Olympia USA Denmark Plus 3-Piece Expandable Hardside Luggage Set

  • Three sizes, from big ol’ boi to kewt lil fella
  • Patented hidden compartment in the carry-on for easy access
  • Hard-sided to protect your stuff
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Can they make a margarita: No, but they can sit next to you while you enjoy an airport margarita that costs $49 despite the fact that you watch the bartender pour it straight from a pre-mixed bottle
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Ghastly Comfort XIV

Dearest Mother,

I write to report that I have experienced something different and unwelcome here in this inn that was gifted to me by an unsigned letter: sadness.

This might surprise you. Not the sadness itself, but that it would be an uncommon feeling in such a place as this. After all, gray clouds forever crowd the sky here, and the sea seems to be always in tumult at the base of the cliff upon which our fine establishment is perched.

Yet I say without hesitation, this is a place of joy. The air grows thick with it.

The families enjoying a meal together in the dining room, the young couples walking the grounds hand-in-hand, the men in the bowler hats with matching tattoos beneath their right eyes who communicate not with words but a series of humming noises that seem to emanate from their chests more than their mouths, the people who stop and stare into the ornate mirror hanging in the third-floor hallway and then fall into fits of hysterical laughter that can only be lifted by a tincture Hugo concocts in his room and which he refers to (somewhat offensively) as “the clown cure”–all these people emanate happiness.

And I thought a recent guest might be the happiest visitor of all. More than ninety years old, her eyes beamed with an adolescent excitement when she told me, upon checking in, that she had grown up in these parts and had come back to reconnect with her estranged fiancé. I confess, for many of the following days, I left my office and made myself busy in the halls and common areas, hoping I could witness this reunion and watch as the two of them bridged the years apart from each other, a valuable reminder that there is no such thing as ‘too late’ when it comes to love.

Only, this did not happen. The woman wandered the grounds alone, looking more desperate with each passing day. Finally, when she had been here for over a week, a dense fog rolled in. At night, having returned to my office dejected, I watched through the window as she strolled out into it. From the haze emerged a man–far too young to be her former beau–with a hitched left shoulder. He held out his arm for her to take and they walked somberly away in the direction of the cliff before disappearing into the gloom.

My theory is that this young man is the husband of the woman’s granddaughter. I only came to this conclusion a few days after seeing them together, when, having not observed her making her rounds since that night, I went to her room to check in on her. She was not there, but her bags remained. One was open, and in it, I saw a number of novelty photographs made to look very old. All of them showed the same two people–a young woman who looked much like my guest (the granddaughter, I think), and the young man with a shoulder hitch (her husband, presumably)–always done up in period garb, pieces of a fashion that has not been in style for nearly eighty years. They were very convincing. Someone had even gone so far as to falsely date them on the back!

It seemed reasonable enough that, worried about her grandmother, the woman in the photograph sent her husband to pick her up. In the rush, they left behind her things. I voiced this hypothesis to the authorities, who I called to do my due diligence. The responding officer doubted it, claiming the man in the photograph to be Richard Cantling, seventy-five years dead. He had taken his sailboat out one day, as local legend went, and the next morning it washed up on the shore with poor Richard facedown in it. The officer’s own grandfather, the local doctor at the time, had done the autopsy, and the things he discovered during that process sent him into a state of shock from which he never recovered. In the years after performing the autopsy, the once happy man of medicine spoke only in a series of dreary heroic couplets concerning the entrails of a swordfish, a poem it seemed, though no one in the family has ever been able to find it in writing.

At any rate, the situation is out of my hands now. But what is not out of my possession is the guest’s aforementioned bags. They really are a nice set! Made by Olympia, hard-sided, easy to maneuver, and dare I say stylish, I will not be too disappointed if I must keep these for myself. Perhaps, I will take them with me when I visit you and father. Or, I could send them to you, and you could finally make the trip here with them!

Please mother: I know father is hesitant to leave the stables to anyone else’s care, but I would really love to see you two and moreover would love for you to see what a wonderful life I have built here. Let me know when works and I will prepare my nicest suite.

Miranda Prillchisky
The Dread Inn at Death Rock

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