“Damn it, Jennifer!” The man threw the book he was reading aside, causing the young woman at the vanity to jump and flinch. “Just shut up!”
Jennifer shut her mouth so quickly that the sound of her teeth clacking together could be heard across the room. “Sorry, Jared,” she said meekly, keeping her eyes down, not wanting to catch his eye in the mirror.
“This place is stupid,” The large man on the bed sulked. “The TV doesn’t work, the phones are out and those damned kids will not quit running up and down the hall” He grumbled. “The food better be pretty damn fantastic.”
Jared had only come here because Jennifer had begged him to take her somewhere. She whined about how all her friends’ boyfriends took them on vacations and trips and romantic weekends to New Hampshire. How he hated to hear about her friends. The whole lot of them were nothing but greedy little bitches.
To be honest he hated just about everything. His boss was an ass, his co-workers no better than cattle, his neighbors were a bunch or prying old bats and boring old men, if they were not obnoxious yuppies and pathetic housewives with mewling screaming brats.
Thinking of brats, a thump followed by a giggle in the hall had him heaving himself off the bed. He was going to put the fear of God into those kids. Or at least the fear of Jared.
Jennifer kept quiet as he threw open the door, banging it against the wall far louder than anything the children had done, and leaned out into the hallway.
Jared took a breath, ready to tear the offending children new assholes, but stopped open mouthed. The hallway was completely empty.
He slammed the door in frustration and angrily grabbed his shoes. “I am going to eat dinner. What time is it?”
Jennifer looked at her watch and quietly answered, “5:30.” When Jared did not answer her, she added, “I’m not hungry yet, you go on.”
He still didn’t respond, just banged the door open again and headed down stairs. He was hungry, and tired and wishing he had not let her talk him into this trip. In the lobby he once again heard the giggle of the children and could have sworn he even felt them push past him, but no one was there.
In the dining room, only one other person was seated at a table. The middle aged man read a newspaper and seemed to be ignoring everything else around him. Jared tried to stifle the hot flare of annoyance at that. He tried to tell himself that there was no way it mattered what the man did or did not do, but it was still there.
The anger was always there. Jennifer, his job, his commute, the bills in the mail, all of it made him angry. He could feel it eating away at him night and day. Even his dreams were full of anger.
“Did you see those kids come in here?” Jared asked as he grabbed a plate and began lifting lids on the heating table trays. No answer.
“Those kids yours?” He tried again and the other man simply rattled his paper loudly as he turned the page. Jared tried to stifle the burning rage that threatened to bubble up at that.
Every tray had now been opened and Jared found that every single item was something he hated. Enchiladas, bread pudding, Brussels sprouts, cabbage. He threw his plate down on the nearest table, hearing it rattle and crack. He could have sworn he smelled steaks when he had checked in. He was going to have to drive back into town if he wanted food it seemed.
Patting his pockets, he found that he did have the car keys with him. Jennifer wouldn’t miss him if he went back to the nearest town and got a pizza. She was probably sitting up in their room thinking about how everyone else went to a better resort, or a better lake or whatever whiny thought she was having. He stepped outside into the sinking sun. The shadows were getting longer and Jared wondered how long it had taken him to get from his room to the car? It seemed much later than 5:30.
In his truck, he jammed the key into the ignition and turned it, expecting the roar of the over-sized engine. Nothing. Not even a tick, but the fan turned on, blowing tepid air into his face. The air coming from the vent smelled foul, like something had died in the cabin.
Gagging, the big man opened the door and crawled out in a less than graceful way. He gulped great lungs full of the night air and tried to get the horrible smell out of the back of his throat. It clung to him like a mist. He felt his head throb as the anger rose to a new pitch.
The interior light from the car flickered and died as he stood in the cooling night air. It was dark. Everything had changed, the warm summer night was distinctly cool and a pale yellowish moon peaked above the tops of now bare trees; something dark slipped from the shadows. A large black dog. It barked once.