Full Moon Motel, Claudia Lundahl
Updated: May 19
CW: implied suicide
At the intersection of three dirt roads there is a gas station. Inside the gas station the walls are paneled in oak and there is a full bar complete with some top shelf liquor. You’ve never seen a gas station quite like this. The attendant is dressed in royal blue coveralls speckled with motor oil like blood spatter. He won’t tell you his name but he’ll pour you a double Canadian Club and tell you a story about brothers and forgiveness as you sip your drink. He coughs into his hands mid sentence causing his eyes to water. While he catches his breath you count the liver spots on his bald head. When you pay for the drink at the counter he’ll say, “crows are going crazy again” and you won’t know if that’s a fact or a warning. He’ll look past you, toward the windows so you’ll turn your head and you’ll see them there perched on the gas pumps, and a murder of them circling above you, keeping watch or waiting.
If you head north after leaving the gas station you’ll eventually arrive at the Full Moon Motel. It can only be reached by a single dirt road lined with ancient pines. You’ll smell woodsmoke in the air and you’ll feel cold like your blood is on ice. You’ll want to weep but you won’t. You’ll pull into the gravel parking lot measuring your heart rate against your breath. You won’t have any bags because this isn’t that kind of trip so you’ll take the keys out of the ignition and run your hands through your hair smelling the whiskey on your breath as you try to stay calm.
At the check-in desk there will be a woman whose name is Mathilde and her tortoiseshell cat will hiss at you as you make your way toward them, nervously jangling the change in your pockets. ‘Good evening’ she’ll say and you’ll tell her about your reservation in as little words as possible hoping that your eyes tell her what she needs to know. She will know because she’s been waiting for you and you are her only guest. You’ll sign the tattered ledger and as you scrawl your signature over the yellowed page the cat will mew and rub her face against your hand. Mathilde will say “hush Clochette.”
When you enter Room 13 by turning the steel skeleton key in the locking mechanism of the mahogany door you’ll see a double bed cloaked in a red velvet bedspread and there will be a small desk against the wall. On the desk is a brass candelabra holding a fresh beeswax candle and a coil of braided boating rope with a hangman’s loop already tied at the end. You’ll immediately know what they are for and you’ll inhale deeply before sitting down. This is how you bring your wife back from the dead. You light the candle in Room 13 of the Full Moon Hotel and you can bring her back.
Claudia Lundahl is a writer from New York. She attended the City University of New York at Hunter College. She now lives in London, England with her husband and their two dogs. Find her online at www.claudianlundahl.com.