I entered this in the Battle of the Bards competition, under the title, “The Commodity,” so it has a bit more polish than most of my flash fiction. The stipulations were a 300-word limit and it had to contain the words “day” and “night.”
“This one’s no good.” The cinderblock of the hotel’s sub-basement muted Maria’s voice.
“We call them guests.” Vincent’s arms dangled lazily atop the housekeeping cart.
“Don’t be smart. You’re just a day hire.”
“I’ll soon make full-timer. Manager asked the agency especially for me.”
“Did you check the register, smart guy? You’d know this one’s leaving tomorrow.”
Maria flipped the bedsheet off the slumbering conventioneer dumped in the cart’s bin and smoothed out her uniform.
“Should I get another?” Vincent asked.
The steel doors at the end of the hall creaked open, belching ichorous smoke.
Maria shook her head uncertainly.
“Anyway,” Vincent squeaked, “the owner should like him. The maids said he perved on them. He’s totally wasted. Won’t nobody notice if he sleeps in and misses check out.”
“Their souls are supposed to marinate. Hookers. Drugs. Gambling. Tastes better if they’ve done more than a night.”
Low rumbling emanated from the open doorway, reverberating through their bodies, beckoning them. They trundled the cart past Maintenance, past Linens, past the boiler room.
The owner waited in the shadows. A black, glistening appendage extended from the depths beyond and ripped off the sheet. A sucker-like tip prodded the unconscious man’s head. Vincent affected a casual smirk.
Hot vapour blasted out of the darkness as the owner groaned. It withdrew from the guest, slapping the sheet down. The appendage swung to Vincent, wrapping around his head and open mouth, sucker planting on his forehead with a squelch.
Maria spun the cart around and whistled, rolling down the hall while the owner pulled Vincent into its suite. His soul would be succulent. Anyone so casual about this service was nicely tenderized already. It would take Vincent maybe a week to recover. That was alright. He was just a day hire.