I had just swung my other leg over the top of the fence when the
biting wind slappedme. Before I beganmy descent I took in the view
from my vantage point. The night was clinging to everything,
wrapping me in its icy darkness and enveloping everything around
me along with it. Only the opposing force of moon was enough to
pierce the gloom. Not that I would necessarily describe the night as
gloomy. While some may consider the grounds of the abandoned
California Motor Inn that currently stretched out before me to be
desolate, decrepit and deserted, I considered it to be a forest. A forest
with trees of dilapidated brick and leaves of remnants of past visitors,
long forgotten in time. And like all forests, it had its secrets still left
Once over, I scannedmy eyes across the empty car park. Shattered
glass glittered on the pavement and the overgrown trees seemed as
if they were bursting to escape their confines. The white graffiti
reflecting the moon’s light from the rooves of the buildings,
projecting the word ‘void’ into the night seemed almost amusing to
me. In a way this place felt like a void, sucking in wanderers and
wayfarers, deranged enough to think about drifting inside. I lifted
my camera to capture my first picture of the night, the shutter
echoing through the near silence. I say ‘near silence’ because
somewhere close by, an incessant hiss was ringing out into the night.
Rounding the corner I see the hooded figure standing there,
spray can in hand. I stood and observed as finishing touches were
added, a few more stokes of silver paint. Standing back to admire
their work, big letters spelling out the words ‘Motel Hell.’
‘You do know vandalism’s illegal?’ I asked.
‘You do know breaking and entering’s illegal,’ the hooded figure
retorted without even glancing my way.
‘I haven’t actually broken anything yet,’ I added. At that point she
finally decided to turn around to acknowledge me.
‘You’re missing out on all the fun then,’ she smirked. Without
warning she lifted her arm back before hurtling the spray can as hard
as she could. It sailed through the air before colliding with a wall and
hitting the ground in a clamour. After a few seconds of stunned
silence I whipped back around to find out what her problem was,
but she had already disappeared inside. I lifted my camera to take a
photo of the fresh vandalism and began walking before I could give
myself enough time to question why I was following her into the motel.
Isobelle Carmody Award
for Creative Writing