by Michelle Zhu
Art by Sunny Lu
Issue: Nostos (Winter 2019)
It was the scent of lavender still lingering in the air and the hue of purple illuminating the hotel plaza. The sky stood in limbo for much of the early hours, different shades intertwining with clouds.
She stood outside, looking at the building. Her eyes slowly trailed up from the lobby, scaling each floor. In some windows, the lights were out. In others, there were silhouettes outlining the yellowish curtains.
Perhaps it was the distant moonlight on the hotel, or maybe it was the fountains crying in their sleep. The trail she left behind discolored the moonlight, each step creating a shadow in the pale blue path.
The front doors stood shiny and extraordinary, the lavish entrance mirrored her face in disgust. Her hands slowly reached up to touch the glass and it rippled in response, giggling. She pushed the double doors open, and the masquerade was in full swing.
Men and monsters danced together. They wore masks, some the same, some different. Glass tiles lined the floors and chandeliers hung from the ceiling above. Classical music glided through the air, and in the corner, a rabbit skipped on piano keys.
In front of her stood a line.
She inched forward, her black shoes stepping one in front of the other. They were not shiny at all, and in actuality, quite dull.
A man in a dark purple suit greeted her.
“Welcome to Hotel Clair de Lune,” he spoke. His voice was muffled by the white mask that he wore. It resembled a peacock, colorful feathers adorning the upper half of his face.
He handed her a mask as well, although hers was not decorated with flashy jewels or fancy feathers. Instead, hers was white and had black streaks where her cheekbones should’ve been.
She took the mask and held it to her face—familiarity.