To make a long story short, Mum lost her job at the agency and we were living in a somewhat cramped apartment until she could find a new one. Honestly though, I kind of liked it there. The silence was quite lovely and there was a beautiful view of the sea just miles away.
Every morning, Mum would go out job hunting. "Bye bye, Poppet," she used to say. She used my nickname. I scrunched my nose playfully and waved goodbye as she left.
Around the time when we first moved in, I would go exploring the hotel. I had visited nearly every floor except for one. Whenever I asked the management, however, they claimed it didn't exist. Floor 13. However, I always heard a thumping noise coming from above me, and Mum and I live on the 12th floor. So, if floor 13 didn't exist, where was the thumping coming from?
It wasn't until late October that year when I finally went to look (there was also a #13 on the elevator). Of course, I wasn't alone. My friend Victoria who had also moved in recently was curious as well.
"Tori, are you sure this isn't a bad idea?" I asked.
"Trisha, we've got to figure out what's up there. Maybe a homeless person needs help," she said, with genuine kindness. I always envied that. No matter how hard you tried to piss her off, she'd remain just as kind to you as the first day you met her.
We both looked at each other for a moment until Tori pressed '13' on the number pad. The two of us waited silently until the elevator began to bounce a few times, causing us to scream a bit. It finally stopped and Tori and I laughed at how scared we were. For a moment, it moved normally as we ascended for floor 13.
The doors opened to a dimly lit hallway. Tori and I took each other's hands and slowly walked out of the elevator.
"I'm beginning to think this is a very bad idea," I mumbled.
Tori rolled her eyes. "Please, Patricia." She had started using my full name to express seriousness. "There's nothing to be worried about."
"Then why did the management lie about this floor?" I asked.
"Really? Look at this place, it's a mess! No wonder they wanted it to be kept a secret."
We were silent as we approached the apartment above mine, #333. How ironic it was. Gooseflesh showered my skin. Now I suddenly hated living in apartment #233. Tori reached for the doorknob when I stopped her.
"You know as well as I do that I'm not that religious, Tori, but haven't you heard of the legends of 'Halfway to Hell?'" I asked her.
She groaned. "Trisha, get a grip... And no, I haven't heard it."
"'333' represents halfway to hell. 666 is Hell."
Tori ignored my pleas and reached for the doorknob again. But once she touched it, she jerked her hand back, tears forming at the edge of her eyes. "You see? I told you!" I said to her. "That's not it at all, it burned my hand, just that." she said. I frowned, "Then we should go back."
"There is no way I'm going back there after all the courage it took for us to just get in the elevator."
She scrunched her face, and soon after that I did as well. A horrid scent filled my nostrils, I almost threw up right there.
"Dear God, what is that wretched stench?!" Tori cried out. I turned my head to see a shadowed image meters away from us. "Tori..." I mumbled. She turned her head as well and froze at the spot. "I think we should go now."
"Yes!" I said and turned to the elevator. Pressing every button, "Dammit! It's not working!" she cried. The shadowed figure began to limp towards us and moan. "Work! Work!" I screamed. Soon, Tori began screaming as my vision faded to black, still hearing the screams.
"Trisha... Trisha!" Tori shook me awake. I wasn't in floor 13. I was in my bed. Like it had never happened. Was it a dream?
"Come on, we both decided to go and explore floor 13 today, remember?" she asked.
"Tori, are you sure this isn't a bad idea?"
"Trisha, we've got to figure out what's up there. Maybe a homeless person needs help."