Author: David C. Newhouse
The Whisper Inn
Good morning Orlando ! It’s 7:00 AM and time for your traffic update. I-4 is backed up from 414 south to downtown Orlando, use 441 as an alternate. The East/West expressway is slow going, disabled car is off to the shoulder and rubber-necking is the reason.
Elena turns and in nothing flat automatically positions her hand on top the radio's off button and stops it from crowding her bedroom with jabber. Opening her eyes and stretching, her hands hit against the headboard, Elena smiles and tosses the down filled comforter to the empty side of her bed, places both feet on the floor, now walking peers out from her upstairs window to see the new day. Overlooking her 50 acres of southern magnolias and silver maples surrounding Charm Lake. A tightly fit road of cobblestones lead up to the Whisper Inn. A 20 room Tudor style manor with ivy cascading down the front with all stained glass windows perfectly trimmed out gives this manor all the charm and elegance of a stately Inn.
Elena quickly chooses the days color – Elena adores splashes of color and shows it daily. She slides on her heels and wraps her skirt around her tiny hips and zips up the back, walking over to her vanity she sits and brushes her long black and silvery gray hair, with expertly trained fingers quickly puts it in a bun and gently picks up her mothers hair pin and then places it prominently in its place and walks out of the bedroom. Elena can hear her staff talking, sounds of the kitchen are prevalent, pots and pans about and she again smiles and thinks to herself how blessed she is to have this life. A life filled with unique challenges, Elena always loved a challenge. In early school years, Elena was always way too shy. Picked on by others, Elena soon emerged herself in so many school activities she went from fromp to pomp in 2 years and stayed that way to this day.
She walks into the kitchen and Heidi is cooking breakfast, Good morning Mum, Heidi cheerfully squeaks. Coffee? Thank you Heidi, eggs this morning? No toast and jam will be all. Heidi have you seen Henry this morning? Yes mum, he was here grabbed a danish and coffee and proceeded to his office, shall I ring him? Yes, thank you, ask Henry to join me this morning. Henry Hollingsbee is Elena’s front desk manager and concierge to all Whisper Inn guests, he is a big man with rosy cheeks, and a perfect smile. Heidi lifts the receiver and buzzes Henry. Heidi squeaks out, Henry mum wants you in the kitchen right away. Henry’s cheerful replys, on my way Heidi. Henry quickly stands up forgetting his hot coffee knocking it over and spills everywhere . Oh no Henry says, gathering up the damage with his handkerchief, He saunters over to the mirror to straighten out his tie, tucks in his shirt and quickly makes his way down to the kitchen.
Elena received a overnight letter last week and has been pondering this request for a group of 3 couples who travel together every year and now choose to stay at the Whisper Inn for fourteen nights. Good morning Henry, morning mum, how can I be of service? As he stares at the letter in her hand. Henry how is our availability over Thanksgiving? Are we full? Yes mum we are, oversold as usual. Henry I have a feeling about this group, we should have them here with us. I cannot get it out of my mind, I feel drawn to them. Something is up Henry. Understand mum, however we are over sold. Henry I am thinking about opening the east wing. What? Mum you cannot do that Mum, Henry is shaken by this request, and fear in his voice, Shaylee locked that side of the Inn and forbids us to open it again mum. We lost 2 people remember? Do not remind me of matters that I am completely aware of. Henry please advise the staff to get the east wing ready, oh and Henry reply to this letter, welcoming them for Thanksgiving.
Henry says begrudgingly, yes Mum. Henry slowly walks back to his office and leans against the door, his mind racing with thoughts, realizing this is going to be a mess and a tremendous amout of work, he does not understand. Why is she doing this? What happens if Shaylee finds out? Finally collapsing in his chair Henry see’s soiled coffee stains all over his desk. Can this day get any worse he thought? Henry picks up the phone and buzzes Skeeter, in charge of housekeeping. No answer, Henry leaves a message hangs up the phone and starts to have a panic attack. Looking through his desk for some pills to take the edge off, when Elena comes into his office and says, are you alright Henry? Awe yes Mum I am fine, opening and closing drawers. Elena picks up his pills off his credenza, this what you are looking for? Yes Mum thank you. Listen Henry, you and I go back along way, and you know I have a reason for this. I know Mum, I am scared. That is ridiculous, this is our chance to find those two guests lost in Whisperland and help this group. What about Shaylee Mum? Shaylee is my sister I will take care of Shaylee, now chin up and let’s get going. Yes Mum right away. Henry walks out of his office, two pills in his vest pocket. He moves quickly and his breathing is fast, cheeks red as two cherry tomatoes and is determined to locate Skeeter.
Come on Skeeter where are you? Skeeter has a reputation for napping everywhere. This is not the time to be missing Henry thought to himself. He peeks his head into the laundry room and announces anyone seen Skeeter? Hi Henry, says one of the girls; yes Skeeter is down by the lake. The lake? yells Henry, what is Skeeter doing at the lake? Henry proceeds to the service entrance jumps into a golf cart and darts down the cobblestone road bouncing up and down thinking to himself, can this day get any worse? He see’s Skeeter laying down feet facing the lake on his back gazing up to the clouds. Henry yells SKEETER….. no response….SKEETER……Henry gets off the golf cart walks over to Skeeter and stands over him with a foot on each side of his legs and yells SKEETER What are you doing? Skeeter jumps up and racks Henry right in the groin. Henry collapses and rolls on the ground mumbling why me? Why me? Skeeter now scared slowly walks over to Henry see’s him rolling on the grass in a ball and says hi Henry; um I am sorry…are you ok? Henry says come here Skeeter in an aggravated threatening voice, come closer, ah I am close Henry says Skeeter. No come closer, Skeeter slowly ever so slowly moves closer to Henry…Um hi Henry…Come here Skeeter closer this time Henry's voice is more in pain than angry…. Skeeter slowly gets on his knees and crawls closer to Henry and says here I am. Henry grabs him around his neck and says you ding dong, I’m going to kill you, Skeeter gasps for air trying to pry Henry’s hands off his neck. Finally letting go Henry and Skeeter are now both on their back starring up at the clouds breathing heavy like they just ran a marathon. Skeeter lets out a peep, what’s up Henry? Henry now trying to get to his knees says, Mum wants us to open up the east wing for a group for Thanksgiving and you have to get your staff organized. What? The east wing? Shaylee warned all of us. Mum said not to worry, she will handle Shaylee. Now help me up! Both of them stumble up helping each other to the golf cart, as they drive up the cobblestone road to the Whisper Inn they see Elena in the window arms crossed staring at them. They stare at each other and press the accelerator petal down on the golf cart hoping to go faster.
Skeeter starts talking about what happened years ago at the Inn. We asked all the guests not to get close to the murals. Stating they are rare pieces of art and do not touch. Mr & Mrs. Vale had marital problems and spent way to much of their vacation at the Inn, they should have gone fishing, hiking, bbq anything but fighting in their suite. That is why mum got involved, she wanted to help them too. The east wing is connected to Whisperland. People are all attracted to different murals. depending on emotions. If you have an issue with love you may be attracted to the wall to floor mural of Whisper Cove and The Lovers. A scene that draws you in with curiosity and clarity that will come to you in your dreams. Guests wake with understanding of their partners feelings about their particular issue. It's only temporary though, it's a kind of wake-up call to the real heart of someone's pain. The problem is, Mr. & Mrs. Vale were obsessed with the mural and actually crossed over into Whisperland and are now missing. We searched what seemed like years for them. Shaylee queen of the forest in Whisperland has banned us all from Whisperland as punishment for losing the Vale couple. Henry tells Skeeter ; Mum wants us to make good on a mistake and find the Vale's. Skeeter askes, Henry what brought all this up? Mum received that letter I told you about ding dong, to join us for Thanksgiving for two weeks. Two weeks Skeeter squelched? Yes Henry said, We must paint over the murals and get all the rooms pristine we only have two months to complete the project. The east wing has been closed for over 13 years, Skeeter mumbled to himself on his way back to his office. Whisper Inn was a 20 room estate back then, now only 7 rooms, will we be back to 20 again? After all this, Skeeter keeps wondering what will happen?, then he realizes he does not even know where the room keys are for the east wing.
FADE IN BLACK OUT
Elena has ordered all the supplies necessary to start the renovation. Piled up outside the Inn are four large stacks of sheet rock. Summer is winding down and there is no time to waste, the summer storms are strong and everything is covered with blue tarps. The construction workers have never been to the Inn before, very proud to be working on this beautiful manor. Henry excited to greet the construction foreman, saunters as quickly as he can introduces himself, Hi I'm Henry Hollingsbee are you Perry? Tall and broad Perry reaches his hand out and beams a smile dimples included and in the deepest voice says I am Perry, pleasure to meet you Mr. Hollingsbee. Perry is over six three and tanned with blonde curly hair and four earrings two in each lobe. Henry says please follow me Perry I would like to show you the east wing and explains to the foreman that all the walls lining the hallways in the east wing need to be covered including the large ball room. As they walk in the side entrance, Henry says please be as careful as you can this manor is a historic building and just getting a permit to do renovations was a real pain. How many in your crew Perry? Henry asks... There are nine of us, three of us for moving, three for hanging, and then three for taping and the finishing work. As they walk up the huge staircase Perry is in awe of the majestic paintings, we will be making a right at the top of the stairs to the end of the hallway to the huge mahogany door. Henry inserts the key and turns to the left all the way then a half turn to the right and turns the knob. Henry tries to open the heavy door and asks Perry for a little help, Perry leans his body in and pushes and slowly the door opens and dust falls on top of them. Henry is nervous, obviously a shaken and Perry notices it but just shrugs it off. Let me open the curtains so you can see, in that moment when Henry reaches for the draw string and gives is a pull the curtains are stuck, Perry goes over and says dang these have not been opened in years it looks like. Henry reluctant to comment states let's just pull on the curtain itself from the center you go that way I'll go this way. They both start walking opposite of each other and as they pull and walk light shines in the room and Perry says, that's it we got it. When they turn around Perry is in awe and states we are covering these beautiful mahogany walls with sheet rock? Henry mumbles that's correct. Perry says what about these beautiful murals? it all gets covered everything. Perry in his deep voice says your the boss. Henry now feels he should also mention this ball room is being renovated for the upcoming fall season, now please follow me I want to show you the hallway to all the rooms in this wing. Each floor has murals in the hallway and all the hallways including the ball room must be refinished within 4 weeks as we still have to paint and get ready for the re-opening of the East Wing. The smell of the room was old, stale and Perry sneezes and grabs for his hankerchief and with a huge blow his ears pop, he shakes his head and says wow dusty in here. Henry continues to show him all the floors and hallways of the east wing. Perry and Henry are back at the double doors at the top of the staircase and just before the door completely closes a force helps to slam it shut and the lock turns on it's own. Henry says old place and shrugs it off, they walk down the stairs and Perry looks back up the stairs as they descend downward. Well Perry, what do you think? You ready to rock-n-roll? Yes sir I am and with that he steps outside and tells the crew to start loading the sheetrock in the ballroom and be careful. < more to come > DN