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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.

Motel Hell

Annie Gleisner

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing