At five o’clock in the afternoon, Rion emerged from his room. The conventioneers would be at the seminar or at dinner. It was the best chance he was going to get.
No one was there to see him creep to Room 103. The door flashed green when he inserted his stolen key. Jeez, didn’t they fix the door? Didn’t Paul tell anyone that someone broke into his room?
Still, he slid into the door and shut it quietly behind him.
He heard a woman gasp. Memory was sitting at the table.
“You,” she said.
This was unexpected, but not an obstacle. “Are you all right?” Rion asked.
“I should be asking you that,” she answered. “How did you? I mean, he-“
“I’m all right. It wasn’t as bad as it looked.”
“There… there was blood everywhere. I-” Her eyes welled up.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” he raised his hand. “Don’t worry. I’m fine.”
“There’s no way you could heal that fast. You’re not… a ghost or something?”
Rion snickered. “No, I’m not a ghost.” Although that thought hadn’t occurred to him. What if he was an undead spirit sent to avenge people? “I’m just special, I guess.”
“How do you get in here?”
“I have a key. I don’t know why, but it still works in your door. But that’s not important.”
“You better get out of here. Paul… I don’t know when he’ll be back, but he-“
“Yeah, I know,” Rion said.
“He might try to kill you.”
Rion breathed deep. Those were the consequences, if he failed.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked as she stood up. “You should get out. You should-“
She put a hand to her stomach, as if it hurt.
Rion scowled. “That’s why,” he pointed out. Memory looked away and sat down. Rion said, “He never does it so it’s visible. He’s careful that way, isn’t he?”
Memory said nothing.
“Look, you’re right. It really is nothing to me. I’ve only spent a few moments with you. But I know you don’t deserve this. No one does. And the only reason is that you’ve gotten trapped. You need someone to help.”
“But you’re just a kid,” she said. “You don’t get anything from helping me. I can’t pay you. I’m not even worth saving.”
“That’s not true,” Rion said.
“But I don’t know what to do. I can’t- I can’t- I mean, I’ve tried, but he’s so-“
“I know,” Rion said. “That’s where I come in. Honestly, I don’t know why I’m doing this either. But it feels right, and I have to follow my feelings. I could leave this hotel right now, and never look back. But then,” he said, “I’d always have the memory.”
Memory smiled. That sweet, soft smile, framed by her soft, pink lips. It made Rion melt.
“You’re not gonna do anything… dangerous…” she said. “I mean, he deserves it, but I don’t want you-“
“Shhh,” he said, and put a finger to her lips. “No more questions. I have a plan. I have it covered. But… well, you’re not a part of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“You need to get out of here. Do you have anywhere you can go?”
“Um, I’m not sure. I mean, I-“
“Just for tonight. Some other motel, maybe.”
“I don’t have any money though. He pays for everything.” Rion rolled his eyes. “And I don’t know the city. I wouldn’t know where to go-“
Rion sighed. He took the remaining money out of his pocket. “Here, take this.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Take it. Don’t pretend to refuse it to be polite, I don’t have time to argue. Just take it.”
Memory took the extended cash.
“Go outside and find a taxi. Tell him to take you to the other side of town. Go to the movies or a sports event. Somewhere a lot of people can see you. And get receipts for everything.”
“I need my stuff,” she said, “My toothbrush, my-“
“No time, and you don’t really need it. You’ll come back in the morning. All right?”
“Is… is he going to be here when I get back?”
“Don’t know,” Rion shrugged. “That depends on him.”
Memory looked like she was trying to think of a way out, but couldn’t find one. Rion knew that her instincts were telling her ‘yes’, but her fear was telling her ‘no’.
“Just trust me,” Rion said.
Memory nodded. She put the money in her pocket and left without another word. Rion sighed. He felt too much like Paul, using force and threats to get what he wanted. It was too easy to manipulate her like that.
He overviewed the room, looking for where the personal items were. They had brought a lot of stuff for a three-day weekend. He touched his pocket and felt the pill bottle. Hopefully, he wouldn’t need all of them.