The shift seemed to drag on that night, my coffee had gone stale and there was nothing to amuse me apart from a meagre cluster of people who liked to congregate outside the doors, for light I assumed.
Unnoticed to anyone but me the lady of the night cascaded her lean body down the grand staircase towards my direction. Dressed in a crumpled black garment and scuffed well worn shoes she fluttered her weary eyes and began to smile as she got closer. I tried to speak as little as possible to her as I didn’t want to get a reputation speaking to scarlet women. Justifying her reasons for being in the hotel I nodded my head gave her a sympathetic look back. She mentioned that I should go and check the room that she had attended and then proudly began to make her way to the door, drained yet glad to be leaving the hotel doors.
I decided to take the lady’s advice and made my way up the never ending staircase to the fifth floor. Out of breath and now very thirsty I approached the door with its shinny handle apprehensive as to what was waiting for me. I twisted the door handle and commenced into the room. The first thing that hit me was the smell. Fragrances of men’s aftershave and women’s cheap perfume mixed with stale smoke and sweat. The room was obscure; the lighting was nothing but a tiny ray of light beaming through a small parting in the curtain. My hand slid up the wall to find the switch I turned it on but to my amazement there wasn’t as much mess as what I had anticipated.
The bed sheets where still warm and looked like they had been slept in or maybe something more. As my eyes made there way round the room I noticed the various cups and saucers, beer cans, half empty wine bottles, cigarette butts and discarded food on trays. These people had no regard for what state they kept the room in as long as they were having a good time. I looked down at my feet only to find numerous stains, food trodden into the carpet and ash scattered throughout. There were draws half open with abandoned socks crumpled up and left; the wardrobe door fully open but bare with only a scatter of coat hangers on the rail. My attention was distracted from the sate of the room by the persistent drip of water I herd coming from the bath room.
On entry the bath room smelt clean and fresh with citrus smells in the air, the taps where still shining and had there bright silver ping. The floor was wet and wasn’t getting any dryer, a simple toilet blockage was all that was wrong with the room, or at least I thought. I strolled back into the bedroom where the dirty smell hit me again and grabbed a discarded coat hanger and made my way back into the bathroom. I placed one of the crisp white towels down onto the floor so I could kneel and bent the coat hanger into a hook shape and placed the bin bag on my hand so I could unblock the toilet.
At first nothing but the feeling of cold water and plastic against my bare skin, then I felt that I had burst something soft. To my amazement what looked like blood started to disperse from the bottom of the toilet, the smell of iron soon filled my nostrils; it was definitely blood. My heart raced and I started to sweat and panic what could it have been I asked my self. Nothing could have prepared me for what I pulled out of the toilet, A Human Heart! I lifted it up and took a good glance at it making sure that I wasn’t seeing things. It didn’t look as though it had been there for very long as it was still a peachy colour.
A joke maybe, I was half expecting hear a laugh from behind me but none came. I stood up still with the thing in my hand, my stomach churned and my hands jerked. I took a nervous glance around bathroom, at this point the bathroom didn’t look so clean, and I didn’t feel it either. I paced to the main door passing through the various smells and ruffled bed sheets to take a look out of door into the hall way, it was clear so I ran. I panicked, what was I doing? A stocky black man holding a human heart in a plastic bag running with a guilty look; didn’t look so good in my eyes.
Thoughts where racing through my head, who’s heart was this and why was it there. I felt as though my own heart was in my mouth, I could almost hear the thud echo in the elevator.
Someone had been killed and there must be a body around some where. I walked through to the staff rooms to tell my manager of my discovery. Slickly dresses with a sharp suit and smile he greeted me and sat me down in the office. I began to tell him what I had found; I wiped the nervous sweat off my forehead and tried to relax so that he could understand what I was trying to say. It was strange but he had no reaction on his face and all that he could mutter to me was “what goes on in a hotel rooms, stays in a hotel room” like this was a regular occurrence.
I stopped to think for a moment but demanded that legal action should be take, my mangers slick smile soon turn into a cold look, knowing full well I was an illegal immigrant he dialled 999 and passed the phone over to me, expecting me to say what I had discovered. I didn’t want to risk my life and get sent back to my own country for the sake of this so I put the phone down and he knew that I would do this.
I leaped out of my seat in rage my height towering over him but his weight over shadowing me. His eyes met mine and he raised one eyebrow as though he was slightly amused by my actions. I was in a rampage and chucked is prized mangers desk with his tacky photo frame and souvenirs to the other end of the room, I soon got his full attention.
I felt his clammy hands around my neck, stubby, fingers stabbing into my cheek and the words how dare you ringing in my ear. I tired to shove him off me but his over sized gut was restraining me. I felt his harsh breath on ma face as he spoke. He knew full well of my situation in this country and could think of nothing better to say than “I could have you deported for this!” His sweaty double chinned face was all I could see as I didn’t want to make eye contact with his beady eyes.
I straighten my suit out as did he when he backed away. He picked the bag up with the heart visible through it and chucked it down bin shoot like it was an ordinary piece of rubbish . My heart sank and I felt like I had failed the non existent person and that I had done wrong in the eyes of the law. If I was to stay in this country I would have to keep the guilt of a death on my shoulders and live a silenced life, but that’s the price I will have to pay. I came to England thinking I was going to be starting a better life, but its not going as well as I’d anticipated.
His smoke stained teeth grinned as I was inhaling second hand smoke from the fumes of his cheap cigar. “You no where there door his”, his face so close to mine I could see the trickles of sweat on fore head. He had shoved me out of his office like he shoved the heart down that shoot, relentlessly. He obviously didn’t care as long as his greed for power and money was being met and nothing bad was bothering him. I pondered for a moment thinking what I should do next, but what could I do? My voice is not meant to be heard.
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