GENRE: Fantasy (Magical Realism)
Dean Adams leaned against the door of his rental car, squinted at the glowing orb behind the overcast, and examined the building. Squatting on a grassy knoll above the parking area, the hotel reminded him of a sprawling English manor house. The two wings of rooms bracketing each end reached out toward him like the forelegs of a crouching stone beast. The third floor dormer windows protruded like eyes. A shiver whisked across his shoulders. Looks like it either wants to eat me or hug me.
His friend Tom, a Portland native, had suggested the hotel as a comfortable, but unusual place to stay while Dean attended the National Journalists’ Convention. “A departure from the ordinary … with a checkered past,” he’d said with an enigmatic smile.
Dean read on the website that it used to be some kind of county institution. Two locals had renovated the abandoned derelict, converting it into a quaint inn. It certainly exuded an air of mystery. And something else.
He rubbed his puffy eyelids and shifted his gaze to the center entry. The mouth of the creature. A spacious veranda with a wide flight of stairs funneled guests through brass-framed double doors. The red-lettered sign over the gray portico read EDGEFIELD.
Every path wound toward the hotel’s main entrance. Guess I don't have much of a choice. At least it’s got a bar. He sighed, shut the car door, and muttered, “What the hell did I get myself into?”