shivered, thinking about walk-in freezers, and walked faster.
As I struggled to open the metal door to my own room, a smell of bleach ripped away my ability to breathe. The door did not even squeak as it opened, considering how heavy it was. The room it led to was, surprising, to say the least. First of all, the moment I opened the door I felt tiny needles rushing to my face and hands, it was freezing. Secondly, it was much classier than I had anticipated for a roadside motel. Burrowing even further to my thin coat, I stepped inside with wide eyes, not sure if I was dreaming or not. I felt more then heard the door close behind me, more silently than I thought it would have. As I walked on the dark, wooden floor, I felt like a mouse sneaking around. There was no creaking on the floor, I gazed longingly to the king-sized bed before me. There was a kitchen worth for Michelin chefs right across the bed. Stuck right on the wall was a knife display. All with shining steel and black grips. The fridge was definitely not a minibar. I heard my briefcase hitting the ground and I opened the fridge. And closed it back immediately with a small yelp. I rushed to the bathroom to wash my face, to wake up if this was a dream. There were plastic tarps covering the walls and the floor so that thought went fleeting away as I ran and got my briefcase and jumped outside.
“Let me know whatever you need!” the old lady at the front desk had said but there was… No one around? No one out to get some snacks from the automat or some ice from those ice “closets” a body can easily fit in, no lovers fooling around in the pool. No one I could ask for a damn explanation for what I had seen. So, I walked to the front desk. The lady was whispering on the phone.
“No. It begins early in the morning… No, we’ll provide them this year so everyone has a chance. You can still check in… Yes, sir, the stage is all ready! Glad to hear that. Your room will be ready”. She immediately turned to me as she hung up the phone. I didn’t even have time to process what she could have been talking about.
“Yes, dear boy, what can I help you with?”
“Hi, I was wondering why there are plastic tarps covering my whole bathroom?” I tried to say as steadily as I could muster.
“Look at you, you’re shivering as we speak”, she disappeared for a second and came back with a big blanket. “Here ya go. Now you can get a good night of sleep before tomorrow!” She laughed and handed me the blanket.
“A New Day of course!” I sighed and held the blanket closer to me.
“Why are there tarps covering my bathroom and dead animals in my fridge?” I asked again, firmly this time.
“For A New Day, I told you,” she replied. As if that answered all of my questions. I was already wondering if 150 bucks was worth being killed for. I could just sleep in my freezing car, just for tonight? It was warmer than this place. I could ask the company for compensation. They were the ones who sent me to bumfuck nowhere for a conference. With a cheap, old car that barely worked .
“That’s very obvious, yes. Tomorrow is a new day.”
“Exactly, we have been waiting for that for a year now.”
“What do you mean?”
“A New Day, comes every year to this town. It’s a big deal for the townsfolk and I don’t mind the money it brings me.”
I tried to form a polite smile as I put down the blanket, but it probably looked like more of a grimace. I walked back to my car as if that old lady could even catch me.
I woke up the next day with the sound of knocking on the car window. That explained the weird dream I had about woodpeckers. I saw the repair service truck with blurry eyes, so I got out of the car yawning and apologizing to the burly old man with a handlebar mustache.
“It’s no problem son, sorry it took this long to come by. We needed to have all our strength today for A New Day” he said. I nodded and smiled politely. Didn’t these people know every day was a new day? Hell, if I knew, I only knew I had to get out of this old people smelling, murderous town before I got... You know… Murdered or sacrificed for their “new day”. The old man’s eyes kept gazing between me, the motel, and the car.
“You’re not staying?”
“Oh, unfortunately not,” I would rather not get killed.
He mumbled under his breath and kept meddling with the car.
After a few more silent minutes, I realized some noises coming from the motel. I perked up like a dog and tried to listen, but it was mostly static noise. The man smiled.
“Oh, it’s starting,” and started working even faster.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what is?” I said feeling like a small child, “starting I mean?” He just laughed and closed the hood of the car.
“You’re all set here boy, I should go now,” he said, his hands greasing the towel he had in his pocket. I gave him some cash and he left without even checking if it was the right amount. I had never seen an old man move so fast. I looked around to find a clue.
The motel, contrary to last night, was buzzing with life. I could faintly hear a static buzzing and people were lining up the street. Most of them were wearing bright colours and black gloves and everyone had a plastic bag. Some goo seemed to be dripping to the street. My heartbeat sped up as my Fight or Flight response kicked in. Speeding through the highway, I needed a distraction from whatever had happened. I turned on the radio and hit the brakes when I heard the livestream. I was a huge idiot, a really stupid boy. A band. It was a freaking death metal band. The poster towered upon me from the roadside.
A NEW DAY
(Bring Your Own Carcass)