As promised a long time ago, this is the first part of Gemini Mall. It’s called The Girl in the Motel.
He stormed through the corroded metal doors, stirring up dust that had long settled on the aged carpet of the decaying Gemini Motel. One thing was on his mind: a key. Looking left and right, he scanned the room for any possible places he could look. To his left was a small desk, possibly once for a computer angry guests could contact costumer support with. To his right was the main desk, where young greeters and receptionists would have sat, welcoming tired guests after long days of travel. And directly ahead, two stone girls loomed over him, holding hands as they watched the small lobby. Their eyes were dark and barren, the gems they once contained being long ripped from their sockets. He stared at them for a moment, being frozen in place as if turned to stone himself.
Shaking away his fear, he turned to his right, and began searching the welcome area. He set his backpack down on the desk, which was surprisingly free of dust and mold, and smelled of lemon. Carefully stepping over shards of glass from a shattered window nearby, he walked behind the desk, taking aim at a small drawer beneath the tabletop. Using a small knife he pulled from his pocket, he tried to open the drawer, jiggling the blade inside the keyhole. It wouldn’t budge. He took the knife out and reinserted it, this time using more force in an attempt to break the lock from the inside. Nothing. In frustration, he hit the desk with the flashlight he held in his left hand, sending cobwebs shooting in every direction from under the desk. The noise radiated across the room and out the shattered windows and corroded doors.
“Shit,” he exclaimed, quickly covering his mouth as he spoke. All went silent. Tap. Tap. Tap. Water from a leaky pipe above hit the ground, creating the only noise in the entire building. He held his breath and listened: a bird chirped outside, the pipe dripped, and a gentle whoooo sound came from an empty hallway, most likely the work of the wind. Then, the lobby went dark, for a short instant. The shattered window had been covered up, but just as quick as it appeared, whatever had covered it up was gone.
“Very funny, guys!” He said, looking out the window which had just gone dark only a second before. He walked towards it, being engulfed by the damp gray carpet which had the consistency of quicksand.
“I know it’s you, Ben,” He yelled, trying to explain his experience in his mind. He looked out the window, looking towards his car, which was parked at the end of the parking lot. Much to his terror, both his partners Ben and Jan were still in the car, bopping their heads to the beat of whatever song was playing inside the silver windows. His heart was pounding. His teeth were clenched. But he had to find the key. His fans were counting on him.
He walked back to the desk, his entire body trembling as if an earthquake had just occurred. He resumed searching the area, checking the walls for any sign of a safe where keys could be held. Picking up only dust as he ran his finer against the flowery wallpapers on the wall, he gave up. He twisted his body to look around the room from the new angle: there was a hallway he hadn’t seen before, leading to a small silvery door which glimmered from the light which radiated from the single window. He walked towards it, walking around the carpet spots that closely resembled quicksand. As he walked closer, he heard another noise. Footsteps. Carefully, he pressed his ear against the door to try to hear where the footsteps were coming from. On the other side of the door, he heard someone run past, their footsteps clomping as they stepped. The color drained from his face, freezing himself in place. Struggling, he reached for his phone, dialed Jan, and put it at his chest. Ring ring. Ring Ring. He tried to listen to the footsteps to see if they were coming from Jan, who always refused to let her phone hear her side. As he listened, he heard nothing.
“Hello?” A girls voice radiated around the room, sending shivers up his spine. He threw his phone to his ear, hoping Jan had answered and that voice belonged to her. Ring ring. Ring ring. His chest pounded as he tried to look around the corner to see if there was someone in the lobby with him. There was a creepy, almost ominous tone to the voice, and it sent his brain into overdrive.
“Hello?” The voice spoke again. The person was directly behind him on the other side of the door. He held in a scream, keeping the room deathly silent.
“Hey Jack, are you okay??” Another voice broke the silence. He looked down to see Jan’s face on his phone looking back at him. He pressed his body against the door, hoping to block the voice from getting any closer. He held the phone to his face and spoke.
“Yeah, still trying to find that key…” He said, looking to his side. He heard more footsteps from behind him as the voice ran from the door. He sighed.
“You look pretty shaken. Want us to come help?” Jan asked, looking concerningly at Jack’s face.
“No, no, no, no,” He said, more aggressively than he had intended, “I can do this alone.”
“You sure?” She raised one eyebrow at him, still sensing his concern, “if it’s too dangerous we can go find another place to film.”
“No, it’s fine. The fans are counting on me… ahem, us…. to explore this place,” Jack responded. He pressed his ear against the door again, listening for the footsteps which had stopped only a moment ago. In the distant, he heard a faint whisper, though he couldn’t make out what had been said. And then, a door closed.
“I just say a person run out from the side of the building into the forest. Are you sure it’s okay?” Jan said, worry filling her own voice.
“Yeah, I just scared a homeless lady out of here. It’s clear now.”
“Jack, I know your fans have wanted you to explore this area for years, but I don’t want you or us to die here,” Jan sounded really worried right now.
“It’ll be fine, Jan. If you don’t want to help, then you can stay out in that car. I need to do this for the fans, and I can do it myself.”
“What’s gotten into you lately, Jack?” Jan started, but was quickly interrupted by Ben.
“Jan, let’s not get into this now. Let’s just go film the video and then we can sort this out,” Ben said, jumping into the camera’s view.
“Yeah, also I just got us into the motel.” Jack slipped his hand down, and grabbed the doorknob, opening the door to reveal a once-glorious courtyard. The rooms of the motel all faced the courtyard, create a scene that was actually kind of beautiful.
“Okay, we’ll be there in a minute,” Ben said, hanging up the call before Jan and Jack could argue any more.
“Holy shit,” Jack exclaimed as he put his phone down. He was still shaking from the events only moments in the past, but he had a new bode of confidence as his partners were on their way. He smiled at the thought, but shook it off. Work still had to be done, his fans still had to be pleased.
He ran back to the lobby, catching a glimpse of Ben and Jan walking towards the entrance. He grabbed his backpack, and waited for them at the corroded metal doors.
“Look at this place!” Ben exclaimed, looking inside the lobby towards the two stone girls. He had his own camera in his left hand, and a military grade flashlight in his right. He walked inside, leaving Jack and Jan behind to snap a picture of the stone figures.
“Hey,” Jack said to Jan, who looked both angered and fearful.
“Hey,” she said back, walking inside without looking back towards Jack. He looked down at the cracked sidewalk, then followed her in.
“Be careful, Ben. I’ve still got a bad feeling about this place,” Jan said, taking her own camera out of her backpack which she had set in the same spot Jack set his.
“You’re like a kid!” Jack commented as Ben stared at the statues, reaching up to their shoulders in an attempt to climb the figures. As he said that, Ben stopped and looked back at him.
“Should we start?” Jan said, holding the camera to her face.
“Yeah,” Jack said, switching his camera to the video setting. He began recording, beginning with the intro he said before every exploration.
“Hey guys, welcome to the Gemini Motel. Abandoned since 2003, it’s sat in the parking lot of the Gemini Mall slowly decaying and rotting away, being reclaimed by nature. This is Ben this is Jan, I’m Jack, and this is JBJ UrbEx. Let’s take a look.” Slowly, the trio moved through the lobby, snapping pictures and taking video of every inch of the space. Then, the moved into the main part of the motel, and began documenting it all.
“Whoa, this motel is huge!” Ben said, looking up towards the sky and the third floor of rooms which surrounded the courtyard.
“Yeah, it’s gigantic for a motel in the parking lot of a mall,” Jan said, “It’s really pretty too, for a decaying motel.”
The courtyard itself was vibrant and filled to the brim with plants and life. Although the river which had once snaked through the courtyard had long been drained, native wildlife had overtaken the riverbed and created a snaking meadow. Another statue of two girls stood in the center of the courtyard, their eyes also long stolen from their sockets.
“They don’t have eyes either…” Jan studied the statue, looking up and down at the moss and mold which was overtaking the two girls.
“Probably stolen by some scrapper I would assume,” Jack responded, trying to keep his camera as steady as possible.
The trio walked along the perimeter of the courtyard, keeping away from the overgrown plants that had begun to overtake the pathways. The stonework on the ground was faded, but small diamond carvings could be still be seen through the decay. A nice little touch.
“Should we venture into one of the rooms?” Ben said, moving his camera to face Jack, who turned his body away in response.
“Sure, let’s try to get one open,” Jack responded. Ben seemed to notice that Jack had turned away, as he had a weird look on his face.
“The fans don’t need to see my face, they won’t like that,” Jack laughed. Deep inside though, he wasn’t entirely joking.
Jack turned to his side and looked at the motel rooms. Doors hung on one hinge, mattress covers hung over windows as an attempt by homeless people to block the sun. The rooms looked the worst out of all of the motel: scrappers and looters had long visited and long left the rooms to ferment and decay.
“If these rooms look like this, I really wonder what the mall looks like,” Ben said, grabbing one of the swinging doors and slamming it shut to walk past.
“The stories of that place are horrifying. Craigslist Killers, headquarters for the Mafia, drug deals. I really don’t think we should go there,” Jack responded, shuddering at the thought.
“Unless the fans want you to,” Ben mocked. Jack punched him in the shoulder.
“Would you two shut up? I’m getting really weird vibes from this place, like we aren’t alone,” Jan looked up from her camera lens, her eyes wide and worried.
“I scared away a lady earlier. If we aren’t alone, I’m sure it’s just another homeless person,” Jack said, walking past another motel room with its’ door swinging. Deciding to venture in, he grabbed a brick that had fallen from the wall and set it against the door, propping it open and preventing it from swinging around. He switched on the flashlight, which was attached to his camera, and walked into the musty room. A mattress sat on a broken throne of termite-devoured wood, crushing the old box spring and any bed bugs or cockroaches that once lived within it. Jack walked to it, placing his hand on the mattress. Dust stuck to his finger and tiny black specs clung to his sweaty palms.
“Ew,” Ben had walked over to the desk which sat on the other side of the small room. Jack and Jan walked over there, slowly sinking in the green quicksand-like carpet. On the desk was a sea of green and black mold, growing from the moisture which dripped onto the desk from a leaky pipe above. The outline of dirt from where a tube TV once sat was the only sign of furnishings in the room; scrappers and thieves had looted the motel rooms to a pulp, selling the copper wiring, lamps, lightbulbs, and anything else they could find of value.
Moving into the small, dark bathroom, Jack noticed a shard of red glass on the floor. He picked it up, then yelped. The red tint on the glass had rubbed off on his finger.
“What’s wrong?” Ben walked in, switching off his camera to engage with Jack.
“Well, there’s blood on my hands now,” Jack showed Ben his bloody finger, then gestured towards the shard which now lay in a million more pieces on the vinyl tile.
“Is it yours?” He asked.
“No, it’s been here for a few months at least.” Jack wiped his hands on a towel which had somehow been spared from looters and scrappers.
“Scary,” Ben said, switching his camera back on to document the rest of the bathroom and the motel.
The three moved out of the room, going into the next room. As they walked in, they were greeted by a foul odor. It smelled of rotting animal and black mold.
“I really hate this place,” Jan said, walking in ahead of Jack and Ben. She stopped and stared at the bed. More blood was spattered along the side of the bed, thoroughly soaked into the mattress top.
“You think it’s the same blood?” Ben asked, taking a picture of the splatter.
“It’s gotta be. It’s just as dry and…” Jack began to explain.
“Gross, stop,” Ben interrupted, covering his mouth as if about to wretch.
“This is serious. We’ve never seen anything like this before.,” Jan said, pointing her camera to the bloodstains.
“Should we tell someone?” Ben asked, continuing to stare at the thing that made them all so queasy.
“The police have already been here-look, there’s caution tape,” Jack said, pointing to the floor. Yellow plastic lay on the floor, the writing covered in dirt and footprints.
“I guess,” Jan said, her face growing slightly less green at the thought.
“Besides, we aren’t particularly doing anything legal here either,” Jack said, moving his own camera away from the blood. Trespassing was a federal crime, they all knew that-it was a law they constantly lived in fear of, in fear of one day the police would be waiting for them.
“Let’s go. I think we’ve seen enough of this place,” Jan said, finally exiting the room which now smelled of blood rather than rotting flesh. She turned her camera off and let it dangle from her neck
“Yeah,” Ben said, stepping onto a courtyard sidewalk which alarmingly sank as he stepped.
“The fans are going to love this,” Jack said, stretching as he left the room. He knelt down, setting his camera on the cracked cement, stealing the light from a small flowered plant. He turned his camera off and set it in the compartment, patting it down as he did. Jack stood back up and faced his partners.
“So, what’d you think?” He asked, staring at Ben, whose face turned towards the flowers as he did.
“It was probably the scariest place we’ve visited, with the blood and the ambience,” He responded, “But also probably the prettiest.”
“Yeah,” Jan looked down, stomping her foot on a small plant growing out of one of the cracks.
The trio began to make their way to the lobby, walking past the same decaying walls they had just documented mere moments ago. As they walked, a sinking feeling began to engulf him.
“Guys,” Jack said, “I feel like someone is watching us.”
“I’ve been saying that the entire time, bitch,” Jan said, an I Told You So vibe in her voice.
“We should get out of here then. It’s probably that homeless lady again,” Ben spoke, his voice filled to the brim with concern and fear.
“Wait,” As Ben was speaking, Jack noticed a door: the only door that still remained closed. He pointed over to the door and took a step forward.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Jan asked, her voice hushed.
“If it’s something, it’ll just be a good exclusive footage for the fans. If not, then it’ll be an extra 20 feet of movement. Oh noooo,” Jack said, rolling his eyes behind her back.
“It’s always you and the fans,” She sassed, too quiet for Jack to make out but loud enough for Ben to gasp.
The door had a golden handle, akin to a bullet shell and different than the silvery handles they’d encountered throughout the motel. The door itself was a gray color, almost like it had been been painted by the dust that covered the abandoned building.
“You rolling?” Jack looked over to Jan, who was white knuckling the side of her camera.
“Yeah,” Jan said, holding it up to her face and snapping a picture of some graffiti on the wall.
Jack grabbed the door handle, holding it tight it as he wiped sweat from his forehead with his left hand. Jan stood beside him, recording Jack as he stood completely still and devoid of life. The tension and stress won, and the room went silent, aside from the heavy breathing of three individuals, and the quiet breathing of….. one.
Jack twisted the knob, surprised as it moved freely. Unlocked.
He slowly opened the door.
The room was dark, with black cloth covering the walls. Hanging from the black cloth were black objects. Dozens of guns lined the walls, with knives filling the vacant space between each assault rifle and hunting rifle and handgun. The bed was messy, with white papers creating their own uncomfortable version of sheets. A red marker lay on top. And directly in front of Jack… was a girl, holding a gun to his face. She wore a hood to cover her face, though some strands of her brunette hair stuck out of the hood. He looked her for a moment, frozen like a statue in fear.
“GO AWAY.” After a second that seemed like eternity, she screamed. Jack stood in place, still frozen in place out of fear. Jan stepped into the doorway behind Jack, attempting to get a better angle to see what had Jack so frozen.
“Give me that!” She gestured the barrel of her gun towards Jan’s camera, and inadvertedely, her face.
“You have five seconds,” She said, moving a step closer to the three.
“Five.” A drop of sweat fell from Jack’s chin, falling to the floor with a small splash. He looked at Jan, who had a look which contained more fear and terror than a small child watching her entire family be murdered.
“No,” Ben swallowed some spit and walked forward, facing the hooded girl.
“Ben! What the hell are you doing?” Jack screamed at Ben, who kept walking towards the girl.
“Four,” She looked at the three of them, then placed the barrel of the gun to the front of Ben’s forehead. He froze, joining the other two as statues of fear.
“No!!” Jan screamed. She stepped towards the girl, ripping the camera strap from her neck. She held out the camera to the girl, who moved the gun from Ben to her.
“Three, two, one,” She said, pulling the trigger. Shrapnel flew to all directions, striking Jack in the face as he ran to Jan, who had been knocked over by the force of the bullet.
“I warned you. Now get out!” She screamed, aiming the gun directly to Jack.
“Let’s go!!” Ben yelled, running to help Jan up. She still held the back of the camera in her hand, but her face and hair contained much of the front of the device. Jack and Ben pushed Jan up, and let her catch her balance.
They stood in silence for a moment, watching Jan attempt to brush the glass and plastic from her face. Jack studied her: her T-shirt had small rips throughout, however there didn’t seem to be any blood anywhere except for her face, which resembled a chocolate chip cookie of blood and ripped flesh.
“Five,” She boomed, cocking the gun. The three began to run, hitting the door of the motel room with their backpacks as they raced at lightning speeds to the lobby. Jan lagged behind slightly, her entire body grimacing with each step. Jack slowed to let Jan catch up as they reached the dor to the lobby, and caught a glimpse of the hooded girl inside the motel room: She was bent over, grabbing the remnants of the camera from the floor. He knew in that moment what to do: Jack took out his phone, opened the camera app, and took one picture of the hooded girl. She looked up, seemingly hearing him, but slowly moved her hooded head back to the remnants of Jan’s once gleaming camera. The three rushed into the lobby, catching one last look at the eyeless statues of the two Gemini Girls, mascots of the Gemini Mall and the Gemini Motel.
Jack shuffled through his pockets as he ran outside those corroded metal doors, slowing down as he reached the small black car the three used to venture to the abandoned places they filmed. He took out the keys to the car and tossed them to Ben, who caught them and jumped into the drivers seat. Jack helped Jan into the back seat of the car, where they let her lay down and rest. Jack then hopped into the passenger seat, taking out his phone.
“We need to go to the hospital.” Jack looked towards Ben, who seemingly had all life drained from his body. He had a small look of surprise, but quickly nodded once. Unable to think of anything but the moments before, Jack opened his photos and studied the one picture he took. In it was everything he had seen before while feverously running from the hooded girl. He studied her. Her hood hung over here head, preventing him from seeing who she was. But something hung out of her hood that he hadn’t seen before. It was a necklace made of string, with two brilliant pearls joined by a few small beads hanging out of her hooded robe.
If you want to see live updates on it as I write more, visit the story on Wattpad! Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think!!