Overnight

The world is asleep. Well, most of the world is asleep and here I sit watching it go by.  My window faces the highway and I watch the cars and trucks and motorcycles fly by and I find myself wondering who these people are.  What are they thinking? Where are they going?  Where have they been?  Such are the thoughts of a hotel desk clerk. 

Most nights, because that is when I am on the job, drift by without interruption.  Most people are already in their rooms singing the songs of sleep.  But then there are those who, for whatever reason, share my unusual schedule. 

On this particular night, I watch the hour of 2 a.m. slide in and then out again with only the roar of a motorcycle shining with green lights across the bottom fly by on the highway. They are soon followed by a WalMart semi truck and then a state police car.  I take a deep breath and go back to the book I have been trying to read for the past hour with very little luck.  Even though I have the radio set on the local station to ward off the smothering silence of night, I can’t concentrate.  I can’t put my finger on the problem, so I lay the book aside and pull out paper towels and cleaner and head for the door.  When all else fails, wash windows, right?  Ordinarily, this might be a good idea.  Not tonight.

As I spray that familiar strong smelling blue liquid over the window, I notice movement on the other side.  I can’t see clearly because of the washing liquid so I put the paper towel to it quickly.  I rub a fast as I can in one spot so I can see out, but there is nothing there.  I was certain I had seen.. what?  I don’t know, so I shake my head at my own silliness and begin again to clean the window.  Unfortunately for my long night, it didn’t take very long and I was soon putting the bottle of solution back under the counter and tossing away the paper towel.  I decided I may as well attempt to read my book again so I climbed onto the tall chair behind the counter and opened to page 48.  I was finally beginning to gain some interest in the story when I heard the crunch of breaking glass outside.  That did not sound good at all.  I could only imagine some fool kid breaking into the cars of our guests.  I went around the counter toward the door and looked over the parking lot but saw nothing out of the ordinary.  I knew I had heard it, so I opened the door and stepped outside.  I stood for a moment and listened.  There it was.  to my right behind a row of bushes I heard the shuffling of something…or someone…moving slowly.  I was tempted to investigate the sound because I was rarely, if ever, afraid of anything, but something told me this was one of those times to be cautious. 

I quickly hurried inside and went down the hallway to the back of the building where I could see the courtyard behind those same bushes.  There it was.  A shadowed figure was edging it’s way around the courtyard at the edge of the pool.  I backed away from the door so that I would not be seen.  I could see the figure stop at various doors and then move on.  I hurried back to the front where I phoned the police.  They assured me they would be there in a moment.  I stayed behind the counter but kept a watchful eye on the door. 

Only a moment later, I heard someone come in that back door. Thinking it was probably the police I opened the office door leading to the hallway.  The pain in the back of my head took me to blackness.

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