[If you’ve never read Oasis before, you should start at the beginning. The something is still broken with the image uploading (I can use old ones, just not upload new) so no chapter image until I get it fixed. I think my host is finally starting to go throung those upgrades I talked about a while ago.]
Soap Opera Hotel
Outside the door, Richard and a few of his cronies were huddled in a group, all whispering excitedly. Richard looked up to glare at us as we passed.
Samson gave a nod, like he was just saying hi.
Richard just narrowed his eyes and kept staring.
Samson looked over at me. “Never mind them. They’re just plotting our deaths.”
“Doesn’t that worry you?”
Samson lifted up his arm to display an enormous and hideous scar. “If a hungry crocodile can’t kill me, neither can four overweight lawyers.”
We walked in silence down the hall to the last conference room.
Samson pulled a set of keys from his pocket and opened the door.
“So what’s their problem with you?”
“Power. He and his close buddies crave it more than safety. The trouble is none of ’em are fit to lead.”
I entered the room and took a look around.
Hundreds of boxes were high around the room. Everything from Twinkies to chips to Spam.
“This is one of our two big storage rooms.” Samson closed the door behind him.
Samson locked the door behind us and turned back to me. “No one should interrupt us in here.”
For a moment, I was worried.
Samson was huge, and he looked like he knew how to handle himself in a pinch.
He also didn’t look like someone who ever beat around the bush, so I decided on a direct approach.
“So, why do we need to be in private?”
“A couple of things. First, I just wanted to say thanks. Up until now, Linda had really been the only one willing to speak up on my side of any argument. And you’re responsible for her even being here, too. I appreciate your willingness to do what needs to be done and speak up.”
“How did Linda get here anyway?”
“She spent the one night there with those bozos and then snuck out the next morning. Her ex has a condo about a block and a half away, and that’s where she was headed, when she ran into a group of those things out on the street, and the watchman was actually paying attention, so we got her in. Later on we sent Kevin for her daughter. That kid’s crazier than I used to be. Kevin I mean. Good old Richard just tagged along.”
I could see that he was restraining himself and trying not to get off track.
He had the air of someone who could sit around and tell stories for hours. He probably had plenty to tell, too.
“And Richard is part of the reason I wanted to talk to you.”
“What about him?”
“He’s smarter than he looks, and vindictive as hell. You need to watch your step around him from now on. And watch my back if you get a chance.”
It threw me for a loop. What is he getting at? We just met…
“Look, Corbin. Linda told me what happened back at your apartment building. She told me how well everyone at the hospital speaks of you. I saw it in your eyes when you walked into the hotel. You’re good under pressure, even if you are a little hot-headed.”
I wondered for a moment if she had told him everything I had done at the apartment building.
“I’m serious. There’s only two or three other people that I really feel I can trust here. I need you on my side so that we have a shot at surviving. I joke about it in the hall, but Richard and his friends are always planning something.”
I yawned. “Sorry about that. You’re not boring me. It’s just been a long night.”
Plus, it was getting hot inside.
He smiled. “It’s ok. You deserve some sleep. Go find a room with a bed on the shady side of the hotel and make sure the window’s open. You might be able to catch some sleep.”
Samson moved for the door.
He popped open the door and we walked into the hall.
There was a lot of activity going on. People were bringing boxes of food from downstairs to one of the conference rooms, presumably for lunch.
Richard and his three buddies were at the far end of the hall, walking for the staircase.
The two teenage girls I had arrived with and the two I had met a minute ago were walking down the hall in our direction.
“I’m going to make sure everything got cleaned up down in the hospital section. Come find me when you’re done with your nap.”
The teens walked up to me as soon as Samson disappeared through the closest stairway door.
“Hi Corbin.” Lily looked up at me with big blue eyes and a hungry smile. Like I was made of steak or something.
The other teens just giggled.
“We were, um, wondering if you’d like too, you know, hang out with us for a while?”
I do not need to deal with this right now.
“Thanks, but I’m really tired and I need a nap. Maybe later.”
“Oh, ok. That’s cool. Maybe later then.”
Lily winked at me, and kept smiling.
I smiled back in spite of myself.
The girls giggled off down the hall.
I wondered for a moment how old Lily really was and what she meant by “hang out”, then shook the thought from my head.
Only trouble there.
I passed the room where everyone had been carrying the boxes. Two people were yelling at each other.
Another couple was making out in the hall.
It’s like living in a soap opera.
I wandered my way back to the room where Kevin had put my stuff. Kevin wasn’t there and there were two beds anyway, so I opened a window and collapsed on the nearest bed.
I awoke to a knocking on the door.
To my surprise, a nearby voice called out “Just a minute.”
My eyes snapped open, and my heart jumped.
Kevin was stretching from a nap on the other bed.
I sat up.
Kevin stood. “Hey, how’d you sleep?”
I yawned and shrugged.
He bent over and touched his toes. “I didn’t see a need to wake you up. I’m doing a night run tonight, so I took a nap. Hope that’s not weird for you.”
I yawned again. “It’s fine.”
A couple more knocks on the door.
Kevin stomped over to the door. “Hold on. Sheesh.”
I was only a little surprised when I saw who had been knocking.
Keep reading as Corbin has a pretty sweet dilemma in “Chapter 40: Temptation”